Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Havel in the House

Vaclav Havel
The intellectual should constantly disturb, should bear witness to the world, should be provocative by being independent, should rebel against all open and hidden pressure and manipulations, should be the chief doubter of systems, of power and its incantations, should be a witness to their mendacity. ... An intellectual essentially doesn't belong anywhere; he stands out as an irritant wherever he is.
- Vaclav Havel in "The Politics of Hope" from Disturbing the Peace
I happened to hear that former Czech President and playwright Vaclav Havel might be making an appearance at Joe's Pub on Lafayette tonight. He's in town to receive Obie awards he won but couldn't accept in the 70s. So, yes, that's Vaclav Havel along with Michelle Shocked and Trey Kay of Uncle Moon. The musicians performed The Velvet Underground's "banana album," with Shocked playing Nico.

Havel's one of the few people living on the planet who I feel comfortable applying the label "hero" to. I missed most of the show, but the doormen kindly let me in gratis to hang out at the bar. As I quaffed a Guinness, Havel sat no more than 10 feet away with his posse, then passed by me as he moved onto the stage for a brief appearance. He was then whisked away before the show ended. I hung around for a for more songs, as Uncle Moon performed some of their own stuff, then walked back to my apartment.

That's life here in the East Village, where coincidentally, you'll find the KGB Bar a block from my apartment. Now, Havel might really get a kick out of visiting there.

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