I moved from northern California to New York City at the age of seventeen and
became inspired by the burgeoning Downtown 80’s performance art scene where
underground luminaries such as Ethyl Eichelberger, Penny Arcade, Eric Bogosian
and Karen Finley got their start performing on bombed-out blocks in Alphabet
city in venues like 8BC and Limbo.
In 1987, I founded the performance space Café Bustelo
in the East Village, giving gigs to everyone from the yet-to-be-discovered young
John Leguizamo to the venerable Taylor Mead (last seen in the Jim Jarmusch film,
Coffee and Cigarettes). Café Bustelo was an alternative community arts
space on Avenue B between East12th and East13th streets. As the director of this
non-profit organization, I hosted performances, plays, poetry, music, and street-based
In 1988, with new partners John S. Hall (of King Missile),
Terry Dineen, and Dudley Saunders, Café Bustelo relocated to a former
synagogue on Houston Street between Norfolk and Suffolk. There we were sued out
of existence by three vicious yuppies that closely resembled the ice-cream truck
neighbor-vigilantes in the 80’s film, After Hours.
Café Bustelo was reincarnated in 1989 at El Taller/Latin-American Workshop
on East 2nd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. Located in the basement of
a Russian Orthodox Church, Taller hosted Bustelo’s bilingual programs
twice monthly on Sundays, until the series died a natural death in 1990.