The talented aerosol artists / muralists, whose vibrant colorful work adorned the walls of the recently displaced (evicted) 5POINTZ graffiti arts mecca in Long Island City (LIC) Queens to make way for the impending construction of luxury condos, were not the only victims of the late 2013 shutdown of the globally revered outdoor public arts space. The long-running, local, non-profit, underground arts organization LP (Local Project Arts Space), who were housed inside the Long Island City 5POINTZ complex, were also unceremoniously evicted. Luckily they found a new home just several blocks away but now they have the challenge of meeting the higher rents in this once run-down industrial section of Queens which, like so much of New York City, is undergoing a gentrification makeover - read: driving out the artists and working folks who can no longer afford to exist there.
In the case of LP whose mission statement has always been to provide local artists a platform to show their work, under the shrewd guidance of its Chilean born director Carolina Penafiel (see Amoeblog interview above), it has come up with creative ways to pay the rent and exist (subsist?) in its new home on 44th Road. These include preparing to sublet out some of its space as small office cubicles and also, in the short-term to cover the rent for the immediate two months, a 30-day Kickstarter campaign that will end on July 12th. Tied into that campaign this Friday, June 27th 2014, they will have a sign-up donation station for visitors to contribute to the organization (in turn they get a brick in the wall with their name engraved on it), as part of a photography art show entitled The Bad, The Good, The Beautiful, The Ugly Pt 2. There will also be spoken word artists and DJs including myself (doing a live WFMU broadcast) on Friday evening. For more info on LP and this Friday's exhibit visit their website, and click link for more info on their current Buy-A-Brick Kickstarter campaign and/or peep video below.
Last Saturday, with the official arrival of summer in the Big Apple, the wonderful city-wide annual free Make Music New York (MMNY) event took place. A live, free musical celebration scheduled deliberately for the longest day of the year, this past weekend's event included over 1,300 concerts across the five boroughs on the sidewalks, in the parks, on the streets and elsewhere - and, from what I saw firsthand and heard from others, was a huge success with the weather complying (no rain or heavy humidity/heat etc.). Photo from MMNY is of El Chico Blanco at Green in Brooklyn.
The outdoor fun continues in NYC this week with such events as this evening at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park (see pic of park above) a free concert with the Metropolitan Opera's Summer Recital Series which will present famous arias and duets, featuring Met Opera rising stars Amber Wagner, Jamie Barton and Thomas Russell, all to be accompanied by Dan Saunders. All ages, free, from 7pm to 9pm this evening (June 25th). Arrive early to guarantee a good spot on the lawn and pack a picnic. More info here.
Also outdoors and free, and an annual tradition in the NYC is the summer Monday evening HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival - which opened with “Saturday Night Fever” a couple of weeks ago and continues this Monday (June 30th) with a screening of A Soldiers Story. The following week will be the Mel Brooks classic Blazing Saddles. The festival continues through mid August with the series concluding with a screening of The Shining on August 18th. Lawn opens at 5pm (bring picnic but no alcohol allowed) with films (preceded by cartoons) starting shortly after nightfall. More info here.
And finally I leave you with two (above and below) of the numerous truly wonderful black & white photos of New York City in the 1950's care of Vintage Everyday blog that over the past week published these engaging NYC pics of a whole other era. Accurately titled Amazing Black and White Photos of NYC's Daily Life in the 1950s the photos, taken by Greenpoint, Brooklyn born Frank Oscar Larson who was a banker by day with a hobby and passion for photography in his spare time and also in his retirement when he took most of the photos found at the recently published online collection of his work.