On First Day of Year, Hundreds of Artists Run Their Mouths Off


For some, the idea of spending New Year’s Day listening to people baring their souls may sound like penance for a night of utter debauchery—and normally, they would be right. But for years now, hundreds of New Yorkers have braved their hangovers on January 1 and flocked to the Poetry Project and Bowery Poetry Club in the East Village—the souls on display at these boho headquarters are not the usual sort. In years past, the Poetry Project has featured readings and performances by the likes of Spalding Gray, Yoko Ono, John Cage, and Lou Reed, to name just a few, and this year is expecting Philip Glass, Eric Bogosian, Patti Smith, Marc Ribot, and over 100 other artists to participate. Just a few blocks away at the Bowery Poetry Club (a state school to the Project’s hipster Ivy League, if you will), the names are a little less recognizable, the performances not quite as polished perhaps, but the characters (over 150 of them) are just as fascinating and talented in their own right. Folks like Big Mike, Helen Stratford, Bingo Gazingo, Nancy Mercado, Bina Sharif, and Cheryl Boyce-Taylor will make you laugh, cry, and forget about your pounding headache.