Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico Reeds- Hotel Chelsea NYC- a Legend in our time.

THE CHELSEA HOTEL......New York City.
A destination, a duty free gift for the traveler.
A home for eulipions,musicians, poets, friends and people with
the goal of forward motion.

THE HOTEL CHELSEA....The Hotel Chelsea, also known as the Chelsea Hotel, or simply the Chelsea, is a historic New York City hotel and landmark, known primarily for its history of notable residents.

Located at 222 West 23rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, has been the home of numerous writers, musicians, artists, and actors, including Bob Dylan, Virgil Thomson, Charles Bukowski, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen and Larry Rivers.

As of August 1, 2011, the hotel has closed for renovations.
Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while staying at the Chelsea, and poets Allen Ginsberg, and Gregory Corso chose it as a place for intellectual inspiration, brainstorming and educational exchange. It is the place where the writer Dylan Thomas was staying when he died of pneumonia on November 9, 1953.The building has been a designated New York City landmark since 1966, and on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977.

In May 2011, the hotel was sold to real estate developer Joseph Chetrit for US $80 million dollars.As of August 1, 2011 the hotel stopped taking reservations for guests in order to begin renovations, but long-time residents remain in the building, some of them protected by state rent regulations. The renovations prompted complaints by the remaining tenants of health hazards caused by the construction. These were investigated by the city's Building Department,which found no major violations.In November 2011, the management ordered all of the hotel's many artworks taken off the walls, supposedly for their protection and cataloging, a move which some tenants interpreted as a step towards forcing them out as well. I'm hoping that nothing happens in this hotel- it has the essence and grit of American artistic history.

During its lifetime Hotel Chelsea has provided a home to many great writers including Mark Twain, Herbert Huncke- Who's rent was paid every year by the Grateful Dead, Dylan Thomas,Arthur C. Clarke, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso,Leonard Cohen, Arthur Miller, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac (who wrote- On the Road there), Robert Hunter, Jack Gantos, Brendan Behan, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Thomas Wolfe, Charles Bukowski, Raymond Kennedy, Matthew Richardson, and René Ricard.
Charles R. Jackson, author of The Lost Weekend, committed suicide in his room on September 21, 1968!

Hotel Chelsea's history has been by the musicians who have resided or stayed there when in New York City.
Some of the most prominent names include The Grateful Dead, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Virgil Thomson, Jeff Beck, Chick Corea, Dee Dee Ramone, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Canned Heat, Sid Vicious, Abdullah Ibrahim/Sathima Bea Benjamin and of course Leonard Cohen. Madonna lived at the Chelsea in the early eighties, returning in 1992 to shoot photographs for her book, Sex, in room 822.
Over the years I stayed at the Chelsea as well. You could get a " roomette" which was a small room, with a shared bathroom, more so on the corners of the hotel. A friend turned me to this when I needed a place that was safe to stay at in New York City.Depending on where you were, it was ok to practice. The hotel was very secure, and musician friendly. I stayed there in the 70's, 80's on through now, though I have the use of a great loft to crash at right down the street of a dear like minded eulipion friend. To me the Chelsea is a part of the music.


Yes, because when there is a place that you can relax at sometimes without
the hassle of a hotel, your peace of mind can roam free. Here is where I had quite a few memorable conversations with Virgil Thomson.
Virgil Thomson was an American composer and music critic. He was instrumental in the development of the "American Sound" in classical music. He has been described as a modernist or neoclassicist composer of "an Olympian blend of humanity and detachment" and a neoromantic. Talk about a label!
He was a profound writer.To encounter this man, once when I was practicing my bassoon and tenor saxophone in my room mid-day was quite a trip. I found out as we spoke that he forged relationships with James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, e. e. cummings, Aaron Copland, Ezra Pound, Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso, Orson Welles and Gertrude Stein. He studied with Nadia Boulanger and became a fixture of "Paris in the twenties." Following the publication of his book The State of Music he established himself in New York City. He told me once, and it was a known fact of his that his definition of music was "that which musicians do ". He even made a point to let it be known that the style a piece was written in could be most effectively understood as a consequence of its income source ! He was bold and a great interesting man. Knowing who he was, and being in your room working on bassoon reeds, studying bassoon studys and, in my case, applying jazz to the instrument brought me face to face with Virgil Thompson mid-day in his sleeveless T-shirt.( In Brooklyn known as a "wife beater.")
He and I had some great conversations, and his knowledge was inspiring to say the least. Let alone an education to me as well, via his associations with manyof my hero's that he knew that were writers.

The hotel has been featured in movies: Chelsea Girls by Andy Warhol, was shot at the Chelsea Hotel.

Sid & Nancy (1986) by Alex Cox

Midnight In Chelsea (1997) directed by Mark Pellington, a video to a track from the 1997 Jon Bon Jovi solo album Destination Anywhere

You'll see many references to the hotel in films a lot- and stages that are set to look like the Chelsea.One of Bennie Wallaces record covers with Chick Corea is shot in front of the Chelsea! Yes- Rico artist Bennie Wallace. One of the most innovative players ever! He has something very special- hear him.It is called The Bennie Wallace Trio with Chick Corea. It has with bass player Eddie Gomez and drummer Dannie Richmond.

The hotel is also featured in numerous songs, including:

"Sara" by Bob Dylan

"Chelsea Girl" by Nico

"Hi-Fi Popcorn" by The Revs

"The Chelsea Hotel" by Graham Nash

"Chelsea Hotel " by Leonard Cohen

"Hotel Chelsea Nights" by Ryan Adams

The Leonard Cohen song is famous.The Chelsea Hotel in New York city is where Cohen lived when he wasn't at his home in Montreal or his cottage on the Greek Island of Hydra. He chose the Chelsea because he heard he would meet people with a similar artistic bent, which he did. When introducing this song in concert, he would often tell a story about meeting a famous singer in an elevator of the Chelsea, which led to the sexual encounter he describes in this song.

But there's more of a bloggin' reason here dear reader.
As time moves on, these creative environs and places that can be
a safe home for creative souls are being either left to rot- or just destroyed.
I am watching this on the Chelsea. It is not only a great hotel but I'm glad they
are keeping up with it.Places like San Francisco's North Beach/Telegraph Hill or the older hotels that are gone when I was on the road in the 70's and 80's. You'd hit the jazz club- set up and walk across the street to the Hotel Milner where they'd give you a weeks room deal because you were a musician. Ditto the Maryland Hotel in Chicago.

You'd learn things about life, music and the world in these places.
Today- this is sorely needed. To develop not only the music/art
but the maturity of the people/players.Players who are in the search.
Looking for more than to sound like someone,to be inspired through inspiration not imitation. Growth, study and culture.

In the words of Kurt Vonnegut "I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center." Think about that!

So there you have it my friends.All that said, I wish you all a
great week,and productive musical one at that, with lots of gigs and good notes!

~ Tim Price

1 comment:

  1. Hotel Chelsea NYC is one of the fantastic hotel in the new york city. As you all know that new york is the costly city and this thing is also applied for the hotel also. So it is quite expensive.
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