PHOTO: HOWL! Festival Celebrates East Village Heritage

My aunt and uncle, Ellie and Herb Greenberg, were fixtures in the East Village and Lower East Side, creating art and raising a family in the epicenter of New York City’s creative counterculture. They never sought fame or fortune during their lifetimes, yet both inspired me enough to follow artistic aspirations that have matured with age. I think of them often while walking through the East Village and L.E.S., and I know the annual HOWL! Festival at Tompkins Square Park would have been right up their alley.

This year, I made it just in time Sunday to experience The Jackie Factory’s “Low Life 6: East Village Others” stage production _ celebrating the world-changing explosion of East Village culture from 1966-1972 and named for the underground newspaper, “East Village Others.” In grand tradition, the HOWL! Festival offers a full weekend of festivities and performances that advance the spirit of Allen Ginsberg’s epic poem, “Howl.” An annual group reading kicks off the event, which was founded in 2003. Ginsberg’s pivotal “Howl” overcame censorship in 1957 to become one of the most widely read poems of the century. Ginsberg was born June 3, 1926. He died on April 5, 1997, in New York City.

My favorite moments are usually spent checking out “Art Around the Park,” which allowed this year’s participating artists to pay tribute to Jean-Michel Basquiat while creating and selling original masterpieces along an 8-foot-high, 900-foot-long blank “canvas” encircling the park’s exterior. Raw, creative expression at its best.

Recommended:

Howl Festival 2012: http://www.howlfestival.com/

Allen Ginsberg: http://www.allenginsberg.org/

The Jackie Factory NYC: http://www.jackie60.com/factory/

Mother NYC: http://www.mothernyc.com/lowlife

HOWL! 2012 photo gallery by Tania Fuentez Media: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajournalist/sets/72157630006840045/

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