A Sidewalk Cafe history in pictures

The Sidewalk Cafe in New York holds a key place in the history of Antifolk. When Lach moved camp to the Sidewalk Cafe in the 1990s, it became the centre of the Antifolk movement, and it still holds regular Antifolk nights, festivals and, of course, the weekly open mic.

Well, it’s the Sidewalk’s 20th anniversary, and to celebrate a new gallery has been complied of photos celebrating the legendary venue’s Antifolk heritage.

Herb Scher, who was instrumental in organizing the new photo collection, tells us:

“A large portion of the folks who show up at Sidewalk Cafe to launch their songs to the world also become caught up in the intense community of fellow artists there. Anyone who hangs out long enough is likely to start meeting performers from earlier eras of the Antifolk scene and discover the criss-crossing lines and interconnected spin-off communities that have branched off over the long time frame of its history.

 “an open access hothouse of creativity and community”

 Although Antifolk was established by Lach and his crew in the mid-1980s, 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the scene’s tenure at the Sidewalk Cafe. The anniversary gave us the perfect opportunity to create a visual representation of the lineage of artists who have played the club, and the gallery became part of the publicity effort for the anniversary celebration and the 2013 Winter Antifolk Festival. It is meant to both spark memories among those who played at Sidewalk over the years and also to represent to the broader public the idea of what the place really is – an open access hothouse of creativity and community.

Photographers and performers on the scene like Lippe, Dina Levy, Jon Berger, Anne Husick, Kim Mossel, and Yoko Kikuchi as well as a handful of individual performers and other friends were great about making their pictures available. Ben Krieger and the Sidewalk Cafe management were also very supportive of the effort. We’re continuing to update the gallery as additional pictures are located.

There’s a second gallery online already that showcases a selection of posters and flyers from throughout the club’s history, and more are planned. We’ll be launching a new one soon that features some amazing and rare Antifolk artwork.”

A selection of the pictures can be seen at the top of this page, but the full gallery can be seen at www.sidewalkny.com/gallery/.

As well as photography (herbscher.com), Herb Scher is also a musician and a magician using the ‘nom de plume’ of Myron the Magnificent (myronthemagnificent.com). Check out a song and one of his magic tricks below:

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About the Author

is an Antifolk musician and founder of the British Antifolk movement. Some say he is over 10,000 years old and sees Antifolk as the evolution of folk music. Others say he is actually originally from Anglesey and first got into Antifolk when he realised the type of music he liked and made had a name.

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