Sunday, June 7, 2009

"The Sunshine Hotel" (1998 NPR radio documentary) 21m.

"Welcome, come on in, if you got the rent money, you can stay, if you ain't beat it! This is an eat it and beat it hotel. Normally, people come in, they stay for a day or two and get out. But for some reason or another, people come here and they like to stay -- for a year, for two years. In other words they like to give you aggravations. If you like aggravations come to the Sunshine Hotel -- it's a lovely place."

It's funny how downloading things off blogs will remind me of something I've got in a box somewhere I had completely forgotten about. I've started several blog posts with the exact same lead. So anyway, I got and listened to "The Evolution Of a CRO-MAGnon" by John Joseph their lead singer (Cro-Mags, duh) from Cosmic Hearse blog. Comes on all like a gutter Jim Carroll, and the best parts are the first half; his fucked-up childhood. I could well see why they titled the post "And You Thought Your Life Was Fucked Up". I really liked that he read the book himself and not some ponce like DiCaprio. The authentic New Yawk accent and his fond reminiscing of "the old New York" reminded me of this tape here, "The Sunshine Hotel".

I was living in NYC when this aired in '98. I wasn't really a regular listener of NPR but I was a straphanger and therefore read the papers. This got a lot of press and so I listened and taped it. Good thing, too, cos it's great!
The Sunshine Hotel was a flophouse on The Bowery. Ten bucks a night for a cubicle with chickenwire for a ceiling. The eccentric and erudite manager, Nathan Smith narrates and introduces us to the likes of Vinny the throat cancer victim and his lovebirds, Cookie the toothless loan shark, etc. A wonderful cast of characters.
I won't say too much, just download and enjoy.
Your humble narrator, Nathan Smith, 1935-2002

In researching a bit for this post, I found it was released on CD but is now out-of-print. There's a used copy on Amazon for $99.99, but it was a good source for the cover.
There is a complete transcript online HERE. Read along! (and Google translate for you less-than-fluent international readers).

The Sunshine Hotel was awarded the Prix Italia, "Europe's oldest and most prestigious broadcasting award", in 1999.

My 192 kbps cassette rip is HERE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found a link to this doc on the NPR website. I am posting it on today. It requires a realplayer...