DISBAND and Tavern on the Green

DISBAND was formed in the late seventies by a group of artists, all female, whose outrageous brand of political theater has been revived for reunion concerts at MoMA PS1 and all over. The recent program of twelve short songs and sketches was standing-room-only at the cool Austrian Cultural Forum in midtown.

In a famous skit, two men compare penises that grow and grow until they're able to have a sword fight with them. In a new one, an empty suit draped over a hanger, center stage, stands in for Gov Rick Perry. Bewigged Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, George Washington and Abigail Adams take turns scolding Rick, addressing corrupt campaign funding, state-sanctioned rape in the form of forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds, and the Constitution’s clearly stated mandated separation of church and state.

DISBAND sketches over three decades old are still very relevant. This “conceptual art punk band of women artists who can’t play any instruments” formed at Franklin Furnace, which was founded by Martha Wilson, one of the night’s performers. (Barbara Kruger and Ingrid Sischy are also members.) This performance also included Ilona Granet, Donna Hennes and worldwide sensation Diane Torr, in town for the US premiere of a film about her Man For a Day workshops

It’s so easy to imagine these fearless artists partying with Pussy Riot.

A walk across Central Park took us to the new Tavern on the Green, recently reopened after four years dark. The colorful crystal chandeliers and art nouveau mirrors were sold off, as well as the topiaries of teddy bears and elephant removed from the garden. Trees around the restaurant that had been strangled in ropes of hot, colored lights have been set free, and nature conservationists consider that in itself an improvement.

Since the bankruptcy filing in 2009, Tavern on the Green has been owned by the city and was revamped in character with the other rustic park buildings inside the park, with a new open kitchen, the original wood-beamed ceilings, and a lively bar, which it never had before. Bartender Savannah will mix you a drink called the Bronx: Dorothy Parker American Gin, orange juice, and sweet and dry vermouths. The old menu used to be all pasta and red meat. Under the direction of Chef Katy Sparks, grilled meat and fish and roasted vegetables are offered, with several ceviches that are popular on both lunch and dinner menus.

Pete Wells said the food isn't "so wonderful that it would lure crowds, but it wouldn't keep them away either," whatever that means. One day at lunch the most popular thing to order was the $18 tuna melt. (If nothing else, it gives you some idea of the pricing.) No bread basket comes with a main course or a main-course salad at the new Tavern on the Green. This can only be a money-saving decision that probably will be rethought as the restaurant fledges, because bread baskets should be de rigueur, even in a gluten-free world.