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Rushefsky, Wolock, in wine cellar event, NYC, Dec 18

Sunday, December 18 at 2 PM - Music, poetry, wine, festivity!

Experience the vibrant environment of an early 20th-century Lower East Side wine cellar. Musicians Peter Rushefsky, Jake Shulman Men, and Jeffrey Wollock and poets Celena Glenn and Bob Holman pay tribute to the sweet gypsy sounds and improvisational poetry once featured at these popular gathering places.

The Eldridge Street Project's Wine Cellar Cabaret will take place at the Eldridge Street Synagogue, 12 Eldridge Street (between Canal and Division Streets). By subway: F to East Broadway; B or D to Grand Street. Admission: $18 adults; $15 students and seniors. For more information, please call the Eldridge Street Project at 212.219.0888 x 302.

WINE CELLAR CABARET Music & poetry pay tribute to the vibrant culture of early 20th-century New York as a new breed of wine bar opens in the neighborhood

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2005 at 2 PM

Lower East Side, New York. . .Wine, verse, music, festivity! On Sunday, December 18, the Eldridge Street Project celebrates a distinctive feature of early 20th-century Lower East Side life—the area's wine cellars and the lively artistic and intellectual scene that flourished in them. With their sweet gypsy music and wildly inventive poetry, these establishments were an alternative and precursor to the Yiddish theatre. Frequented by a diverse cross-section of artists, activists, laborers, even mothers with young children, the wine bars represented a release from the grim working and living conditions of the area—or as writer Michael Gold put it "sweatshop holiday."

Today, on the Lower East Side, a new breed of wine cellar is flourishing, with places like Inoteca, East Side Company Bar, and Punch and Judy catering to the young, hip crowd moving into the neighborhood.

At the Eldridge Street Project's Wine Cellar Cabaret musicians Peter Rushefsky (dulcimer), Jake Shulman-Ment (violin), and Jeffrey Wollock (violin) will perform traditional Gypsy music of the era; and poets Celena Glenn and Bob Holman will perform in the spirit of the improvisational poets once featured at these popular gathering places.

Neither at street level nor subterranean, the Wine Cellar Cabaret will be held in the exquisite main sanctuary of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. The juxtaposition of these two very different venues—a historic house of worship and cultural tavern—will suggest the diversity of life and traditions experienced by those who lived on the Lower East Side in the early 20th century when more than one million people lived in the neighborhood.

In his 1930 masterpiece Jews Without Money, Gold brilliantly evokes the steamy, charged atmosphere of these places: "A hundred Jews in a basement blue as sea-fog with tobacco smoke. The men wore their derby hats ... The women were fat and sweated happily, and smacked their children ... The waiters buzzed like crazy bees. A jug of the good red Roumanian wine decorated the oilcloth on every table ... artificial grapes swung from the ceiling ... Moscowitz played a sad and beautiful peasant ballad. A little blubber-faced man with a red beard beat his glass on the table, wept and sang. Others joined him. The whole room sang."

PERFORMERS: Poet Celena Glenn is former host of the Nuyorican Poets' Café, two-time National Poetry Slam Champion, and currently ranked second in the World Individual Poetry Slam. Bob Holman, poet, editor, founder of the Bowery Arts & Science Club, and dean of the spoken-word scene, has performed at and presented poetry events throughout the United States and the World. He is producer of the PBS documentary "The United States of Poetry" and chief curator of the biennial People's Poetry Gathering, bringing together oral poetry traditions from around the world. Pete Rushefsky is a leading performer and teacher of the Jewish tsimbl (cimbalom or hammered dulcimer), an ethereal, harp-like instrument employing over 100 strings. His CDS On the Paths: Yiddish Songs with Tsimbl and Tsimbl un Fidl: Klezmer Music for Hammered Dulcimer and Violin ?have garnered critical acclaim. Jeff Shulman-Ment, a leading practitioner of "Gypsy Punk", has performed and recorded extensively in the New York metropolitan area, including with his own band Romashka. Jeffrey Wollock has played viola and violin since childhood and performs with many other leading klezmer musicians throughout the United States and Canada, including his own band Bnei Peduster. An active Yiddishist and historian, Wollock is one of the foremost experts on traditional East European Jewish klezmer violin style.

The Eldridge Street Project, the event sponsor, is restoring the Eldridge Street Synagogue, a National Historic Landmark, as a center of historical reflection, aesthetic inspiration and spiritual renewal. Concerts, literary events, art installations, workshops for school children and other cultural and educational programs at the site serve audiences of diverse ages and backgrounds.

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