SOTC March Madness: Philip Glass (4) And The Fugs (13) Have It Out Downtown


​The Round of 64 for Sound of the City’s own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—finishes up this week, with the Round of 32 scheduled to kick off Monday. (The schedule and results so far are here; the full, updated bracket is here.) Taking a cue from our neighbors at the Curbed Network, we’re going to have a power hour—new polls every 15 minutes until 4 p.m., at which point we’ll reveal more results. Our bottom-of-the-hour matchup goes Downtown, where Philip Glass goes toe-to-toe with the Fugs. Check out the arguments in favor of each below, and vote at Facebook for the musician that you think should move on to the next round.

Halfway through his eighth decade, Philip Glass’s list of friends and collaborators in the art world (director Robert Wilson, sculptor Richard Serra, poet Allen Ginsberg, musician Meredith Monk, painter Chuck Close, choreographers Twyla Tharp and Lucinda Childs) reads like a definition of the downtown art scene over the past half-century, as does the list of downtown organizations he has co-founded (Mabou Mines, Music at the Anthology, Tibet House). But there’s also something “uptown,” worldly, and even Hollywood about Glass at the height of his career. He has scored films for directors Woody Allen (Cassandra’s Dream) and Martin Scorsese (Kundun), and he has also scored mainstream studio fare, including The Truman Show and Candyman 2. Yet despite his extensive uptown showcasing lately (his opera Satyagraha was at the Met and a live concert of his Koyaanisqatsi score was at Carnegie Hall within a week of each other last fall), Glass still has deep roots in the East Village. He has lived quite near the Voice offices for the past four decades. Many weekdays find him walking around the neighborhood and cutting a stoic, solitary profile; the prolific composer seems oblivious to furtive glances from nerdy fans as he dreams his mathematical scores. Regardless of success, neither Glass’s life nor his music have ever abandoned their East Village sensibilities.
Excerpted from Steven Thrasher’s February cover story

Folk-rock ambassadors of the Lower East Side, Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg provided mid-’60s bridges between the City’s beatnik underground and its hippie successors. Serious poets both, the Fugs leaders were also firmly committed to free and grope-filled expression, Sanders running his Fuck You/A Magazine of the Arts from the Peace Eye Bookstore near Tompkins Square Park, Kupferberg publishing his best-selling 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft, and both taking glee in songs like “Kill For Peace,” “New Amphetamine Shriek,” and “Supergirl” that were also joyously fierce garage-folk celebrations. They organized the 1967 levitation of the Pentagon, and worked to make the East Village safe as a home for the forces of Peace.
Jesse Jarnow


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