New York’s Chelsea Hotel (technically Hotel Chelsea) has hosted Dylan Thomas, Patti Smith, Sid Vicious, Bob Dylan, Madonna and Iggy Pop. But unlike CBGB and Checker Cab, Chelsea is actually a New York institution that still exists and is the subject of this interesting, meandering and obscure documentary by Maya Duverdier and Amélie van Elmbt.
Dancer and choreographer Merle Lister performed in a beautiful stairwell with wrought iron railings. They are a decrepit holdout generation with legally protected tenures, resentful of the forces of gentrification that seek to evict them and undermine Chelsea’s artistic ethos. A property developer purchased his in 2011 and has been working towards an upgrade. However, this is an apartment building rather than a hotel, so an overhaul is no easy task.
Then there is the division of opinion among the long-term residents themselves. Those who simply didn’t accept the solicitation of a cash move-out are more than happy to accept a secondary offer of a smaller, better-equipped apartment from the new landlord. actually ended this year), and a massive modern Manhattan-style rent increase is in the works.
It’s a pretty compelling film, but I found myself committing the grave sin of watching a modern documentary: an old-fashioned narration that accurately describes the dates and dates of archival film and video material. I hope Notably, the hotel’s artist, the one that involved former manager Stanley Byrd, who is said to have crafted the image of the colony. It is melancholy and dreamlike research.