Tag Archive | Nostalgia

Video Clip of The Week: Blaire Alise & The Bombshells, “Rolleiflex”

It’s so funny that I was just talking with a friend on the FaceBook about the Girl Groups of the ‘50s and ’60s, and the next thing I knew, I was clicking on the link to “Rolleiflex”, the wildly nostalgia-inducing new video from 20 year-old Detroit native Blaire Alise and her band, The Bombshells. OMG, this video amazing!

Shot on Super 8 film, the video will feel instantly familiar to viewers of a certain age: like a collection of memories in a visual scrapbook, or even like a favorite dream. While watching it, I felt at times like I was back in junior high school again. This song captures a magic that has been missing from music for a long time. It’s lyrical content, melody, and multi layered harmonies are first rate, and her vocal delivery is so heartfelt that it transports the listener to a time in life when, as unbelievable as that may seem in the present time, happiness was unquestionable. Production values are excellent as well. Blaire admits that “Rolleiflex is about memories, specifically, “It’s about trying to capture all of the moments you can, with the fear of not being able to take all of them in.” I think she succeeds beautifully.

Blaire Alise is currently based in New York, where she and The Bombshells regularly perform. “Rolleiflex” can be found on their new album, My Eye, which is out now. Enjoy!

Blaire Alise and The Bombshells Cover Art

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Stephen Powers: Coney Island is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull) at The Brooklyn Museum

Espo Sign Board So Far
All Photos By Gail (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

Brooklyn-based Artist Stephen Powers sure has been making the art scene a whole lot brighter since we first saw his hilarious and thought-provoking signage on display in Chelsea Art Galleries. Last summer, Powers  teamed up with New York’s Department of Transportation for a temporary public art signage project, and he also increased his global profile as one of the many collaborator’s whose works appeared as part of Banksy’s Theme Park Art Installation, Dismaland . That must have been fun.

So Far So Good

Now through August 21st, 2016, Stephen Powers responds to the visual vernacular of Coney Island in his very fun exhibit Coney Island is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull) at the Brooklyn Museum.

This is Paradise

Coney Island is Still Dreamland is a site-specific installation of signs and paintings from ICY SIGNS — a traveling sign shop and an ongoing collaboration between Powers and other sign writers. At a time when computers dominate the industry of sign production, the project revives the art of hand-painted signs. The signs look commercial, but the combination of everyday images and pithy phrases offers only emotional goods.

Here’s a video I shot at the Museum last Sunday, which will give you an idea of the scope of the project that still photos cannot really capture. There are four, floor-to-ceiling boards full of colorful signs that you can pour over for hours! All signs are hand painted by Stephen and the ICY SIGNS crew, and you can even watch a video of the installation going up, which is fascinating.

Egg People

ICY SIGNS was initially conceived with the advent of the Dreamland Artist Club – a public art project in which Powers and more that 40 other artists created custom signs for the games and rides of Coney Island. “Everyone [involved in ICY SIGNS] has an emotional investment in Coney Island,” Powers explains. “We value that by making work [that’s] as fried, greasy, sweet, cheap, fun and flashy as any other experience you can have there!”

Top of Board

Stephen Powers interest in hand-painted signs grew out of his early work as a graffiti writer under the pseudonym ESPO, and was furthered by inspiration gleaned from the seaside community. This is the latest of nine iterations of ICY SIGNS, which has been exhibited in numerous storefronts, museums, and galleries in both the  US and abroad.

Our Hour Board

Our Hour Detail

Life Long Lesson Learner

YES

You can visit permanent locations of ICY SIGNS in Brooklyn, and in Powers’ hometown of Philadelphia.

8 Part Sign Board

Enamored with the unique style of painting that was born in and defines Coney Island, Powers uses the style to depict his own life and times. These paintings capture what he calls “The eternal now of New York City.”

Welcomes are for Wearing Out

A Place Called Even

In addition to new pieces by Powers, the installation includes works by Justin Green, Matt Wright, Mike Levy, Dan Murphy, Mike Langley, Mimi Gross, Alexis Ross, Sean Barton, Eric David and Tim Curtis.

Video Still 1

Be sure to watch the Video where Stephen talks about the relationship between ICY SIGNS and Coney Island.  You’ll get to see a lot of the art being created and it’s very interesting to watch it all come together. Plus, Stephen Powers seems like a cool guy. Near the end of the video, he says something like “As long as you can see the ocean, and get a hot dog, it’s still Paradise.” I like it.

Video Still with Stephen

This installation was originally scheduled to close on March 13th, but has been extended into August, so you have plenty of time to check it out!

Exhibit Signage

Stephen Powers Neon Signatiure
Stephen Powers Neon Signature

My List of Demands

Robert Miller Gallery Presents Glen Rubsamen’s Polygala

Glen Rubsamen Polygala
All Photos By Gail

If you’ve ever spent any time in LA or the surrounding area, few experiences that you can have here in NYC will imbue you with a sense of sweet nostalgia for the Southland quite like viewing this series of new paintings and photographs by artist Glen Rubsamen, which he calls Polygala.

Glen Rubsamen Polygala Purple Palm Tree

In his second solo exhibition at Robert Miller, Rubsamen presents a series of paintings based on a project he began in 2012 to photograph juxtaposed billboards, palm trees and cell phone masts. As he explains, “it became quickly apparent that it was almost impossible to photograph a billboard in Los Angeles without a palm tree or cell phone tower, or both, sneaking into the picture frame.” Rubsamen describes the work’s static construction as an ‘accidental ensemble,’ an exercise in chance, and humorous negation of the classical principles of perspective, sequence and scale.

Glen Rubsamen Polygala Two Guys and Palm Trees

I loved this painting, seen above, so much that I didn’t even want to wait for these two guys to move to photograph it, because obviously they are digging it as well, so why not just bring them into the experience?

Glen Rubsamen Polygala Street Lamp and Tree

I think part of the reason I was so quickly enamored of this exhibit is the color palette he uses – gradations of purples, blues and mint greens – all set against black shadows, which definitely set a mood of either dusk or dawn, while extracting endless memories of time I spent growing up in Southern California. In other words, these paintings really spoke to me, as they did to the friend I attended the exhibit with who is also from that area. I don’t think there is any greater compliment I could offer than that. I would love to own any of these pieces.

Glen Rubsamen Polygala Billboard and Palm Trees

I think these are some of the most beautiful paintings I’ve seen in a recent exhibit. I highly recommend you check out this show while it is still up, because they are even more impactful in person.

Glen Rubsamen Polygala Duo Framed

Glen Rubsamen’s Polygala will be on Exhibit Through December 21st, 2013 at Robert Miller Gallery, Located at 524 West 26th Street, In the Chelsea Gallery District. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM.

Glen Rubsamen Polygala Billboard and Street Light

Glen Rubsamen Polygala Signage

Don Hill’s Night Club Closes Its Doors Forever

Well, this is a bit of a surprise; but then again, maybe not so much. Less than a month after the death of its former owner, it’s been announced that live music and dance club Don Hill’s is officially bankrupt and will be closing, effective immediately. Current owners Nur Khan and Paul Sevigny were apparently overextended in the wallet area from running other restaurant and nightclub ventures here and in Los Angeles and couldn’t seem to get the rent check in the mail on time. You know how it is when you’re a wealthy, jet-setting hipster.  Still, I’m not sure why club owners don’t seem to grok that this kind of thing happens when you don’t pay your rent. Sure, Don Hill’s was a legendary dive where everybody went do drugs and party with rock stars (I know I had many good times there), but who really gives a shit? Nostalgia goes right into the toilet when the landlord has bills to pay. The same exact thing happened when the late Hilly Kristal let the rent on CBGB lapse for a year and then had the nads to feed the public outrage over the place being shut down. It’s worth noting that the new tenant in the former CBGB’s space at Bowery and Bleecker, hot shot menswear designer John Varvatos, is also a hardcore rocker who turned his new boutique into a shrine to its former inhabitant, preserving many of the original walls and fixtures and selling vintage stereo equipment, vinyl LPS and coffee table books by Mick Rock. On the flipside, Nur Khan told Page Six that the building will be turned over to developers, noting that the property offered a “moneymaking opportunity unconcerned with preserving Don’s legacy.” Clearly, real estate owners aren’t very sentimental in New York City.

NYC Subway 1986

I moved to Manhattan in the fall of 1988, but having made perhaps a half dozen trips to NYC between 1979 and the year I became a resident, I sure do remember when the subway looked like this. Ah, sweet nostalgia. You can almost smell the urine.

This video, shot by Danish tourist “Railroad Pacific,” is ten minutes long, but you can fast forward and get the full effect. If the embedded link above goes wonky – as embedded links tend to do – you can find the video on YouTube at This Link. Thanks to The Awl for the tip!