It’s always a special treat when acclaimed singer-songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill comes to town, especially since it’s so infrequent.
Berryhill, who helped spearhead the Lower East Side’s anti-folk scene of the 1980s and '90s when she lived here, has long lived in Encinitas, Calif., but her work over the last few years has been mainly been serving a care-giver for her husband, the rock journalist and seminal rock magazine Crawdaddy! creator Paul Williams.
Williams suffered a severe brain injury in a 1995 bicycle accident, and was finally placed in a nursing home a few years ago due to dementia. Berryhill’s appearance in New York, set for Sunday (Mar. 24) from 2-5 p.m. at Chinatown counter-culture exhibit space Boo-Hooray, is part of a one-day celebration of Williams.
Boo-Hooray will show an extensive array of Williams’ books and publications, including his early science-fiction fanzines, early copies of Crawdaddy!, a complete run of the Philip K. Dick Society newsletter that he edited, and numerous photographs and other materials relating to his enduring high stature among rock and cultural cognoscenti.
Berryhill and Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye, who produced her 1989 album Naked Movie Star and helped with the exhibit, will perform some of Williams’ favorite songs at the event, which will be followed by a fundraising sale.
“It’s an honor that Boo-Hooray gallery wants to celebrate Paul Williams’ work,” says Berryhill. “And it’s such a positive thing to get to tell Paul about when I visit him.”
Williams was placed in hospice care a month ago.
“But with this exhibit of his books and papers and ‘zines, I get to go in and visit him every day with good news,” says Berryhill. “Since he has short-term memory loss, every time I tell him about it, it’s a brand new thing--and each time he cracks a slight smile and says ‘Wow!’"
After the Boo-Hooray event, she and Kaye will perform that night at The Treehouse at 2A on Avenue A.
“It’s kind of crazy to come out East, but Boo-Hooray curator Johan Kugelberg offered the gallery exhibit, and it’s during my son's spring break time,” says Berryhill. “I love having a reason to come to town and I need a break from the heaviness of the last month and a-half.”
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