This big Pink Building, actually known as Big Pink or simply The Pink Building, sits majestically at the corner of Orchard and Grand Streets on the lower east side of Manhattan. The building was formerly the home of Ridley & Sons Department Store and, though recently sold for the sum of $27 million, is landmarked so cannot be bulldozed or have its exterior altered. Small victories.
The Brazilian mural artists – twin brothers – known as Os Gemeos have painted another one of their epic murals in the East Village on the south-facing facade of 26 Second Avenue at 1st Street, on the vacant lot that formerly housed one of the of rare gas stations that you never see in the city. The mural went up around the third week of August.
The hip-hop influenced old school B-Boy appears to be emerging from inside the building through the concrete wall, while carrying an eighties-style boombox. The new mural will likely remain intact until the new ten-story residential development begins to rise next door. Sigh.
This old-school FDNY Call Box on the corner of Bowery and Rivington, is easy to spot, as it is painted a bright florescent orange. According to Bowery Boogie Dot Com, the call box was formerly an art installation; part of Two Rams Gallery’s Alarm! exhibition, which ran from February 5 – 22nd, 2015, and for which the call box was painted bright florescent Red. As the exhibit has now ended, I imagine someoen felt it was necessary to achieve closure by painting it orange.
It’s funny to think that so many adults have never known a life where NBC’s late night comedy sketch program, Saturday Night Live did not exist, but it’s not so weird considering the show is currently celebrating its 40th year on the air. If you’re even a casual fan of the show and you live anywhere near NYC, you should make a point to see Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition, an independent and ridiculously comprehensive showcase collecting sets, props, photos, costumes, film clips and every type of random ephemera covering the show’s history, from the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players up to today.
Just as the exhibit takes chronological journey, let me guide you through some of the highlights with photos I took when I went to see it with Geoffrey last weekend.
Entry to the exhibit hall is very loosely timed, so that they can send groups in together and create a cohesive, immersive experience. When you first enter, a short history of the show’s highlights plays on the screen seen in the above photo, and you can sit and watch it and get all excited for what you are about to experience. Consider it a kind of “warm up act” for the exhibit.
If you’ve been to a taping of SNL, you might recall that as you walk into Studio 8H you pass through a hallway lined with photos of the show’s many memorable characters from the past and present, such as Wayne and Garth, or Stefon. They have that here as well.
Just looking at a photo of Bill Hader portraying Stefon, Weekend Update’s Nightlife Correspondent, makes me laugh out loud.
There are galleries dedicated to the activities of each of the six days that it takes to produce each show: from pitching sketch ideas to writing and revising the scripts, to set design and building (which takes place in a warehouse in Brooklyn), costume design, rehearsal, the live broadcast, and through to the after show party; there aren’t any details left out of what you’ll learn regarding the behind-the-scenes goings on of SNL.
This is producer Lorne Michaels‘ actual desk from one of his two offices at 30 Rock.
The original Not Ready for Prime Time Players, before Billy Murray joined after the departure of Chevy Chase at the end of season one.
You can take photos of yourself and friends on the Wayne’s World Set. If you are by yourself, an exhibit employee will happily snap one or two for you. Excellent!
There’s a large display case filled with the various Fake Products featured in SNL Commercial Parodies over the past 40 — years, many of which I am sure you will remember with a chuckle!
When the exhibition Treasures of Tutankhamen toured in the 1970s, the US was gripped by Tut-Mania. My parents even took us to see it! Steve Martin parodied the craze when he hosted in April of 1978. At the time, the King Tut sketch was SNL’s most expensive production. It became one of the show’s most iconic sketches and the song was a million-selling single for Steve Martin, who resurrected the character for the 40th Anniversary Special.
Seeing all of these great costumes from so many memorable characters that Saturday Night has brought into our lives, it is also a poignant reminder that some of the actors and comedians who portrayed them are, sadly, no longer with us.
This one is my favorite: from Martin Short’s opening monologue for the 4oth Anniversary Special. Hilarious.
This is a replica of the studio’s control room, where you can experience a 10 minute virtual recreation of what goes on during the live show! So cool!
And here we are in an exact, smaller-scale replica of Studio 8H, where a virtual Tina Fay comes out to give a fun monologue created just for this exhibit! As you can see, the experience is quite immersive and interactive.
Get your photo taken on this old Weekend Update set from some random year in the 1980’s for $20! To be fare, they also superimpose your favorite Weekend Update Anchor into the shot with you! Almost worth it!
Exit through the gift shop – it is massive!
Buy some swag, like this mug from The Californians’ sketch, which is insanely right on!
Or an Ambiguously Gay Duo Magnet!
As you can see, we had a fantastic time at Saturday Night Live: the Exhibition, which is sponsored by Premier Exhibitions, and Located at 417 5th Avenue New York, NY 10016. Adult tickets are $31 (includes a $2.00 service charge) which you can book at This Link, or buy on site, but you should definitely do some Internet footwork before you pay full price, because I’ve seen significant discounts offered through GoldStar, Gilt, and Groupon. The exhibit is expected to run though the holidays!
Sculptor Victor Scallo created this sculpture that consists of four rectangular stainless steel blocks, which are meant to represent nearby buildings in the Financial District.
There isn’t any water in the fountain at the moment, but when there is, there are five nozzles (visible in the photos above) located near the surface of the pool that spray water upwards into the air. Cityscape Fountains (1969) stands outside the plaza on 77 Water Street (adjacent to Front Street and Gouverneur Lane).
One of the most vivid and cherished dreams I’ve had in the past couple of years involves a dream in which I discover a secret room in the back of my apartment. How I have managed to live in the apartment for 20 years and never even notice his room is a mystery. In the dream, this approximately 225 square foot room has been meticulously finished with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, and it is the most exhilarating feeling imaginable to realize that I have all of this space in which to expand my world. Seriously, I would compare it to discovering a treasure chest full of $100 bills, and you can perhaps only truly relate to and appreciate that if you live in a NYC apartment. Can you even imagine having access to an extra 225 ft. of rent-free space to use as, say, a walk-in closet, or to store absolutely every single thing you’ve ever owned in your entire life? That “Undiscovered Room” dream is probably the best dream I’ve ever had, because it gets to the root of an issue that all Manhattan dwellers live with: the desire for More Fucking Space.
Which brings us to today’s Video Clip of The Week, “Most Space,” from the band Worriers. This song and its accompanying video have absolutely nothing to do with discovering secret walk-in closets in your apartment, but everything to do with the lack of personal space with regard to something that most New Yorkers use on a daily basis, which is the NYC subway system. If you’ve ever been alone in a subway car you know what a euphoric feeling it is to not have somebody right up in your grill. And because personal space in the subway is so wantonly abused, all riders will be familiar with the current Rules of the Subway campaign, which has recently been posted in all cars in an effort to get people to behave like human beings to each other. The campaign includes hilarious posters depicting common sense rules including things like Not Eating in the Car, Not Putting on your Makeup in the Car, not using the Safety Poles to perform your “Current Dance Routine,” and, of course, an attempt at eradicating the dreaded Man Spread, an offense which, I believe, should be punishable by death.
In “Most Space,” the band (and some of their friends) have a great time acting out many of the above offenses, and taking some of them to wildly exaggerated extremes, such as practically moving into the car and making it your second home. I imagine they filmed this during off hours, say between 2 and 5 AM, and they are most definitely on a moving train because you can see them pulling into and out of different stations, although I was not able to figure out what line they are on. At any rate, they make their point, which is that everybody wants to be the one with the “Most Space.“ Brilliant.
Aurally, “Most Space” is a pure hybrid of power pop and punk rock and it is impossible not to love. Worriers are probably a lot of fun to see live, and I’m sure the group’s just-released Debut LP, Imaginary Life (Don Giovanni Records), from which this track is taken, is equally excellent. Enjoy!
What a nice surprise it was to find this huge mural by legendary Black Flag logo designer and flyer artist, Raymond Pettibon, adorning a wall of the backyard patio (reserved for smokers, although it was vacant when this picture was snapped) at the Double Down Saloon when we were there drinking happily last evening. Born Raymond Ginn in 1957, Pettibon is of course the younger brother of Black Flag guitarist and primary songwriter Greg Ginn. Trivia!
The Double Down Saloon is located at 14 Ave. A, just north of Houston, New York, NY 10009.