Instead installing those Corian countertops in your East Village tenement, it’s about time you included a gentrification history lesson in your weekend agenda. The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre gives a good dose of the past for all those NY newbies in Once There Was a Village at La MaMa.
The "ethno-opera" was inspired by the works of Yuri Kapralov, and the frenetic narrative encapsulates nearly 400 years of history in Lower Manhattan using found objects, puppets, song (the Hungry March Band play live on stage) and dance. Think gentrification is anything new: watch as the Dutch "clean up" the swamp where the Native Americans lived, and pigs (as in swine) are replaced by a "cleaner" city thanks to the English, and each successive generations brings a new wave of immigrants who add their own taste to the squalor of the East Village.
Maybe you remember Adam Purple and his Garden of Eden before it was razed for public housing. But if not, it’s all there. Of course, it’s told through found objects like vacuum cleaners, piano viscera, ironing boards, hoses, mob buckets and all the rest of the junk that collects on the neighborhood’s streets.
Maybe the world doesn’t send it’s tired, huddled masses to the city any longer. But their ghosts remain.