Volume 76, Number 26 | November 15 - 21, 2006

Villager photo by Clayton Patterson

Steve Stollman, right, of the Steve Stollman Experience, performed with Jared Kotz, left, and Robert Aaron of the Storm Makers at the new Yippie Coffehouse on Saturday.

Steal this coffeehouse; Yippies revive the ’60s vibe

By Lori Haught

Before there were yuppies, there were Yippies.

They were a countercultural movement springing out of the Youth International Party (Y.I.P.), embracing many of the ’60s most colorful characters, including political activists Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin.

Now, The Yippie Museum and Coffeehouse at 9 Bleecker St. is set to celebrate that culture — perhaps even revive it for a new generation that’s fed up with politics and war.

Dana Beal, a self-described “second-wave” Yippie, part of a younger generation of Yippies who got involved after the movement’s beginnings, and the original owner and resident of 9 Bleecker St., announced plans for the museum, coffeehouse, gift shop and counterculture comedy club in February.

While the museum is not fully completed, the coffeehouse and venue were inaugurated this past weekend with the sounds of acoustic guitar and jazz.

“It was real,” said Steve Stollman, of the Steve Stollman Experience, who performed on Saturday. “It was quite nice, quite relaxed. I think the place is going to fly.”

A.J. Weberman, who is running the coffeehouse, said it is currently open from 7 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, but that is dependent on the weather. The building is going to be using a special eco-friendly heater that has yet to be installed, but as long as the weather’s warm, the doors will be open.

“We’ll have an opening party eventually but we just wanted to get started and open to the public,” said Weberman.

While work is being done on the top floor to ready the museum, which will house Yippie paraphernalia, like Hoffman’s garbage (collected by Weberman, who is a former “garbalogist,”) and some of Rubin’s remains, a bit of history can be enjoyed in the cafe where the once-bombed door of 9 Bleecker hangs.

“There’s a lot of history here,” Weberman said, reminiscing about smoke-ins held in favor of legalizing marijuana and Pablo’s Lights, the building’s former tenant, which did the lightshows at the old Fillmore East.

As much as they want to hearken back to the ’60s with their laid-back coffeehouse style, the cafe is going to be very much in the 21st century when all the technology is installed.

Aside from their state-of-the-art sound system, Weberman said a flat-screen, liquid-crystal display in the window would broadcast upcoming events at the coffeehouse and political issues, such as legalizing medical marijuana and the use of ibogaine as a treatment for heroin addicts.

He also said the coffeehouse will have a streaming Web cam which will broadcast conversation and performances over the Internet, and a remote-controlled camera that people at home can use to take a good look around for a limited amount of time.

“It’s a people’s cafe,” Weberman said. He said the drink prices would never go beyond $5 and currently are closer to $1. He said that they also hope to hold private parties for musicians and writers.

According to Weberman, the next step is simple but important: “The heater is the first order of business.”

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