Monday, May 19, 2008

Village Interviews: Steve Ben Israel

7:30 pm
Channel 67

Dear Friends,

Happy May 19th, birthday of two great revolutionaries, Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and Ho Chi Minh.

This week also will mark the 70th birthday of another rebel, Steve Ben Israel.

Happy Birthday Steve!

This Wednesday, May 21st at 7:30 PM, on my every-other-week shoestring cable show Famousx2, on Channel 67, I am re-airing the first of two half-hour programs of an interview I did with standup comedian/ philosopher and former member of the Living Theater, Steve Ben-Israel, in 1999 in his apartment as he prepared for his then upcoming performance entitled Nonviolent Executions.

Before Rocky Sullivan's, there was Steve Ben-Israel. Originally from Brooklyn, Steve first hit the Village in the mid-1950s. By 1961, his friend, actress Helen Craig, had introduced him to Wavy Gravy (Hugh Romney) and soon Steve was performing at Commons, Bitter End , Café Wha and the Gaslight, meeting Dave Van Ronk, Lou Gossett Jr., Gary Davis, Paul Stookey, Dylan and Lenny Bruce. In this installment, he talks about these people, the club owners of the time and the general atmosphere of the Village in the early 1960s. He also discusses his comic mentors including Bruce, Professor Irwin Corey, Jonathan Winters and especially Lord Buckley and Adam Keef.

In this program, Steve also explains how he organizes and redacts his material. And- he does several of his best political comedy routines about NYC Yuppies, Budget Cuts and others, including his Millennium Y2K shtick. Don't miss this one.

If you are in Manhattan and have access to Time Warner, you can see it Wednesday at 7:30 pm (EDT-that's NYC Eastern Daylight Time) on channel 67. On the RCN system, that should be somewhere Channel 85 or thereabouts these days. If you are outside of Manhattan, anywhere in the world, and you have a good high-speed connection on your computer, you can go to and click on channel 67 to see it at the same time.

Sometimes MNN does screw up broadcasts, but usually its staff airs things without too many problems..... Be patient.


Jason Howard

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