The A-List


Compiled by Scott Stiffler, Scott@thevillager.com


Bluestockings bookstore/cafe

Ankur Shah

In 2006, Ankur Shah traced the route taken by Mahatma Gandhi during his 1930 protest of the British tax on salt. He carried no money and used only “otherworldly intuition” to acquire food and shelter — discovering along the way what remains of Gandhi’s influence upon the Indian countryside. The result was his novel, “Sometimes We Walk Alone.” Plan on making like Gandi by walking to the event sans cash? The sponsoring venue (a LES bookstore, fair trade café and activist center) promises “you will not be turned away from an event for having empty pockets.” Free (donations accepted). Sunday, August 9, 7 p.m. at Bluestockings; 172 Allen Street. Call 212-777-6028 or visit www.bluestockings.com.


Photo by Robert Pinnock

Sammy Velvet croons in Times Square


After a nearly eight-year absence, talent-challenged cabaret crooner Sammy Velvet returns to the NYC stage for a one-of-a-kind performance that lovingly, comically, desperately recreates Act I of Liza Minnelli’s Tony Award-winning 2008 performance at The Palace Theatre. Equal parts strange, surreal, silly, sexy and stupid, it’s a must-see event for anyone who loves cabaret; or comedy; or show business train wrecks. That Velvet also happens to be Scott Stiffler, who happens to write the A List, is merely a happy coincidence. August 9, 5:30 p.m. and August 10, 7:00 p.m., at Don’t Tell Mama, 343 W. 46th Street. $5 donation; two-drink minimum (you’ll need it). For reservations, call 212-757-0788. 


Reason enough to pray for peace


Join Pax Christi Metro New York (part of the international Catholic peace movement) as they own up to the 64th anniversary of America’s bombing of Nagasaki, Japan — and the lessons learned — and advocate for the abolition of nukes. Watch the new film, “U.S. Leadership for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World.” Then, engage in a discussion facilitated by Cheryl Wertz (of Peace Action) and Sr. Mary Beth Moore (of the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives). Free. August 9, 2:30 p.m., at St. Joseph’s Greenwich Village Parish House (371 Sixth Ave). Call 212-420-0250 or visit www.nypaxchristi.org. 


Photo by Scott Friedlander

Russ Lossing


Through August 16, Cornelia Street Café’s Piano Festival showcases unique piano players and composers. Over the course of two weeks, you’ll see jazz, classical, chamber, four hand, solo, duo and trio piano music. Highlights include British piano darling Simon Mulligan and an 80th birthday tribute celebration of piano legend Bill Evans. As always, a one-drink minimum per set. At The Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street. For information on the Piano Festival (and other August mini-festivals), call 212-989-9319 or visit www.corneliastreetcafe.com. 


Photo by Rafael DiazCasas

Author and historian David Freeland 

Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure

New York City changes so much (and so often), it’s easy to muster dewy-eyed nostalgia for the way things were last month. Fortunately, historian and author David Freeland has his sights set firmly on the long-lost past. His new book (“Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan’s Lost Places of Leisure”) explores a time when belated, beloved places such as the Atlantic Garden, Horn & Hardart’s Automat and the Doyer’s Street Chinese Theatre were hot spots. This free lecture by Freeland includes a slideshow and a Q&A session. Tuesday, August 11, 6:30 p.m.; at the Tenement Museum Shop, 108 Orchard Street. For more information, visit www.tenement.org or call 212-431-0233.