The Binibon was a cafe and 24-hour hangout on 2nd Avenue at 5th Street in the East Village, a nexus for artists, musicians, neighborhood characters and bohemians true and faux. It was a place in which composer Elliot Sharp spent many an hour drinking bottomless cups of terrible coffee during 1979-81, meeting people, reading, hatching projects, observing, listening. Typical guests at the Binibon might include various No Wavers and Lounge Lizards; bebopper Jimmy Lovelace and free-jazz gypsy Don Cherry; Jean-Michel Basquiat; William Burroughs; Quentin Crisp; Kid Creole, Coatamundi, and Coconuts; Johnny Thunders; Keith Haring; Allen Ginsberg; Liquid Liquid; avant-garde filmmakers, actors and directors famous and non-. Elliot was friendly with the all of the staff at Binibon and the events that unfolded affected him greatly. Jack Henry Abbott was a talented writer, as well as an imprisoned killer who became the protege of author Norman Mailer who helped sponsor his release into a halfway house on 3rd Street. He was well-known in the neighborhood and in the local press. Elliot was in the Binibon that summer night in 1981 after a gig and left just as Abbott was entering with his entourage and found out about the murder a few hours later. This tragic event shocked the community and came at a time of transformation in the neighborhood, its culture, its daily life, its real-estate, and its future. Soon after, Elliot began thinking about how he might tell the story of this event. His music-theatre work Binibon is the result of over 20 years of memory and reflection. The song “Irreversibility” was written that summer shortly after the murder. It seemed appropriate to include it within Binibon as it well reflected the mood of the ’hood at that time.
Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects with additional support provided by the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts. World premiere at The Kitchen, February 2012, in a BMP production. Binibon was supported by the Foundation for Contemporary Art and the American Music Center.
"…a compelling hybrid of new music and East Village nostalgia."
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