Marble Art Exhibition Open in NYC

Summer is the time to explore local exhibits, and art and antiquities have been taking center stage this year. Phoenix Ancient Art’s Marble Mania exhibition is currently open in the collector’s NYC gallery, and features a range of fascinating pieces from Rome and Greece as well as from the Early Bronze Age.

Hicham Aboutaam, co-founder of Phoenix Ancient Art, explains: “The supremacy of marble is fabulously evidenced throughout ancient history, from the Sarcophagus of Alexander in Istanbul, to the Venus of Milos at the Louvre, to the statue of Augustus Prima Porta at the Vatican.”

From July 5th through August 25th, the exhibition will showcase 60 marble pieces including depictions of Zeus, Aphrodite, Commodus and other Roman figures.

Ali Aboutaam, co-founder of Phoenix Ancient Art, shared some previews of marble art on Twitter:

Marble Mania will be open to the public from July 5 th – August 25th at 47 East 66th street, NYC.

Bruce Springsteen Plans Solo Shows on Broadway this Fall

Bruce Springsteen is planning a number of small solo performances at the Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway this fall. He intends for the shows to be “as personal and intimate as possible,” featuring both his music as well as excerpts from his autobiography Born to Run. 

“My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music,” Springsteen explains. “Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work.”

The shows will begin on October 12th and run five nights a week until November 26th. According to Jon Landua, Springsteen’s manager, “Bruce has had this specific idea in mind since last December. It came into focus slowly and then all at once last January.”

When asked about the choice of venue, Springsteen said “I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind. In fact, with one or two exceptions, the 960 seats of the Walter Kerr Theater is probably the smallest venue I’ve played in the last 40 years.”

“All of it together is in pursuit of my constant goal to provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value,” he said.

Naomi Campbell & Egyptian Millionaire Louis Camilleri

What’s not to like? Incredibly handsome and fantastically rich, 62-year- old Louis C. Camilleri is reported to be the latest love interest of super-model Naomi Campbell, and why not? Born in Egypt to parents from the island country of Malta, Camilleri is CEO of the giant tobacco corporation Philip
Morris, as well as a director of the luxury sports car company Ferrari. Best of all, his net worth is said to be hovering in the stratosphere at the altitude of about £150 million ($197 million.)

Despite Naomi Campbell’s famous dislike of taking her dating habits to the public arena, it has been impossible not to notice the many dinner dates she has spent with Camilleri, not to mention a few trips on his private jet.

According to The Sun, “Naomi and Louis have been secretly dating for weeks. They’re all over each
other when they’re out.”

Some curious readers might be interested in how this cute couple met. Naomi Campbell and Louis Camilleri both happen to love Formula One racing, and saw each other at an event, and immediately caught each other’s eyes.

Camilleri spent his formative years in the United Kingdom, where he attended boarding school. He was once married, and has three children from the relationship, which ended in divorce in 2004. Camilleri attended University in Switzerland where he studied economics and business administration.

Campbell was never married, but she was once engaged to bassist Adam Clayton of the rock band U2 in 1993. After a year the relationship ended.

In 2012 Campbell was asked about one of her relationships, and her answer was: “I don’t discuss my private life.” She also refuses to discuss her friendships with such people as Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy, explaining:

“I don’t like to discuss private events or matters, because, naturally, I respect people’s privacy.”

Getting Classes for Glasses to the People

Tisha Gomez didn’t plan on becoming an educator. Born and raised in NYC and the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, Gomez graduated high school with the intention of becoming a computer programmer. Three years later she found herself entering the teaching world, and she hasn’t veered from her course since.

Gomez’s work as a teacher at the School of Cooperative Technical Education is unique, as she uses her technical side and personal experiences to run a creative class focused on creating prescription eyewear for fellow students in need. Gomez believes in providing her students with practical skills that will support future careers, and when she began working at the school she quickly discovered that many of her students needed glasses in order to succeed. Unfortunately, the majority of these kids couldn’t afford them. Gomez immediately took action, launching a project that would teach her students to make their own glasses by filling prescriptions, cutting lenses and styling frames to patients’ specifications. Her class offers free glasses to any student of the school, and provides as many as 400 students with eyeglasses each year.

“I’m immediately satisfied after I make a pair of glasses and put them on someone’s face and see the reaction on their face when they can see clearly,” Gomez explained.

She continued, “Everybody wants to be a doctor or a lawyer, but there’s one thing everyone needs at various times in their lives, and that’s eyeglasses.”

“My students come from the inner city and they need a career to support themselves. This class gives them a trade that’s needed,” she added.

Gomez was just nominated for a Hometown Heroes in Education award for her work.

Animal Haven Animal Shelter Celebrates 50 Years with Brand New Facility

Fifty years ago, a small group of women from Hollis, Queens, got together to rescue cats, and from that ambition Animal Haven was born. Later on the shelter moved to Flushing, and operated out of a small house for many years. Finally, the shelter arrived in Manhattan, where it was located at 251 Centre Street until the organization lost its lease in 2015.

Searching everywhere, Animal Haven got lucky and found a location only two blocks north, at 200 Centre Street. They hired architecture firm ARQ, the same group that designed New York’s ASPCA adoption center, as well as San Francisco’s SPCA and Chicago’s PAWS. ARQ created a beautiful, state-of-the-art adoption center, but it took a full year to build, and in the meantime Animal Haven was no longer able to stay at their old location.

Now the center for homeless animals was itself homeless, but they were able to rise to the occasion. The group put up 80 animals in foster care and rented office space right across the street. Then the Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals pitched in, lending Animal Haven their adoption van. During the week, the shelter held adoption events right outside the new facility’s construction site.

Now the shelter is open and running, and business is booming. More workers were hired to handle the increased work load. Director Tiffany Lacey described the new space:

“It’s very light and bright with lots of windows” Lacey said, “and the public that walks by can see them, like window shopping, but for adoption.”

 

Putting a Cute Face on Financial Markets

Tamogotchi by Tomasz Sienicki

Opened in 2012 in Montreal, Canada by art collectors Pierre and Anne-Marie Trahan, Arsenal Contemporary now has a branch in the Bowery.

Not a gallery, Arsenal is more correctly understood as a showcase for the Trahan’s private collection. The couple does also run a commercial gallery plus an artist residence program, as well as an additional Arsenal space in Toronto which they opened in 2014. Loreta Lamargese and Isabelle Kowal are co-directors of the Bowery branch, which opened in February 2017.

“Arsenal is not a gallery, so it gets to be a bit more experimental,” Lamargese said. She stated her wish to a collaborate with curators and local galleries on future programming. “We really want it to be an arts center where there’s always something happening.”

What’s happening now is a display of the latest art project from Ed Fornieles, digital creatures reminiscent of the cute Tamogotchi entities children were crazy for in the 90’s and beyond. At the Bowery’s Arsenal visitors will see three LED screens showing off the cute, blobby cartoon creatures Fornieles has dubbed Finiliar. The creatures change their expressions in concert with the rise and fall of a particular currency. For instance, when the British pound goes up, its very own Finiliar, whose name is Dunop, exudes happiness: he celebrates the pound’s success by raising up a champagne flute in pure joy. But if the pound should putter, as it mostly has since Brexit, we see little Dunop shaking and looking like he is about to burst into tears.

An interesting way to keep track of your favorite currencies.

What might seem a bit trivial, and even silly at first glance is actually an interesting social experiment to see if people might respond more empathetically to the troubles or successes of large financial systems if the fate of the currencies are portrayed by cute cartoons. The crash of a currency could actually lead to the death of a Finiliar. If that would happen, would be people care more?

Fornieles wants to see if giving this abstract financial concept a face in the form of a cute, round animated creature in the style of Japanese anime, will create an added incentive for the world to stand up and take notice of the continued health of things like currencies or companies.

Intrigued? Go check it out at the Bowery’s Arsenal Contemporary, from February 22 to April 23, 2017.

New York Restaurants Support “A Day Without Women”

Women’s March on Washington picture from Wikipedia.

On March 8, International Women’s Day, organizers of the Women’s March on Washington called for “A Day Without Women.” The march on Washington drew about 470,000 participants in DC and more than 4 million people globally. This month’s agenda calls for women to not work, either at home or at their paid jobs, to not shop, unless it is at stores owned by minorities or by women, or small shops, and to wear red. There was also a rally held at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village.

The “Day Without Women” modeled itself after February’s “Day Without Immigrants,” in which immigrant workers tried to stay home from work and find other ways to demonstrate the importance of immigrants to the overall economy.

The following local eateries joined in the day of remembering the crucial role women play in our economy in particular and society in general.

  • The Wren: This restaurant located at 344 Bowery gave their women workers the day off to go to the rally in Washington Square Park. Male staff member wore red to show their support.
  • Casellula: located in Hell’s Kitchen at 401 West 52nd Street, this wine and cheese café brought in guest servers to fill in for the women taking the day off. The guest servers have promised to donate their tips to Shining Hope For Communities, an NGO that fights gender inequality and overwhelming poverty in Kenya by supporting free education for girls.
  • Annisa: Anita Lo’s Village eatery locate at 13 Barrow Street pledged to donate a percentage of the day’s earnings to “Off the Sidelines, and organization founded by Senator Kirsten Gillebrand to help get more women into public office.

The Art of Tattooing on Display at New York’s Historical Society


Eli Jacobi (1898–1984)
Tattoo Artist, ca. 1935
Lithograph
New-York Historical Society Library

The New-York Historical Society is presenting an exhibit to fire up the imagination: Tattooed New York will explore the origin and development of the art of tattooing in New York City.

The exhibit is current and will be open until April 30, 2017. It will focus on the past 300 years of tattooing and the central role New York played in its development.

Over 250 works reaching back to the early 18th century until today will be on display. Included among the works are Native American body art, tattoo craft which was practiced among sailors, circus sideshow culture, and tattooing which took place during the infamous ban of 1961, which drove the practice underground for thirty years. Also exhibited are tattoo pieces reflecting the post-ban renaissance of this unlikely and not well known art form.

“We are proud to present Tattooed New York and offer our visitors an immersive look into the little-known history of modern tattooing,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “At the convergence of history and pop culture, the exhibition will track the evolution of this fascinating form of self-expression and the city’s influence on the phenomenon.”

After the tattoo ban was nullified in 1997 the practice flourished. Today there are more than 270 tattoo studios all over New York. The influence tattoo artists from the city is demonstrated by the many works of artists on display from all over the world, including Denmark, Japan, Mexico, China, Brazil, the UK, and Italy.

Bowery Homeless Call Whole Foods Home

An external shot of the Whole Foods Market. Photo courtesy David Shankbone.

As the rain and cold bombard the Bowery along with the rest of New York, the city’s homeless population is forced indoors. Many of the record numbers of homeless have found shelter in Manhattan’s largest supermarket, The Bowery Whole Foods.

While shoppers are loading their carts with craft beers, artisanal breads and gourmet cheeses, the less fortunate among us are upstairs taking advantage of the dry, sunny café area to spend the day dry and warm. One observer visiting the café saw a man sleeping on the floor in the fetal position, another barely conscious in what appeared to be a drug-induced haze, and others who seemed drunk or mentally ill.

The vagrants found a haven in the Whole Foods Café where there is a microwave and Wi-Fi they can use for free, clean bathrooms available for the cost of a cup of coffee, and if not quite a welcoming, but at least a tolerant attitude towards their presence.

The giant, up-scale supermarket opened in 2007. At 71,000 square-feet Whole Foods is the largest market in Manhattan. It takes up an entire city block between Chrystie and Bowery, and has 600 employees on the payroll. Built to be an accompaniment to the neighborhood’s gentrification, the appearance of the modern-day “Bowery Bums” is perhaps challenging the ability to complete the transition from “home of the downtrodden” to “hipster village.”

“No one wants to have lunch next to a foul-smelling bum, or a drunk or a junkie nodding out next to you. It’s not very appetizing. At the same time, Whole Foods displaced these people. These were the original Bowery denizens,” said Sean Sweeney, head of the Soho Alliance. “Gentrification took place and displaced them. Where are they supposed to go? The de Blasio administration has not done enough to find shelter for these unfortunate people.”

The number of homeless seeking space in the city’s shelters hit an all-time high last year. Those that don’t bother with shelters find warmth in places like Penn Station, other transit hubs, and accommodating locations like Whole Foods.

One employee working upstairs at the barbecue stand said, “The homeless problem gets worse in the winter, but nothing can be done about it.”

Christmas Trees Losing Christmas Spirit?

Tree in Bethlehem. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

Tree in Bethlehem. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

As the true meaning of Christmas continues to be lost in the relentless onslaught of media messages to buy, buy, buy, another tradition has come up for re-evaluation: the Christmas tree.

In at least one place in Manhattan a tree can set an individual or family back about $1,000, including delivery. For the same $1,000 the same family or individual could feed at least 600 homeless people at the Bowery Mission.

Trees in Greenwich Village are commanding the steep price of $77 per foot if the buyer needs help getting it home and installing it. One seller explained the price breakdown: a 13-foot white fir is not a traditional tree, so its harder to get and therefore more expensive, at $750 for the tree; the stand costs $200; delivery and set up is $25; and the three or four men needed to do the legwork charge $20 each.

Not everyone has been sucked into the need to have the tallest, rarest or most “amazing” tree. Many Christmas tree buyers stuck with smaller trees saying things like, “A tree is a tree, and there is no difference.”

This man bought his 6-footer for a more reasonable, affordable, $80. Another couple could be seen dragging their 5-foot tree home themselves, which they acquired for $100, including the stand.

Another shopper noted that back where he is from in Connecticut a tree this size only costs $20.