KGB in the News

Bedford + Bowery
Absinthe Tasting at Red Room

The Red Room above KGB— the former black box that you were probably dragged to by college friends doing DIY theater in the early aughts— has become a swanky, prohibition-themed bar. Every bit as tuxedo as the KGB is shirtsleeves, it boasts warm lighting and art deco details, with a tiny stage and a copper bathtub. “The Green Fairy” event showcases a monthly absinthe tasting paired with era-appropriate entertainment: August’s episode features live piano by Chris Johnson, absinthe history by Kellfire Bray, and Nelson Lugo on the Victrola during breaks. Ticket prices drop for those in “vintage, evening wear, unmentionables or intimate attire,” encouraging you to help create the ambiance.

We caught up with producer Don Spiro to get inside the cat’s pajamas, and also checked in with T.A. Breaux, founder of Jade Liqueurs and arguably the enthusiast most responsible for the revival of genuine absinthe. A scientist, he spearheaded reverse-engineering found bottles of original 19th century absinthe, sharing his research and helping give rise to the diverse current marketplace. ›› read more

Person Place Thing with Paul Schaffer

(Podcast - click here to listen on Person Place Thing site.)

For 33 years, he was David Letterman’s music director and comic sideman, a career that began in Canada with the Toronto production of Godspell, as did those of Gilda Radner, Martin Short, and Andrea Martin. Some production! Some careers! And now what? What do you do when your job ends after three decades? Savvy reflections on a life in show business for Humanities New York. ›› read more

Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation

It only takes about 30 seconds to walk between the buildings at 64 and 85 East 4th Street. Today that walk would take you from a show at the IATI and Paradise Theaters to a drink at the KGB bar. But nearly one hundred years ago, that same distance would take you deep into the heart of the labor organizing movement on the Lower East Side.

On East 4th Street at 2pm on July 7, 1910 the largest labor strike in the U.S. until that point began with furor. Nearly 70,000 members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) descended upon a seemingly non-descript building at 64 East 4th Street where socialist journalist Abraham Cahan addressed the members of the union. 64 East 4th street was by no means a random meeting point. It was the home of the Labor Lyceum – a building that had been, and would still be, a significant address in the history of Lower East Side social and labor movements. ›› read more

The Wall Street Journal

Taking a Mafia walking tour of New York with Meyer Lansky II

It would be an exaggeration to say that we considered Meyer Lansky, the notorious Jewish gangster who died in 1983, a member of the family. Then again, he wasn’t a total stranger either; family members made his memorable acquaintance while on vacation in Israel in the early 1970s.

I never got to meet him because, by that age, I was traveling on my own. But my mother and two younger brothers were staying at a resort hotel outside of Tel Aviv—no one seems able to conjure up the name of the place four decades later—where my siblings... ›› read more

The New Yorker

In 2001, James Wood, a professor at Harvard and, since 2007, a literary critic at this magazine, reviewed Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections,” somewhat harshly. Perhaps with a bit of irony (or maybe just because it sounds cool), it’s also the name of a torchy soul-rock group, with Wood on drums. The novelist Rebecca Donner is the lead vocalist, and the saxophonist Lily White, the bassist Gregory M. Jones, and the keyboardist Adam Klipple round out the ensemble when it plays on Nov. 14 in the Red Room at KGB Bar, a former speakeasy. No word on whether Franzen will be reviewing. (85 E. 4th St. ›› read more