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Visit the Cornelia Street Café in New York City for Entertainment and Food

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 7/11/2010 - www.Littleviews.com ]

>>  Tucked away in neighborhoods all over New York City are cozy, off-off-Broadway stages "just right" for 50 to 100 people. Most are housed in the back rooms or basements of bars and restaurants and some are so tucked away that you might not know they exist but for the existance of hand-crafted posters announcing special events.

Cornelia Street Café, New York

One such off-off-Broadway stage is located in the basement of the charming Cornelia Street Café, a West Village icon established by three artists in 1977. Almost immediately after opening (and perhaps as a creative whim) the café became a center for musical performances, poetry readings, small-stage plays, and literary offerings. (For more information, read "A Brief History of the Cornelia Street Café" at www.CorneliaStreetCafe.com.)

Cornelia Street Café, New York

The partners created the restaurant by combining two stores. With professional building skills learned at the knees of their active imaginations, they breached a thick wall separating the two buildings and created an archway (above).

Today, dinner is served on a patio, in a sunny room (above), in an equally sunny bar, and in a rustic back room (below).

Cornelia Street Café, New York

The artistic heart of the Cornelia Street Café, however, is found in its long, narrow basement. Unlike many off-off-Broadway stages, which are painted black to minimize the looks of pipes and rough walls, the Cornelia Street Café's stage makes light of its features through the liberal application of bright, blue paint and contrasting red curtains and benches.

The preformance space's entrance is at the end of a steep set of stairs just across from a bar. Once inside, you're greeted by one or more bartenders who are also responsible for ticket sales. Conveniently, the price of most entertainment includes a drink (wine, draft or bottled beer, or something non-alcoholic).

Entertainment area at the Cornelia Street Café, New York

For popular entertainment, make a reservation before you arrive to be assured of a table close to the stage. Failure to make a reservation might force you to stand for the evening, as I've uncomfortably done. That said, this is a cash-only establishment, so don't show up with just a charge card.

Stage at the Cornelia Street Café, New York

The stage, at the far end of the room, features a grand piano, plus props appropriate to the evening's show. Below, for example, you see a manuscript (music) stand, plus microphone as it was set up for a literary event called Free Range Nonfiction, where non-fiction authors read from their latest work.

Stage at the Cornelia Street Café, New York

The creator/producer of Free Range Nonfiction, Mary Ptacin, is responsible for author selection, staging, and hosting. The authors she selects determine what they present. (For more information, see www.freeRangeNonFiction.com.)

Mira Ptacin, founder of Freerange Nonfiction which plays at the Cornelia Street Café, New York

Among the four authors holding forth on the night I attended were Scott Korb, a New York University faculty member, who wrote the humorous-yet-scholarly Life in Year One (For more information, see LifeInYearOne.tumblr.com) and . . .

Author Scott Korb at The Cornelia Street Café, New York

A.J. Jacobs, a humorist who creates unique situations by experimenting with his own life. His best known books are The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-it-All. (For more information, see www.AJJacobs.com.)

Author AJ Jacobs at The Cornelia Street Café, New York

The Cornelia Street Café Location

You'll enjoy visiting the Cornelia Street Café to eat its highly regarded food and enjoy its unique, ever-changing entertainment.

    Cornelia Street Café
    29 Cornelia Street
    Between Bleecker and West 4th Streets
    New York, NY 10014

    The restaurant's website is separated into restaurant and entertainment information:

    It is owned and operated by founder, Robin Hirsch, together with Judith Kallas and Bob Siegler.

    Open daily, it serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, plus weekend brunches. It stages more than 300 cultural events a year.

Cornelia Street Café Productions

The Cornelia Street Café features up to three entertainment sets per day. At 6:00 PM are humorous or serious literary sets (storytelling, poetry, spoken word, and open mic), and later in the evening, instrumental music, singing, comedy, or small-stage productions.

Check www.corneliastreetcafe.com for its current schedule. Also check Littleviews' Activities Calendar, as many of its events are listed there.

To learn more about how literary productions are created and staged, read articles by Iris N. Schwartz: Producing a Show at the Cornelia Street Café: Insight into one woman's process and New York City in Verse Through the Book "Awakened".

Thank you to Robin Hirsch (co-owner of the Cornelia Street Café), Angelo Verga (Cornelia Street Café's literary booker), and Mary Ptacin (producer of Free Range Nonfiction) for allowing Littleviews to take photos inside the restaurant, as well as during Ms. Ptacin's production.

Questions? Ask Karen at Karen@littleviews.com

Article by Karen Little. Photos by Karen and Philip Little. First published on 7/11/2010. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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