Clayton’s Page


Art is the thread that weaves everything together

“It’s interesting how everything on the Lower East Side is all woven together,” observed documentarian Clayton Patterson. In his photo at left, legendary poets Jorge Brandon, known as “El Coco Que Habla” (“The Talking Coconut”), left, and Bittman “Bimbo” Rivas performed at an East Village squatters’ benefit in the late 1980s. Rivas, who died at age 52 in 1992, and who was also a teacher, playwright and community activist, coined the name “Loisaida” for the Lower East Side. Brandon, called “The father of Nuyorican poetry,” died at 93 in 1995. He began reciting poetry on the streets in the 1940s, using forms like decima, a Puerto Rican poetry style. Hanon Reznikov, right, with Judith Malina, in photo at right, which was taken in the 1980s, was The Living Theatre’s director for 23 years until he died in 2008 at age 57. He became the avant-garde theater’s director after co-founder Malina’s husband, Julian Beck, died in 1985. “I documented Jorge performing his poetry when the new Nuyorican Poets Cafe opened on Third St.,” Patterson recalled. “And I documented Bimbo’s last performance — at The Living Theatre — a play about [accused cop shooter] Larry Davis called ‘Echoes of Justice,’ written by Xavier Mohammed.”