MacDougal Street Rent Party
Based in five boroughs of New York City, MacDougal Street Rent Party comprised Joel Landy, Eric Levine, Anne Price, Steve Suffet, and Gina Tlamsa, or some permutation thereof, along with various friends, lovers, comrades, hangers-on, and unindicted coconspirators. When we performed in the New England states, Sandy Pliskin sometimes substituted for Eric. Among us, we logged more than 150 years experience on the folk music scene. Individually, in pairs, in trios, or all together, we performed in bars, clubs, coffee houses, schools, churches, camps, parks, retreats, county fairs, at demonstrations and rallies, on radio and television, aboard sloops and schooners, at festivals, even in jails. Our music encompassed ballads, blues, ragtime, children's songs, Gospel songs, Freedom songs, union songs, topical-political songs, prison songs, work songs, old time country, in fact a little bit of everything from many great traditions.
MacDougal Street Rent Party came together out of the Third Annual Woody Guthrie Birthday Bash in New York City in 2003, although three of us -- Joel, Anne, and Steve -- had performed under that name at the New England Folk Festival three months earlier. Despite five good years, we decided it was time to dissolve after Eric, who had been our musical director and gentle taskmaster, passed away in May 2008. What we thought would be our final performance as a group took place at the Eighth Annual Woody Guthrie Birthday Bash on July 13, 2008. However, on February 28, 2015, all five surviving members – Joel, Anne, Steve, Gina, and Sandy – gave a reunion concert at the Peoples' Voice Cafe in New York City.
Photo credit: Takako Nagumo.
Top photo left to right: Eric, Anne, Joel, Steve.
Middle photo left to right: Eric, Gina, Anne, Joel, Steve.
Bottom photo left to right: Joel, Anne, Sandy.
Paul Robeson once said, "The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery."
We made our choice!