KGB in the News
Our guide to stand-up, improv and variety shows happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
‘THE BREAKDOWN WITH BORIS KHAYKIN’ at the Red Room at KGB Bar (April 24, 7 p.m.). Every fourth Wednesday of the month, upstairs at this East Village bar, Khaykin hosts a talk show with a twist in which guest improvisers perform scenes based on the interviews he conducts alongside his sidekick, “Uncle” Jawnee Conroy. This month, they welcome the comedian Ted Alexandro and the writer Eric Levitz from New York magazine’s Intelligencer, while Rebecca Vigil, Katie Hartman and Emma Vernon provide the play-by-play and color commentary through improv. Katie Hannigan performs a stand-up set, and the beat boxer Exacto serves as the house band. ›› read more
Looking for something with a little more kick? Try KGB Bar at 85 E. Fourth St. The building dates from 1838 and was renovated in the 1880s, which is when general manager Lori Schwarz believes that the tin ceilings were added.
Today, each ceiling is painted, says Schwarz, including in the Red Room, a “speakeasy complete with a copper bathtub but was the headquarters of Emma Goldman’s Secret Society of anarchists in 1914.”
Turns out the truth about tin ceilings is that New Yorkers of all stripes — from poets to shopkeepers to radical activists — really do exist under one roof. ›› read more
85 E 4th Street houses the Kraine Theater, the famous KGB Bar, and, its latest edition, the Red Room. Though there is much discussion about its individual parts, the building as a whole has a long and rich history, much of which is evident. The owner, Denis Woychuk, is one of the wittiest, warmest people I’ve ever met, and is quick to open up.
As we sit and chat in the Red Room, he’s quick to relate everything that’s happened in 85 East 4th: “In 1838 this building was built. Think about this. The Civil War is almost 30 years in the future. Lincoln’s wearing short pants and studying his grammar, he’s… I really don’t know what Lincoln was doing.”
Almost since the start, the building was used for political purposes. “In 1878, this building was the first headquarters for the Women’s Aid Society in America,” Denis says. Concerns for worker’s rights, particularly immigrant worker’s rights rose at the beginning of the 20th Century, and by 1911, the same year as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the building was occupied... ›› read more