Today is the birthday of my nomination for the first posthumous Nobel Peace Prize, Lenny Bruce. Here's what I wrote about him in my 2000 memoir, Early Plastic:
Not since the Irish Potato Famine had NYC’s Lower East Side, in the 1960s, witnessed such an influx; only this time the settlers were disaffected youth from middle America. The neighborhood saw businesses springing up that catered to these post-WW II baby boomers: trendy spots such as the Engage Coffee House, Peace Eye Bookstore, Elk's Trading Post, Sindoori Imports, and the Paradox Zen Restaurant. Overnight, zapaterias became art galleries, hamische delicatessens transformed into head shops---"Over Five Million Love Beads Sold"---and so on. Stanley's Bar remained the locus centris of the "scene." The great neighborhood movie palace, the Loew's (pronounced Loewies, puh-Ieese) on lower Second Avenue, was an especially noticeable example of the changes taking place. The new Lower East Side population was far too busy with the drug-induced movies going on in their heads to bother with those projected on the Loew's giant screen, and after one last final showing of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the place went dark. Then! The lights went on again, when the old car-barn of a theater played host to Lenny Bruce! For One Night and One Night Only! continued. . .
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