Max Richter w/ Bing and Ruth @ (le) poisson rouge - July 31, 2008 (relaxing)
The 20-something owners of Le Poisson Rouge, David Handler and Justin Kantor, are working classical musicians who want to connect classical music to pop and jazz and in so doing revive a bygone intellectual cafe culture of Greenwich Village. "In recent years the Bleecker Street experience has been completely different from what it was known for back when, and in some ways we're going to try to redeem it," Mr. Kantor said.Sam Sparro plays the arts institution in September. Lou Reed and John Zorn will be there in September too. Lykke Li is in August.
The room, whose stage and seating can be reconfigured to allow from 250 to 650 people, was extensively redesigned from its days as the Village Gate, which closed in 1993. Various measures have been taken to keep the sonic atmosphere pristine, from a sound system by the architect and designer John Storyk, who worked on Jazz at Lincoln Center and Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Studios, to having bartenders pre-fill glasses with ice and stir -- not shake -- mixed drinks. Recent programming has paired the classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein with the singer-songwriter Essie Jain, and Jonathan Kane of the 1980s noise band Swans with the new-music pianist Kathleen Supové.
The goal, Mr. Handler said, is to create a nightclub whose ambience makes it more than a nightclub.
"This is an arts institution," he said, "thinly veiled as nightlife."