See the previous week's performances.  May 03-May 10, 2012 See the next week's performances.

See the previous week's performances. May, 2012 See the next week's performances.
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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 03
Robin, Angelo, Josh, and Tom, hosts

This is a monthly opportunity for artists associated with the cafe--from every genre and every generation, past, present, and future--to gather informally, schmooze, re-invent the world, and hoist a glass of quelque chose (the only kind of chose to hoist). Our glorious curators are present, you can buttonhole them to find out what's cooking, you can introduce yourself to other toilers in the vineyard, invent projects and discover collaborators. All are welcome.
Ben van Gelder, alto sax;  Kyle Wilson, tenor sax;  Joe Sanders, bass;  Craig Weinrib, drums
Spotlight on New Talent: Ben van Gelder image
Consisting of some of the most talented young musicians from North America and Europe, the Ben van Gelder Group ushers in a new aesthetic with international allure. Van Gelder released his highly anticipated debut album Frame of Reference which received critical acclaim in national and international press alike.

Recurring at Cornelia Street Cafe as part of the New Spotlight on Talent series, this chord-less formation will be exploring the music of Thelonious Monk as well as original compositions.

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

May 04
Karen Hildebrand, guest host

Dave Johnson, ;  Charlie Guzman,
Son of Pony image
The Friday night legendary open mic poetry series.

Arrive before 6 pm to sign up.

$ 7 includes a drink

John McNeil, trumpet;  Bill McHenry, tenor sax;  Steve Cardenas, guitar;  Joe Martin, bass;  Rodney Green, drums
Since this gig is on May 4th, the members of Urban Legend were torn about whether to celebrate Ron Carter's birthday or that of conservative commentator George Will. Normally in these situations the jazz birthday wins out, but George Will did write a commendable book about baseball, and such contributions cannot and should not be ignored. At the group's weekly barbecue and sewing bee the controversy raged back and forth and threatened to sunder the good fellowship of the band.

$15 cover (plus $10 minimum)

John McNeil's URBAN LEGEND image
May 05
Andy Christie, host

Ted Travelstead Diana Spechler Jenny Rubin Zero Boy
The Liar Show image

Seek Truth. Get a T-Shirt.

4 Storytellers, 3 True Stories, 1 Pack of Lies. Uncover the liar and win a prize worth its weight in fool's gold.

This month, The Liar Show welcomes Ted Travelstead (McSweeney's), Diana Spechler (Author of Skinny), Jenny Rubin (The Rejection Show), and Zero Boy (MTV; The Moth Main Stage)

Hosted by Andy Christie (NY Times; The Moth Radio Hour)

$15.00 includes a drink

Greg Tardy, sax, clarinet;  Ron Horton, trumpet;  Russ Lossing, piano, rhodes;  Michael Bates, bass;  Michael Sarin, drums
Michael Bates' Acrobat: Music for, and by, Dmitri Shostakovich image
Cornelia Street Cafe welcomes back double bassist/composer Bates with a quintet featuring some New York's finest and most creative artists (Greg Tardy-saxophone/clarinet, Russ Johnson-trumpet, Russ Lossing-piano/fender rhodes, Michael Sarin-drums) and here they filter pieces by one of the great Russian composers through a fender rhodes driven band with 7 other compositions by a charismatic and emerging innovator in tribute to one of his musical heroes…and don't be mistaken, this is no timid foray into a dusty world of the old guard. This is a group that plays with fire and a jazz sensibility that can be linked in many ways to the great Miles Davis 60's and 70's quintets. A band that is always searching and committed to making music that grooves.

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

May 06
Lise Vachon, voice;  Vito Ricci, guitar;  April Centrone, percussion;  Vincent Chancey, french horn
What Good Would The Moon Be? -  Songs On The Times We Live In image

What good would the moon be? - A show that brings together vocalise, experimental guitar, arabic percussion, and improvised french horn to create a unique sound in songs that comment on the times we live in. Featuring Lise Vachon, voice (, Vito Ricci, guitar ( April Centrone, percussion (, and Vincent Chancey, French horn (

Lise Vachon is a unique vocalist who has traveled the world and whose voice and style combine different cultures: West African, European, American and Quebecoise, as well as blending traditional jazz, classical, new music and pop influence. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

"In her singing Lise Vachon reveals an inventive patchwork of jazz vocal rhythms coupled with world music which is definitely worth checking out." 
 - Jazz

$20.00 includes a drink

Billy Newman, guitar;  Ben Holmes, trumpet;  Michael Attias, alto, bari sax;  Eric Schugren, tenor sax;  Leco Reis, bass;  Matt Kane, drums
New Brazilian Perspectives: Billy Newman Sextet image
Billy Newman has been performing his expressions of many Brazilian genres (Choro, Samba, Valsa, Baiao) for over 10 years. Billy's music explores the parallels between Brazilian Instrumental and American Jazz in linearity, rhythmic motion and improvisatory language. His compositions have been performed in Brazil, Europe and here in the States. He is a recipient of numerous composers residencies from Yaddo and MacDowell Colony. He recently released his new sextet CD and has recorded his original choros with Brazilian Guitarist Rogerio Souza

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

May 07
Tulis McCall, host

Monologues & Madness image
Original Monologues. No slamming, no judges, just great material, excellent actors and YOU. Come See These Amazing Daredevils Perform Without a Net!!!

$10 includes a drink ( my god what a bargain! )

8:30PM  AMRAM & CO
David Amram, piano, french horn, flutes, composition & surprises;  Kevin Twigg, drums, glockenspiel;  John de Witt, bass;  Adam Amram, percussion
This series explores in his highly personable, generous and informal style the astonishing variety of David Amram's interests and accomplishments--renowned composer of symphonic classical music, jazz compositions, improvisation, spoken word, scat, he sits at the piano, schmoozes about music, about the greats, the beats, the obscure, the legendary; plays the French horn, pulls out all kinds of instruments (flutes, drums, horns) gathered from his many circumnavigations of the globe, pulls in guests drawn from just about every artistic walk of life.

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

AMRAM & CO image
May 08
Tommy Pryor, host

Randee Mia Berman Meredith Meyer Stephanie Parello Elizabeth Rowe
City Stories: Stoops To Nuts image
The neighborhood’s awake and talented storytellers & musicians are ready to paint characters and scenes for you.

Randee Mia Berman is a writer/performer/on-air commentator, baroque recorder musician, tv/radio host, comedienne, and graduate of Cornell University, where she performed Tillie in Paul Zindel’s The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. Credits include CNN, HBO, ABC News, NPR, gigs at Caroline’s and Gotham Comedy Club, where she performed her one-woman show, Mia’s World and the life of silent film actress/photographer Tina Modotti. Currently a co-host for Centanni Broadcasting, Mia has a unique linguistic skill – talking backwards.

Meredith Meyer is a music artist from Oklahoma City. She played in various bands in LA before releasing two solo albums, Items You Won't Find Elsewhere, and It's Spooky to Be Young. She currently resides in NY where she fronts the band Young Unknowns. Their first album will be out in 2012 and is produced by Bill Racine (Rogue Wave, Mates of State). Hear her on or

Stephanie Parello has been a member of the New York STORY Exchange family for many years. Often finding life upside-down, she has been around the world and back. Her eclectic experiences and love of traditional tales blends into unique tellings, often with unexpected twists.

Thomas Pryor’s work was published in The New York Times, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, New York Press, Our Town, The Westside Spirit, and A Prairie Home Companion. His blog, “Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts,” is listed in The New York Times. Thomas appeared on public radio’s This American Life, and has columns in & He was featured in Public TV Ch 13’s Baseball: A New York Love Story.

“Each time Elizabeth Rowe ( steps center stage, she demonstrates how a master storyteller helps people grow whole as human beings. Whether sharing a traditional folk/fairy tale or a personal story. Audiences fall under her spell as they respond to her warmth and empathy for the human condition.” Artistic Director, N.Y. Story

$7.00 includes a drink

Leif Arntzen , trumpet;  Michael Blake, tenor sax;  Landon Knoblock , keyboards;  Ryan Blotnick, guitar;  Michael Bates, bass;  Jeff Davis, drums
The Leif Arntzen Band with Michael Blake image
The Leif Arntzen Band will perform selections of free improv originals from Connected Break, their upcoming release on Gwendoline Records. This band will deconstruct, reconstruct, collectively self-conduct, but never self-destruct no matter how far out they break away into the moment. Lead by trumpeter Leif Arntzen, tenor great and free jazz master Michael Blake joins the group for this performance.

"I play the trumpet like it's my last chance. End of story." -- Leif Arntzen

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

Wednesday May 09
Emmanuelle Ertel, Isabelle Milkoff, hosts

French Nights image
The best of contemporary French writing in a bilingual edition.

This French Night at the Cornelia Street Cafe will be dedicated to theater. We will be reading both in French and in English an entire one-act play, named Gzion.

Gzion is a « space drama » written by Hervé Blutsch and published in 2010, by Editions Théâtrales. The three main characters are Captain York, Lieutenant Turt and Sergeant Ptol. They are in their Gzion spaceship, somewhere in the outer space. It appears, though discussed in a very farcical way, that they have been lost for years. According to their on-board computer « their chance of survival is zero point zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero one ». Sergeant Ptol’s sudden appearance as a bear changes the comical farce into a cruel tragedy.

This one act play was translated into English this last fall by Sophia Tejeiro, a NYU French studies graduate student specializing in literary translation

The reading will be lead by Édouard Signolet – a French director who will come to New York this spring to work on the play.

$ 7 includes a drink

Jerome Sabbagh, tenor sax, compositions;  Pete Rende, keyboards;  Simon Jermyn, bass;  Rudy Royston, drums
Jerome Sabbagh Quartet - CD release for “Plugged In”  image
The Raw Edge of Rock Girding The Communication of Jazz.

The simple act of “plugging in” is easy to take for granted, but it provides power, illumination, charge; the same could be said for connecting a power cord or for the meeting of creative minds. On "Plugged In" (Bee Jazz), his fifth album as a leader, French-born, Brooklyn-based saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh discovers the spark of inspiration provided by both and assembles an exhilarating electric quartet.

“The French New York-based saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh has been turning heads with his series of elegant inside-out efforts over the last few years […] There’s a consistent feeling of exploration on display with an unforgiving discipline – a great combination.” -- DownBeat

$10 cover (plus $10 minimum)

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)


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