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A HOBO Theater Blast From The Past

stan rlf bobby death announcement (1)

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And so this blog post, this passage, happens to be about one of those blast from the past Facebook messages I got from Angel the other day, about HOBO Theater company and KITCHEN, a theater company consisting mostly of homeless and squatters, that I rehearsed and acted with back in my homeless days in New York City, about 30 years ago. And he found me from Stan Mack, who documented HOBO Theater in his Stan Mack’s Real Life Funnies in the late 80’s.  And this was an era before the age of the internet, social media and the digital age, where one could document things more easily. And some of those I guess you can call it underground or progressive groups have become a forgotten part of time. Unforgotten Voices, a homeless artists group that I once participated in can be one of them. It was the era of the 80’s and 90’s, of Tompkins Square Park and Tent City , an era that Amy Starecheski documents in her Ours to Lose WHEN SQUATTERS BECAME HOMEOWNERS IN NEW YORK CITY book, it’s description that reads: “Though New York’s Lower East Side today is home to high-end condos and hip restaurants, it was for decades an infamous site of blight, open-air drug dealing, and class conflict—an emblematic example of the tattered state of 1970’s and ’80’s Manhattan……”.  And it was also an era of when I met Bobby Fuller when he was recruiting people from Kochville, a 200 day encampment at New York City Hall Park in 1989, to be a part of his HOBO Theater Company. This City Hall Park encampment was something similar to the more recent Occupy City Hall.  And so Angel wanted to get whoever was still around 30 years later after HOBO Theater had disappeared, together for a memorial for Bobby, for his wife’s Chea’s birthday, via a virtual zoom video conferencing meeting. And this email thread for the zoom meeting, titled “Merrie Melodies and the Toons that knew em”, consisted of myself, Stan Mack, Casey, Angel, Mary Beth, Dave, Jack and Liz.  And it is Chea that I remember as an infant of 1 years old with her mother Mary Beth and dad Bobby at those HOBO Theater rehearsals and events, mostly at a squat in the Lower East Side, before her dad, Bobby, passed away of cancer in 1989 when she was 1 years old.  And Chea is how I remember the passage of time, as she is now 31 years old, with her own family, 30 years after Bobby passed away. And I missed that zoom meeting as I attempted to vend that DecorForU  Black Lives Matter jewelry at Washington Square Park the other day. Though Dave and Chea shared some really interesting blast from the past photos from HOBO Theater 30 years ago, including one of that Hare Krishna tree in Tompkins Square Park where Bobby’s ashes were scattered, that find themselves posted in those photos above. And I was able to add a couple of blast from the past photos to this blog post also. And so fast forward in time, to current events of the year 2020, 30 years later. These are now the days of that scary virus that came from out of nowhere earlier this year and Black Lives Matter protests seemingly on a daily basis, and both have gone global. And I guess because of this coronavirus panicdemic, old New York is back and everything old is new again. Babylon is falling as New York City slides back into the 70’s and 80’s with headlines of the day that read like: Escape From New York: Wealthy Residents Flee In Droves As The City Degenerates Into A HellholeRetail Chains Abandon Manhattan: ‘It’s Unsustainable’NYC moms fleeing Upper West Side amid crime and chaosNew York City may take YEARS to recover after mass exodusA mad rush for the exits as New York City goes down the tubesNew York has grappled with gentrification for years. Covid has brought it to a headEmpty apartments in Manhattan reach record high, topping 13,000ATM ripped out of Manhattan deli as new crime ‘trend’ hits NYCNew York City is dead foreverNYC IS DEAD FOREVER. HERE’S WHYNew York City is a Sh*thole and Hollywood’s Apocalypse NOW: Rich and famous are fleeing in droves as liberal politics and coronavirus turn City of Dreams into cesspit plagued by junkies and violent criminals. And I can’t really think of any way to end this blog post, that seems to be about theater, birth, life, death and the passage of time, except to say, the only thing constant is change and it is given to us all an appointment once to die, and one generation passes away and another one comes but the earth abides forever.  Have a great HOBO Theater Company and KITCHEN blast from the past day. In Memory Of.

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