Volume 17 • Issue 14 | August 27 - September 02, 2004

Picture Story

Downtown Express photos by Talisman Brolin

HOWLing through the rain

With art, acting, music, poetry and a horde of drag queens, the HOWL! Festival came screaming into the East Village again last week for an eight-day, 400-plus-event extravaganza. Unfortunately for the Second Annual Festival of East Village Arts, so did a torrential downpour on Saturday. But despite the drenching, the major events weren’t washed out.

“It was pretty incredible,” said Phil Hartman, HOWL!’s executive director. “It was interesting to pull through Saturday.

“We were under such duress, but both of the big shows we were able to complete…. The crowd was even larger than last year. A lot of the old Wigstock crowd came out. There were a lot more wigs in the crowd.”

Hartman gave credit to emcees Jennifer Miller and Julie Atlas Muze for keeping up the crowd’s morale.

Not faring as well was the kids’ stage, where electric cables got submerged under the water, forcing Saturday’s events to be canceled.

Highlights included Rosario Dawson leading the Lower Eastside Girls Club in the pantheon of legends parade, below right, featuring papier-mâché heads of renowned Village artists like Keith Haring, William Burroughs and Jean-Michael Baquiat. The best after parties were for the screening of two new films, a Ramones documentary — “every aging rocker from Downtown was there,” noted Hartman — and an Allen Ginsberg documentary. Actor Luis Guzman hosted a Viva CHARAS festival of Latin music.

Performance artists like Penny Arcade gave “Rooftop Rants” at sunset, while other actors enlivened community gardens as part of the Avant Garden series. The Charlie Parker Jazz Festival had a capacity crowd bopping along to the bands’ smooth sounds. And Art Around the Park festooned the fence at Tompkins Sq. Park with colorful paintings and creations from the political — plenty of Bush bashing and pro-peace sentiment — to the personal.

In the end, the rain really didn’t affect things too much.

As Hartman put it: “It was like our Woodstock thing.”

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