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* Cover is given where known

* There is a one-drink
minimum per set
* Reservations for shows downstairs can only be made by phone:


Mixed Media by LENNY ACHAN

All art is for sale. Please inquire

May 10
Robin Hirsch
Hello, Boychik image
As the cafe approaches its 35th anniversary (we actually began work in May 35 years ago), our Minister of Culture continues his saga of Cafe Stories--THE WHOLE WORLD PASSES THROUGH.

What happens when a Wandering Jew stops wandering? At the end of LAST DANCE AT THE HOTEL KEMPINSKI, Robin's earlier memoir, our hero had found a measure of peace, had even, for want of a better word, settled down. He had married, produced two children, and however tentatively, begun to explore the notion of home...

But the notion of home, for a Wandering Jew, is a complex one. For Robin, it includes, most tenderly, the Cornelia Street Café, which he opened in 1977 together with two other artists, an Irish-American actor and an Argentinean-Italian-Canadian painter and sculptor. Over the last thirty-five years it has been a home not just for three starving artists, as they then appeared to themselves to be, but for a whole host of performers: from Carolyne Mas and The Songwriters Exchange to Eve Ensler and the Vagina Monologues, from Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann to Poet Laureate Billy Collins, from Senator Eugene McCarthy reading his poetry to neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks reading his prose, from members of Monty Python to members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, from comedians to cellists, from stiltwalkers to ventriloquists. And for all kinds of civilians and celebrities.

Amid the turmoil of this passing throng, however, the sheer act of standing still after half a lifetime of wandering allows our hero, an exile from his native country, in which his parents were themselves exiles, to sift the nuances of arrivals and departures, of family and community, of longing and fulfillment, of exile and homecoming. And all this in a city where to stand still at all is at once an achievement and an act of betrayal.

In 1987, on its 10th anniversary, New York's Mayor Koch proclaimed the Cornelia Street Café "a culinary as well as a cultural landmark."

In THE WHOLE WORLD PASSES THROUGH: Stories from the Cornelia Street Café, Robin Hirsch picks up the personal history begun in Last Dance and finds in the midst of a myriad of other people's stories the continuation of his own.

$15 includes a drink

Dan Tepfer, piano;  Marty Ehrlich, reeds;  Todd Sickafoose, bass;  Allison Miller, drums
Allison Miller's BOOM TIC BOOM, CD Release: Live at Willisau image Michael Wintrob
Allison Miller’s BOOM TIC BOOM features Dan Tepfer on piano, Marty Ehrlich on reeds, Todd Sickafoose on bass, and Allison Miller on drums. They are celebrating their new "Live at Willisau" release; a limited edition double-vinyl album including original artwork and etching by Courtney Miller Bellairs. This vinyl release captures the true magic of BTB live.

BOOM TIC BOOM represents a confluence of diverse musical backgrounds, personal histories, and a shared willingness to approach Allison's semi-traditional music with an avant-garde sensibility; embracing tradition yet deconstructing it, making use of silence, extreme dynamics, metric modulation, collective improvisation, loose chord structure, and the interplay around repetitive melodies.

"Miller established herself as a powerhouse jazz drummer and composer on her second album as a leader (BOOM TIC BOOM.)" --Chris Baron, LA Times

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)


May 11
John McWhorter, host and musical director

Diana Bertolini Kristen Carter Aaron Coleman Diranne Cove Ivis Fundichely Sarah Goldberg Holly McWhorter Martha Sparks, Aaron Sparks Faith Sullivan Ray Valentin

After a baby break since our happily sold out December edition, we're back on the second Friday, as always, this time of May. Take some time off before dinner for a few pieces from the American songbook you may not have heard lately, if at all, but will be glad you did! John will be on piano as always with friends and family at the mike, with songs stretching from a hundred years ago to last week, some virtually unperformed -- quite unfortunately -- for decades.

**Our stars this month: Diana Bertolini, Kristen Carter, Aaron Coleman, Diranne Cove, Ivis Fundichely, Sarah Goldberg, Holly McWhorter, Martha Sparks, Aaron Sparks, Faith Sullivan, and Ray Valentin **

This time almost all of our New Faces stars are back, with a potpourri of songs stretching from 1932 to 1987. We're so glad to be back that our director Aaron Coleman will be doing one of his star turns, yours truly will actually step from behind the piano to do a song, and if those aren't enough to bring you down, we'll also be baptizing Martha's and my new addition Dahlia into the show tune orbit with a number devoted to her and introducing her in person to you all. -John

$20.00 includes a drink

Gerald Cleaver, drums;  Darius Jones, alto saxophone;  Brandon Seabrook, guitar;  Cooper-Moore, piano & diddly-bow;  Pascal Niggenkemper, bass
Gerald Cleaver & Black Host image
Drummer Gerald Cleaver, born and raised in Detroit, is a product of the city’s rich music tradition. He has performed or recorded with a wide variety of artists: Roscoe Mitchell, Tommy Flanagan, Matt Shipp, William Parker, Eddie Harris, Kevin Mahogany, Charles Gayle, Ralph Alessi, Jacky Terrasson, Muhal Richard Abrams, Joe Morris, Dave Douglas, Tim Berne, Jeremy Pelt, David Torn and Miroslav Vitous, among others. Cleaver currently leads the bands Violet Hour, NiMbNl, Uncle June and Farmers By Nature with Craig Taborn & William Parker.

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

May 12
Maria Lisella, Gil Fagiani, hosts

Ken DiMaggio Paul LaRosa
Italian heritage celebrated, American experience featured.

Doors open 5:45 pm, arrive before 6pm to sign up for open reading.

Ken DiMaggio, poet and professor

Paul LaRosa, CBS News Producer and author of “Leaving Story Avenue”

$10.00 includes a drink

Sheila Jordan, vocals;  Cameron Brown, bass
Sheila Jordan & Cameron Brown       image
Sheila Jordan raised herself up from the poverty of her Pennsylvania coal country childhood to become one of the premier jazz singers of her generation. In her early teens, back in her birthplace, Detroit, she heard Charlie Parker and, from that instant, her life’s path was charted. She married Bird’s pianist, Duke Jordan and moved to New York, finally getting a chance to record in 1962 on the heart-wrenching twelve-minute arrangement of “You Are My Sunshine,” by George Russell. This led to her remarkable and now-classic trio debut, “Portrait of Sheila.” But in the early fifties she stopped in Toledo, Ohio where her buddy Charles Mingus was performing and experienced another epiphany. Mingus asked her to sit in, but there was no chordal instrument in the band. Sheila said, “but there’s no piano.” Mingus said, “you don’t need a piano!” And Sheila was hooked on the concept of the bass and voice: on the sound, on the silence, on the space, on the freedom. It became her favorite way to perform. For the last fifteen years she’s partnered with Cameron Brown, developing and extending this concept into a remarkably varied, creative and intimate musical experience.

Bassist, composer and educator Cameron Brown began his career in the mid-sixties, recording in Europe with George Russell and Don Cherry. These important innovators remain life-long inspirations and influences. Beginning in 1975, Mr. Brown anchored some of the most important ensembles of the seventies, eighties, nineties, and into the current century. Sheila Jordan, Roswell Rudd, Archie Shepp and Beaver Harris were his mentors and bandleaders. He is on the faculty of the New School University and teaches at the summer workshop near Venice, Italy co-sponsored by the New School. At present, Mr. Brown performs and/or records in duo with Sheila Jordan, with various ensembles led by Joe Lovano and Jason Rigby, as well as with Ben Riley, Lisa Sokolov, Jay Clayton, Archie Shepp, Don Byron, Dave Ballou, Steve Slagle, Marco Tamburini and Carl Stormer ( He leads two ensembles: Cameron Brown and the Hear and Now and Cameron Brown and Dannie’s Calypso, and records for the Omnitone record label.

$15 cover plus $10 minimum

May 13
Roald Hoffmann, Dave Soldier, hosts

Matt Strassler Andrea Wittgens, singer, pianist
Entertaining Science: Rhapsody for Piano and Universe image
So, a particle physicist and a singer-songwriter walk into a club in the West Village... and it's no joke!

For at its heart, the physical world is a musical world. From the vibrations of a guitar string to the sunlight that sweeps away the dark, and even as far as the notorious Higgs boson, our universe is awash in waves.

Professor Matt Strassler, host of the website "Of Particular Significance", and Andrea Wittgens, "silver-tongued'' singer-songwriter-pianist, join forces to reflect on these notions from perspectives scientific, sonic and poetic.

They'll sing us tales of the unknown, turn the volume down to the quantum level, shine photons on the mysterious particles of nature, and have fun doing it! And you'll leave knowing why the grandest of all musical instruments is the universe itself.

 Cover $15 (includes one house drink)

Reggie Quinerly, drums;  Lawrence Fields, piano;  Ben Wolfe, bass
Drummer and composer Reggie Quinerly leads this dynamic trio through a program of original compositions from the upcoming release, "Music Inspired by Freedmanstown". This historic Houston neighborhood founded during America's reconstruction period serves as inspiration for this particular project. The material covers a spectrum of styles all the while embodying the soulful and spirit-filled exuberance of melody, groove and improvisation.

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

Reggie Quinerly Trio image
May 14
Lisa Jane Lipkin, piano, vocals;  Peter Calo, guitar;  Norbert Goldberg, percussion
Lisa Jane Lipkin & Friends image

Lisa Jane Lipkin is piano-playing songstress with a rock-meets-folk kind of poetic take on life. She has opened for Steve Forbert, Dar Williams, John Pizzarelli, Shemekia Copeland as well as having been a featured performer at numerous clubs & concert halls. Performing songs from her latest album, Flying on Instruments, as well as from her earlier recordings, Lipkin will appear with guitarist Peter Calo (Carly Simon) & percussionist Norbert Goldberg.

Peter Calo - " a masterful guitarist... Boston Globe. One of the most engaging performers in the biz" London's Time Out. Peter has performed/recorded with Carly Simon, Queen Latifah, Willie Nelson, Hall and Oates, Phil Ramone, Jimmy Webb, Kris Kristofferson & many more.

Norbert Goldberg - has accompanied jazz artists including Cleo Laine, Dewey Redman, Slide Hampton, and composers Lalo Shifrin and Michel Legrand. Recording credits include Gerry Mulligan, Grover Washington Jr., various Latin artists as well as jingles and film scores.

$15.00 includes a drink

Kayo Hiraki, piano;  Kat Georges, flute, composition
Classical At The Cornelia:

Three Rooms Press presents "Cornelia Suite"

Classical and contemporary jazz collide as pianist Kayo Hiraki and flautist/poet/composer Kat Georges cut-the-edge with "Cornelia Suite," an anthology of cut-the-edge neo-classical jazz for piano, flute, iPad and vocals. The event will include the world premiere of Ms. Georges' hard-bit Punk Symphony for Four Classical Elements in C Minor (for Flute, iPad and Vocals)".

New York based pianist and Steinway piano artist, Kayo Hiraki appears in Cornelia Street Cafe for the first time. Steinway Artist Kayo Hiraki was born in Japan, the daughter of a classical pianist. A child prodigy, she started playing the piano when she was three years old. She has been performing five nights a week for seventeen years as the house pianist at the famous jazz spot, Arturo's in Greenwich Village. She has played at the Blue Note NYC with her Kayo Hiraki Piano Trio, including the legendary bassist Ron Carter, who notes: “Rarely have I heard a musician as gifted as Ms. Hiraki. To hear her play is to experience the joy of her creative ability and the depth of her experience as a talented performer.” She tours regularly in Europe and Japan and was recently featured in Japan Airline in-flight magazine. She will perform with her trio a series of jazz tunes inspired by classical compositions.

Kayo will be joined onstage by New York-based poet/composer/flautist Kat Georges. Kat will present the World Premiere of her hard-bit neo-classical, "Punk Symphony for Four Classical Elements in C Minor (for Flute, iPad and Vocals)." Kat Georges is a musician, poet, playwright, performer and designer. Her full-length poetry collection, "Our Lady of the Hunger," will be released soon on Three Rooms Press, which published two previous collections, "Punk Rock Journal" and "Slow Dance at 120 Beats a Minute." In New York since 2003, she has directed numerous Off-Broadway plays, curated poetry readings, and performed widely. She is co-founder and editor of Three Rooms Press; its most recent books include "Maintenant 6: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art" and "Mike Watt: On and Off Bass," a collection of photos and distilled tour diaries from the legendary punk rock bass player.

$20.00 includes a drink

May 15
Stacey Lynn Brown, host

A Face to Meet the Faces: A Reading of Persona Poetry image

Join us for a celebration of the very first anthology of persona poetry. This book release party celebrates the launch of A Face to Meet the Faces, which features poems in voices of characters ranging from mythology to tabloids to pop culture and everything in between. Featured poets include Matthew Thorburn, Tara Betts, Evie Shockley, Jason Koo, Greg Santos, Greg Pardlo, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Maria Terrone, Jee Leong Koh, Matthew Hittinger, Leigh Phillips, Khadijah Queen, R. A. Villanueva, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and editor and emcee Stacey Lynn Brown.

$7.00 includes a drink

Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto saxophone;  Michael Dessen, trombone;  Denman Maroney, piano;  Mark Dresser, bass;  Tom Rainey, drums
Mark Dresser Quintet image Peter Gannushkin
Virtuoso bassist and composer Mark Dresser is returning to Cornelia Street Cafe with some new compositions after a triumphant concert last June in preparation for a new recording on Clean Feed. His quintet of long time collaborators includes the highly esteemed alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, trombonist Michael Dessen, hyperpianist Denman Maroney, and drummer Tom Rainey. Don't miss it!

"Dresser has synthesized all of these elements to create his own highly personal musical language—one that tempers freedom of expression through the navigation of extremely complex melodic and rhythmic inventions that challenge those improvisers skilled enough to join him. While this may sound formal and intellectual, the prime effect felt by the audience was one of joy." All About Jazz

$15 cover (plus $10 minimum)

Wednesday May 16
Carmen Firan, host

Edward Hirsch, poet;  Stanley Moss, poet;  Laura Hankin, musical intermezzo
Intercultural Poetry image
Special guests of the evening two acclaimed poets


Edward Hirsch, a MacArthur Fellow, has published eight books of poems, including Earthly Measures (1994), Lay Back the Darkness (2003), Special Orders ( 2008), and most recently The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (Knopf, 2010), and four prose books, among them How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt, 1999), a national bestseller. He is president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Stanley Moss is the critically praised author of Wrong Angel(1966), The Skull of Adam (1979), The Intelligence of Clouds (1989), Asleep in the Garden (1997), A History of Color (2003), New and Selected Poems (2006), Rejoicing (2009), and the most recent, God Breaketh Not All Men's Hearts Alike: New & Later Collected Poems (2011). He is the founder of Sheep Meadow Press, a nonprofit press devoted to poetry.

Laura Hankin is a singer, writer, actress and guitar player. She has performed across the US, off-Broadway, and with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

$ 7 includes a drink

Josh Deutsch, trumpet;  Zach Brock, violin;  Brian Drye , trumpet;  Gary Wang, bass;  Ronen Itzik, drums
Pannonia image
" Pannonia, the latest project from trumpeter/composer Josh Deutsch, combines elements of the traditional and explorative, to create a unique sound. With the unusual frontline instrumentation of trumpet, trombone (Brian Drye) and violin (Zach Brock), Pannonia draws from the classical chamber music forms and textures of Bartok and Stravinsky, the improvised spontaneity of jazz and blues, and the rhythmic intrigue and melodic singability of folk music from around the world. Ronen Itzik adds driving percussion ranging from cajon to dumbek, and Gary Wang plays dual roles, both holding down plucked ostinato lines, and adding an additional lyrical voice with the bow. Whether romping through a Balkan-inspired blues, burning through a song about bees or playing a lyrical ballad about dirigibles, Pannonia maintains its instantly recognizable and infectious vibe. "

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

Roy Assaf , piano;  Joshua Davis, bass;  Ronen Itzik, drums
Augmented Reality image
Augmented Reality is an intimate troupe of three gifted musicians whose roots trace back to opposite corners of the globe, only to converge in New York for an instrumental collaboration that fuses East, West, North, and South. Their varied cultural and social backgrounds bring Middle Eastern, Latin, and European influences to the music, blending them harmoniously in subtly provocative but accessible instrumentation that introduces a fresh dimension to jazz. The group is back at the Cornelia Street Cafe with new music which will be recorded this fall.

"...Augmented Reality carves out a distinct path in an area of jazz with such a high volume of traffic... each piece grows out of a melody that lends itself well to being sung or whistled..." Jazz

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

May 17
Rachel Lynn Brody, host and editor

Miranda Doerfler Sare Liz Gordy Sarah Hartley Eric Sipple
HOT MESS: Speculative Fiction About Climate Change image

Contributors to this recently-published fiction anthology, about how human lives are changed by climate change, will read excerpts from their work, followed by an audience discussion and book signing.

Rachel Lynn Brody (Editor. Author: Haute Mess; Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.) is an award-winning playwright, as well as a blogger and theater critic. Other short fiction includes Restaurants Are Rated Out Of Four Stars (A Foodie Romance), The Tell Tale Tech, and Sweetheart (part of the Sassy Singularity anthology). In late 2012, look out for Millennial Ex, a ten-minute play premiering at Glasgay 2012, as well as original web series Unfamiliar Lives, co-written with and directed by Eric Sipple. Rachel produces theater, short films, e-books and results. Connect with her on Twitter at @girl_onthego, or check out (and subscribe to) her blog at

Miranda Doerfler (In Between The Dark and The Light) is a short story and spec writer in the horror, thriller, drama and espionage genres. She has published five collections of short horror stories and an anthology, with new collections coming out every four months. Miranda's latest project, a collaborative anthology about phobias called Fear Itself will be available in the next few months and feature stories from both fresh faces and industry favorites. Connect with Miranda on Twitter (@docsaico) and Facebook (docsaicoFB), or visit her website at for news, contests, future ebook info and celebrity interviews!

Sare Liz Gordy (Traditionibus ne Copulate) is a writer, theologian and priest in the Episcopal Church who produces a weekly delve into the lectionary entitled The Monday Morning Exegete. She spends her work hours figuring out how to be an effective agent of change and have integrity at the same time. She's bolstered in this effort by her husband-to-be, two cats, several friends, some sisters, an indispensable mentor, a kick-ass spiritual director and fifteen housemates. Look for her short stories, novels, and spiritual meditations to be released in the coming year. You can follow her on Twitter @sareliz and find her on her blog at

Sarah Hartley (Graphicdesign) is an actress and graphic designer living in Brooklyn.

Eric Sipple (She Says Goodbye Tomorrow) writes Genre and Young Adult fiction across a number of mediums. His short films “co workers” and “Tomorrow” are available at, and proof of his continued existence can be found on his blog, Saalon Muyo ( Later in 2012, look for Unfamiliar Lives, a web series he will direct, co-written with Rachel Lynn Brody. When not consumed by the task of getting his first novel published, Eric is hard at work on his second. Follow @saalon on Twitter at your own risk.

$7.00 includes a drink

Chris Speed, tenor sax;  Russ Lossing, piano;  Eivind Opsvik, bass;  Jeff Davis, drums, compositions
JEFF DAVIS QUARTET image Peter Gannushkin
Drummer/composer JEFF DAVIS is known as the “propulsive force behind a host New York mainstays.” --Mathew Miller, All About Jazz)Tonight, Davis brings together improvising greats Chris Speed, Russ Lossing and Eivind Opsvik in this powerful quartet. The group weaves through Davis’s compositions with a hypnotic ease, creating moods that are at times peaceful and other times explosive. Troy Collins (All About Jazz) says that “like many of his generation, his writing encompasses a number of genres, yet Davis understands the importance of creating a context for such diversity. Sequencing individual tunes into a suite-like program, the set unfolds episodically, seamlessly blending divergent moods.” And Bruce Lee Gallanter (Downtown Music Gallery) described Jeff Davis’s first disc as a leader as “a powerful debut from one of Downtown’s best drummers.”

“We Sleep Outside (Loyal Label) is the restlessly episodic debut by Jeff Davis, a drummer of broad experience in left-of-center jazz circles.” --Nate Chinen, New York Times

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

Drum kit donated by

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Cover is given where known
Many spoken words events are free
There is always a one-drink minimum per set; times are door opening times