‘Cornelia St. in Exile’ lives in Brooklyn

The amazing, multi-instrumental David Amram, 86 years young, played at the Cornelia Street Café’s 40th anniversary celebration on the Fourth of July. Amram — who used to hang out with the Beats and jam with Bob Dylan — regularly plays at the cafe once a month. Photo by Tequila Minsky

BY GABE HERMAN | The Cornelia Street Cafe is back, though after its West Village closing on Jan. 2, it is now taking its show on the road.

On the evening of Wed., March 27, owner Robin Hirsch sent out an e-mail announcement that there will be three nights of shows in Brooklyn on April 5, 6 and 7.

“Well, my dears!” the message began. “It’s been a long and difficult time. We have been in the wilderness. A lost home to mourn, a long history to celebrate, a present and future to ponder and devise.”

Multi-instrumentalist David Amram playing at the Cornelia Street Cafe’s 40th anniversary celebration on July 4, 2017. Amram, 88 — who used to hang out with the Beats and jam with Bob Dylan — regularly played at the Village cafe once a month. He’ll perform at the opening of “Cornelia St. in Exile” at Brooklyn Commons on Fri., April 5. (Photo by Tequila Minsky)

Hirsch went on to write, “Cornelia Street in Exile (as the great David Amram so eloquently calls us) will pop up in Brooklyn for 3 nights next week.”

The events will be held at Brooklyn Commons/Commons Cafe, at 388 Atlantic Ave., on the southern edge of Downtown Brooklyn, just a quick subway ride from Manhattan.

“Many of our beloved stalwarts will be performing in the beautiful and congenial space,” wrote Hirsch.

Robin Hirsch, longtime owner of the Cornelia St. Cafe, will be telling “cafe stories” on April 6. (Photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic)

The schedule so far includes international poetry on Fri., April 5, at 6 p.m. — featuring Italian-American, Greek-American and Russian and Romanian poets — and legendary musician David Amram and Co. performing later that same evening at 8:30 p.m.

Sat., April 6, will include Cafe Stories at 6 p.m., featuring the cafe’s owner.

“Our longstanding Minister of Culture, Robin Hirsch,” reads the description, “regales us with 41+ years of cafe stories (hopefully not in real time) with carefully timed interruptions from various co-conspirators.”

Also performing Saturday, at 8:30 p.m., will be Arturo O’Farrill, legendary Afro-Cuban pianist/conductor of the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.

The Sunday shows on April 7 will include an installment of the cafe’s long-running “Science Series” at 6 p.m. — plus subversive music/performance by Evan Eisenberg — and Israeli Jazz at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Hirsch wrote that another message will be sent out soon with updates, instructions on how to book and “various other juicy tidbits.”

“In the meantime, hold us in your heart — as we hold you!” the message finished.

David Amram, 88, who performed at the Cornelia Street Cafe for 14 years, told this paper that he’s happy Hirsch adopted his idea to call it Cornelia Street in Exile. And he said he’s honored to be performing on the opening night.

“I’m happy to be there and just to be a part of it,” Amram said. “And just to bear witness to what Robin has been doing for 41 years, and what New York City still has to offer the world.”

Amram said he hoped to focus on the positive aspects of what the cafe offers, instead of negatives related to its closing.

“Rather than being a ‘whine-ologist’ or ‘blame-ologist’ in criticizing landlords and that type of thing,” he said, “I hope this could be a positive thing, to show and encourage young people that they have something to look forward to and for them to create their own venues.”

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