Life Cafe: RENT Connection > RENT Pilgrimage

LIFE CAFÉ’S SUMMER OF LOVE – before the final weekend and beyond

The Broadway production of RENT closed Sunday, September 7, 2008.

Life Café is proud to have been invited by RENT to participate in the closing
weekend’s celebrations. On Friday, September 5th, 2008, Life Cafe closed to
the public for a party for the producers and cast members of RENT to raise
a toast to its devotees, 50 of the biggest fans who won an invitation through
the “Finale B” Video Contest, a nationwide contest hosted by Site for RENT
that summer.

View Rent “Finale B” Video Contest Entries

For the 50 “Finale B” Video Contest Winners, RENT and Life Café celebrated
the closing weekend of the hit musical’s 12-year run with a salute to the
legions of fans that have driven the success of this show at the very location
in the East Village of New York City’s Lower East Side where much of RENT
was inspired and written by creator Jonathan Larson. After a record-setting
12-year run on Broadway and 27 years of operation in the East Village, we
couldn’t imagine a better grouping of partners to team up with to salute the
RENT fans in a more fitting way. Life Café closed to the public September 5,
2008, to host a special event in honor of all RENT fans and in particular the
50 winners of the RENT “Finale B” Video Contest held July 14 through August
11, 2008. During the party, we toasted the fans, watched the winning videos,
had an open-mic session, listened to RENT music, met producers, crew
and cast members from the Broadway production and finally, had a formal
dedication of “The Jonathan Larson Bench” with a beautiful brass plaque.
One very lucky winner present at Life Café won a pair of tickets to the closing
night performance via lottery at the party. All 50 winners were treated to the
Saturday matinee performance of RENT.


Jonathan Larson spent time at Life Café when he was writing RENT. To what
degree the Café and its community of regulars provided him with inspiration
we can only speculate. There is no doubt that he was part of the Life Café
scene and at the very center of the community about which he wrote.

The timeless themes of universal love, life, art and the belief in one’s dreams
are the foundation of RENT and have always been at the heart of Life Café.
Certainly that was one of the reasons why he immortalized Life Café in his

– To celebrate the ongoing legacy and connection between RENT and Life Café,  Life Café had a special exhibition illustrating what café life and the East Village neighborhood was like at the time Jonathan drew his inspiration.

– We dedicated our beautiful mahogany bench in the dining room to
Jonathan Larson to commemorate the spot where he often sat meeting with
friends and while researching and writing RENT. A commemorative plaque was permanently installed on the bench, which was unveiled during the evening of September 5th by Jonathan’s father, Al Larson, and his sister, Julie.

– To immortalize RENT fans, to allow you to leave your mark, we created
the RENThead Registers. We now have eight volumes of journals with
messages by RENTheads and everyone else from all over the world. In these
Journals you said good-bye to RENT on Broadway and communicated with
your fellow fans and the world. There is a “Special Edition” Register just for
that weekend.

– We designed several take-aways for you to always remember your visit to Life Café. These included “Forever Jonathan”, “Thank You Jonathan Larson” and Life Café logo T-shirts, posters, postcards, buttons, tote bags and more.  These are available on our website, and now that the East Village Life Café is closed, in the up-and-coming website,

– Please register on to add your message into a virtual volume of a RENThead Register.  While you are there, browse through the pages of the original Registers that were at the East Village Life Cafe before it closed.

“No Day But Today”

Life is Worth Loving

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