It’s been said that familiarity breeds contempt, but in the two years that FAB Café has been open, this adage has been disproven in action. Familiarity has instilled in us deep mutual respect and affirmation.
Individually, our baristas embraced the FAB community, if they weren’t already a part of it before joining the café. We opened with a trio of lovely New York Neo-Futurist ladies behind the counter, including Cara Francis, who just performed in the Best of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind last weekend; Lauren Sharpe, who is currently enjoying an exciting career as an actor and teacher (and has recently married!); and Erica Livingston, who was our first café manager as well as an accomplished actress and playwright. Erica and Danny Burnam—our resident handyman, carpenter, and theater artist—are expecting a baby in the spring!
Morgan & Will
Matt Poole and Morgan McAslan were perhaps the most common faces around the café. Matt, a prolific knitter and resident Renaissance man, became our esteemed manager following Erica’s departure, while Morgan continues her career in theater. After serving as historic New York Theater Workshop’s resident house manager, she now works full-time uptown with the Irish Repertory Theater and screens script submissions on a freelance basis. Will Myrick, known by customers as “that witty guy with the Southern accent,” has a career as designer/potter/the most in-demand bartender in Brooklyn.
Shane Reader, a true FAB Café afficinado, studied psychology, designed lighting for Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, and wrote impressive treaties on the power of coffee and community during his time with/at the café. In the New Year, he will be taking his passions to a new position as Community Director of Grind co-working space.
Melanie and Maggie—who have worked with us to the very end—are known collectively as FAB’s Famous Banana Girls, serving up delicious and healthy hot-weather treats from their Frozen Banana Cart outside the café. Melanie, a visual artist and Perpetual Bucket of Sunshine, married theater artist and puppeteer Daniel Fay last summer. With the collaboration of Maggie—a talented actress and jewelry designer—they co-founded the theater and workshop Standard ToyKraft. The team has already held several amazingly successful events—including robot battles, a riotously fun Fall Festival, and Fantasy Grandma’s “Bingo is My Thingo Holiday Spectacular.”
Mikell Kober continues to work with Adaptive Arts Theater Company, who make it their mission to produce theater that raises awareness regarding autism or even aimed directly at autistic viewers and their families. After joining the FAB Café, she’s also become involved with WOW Café Theatre and its community, bringing the total number of “cafés” she works with concurrently up to three. Jason Purdy will be graduating from New York University with a Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theater Writing and will soon be staging his thesis show.
The Banana Girls
While most of the baristas had been expecting it, the reality of the FAB Café closure is still a saddening fact. As practicing artists, we understand the value of this space and it’s impact had on the community. For two years, FAB Café served as a meeting place for influential writers, performers, designers and revolutionaries on our block. It networked small businesses, including talented local food suppliers, homegrown technology developers and the most amazing theater producers on the block. Most importantly, FAB Café connected people. Customers became friends, friends became baristas, and then these baristas earned amazing opportunities from new customers based on their bright demeanor and hard work. During the time of its operation, careers were started, cutting-edge theaters were founded, friends reinforced their love with marriage, and amazing artists thrived on East 4th Street. FAB Café was not just a business, but also an important center for the dynamic arts of East 4th Street.
Matt & Maggie
Time marches on, though, and even as FAB Café passes by, new opportunities are down the road and steadily coming towards us. Next year, we plan to welcome FAB Lab onto the block. Being a continuation of the things that made FAB Café so important to the neighborhood, FAB Lab will continue to be a focal point for the community, space for the development of new projects on the block and a consistent location to learn more about FAB and member programming. For anybody so worried, be assured the space will still be the East Village Visitor’s Center: a pair of open arms for whoever wants to stop by.
- Written by Shane Reader, Promotional Writer & Edited by Hannah Krafcik