“Paranoia Man in a Rat Fink Room” Exhibition

Storefront for Art and Architecture

poster for “Paranoia Man in a Rat Fink Room” Exhibition

This event has ended.

Storefront for Art and Architecture, in collaboration with the New York Comedy Festival (NYCF), has commissioned Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe to create Paranoia Man in a Rat Fink Room at Storefront’s gallery space. The exhibit will open on November 8, 2016, with special preview performances from November 2 - 6, 2016 during the NYCF. Paranoia Man in a Rat Fink Room.

Paranoia Man In A Rat Fink Room follows a tradition of spatial experimentation at Storefront where the boundaries between architecture, art, and the subject are dissolved into one continuous environment. The installation is a historical pastiche of urban and architectural experiences linked through a mise-en-scène comprised of three architectural environments - a Canal Street style kiosk filled with the leftover DVDs and VHSs from Jungle Video (a now defunct media superstore in Los Angeles); a comedy club partially inspired by the original Rat Fink Room (the world’s first dedicated stand-up comedy club, which opened in 1963); and a bathroom that has been converted into surveillance headquarters that will keep audio/video recordings of the last days of Storefront.

Storefront for Art and Architecture is closing its doors for good. The real estate vultures have descended to feed on the malnourished carcass of its signature Kenmare Street space. Its replacement will most likely be a Juice Press supplement administered through fiber-optic eyeliner. The official announcement is that it will be something called SAN SAN. A flagship store for BAMA Cosmetic Pharmaceuticals, OCTOPUS Entheobotanical Data Networks and Fata Morgana Entertainment Systems brought to you in a fancy new package designed by interior starchitect Henri Erkins. “A multiplatform consumer experience where virtual and tactile interaction merge in a new marketing sphere.” A kind of combination Pizza Hut-Taco Bell-Google Daydream for the Lower Manhattan demographic. But before the polish of recycled paper, space rock and smartphone flirtation brings the point of purchase orgasms Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe have arranged for an interim scenario.

The over stock of Jungle Video, the now defunct media superstore you may remember from your drive to LAX via La Tijera Blvd., is coming to Storefront for Art and Architecture for a fire sale of such gray market classics as Linguini is Not a Flower and Thank God For My Forties. A Canal Street style kiosk of bootleg handbags and toxic perfume will stage a pop-up shop for all manner of DVD, VHS, Compact Disc, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Prada and perhaps a dime bag of heavily stepped on cocaine if you know the password. But this will only be the first stop on the path to the headlining act: a reprisal of the infamous Rat Fink Room.

The Rat Fink Room, the first dedicated stand-up comedy club on planet earth, opened in September 1963 on 50th St. and 3rd Ave in New York City. It’s proprietors Morris Levy and Jackie Kannon imagined an ad hoc gathering place where two-bit insult comics settled scores and “working blue” pushed the limits of good taste.

Jackie Kannon, its ringmeister, was a mobbed-up sycophant comic, who felt pressured to buy himself a nose job in the hope of breaking out of the borscht belt. He was not even dimly aware of what might be at stake in the obscenity trials of the time, around such now classic works as Howl and Naked Lunch. For him, working blue was about the money. Morris “The Octopus” Levy, the founder of Birdland and Roulette Records, was a mob connected music business executive who is mostly remembered as a crook who stole from recording artists, was convicted of extortion and suspected of heroin distribution. Levy used the Rat Fink Room and his other venues as a place to surreptitiously record comedy acts and release records without the comics’ permission. He gave them no portion of the proceeds and threatened bodily harm if they sued. In the spirit of this, Freeman and Lowe have converted the neighbor’s bathroom (Staci age 12 addicted to synthetic marijuana) into a surveillance headquarters that will keep audio/video recordings of the last days of Storefront.

The Rat Fink Room will be alive again in the twilight of Storefront for Art and Architecture through a series of nights programmed by Caroline Hirsch and the New York Comedy Festival from November 2nd to November 6th.

It is true the New York City of the 20th century imagination is gone and never to return. But there will be a copy of New Jack City shot on a handycam in 1993 at Worldwide Cinemas on 50th St. and 8th Ave. available for purchase.

The installation will open in tandem with the 13th annual New York Comedy Festival, which takes place November 1 - 6, 2016 at venues throughout New York City.

Inside Paranoia Man In A Rat Fink Room, Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of the New York Comedy Festival and Carolines on Broadway, will curate comedic programming on the evenings of November 2-6, bringing to the space a functioning nightclub and entertainment venue complete with live stand-up performances.

“Comedians participating in the festival will perform inside Freeman & Lowe’s installation, bringing alive the spirit of the Rat Fink Room, and bringing stand-up comedy closer to the art world despite its marginal cultural beginnings,” says Caroline Hirsch.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the New York Comedy Festival. Comedy disrupts the inherited space of the commons, allowing us to reflect upon and critique key aspects of our contemporary culture, including political issues that are normally discussed in spaces far more stern and serious.” says Eva Franch i Gilabert, Director of Storefront for Art and Architecture.

The New York Comedy Festival is produced by Carolines on Broadway, in association with Comedy Central. This year’s schedule will consist of more than 200 comedians - including Eric André, Fred Armisen, Anthony Atamanuik, Hannibal Buress, Dane Cook, Chris D’Elia, Cameron Esposito, Bridget Everett, Dan Harmon, Gabe Liedman, Hari Kondabolu, Bill Maher, Marc Maron, T.J. Miller, Tim Minchin, Hasan Minhaj, Tracy Morgan, Trevor Noah, Tig Notaro, Patton Oswalt, Jay Pharoah, Max Silvestri, Jenny Slate and Sasheer Zamata - performing in over 60 shows at iconic New York City venues such as the Apollo Theatre, Beacon Theatre, Carnegie Hall, Carolines on Broadway, The Theater at MSG and Town Hall.



from November 02, 2016 to February 18, 2017
SPECIAL PREVIEW PERFORMANCES: November 2nd-6th, 7-9 pm

Opening Reception on 2016-11-08 from 18:00

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