Long Island City Rocks to LIC Bar tribute

Long Island City rocked on Saturday night to the sound of LIC Bar’s big “Thank You” to British rock band The Who for their donation of new equipment after hurricane Sandy flooded the bar’s basement. Tribute band “Who’s Next” treated a capacity crowd to a string of songs from nearly 50 years of music history; with hits from albums like “Tommy”and “Quadrophenia” as well as classic rock songs, including Who favourite, Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”.

"Who's Next"

“Who’s Next”

“Who’s Next” bear uncanny resemblance to the band they have been mimicking for the past 15 years. They performed with all the trademark gestures of The Who in their late 60’s and ‘70s heyday, before the death of their drummer Keith Moon and well before the more recent passing of bass player John Entwistle. So this was a trip back to a time when a fair number of the audience would have stood in line, bought the albums and absorbed the words of songs; singing along last night as the band rocked the house down with hits like “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Sing Together (with the band)”.

(For me I have to admit to a sense of excitement, seeing the band members walking around before the show, a kind of suspended reality that this could actually have been The Who as I remember them in the early days, playing my local church hall in Harrow and calling themselves the “High Numbers”.)

Capacity Crowd under the Marquee

Capacity Crowd under the Marquee

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Godfrey Townsend

Godfrey Townsend

A real treat as a support act was singer guitarist Godfrey Townsend; once again a superb interpreter of classic tracks; with songs by artists like Eric Clapton, the Beatles, Jack Bruce (in whose band he played) and Dave Mason. This was a solo performance with Townsend (no relation and different spelling) displaying his mastery of a repertoire that is rooted in the blues, with expert guitar picking and an easy, confident style. Townsend played with John Entwistle in his band and in homage to the night’s theme played a few Who songs, giving them an individual spin that contrasted well with the intensity and theater of the band to come.

Long Island Music Hall of Fame - DJ and producer Denis McNamara

Long Island Music Hall of Fame – DJ and producer Denis McNamara

The evening was MC’d by legendary WLIR DJ and long time stalwart of The Who, Denis McNamara. He took the stage for the raffle draw, along with LIC Bar music impresario Gus Rodriguez, and LIC Bar regular Rob Basch, who first contacted The Who after their Sandy concert at the Barclays Center. The occasion was also graced by an appearance from local council member and music fan, Jimmy van Bramer. One lucky patron walked away with no less than 3 raffle prizes, including the headline Gibson SG guitar, signed by Pete Townshend.

Winner of the signed Gibson SG - Albert Short of Long Island City

Winner of the signed Gibson SG – Albert Short of Long Island City

Teen Cancer America, The Who’s official charity, will benefit from $7000 from the night!

Rob Basch and Gus Rodriguez

Rob Basch and Gus Rodriguez – the energy behind a great night!

Thanks are due to all the sponsors who provided support, equipment and raffle prizes:

The Who (www.thewho.com)

Gibson Guitars New York (http://www2.gibson.com)

Universal Music ( www.universalmusic.com)

Parnell’s Restaurant (www.parnellsny.com)

Alobar (www.alobar.com)

El Ay Si restaurant (elaysi.com)

Manducatis Rustica Restuarant (www.manducatisrustica.com)

Bobby Vans Steakhouse ( www.bobbyvans.com)

Pranavah Yoga (www.pranavahyoga.com)

Domaine Wine Bar (www.domainewinebar.com)

Molly Pitchers Alehouse (www.mollypitchersnyc.com)

Brewers:

Radeberger Pilsner, Heineken, Guinness and Brooklyn Brewery

And those others who gave their  gifts anonymously.

Brian Porter - Owner, LIC Bar

Brian Porter – Owner, LIC Bar

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Walking for Pennies

Walking for Pennies with Pauline Pisano and (hidden) Neil Nunziato

Walking for Pennies with Pauline Pisano and Neil Nunziato

Walking for Pennies are LIC- based duo, Neeley Bridges and Andy Jobe. They released their first album “Forget About Wonderland” in October last year after years of making their way as actors and musicians around New York. Credits include: Les Miserables in Vermont, A Christmas Carol at MSG Paramount Theater, The Bitter End in Greenwich Village, the Living Room in Lower East Side and LIC Bar  (www.licbar.com). Their name refers to the times when they have been literally walking for pennies as dog walkers in order to get money together to pay rent; a thankless, poop-scooping task recalled in a song, “Who am I Supposed to Be”, penned by Bridges, on the album.

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Next week the duo expand to a band, with Neil Nunziato on drums, Pauline Pisano on piano and harmonies and Craig Akin on bass, to appear in their first show at the famous Rockwood Music Hall at 4pm on Sunday 17th February.

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Neeley Bridges, like her partner, studied musical theater at NYU and has been on the local music scene since then, with involvement in musicals, writing, performing solo and with bands. She is a talented multi-instrumentalist: guitar, mandolin, flute, oboe, piano and clarinet. These days she most often sticks to guitar and mandolin, which shines on the album, prefering mandolin: saying “guitar is really a guy’s intrument, it’s big!” Her voice is clear and accurate, offering strong interweaving harmonies with Andy’s distinctive higher-register vocal offerings. In 2008 she released a solo album “Devil on my Shoulder” and has written four of the songs on the Wonderland album.

Neeley Bridges

Neeley Bridges

Neeley describes herself as always having been a singer; able to remember melodies and lyrics since she was a small child. She remembers singing along with music on the radio and then reproducing the songs by her herself, including mimicking the vocal styles of singers like Cindy Lauper and Elvis.

Although her parents were not musicians they recognised her abilities and enthusiasms, allowing her to study opera enrol her in a “Magnet” school for “gifted and talented children” in their home town in Northern Carolina, a school which concentrated on teaching the performing arts and in which she was able to develop her voice and acting abilities, as well as her instrumental skills.

Writing

An immersion in music has allowed Neeley to develop her song writing using both traditional and original structures She finds, however, that simple structures are often more memorable, commenting that “People like to know where a song is going”. She usually writes using a guitar, but is finding that she will often develop melodies in her head and will know how they should be accompanied. Her memory for music means that she doesn’t need to sing or play into a recording device and can just hold it in her mind and develop it later.

Unlike her partner Andy she prefers to write whilst moving; whether walking or just around her LIC home. Andy prefers to sit, concentrate and just work it out. They don’t write together, suggesting that their contrasting writing styles militate against that; but they do contribute to each others’ arrangements both in vocal harmonies and instrumental parts.

Andy Jobe

Andy Jobe

Vocally the couple have contrasting voices. Ohio-born Andy has a distinctive high register and tone, with Neeley offering a range of vocal tones for which her formal vocal training, and her childhood mimicking talent, has been excellent preparation. The addition of Pauline Pisano (http://www.paulinepisano.com)as a regular contributor to Walking for Pennies band shows offers a richer, lower register contrast which allows for some beautiful harmonisation. Neil Nunziato, an unstintingly loyal drummer, well known to LIC Bar musicians is also a regular supporter of Neeley and Andy.

Craig Akin (http://www.slapfiddle.com/), too is regularly seen on the New York music scene. in demand for both upright and electric bass.

A background in the theatre has given Walking For Pennies a gift for presentation, which makes for polished and well prepared shows.

Andy and Neeley, like most musicians in New York, have to mix a range of employments in order pay the rent. They are fortunate in that they can offer themselves as a duo, not just in performance but also in children’s educational programs such as LIC Kids (http://lickids.com/),  at a local yoga studio, Pranavah Yoga (www.pranavahyoga.com), and, soon, at the gym at the powerhouse, a local condominium. Together they offer musical enrichment programs for young children in the LIC area as well as providing instrumental and vocal tuition to budding musicians of all ages.

Whilst less involved with musical theatre these days, their training comes to good use with a commitment to “A Christmas Carol’ performances in Denver, Colorado – a semi-regular holiday employment that means that they don’t have to spend long periods apart, often a burden that couples have to bear when they are both entertainers.

The Album

Andy Jobe wrote the title track to their album: “Forget about Wonderland”, an album that demonstrates the talent and real attention to detail of these two musicians. It is a carefully crafted selection of music of different genres, with a country/folk – pop/R&B thread; a mix of guest musicians make for a satisfying mix that sustains repeated listening, both as an album and picking tracks to match a mood. As solo singers they contrast; with Neeley offering  sound which mixes soul with country, whilst Andy pays his respects to a big influence, James Taylor, supported by some nice guitar picking. His voice can be compared to Michael Jackson in its high range and flexibility. As duettists their voices have a combined strength and consistency which shows well in live performance, no auto-tune here!

Check out a perfromance of their song “Nashville”:

In December 2012 Walking for Pennies played at LIC Bar, in a benefit performance for victims of Hurricane Sandy, debuting their single “Hurricane”; the proceeds of which go to Sandy relief.

Check out their website www.walkingforpennies.com for downloads, and take a trip down to Rockwood for their show on 17th.

Artists in Residence at the LIC Bar

Every month LIC Bar (www.licbar.com) has a new “Artist in Residence”. February sees TWO, Jo Williamson and Xavier Cardriche.
LIC Bar is a popular venue for local, national and international artists who might be building up to a tour, making a come-back or preparing for a recording. Jo Williamson is such an artist, having recently taken a break from performing she joins a line of high calibre artists who use the LIC venue to hone their skills before embarking on tours or recording projects. Most frecently Jim Keller (famous for his hit 867-5309 with Tommy Tutone) has been such an artist, sharpening his performances before a tour with Nick Lowe.

Jo WilliamsonJo’s most recent recording is her album, Be the Man, produced by Martha Wainwright and released in 2011 as her third CD offering. As a singer songwriter, she writes and performs in a folk style which has a story-telling quality with a range between ballads and torch songs. She has a strong clear, accurate voice and a highly musical feel to performances which have powerful, intimate quality reminiscent of early Joni Mitchell, yet strong like Patti Smith and clear like the great British folk singer Sandy Denny.

In her first LIC Bar performance on Feb 4th she played acoustic guitars and an electric bass, using loop electronics to good effect: pushing the boundaries of traditional singer/songwriter performance. I was impressed by her honest professional approach and her visceral musicality.

Jo plus Bass

Jo looping with bass

Check her out on http://www.myspace.com/jowilliamsonmusic.

Jo’s performances at LIC Bar are at 7pm on Mondays throughout February; nights when three other performers are presented each week, as well as free food at 9pm, courtesy of Parnell’s Restaurant (http://www.parnellsny.com/)

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Xavier Cardriche

Xavier Cardriche

Xavier Cardriche is well known to LIC Bar regulars, he is a strong singer with a rich bluesy voice and a confident performance style that connects immediately with the audience. Playing with both a band and solo his songs are powerful and melodic, with variations in style that makes for interesting sets, as can be heard on his self-titled 2012 album. In his performance on Feb 6th he added another dimension to his artistic presence by including a stylish performance from dancers Lauren Engleman (http://laurenengleman.webs.com) and Kyla Ernst-Alper (http://www.kylaernstalper.com/) , who will be joining him again throughout February.

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Xavier with dancers Lauren Engleman and Kyla Ernst-Alper

For this residency he is performing solo, with dancers, at 10pm every Wednesday night throughout February. Check him out on http://xaviercardriche.com/

LIC Bar Calendar:

Monday, Feb 11th

7pm Jo Williamson

8pm The Cowmen

9pm Sam Trapchak

10pm Anthony Cekay Group

 

Wednesday, Feb 13th

7pm Sabina Saragoussi

8pm Cheer

9pm Remy De Laroque

10pm Xavier Cardriche Feb Residency

 

Thursday, Feb 14th

9pm Fireside Valentines Day Special

invite that special someone to hear love ballads

for this special Valentines Day concert by the

LIC Bar fireplace! Performances by Silbin Sandovar & friends

 

Saturday, Feb 16th

11pm

Magic Bones

 

Sunday, Feb 17th

5-8pm

Big City Folk Sunday Social

Obscure in the Round

Niall Connolly, Anthony Mulcahy and Matt Sucich. 

 

8:30pm Ali Silva’s Fireside Ghost Stories: The Valentines Day Show

Tales that explore the dark side of love by the LIC Bar

fireplace!

 

Monday, Feb 18th

7pm Kjersti Kveli

8pm Tango Mediterraneo

9pm Tipsy Oxcart

10pm Nik Westman

 

 

Wednesday, Feb 20th

8pm Frealane

9pm Lee Ann Westover’s Battle Annies

10pm Xavier Cardriche Feb Residency

 

 

 

Saturday, Feb 23rd 8-11pm

SPECIAL EVENT: “WHO” CARES ABOUT LIC BAR!

In honor of The Who helping LIC Bar post Hurricane

Sandy, we’re celebrating with live music by

The Ultimate Who Tribute Band “WHO’S NEXT”

WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED GUITAR BY

PETE TOWNSHEND and lots of other great prizes!

Tix $20—all proceeds go to The Who’s official charity: THE TEENAGE CANCER TRUST

 

11pm Silbin & Friends

 

Sunday, Feb 24th 5-8pm

Big City Folk Sunday Social

feat Jesse Cohen

Anthony Lanni and Friends

 

Monday, Feb 25th

7pm Jo Williamson

8pm Antonio Parisi

9pm Kat Calvosa

10pm Kelly Ash

 

Wednesday, Feb 27th

8pm Stacy Rock

9pm Dana Athens

10pm Xavier Cardriche Feb Residency

 

Who Tribute Concert at LIC Bar!

LIC Bar to host Who tribute band in charity fundraiser

US premier Who tribute band “Who’s Next” will fill LIC Bar on Saturday February 23rd with a gig that says “Thank You” to the THE WHO  for donating sound equipment to the bar after the loss of 1000s of dollars worth of equipment in Hurricane Sandy. The gig will raise money for the WHO’s official charity The Teenage Cancer Trust (http://www.teenagecancertrust.org/). Tickets will cost $20 and 100% of the net proceeds will go to the charity. Raffle prizes offered by a whole range of donors will include a Gibson SG guitar autographed by PETE TOWNSHEND (http://www2.gibson.com) , a Shure microphone signed by ROGER DALTREY, Signed CDs, promo posters, restaurant vouchers (www.alobar.com, elaysi.com, www.manducatisrustica.com, www.bobbyvans.com) , a bicycle, Yoga classes (www.pranavahyoga.com), tickets for the Nets and Wicked on Broadway; and wine (www.domainewinebar.com)

Whogivesback

“Who’s Next” uncannily even look like the band in their earlier days, when they were Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Keith Moon and John Entwhistle. They are acknowledged as the TOP US Who tribute band and have been wowing audiences since 1999. They have even performed Who concert after parties and in 2001 were joined on stage by the late John Entwhistle. (check out www.whosnexttribute.com)

Also playing is New York guitar maestro Godfrey Townsend (no relation, different spelling), well known for his collaborations with the John Entwistle Band, “Cream” bassman Jack Bruce and the Eric Clapton birthday tributes at BB Kings.

Local legend Silbin Sandovar will play for the afterparty, backed by the LIC Bar Allstars featuring guitarist Danny Mackane and Kevin O’Leary.

The gig runs from 8-11pm, Tickets ($20) are available from LIC Bar website www.licbar.com

Watch out for surprise guests!!

The Backbeat

Local music-lover and LIC Bar regular Rob Basch describes how he started a process which ended up in LIC Bar receiving replacement equipment and this gig developing.

” We all knew what had happened to LIC Bar in Hurricane Sandy, Gus Rodriguez was trying to put together some fundraisers to replace the lost equipment. In November I went to The Who’s concert in Brooklyn and read that they were also  doing the 12.12.12 concert at Madison Square Garden for victims of Hurricane Sandy and thought – they’re in town, let me see if I can invite them to LIC Bar to do a show; why not? So I went on their website and used their email system to write to Roger and Pete saying “It was a great show, I saw you were doing the 12.12 show and really appreciate the help that you are giving. I live in Long Island City and we have a great little music bar that was damaged in the storm and I wondered if you’d stop by and do a little gig at the bar. “We usually give artists two drinks tickets but if you guys  show up we could probably get you three”,  I said, not expecting an answer. But I get this email back, from Simon Townshend, Pete’s brother, who was part of the band playing second guitar, saying “I saw your email, the boys would really like to help out we really feel bad for the people  affected by Sandy and we’ll see what we can do to help”.

A couple of days later I get an email back from the guy who runs their  website, Rob Lee, based in London saying:  “I’ve been talking to the lads and unfortunately they’re unable to play but I’ve contacted Bob Pridden their long-time sound manager who is going to get in touch with a few of their sound suppliers to see what they can do to replace what you have lost.”

Another week goes by and I get a couple of phone calls, one from Shure microphones and the other from Peavey, who make amplification equipment both saying that Roger Daltrey had called and wanted to see if they could help out. A bunch of emails went back and forth for a couple of weeks and basically they sent us a bunch of microphones and a new PA and amplification system.

Coincidently Simon Townshend was playing at the Port Washington library in December, close to where I work and I was able to go and say thank you to him in person. Now we are able to give an even bigger thank you through the benefit concert on Febraury 23rd.”

See also: http://wp.me/p1ZFJu-p4

LIC Bar will erect a tent over their courtyard, with the Carriage House taking on its   summer role of stage. Bar owner Brian Porter is excited at the prospect of putting the Bar very much on the Map as the foremost music venue in Long Island City.

Brian Porter

Brian Porter

NOTE: The 7 Line is suspended this Weekend and Vernon /Jackson Station  will be closed.

If you are coming by subway use the E and get out at 23rd Street/Ely/Court Square., or the G to 21st Street.

court sq to lic bar

February Fireside Frolics at LIC Bar

The Carriage House at LIC Bar is becoming a popular venue for theatrical and literary events. Last month it hosted “The Nature of the Muse” and this month sees events that will make full use of its cosy fireside ambiance as we continue to face the New York winter.

peter poster

Peter and the Wolf

This Sunday, February 10th, sees  the return of a popular adaptation of Russian composer Sergei Prokoviev’s well-loved music for the story of Peter and the Wolf in a show designed for both children and adults. Originally commissioned for the Children’s Theater in Moscow in 1936 the music has become a favorite across the world, including inspiring a cartoon film, “Make Mine Music”, created by Walt Disney at the same time as his more famous Fantasia; and a version by The Muppet Babies:  “Skeeter and the Wolf”.

Actor Ali Silva and puppeteer Gus Rodriguez have adapted the story and are joined by the Washington Square Wind Quintet in a performance in the Carriage House of LIC Bar. True to Prokoviev’s music the five instruments (flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet and French horn), plus puppets, portray the characters, with melodies that are instantly memorable. The performance, which promises a lot of fun, starts at 2pm Sunday, with a suggested donation of $5.

(NOTE: The performance on Saturday 9th has been cancelled due to the anticipated blizzard.)

 

 

The Peter and the Wolf cast

The Peter and the Wolf cast (plus audience)

Valentines Day


Local singer songwriter Silbin Sandovar invites you to bring “someone special” to an evening of intimate “Fireside Love Ballads” in the Carriage House at 9pm on Valentines night. Silbin hopes to be joined by singer/songwriter friends in what promises to be a low key, relaxed evening that will leave you with an inner glow, whether you are with a new love, an old flame or a hot chick.

Silbin Sandovar

Silbin Sandovar

Ghost Stories


Sunday February 17th sees the return of local actor Ali Silva’s very popular “Fireside Ghost Stories” in the LIC Bar Carriage House. In these tales of mystery, suspense and horror Ali is joined by musicians Charlie Rauh, guitar. and Concetta Abbate, violin, to offer an eager audience the opportunity to feel the comfort of the fireplace whilst being scared out of their skin by tales of horror and suspense with a Valentines twist.

The show starts at 8:30pm, be there in good time, these are becoming very popular!

Fireside Ghost Stories

Fireside Ghost Stories

Watch out for another  Fireside Ghost Stories session on March 17th, a special Irish Edition.

Good cheer brewing up in LIC

The Rockaway Brewing Company, is not, as its name might suggest, an evacuee from the storm ravaged Rockaway coast, but a new brewing venture set up in Long Island City.  Owners Marcus Burnett and Ethan Long are two friends who have been enthusiastic home brewers for years in their Rockaway bungalows and who decided last year to extend their hobby into a part-time business, employing 3 staff and taking up the offer of space in LIC to start up in April 2012.

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Locally-produced food and drink are the current enthusiasms of New York consumers; aware that local jobs are important and that food is usually fresher when produced in the region. RBCO is a “Nano-brewery”, a technical difference from a Micro-brewery, terms that relate to the number of barrels of beer produced. The company is currently producing 8 barrels per week of four different ales, two light and two dark, which are sold to local restaurants, supermarkets and bars: The malty ESB (Extra Special Bitter), a more hoppy Pale Ale (both of these deliberately softer than the more common hard-hitting and hop-driven IPAs around from other breweries), a Porter and Stout (“Black Gold)”. Not content to stick to these four brews RBCO is also experimenting with new brews, including a Scottish ale and an IPA (India Pale Ale). They also sell their draft ale in growlers directly from the brewery, from taps behind a newly built counter, with music from Vinyl LPs and a 1960s Heathkit valve stereo.

Brewer Flynn stirs the mash

Brewer Flynn stirs the mash

Beer is basically a fermented mix of water, yeast, hops and barley malt. The tradional German quality  standard allows no further additions, however variation is obtained by RBCO adding flavour enhancing ingredients (such as toasted woodchips marinated in single barrel bourbon, in the soon-to-be available Scottish ale) and using different types of hop that offer bitterness and aroma. For the highest quality, RBCO source their hops from Hop Union in Washington State (http://www.hopunion.com) , but have also used fresh local hops, with honey, in their seasonal summer ale. The owners have even attempted to grow their own hops in Rockaway, but hurricane Sandy put that idea on the back burner until another year.

Marcus draws some Scots beer to sample.

Marcus draws some Scots beer to sample.

RBCO use up to eight different varieties of hops supplied to them in a form which is freeze dried so that enough moisture remains to ensure that the essential life qualities of the hop remain. This is different from the traditional way of hanging them in well ventilated buildings, called Oast Houses, some of which can still be seen in England – but these days they are more often converted into living accommodation. All RBCO ales are unfiltered, with no artificial ingredients; therefore, whilst the brewers strive for consistency in their brews they are aware that variation in seasons will create the kind of subtle differences that set craft ales apart from their mass-produced cousins.

Columbus Hops

Columbus Hops

The brewery produces a mix of pressurised keg and hand-drawn, non-carbonated cask ales, which are destined for bars and restaurants (like “Alewife” at 5-14 51st Ave, between 5th Street and Vernon) who have the skills and equipment to care for and serve beers in the traditional way. Demand is strong with the owners anticipating that it will outstrip supply in the Summer season.

CaptureAs well as buying direct from the brewery, at the corner of 46th Road and 5th Street in Long Island City; you can buy growlers from the “Food Cellar” supermarket on 47th Avenue, by Center Boulevard (http://foodcellarandco.com), and drink at local venues Alobar (http://alobarnyc.com), Alewife ( http://alewifequeens.com), John Brown’s Smokehouse (http://www.johnbrownseriousbbq.com/) as well as establishments in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and, of course, Rockaway.

For more information check out www.rockawaybrewco.com.

This article is an extended version of a piece published in www.licspot.com   an excellent local news blog

Old Bank raises local interest

Old Bank of Manhattan Queens Plaza

Old Bank of Manhattan Queens Plaza

The iconic Bank of Manhattan building on Queens Plaza was built in 1924 and was the first skyscraper in Long Island City. It stretches high above the highways and iron subways of the Ed Koch bridge intersections. The clock tower holds an intriguing light; you’re not sure if it is reflecting the sky, the trucks or the subway. It is in fact a light installation by artist Chris Jordan, “Locost Queue”, with moving shadows of people. It acts as a beacon for the community to enter (freely) the old bank entrance and walk around an exhibition created by “No Longer Empty” (www.nolongerempty.org), a community-oriented art organization that uses vacant real estate as venues for arts, experiential workshops and community activities.

"Push" - not an artwork, or is it?

“Push” – not an artwork, or is it?

Not content to just use the empty space the organizers have themed the exhibition around the building’s origins and offers opportunities for visitors to reflect on money, capitalism, Wall Street and international economics. They describe “How Much Do I Owe You?” as “a personal and conversational exploration into the new iterations of currency, value and exchange at this time of financial flux, growing debt and job insecurity.”

The main floor is the venue for activities and as also an arena for artwork around the walls , across the floor and hanging from the ceiling. They demonstrate the mix of metal, paper and organic objects that permeate the exhibition. Plants growing in tanks; dead leaves blowing like money; rice glowing in a maze on the floor, waiting to become the setting for a perfomance by the artist, Hayoon Jay Lee, at the end of the exhibition, after which the audience will be invited to btake the rice home in brown paper bags.

Shifting Landscape

Shifting Landscape

The huge bank vault is open, yet the ping pong table (Theodoros Stamatogiannis) blocked into the corridor highlights the inaccessibility and secrecy of much of the financial world.

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Downstairs within the vault we can see a movie, Vive Le Capital, 2010-2012, by Orit Ben-Shitrit, itself filmed in the former Bankers Trust building in Wall Street, framed by the circular metal door of the vault itself. The Bankers Trust was the scene of a much publicised investigation and trial into fraudulent activity in 1998, extracts from evidence are incorportated into the film along with visual and verbal references to the French Revolution and The Medici family.

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The works in this exhibition are presented from a range of artists from around the world, yet the exhibition also connects with the local community in promoting work on the theme produced by local school students. Schools from the five boroughs of New York City are represented by sculpture, drawings, paintings, film and multi-media that have been selected to be shown. They show the talent of youth, and their awareness of the issues the exhibition highlights. Students are also given opportunities to become involved in the exhibition as curators and docents.

Vladislav Smolyanskyy from Ed R Morrow High School

“Infinity” by Vladislav Smolyanskyy from Ed R Morrow High School

The space is also being used for a series of events, interactive and community focussed. Director of Programming and Associate Director, Jodie Dinapoli is keen to talk about the exhibition and encourages visitors of all ages to attend, not just to look but to also become involved.
Of the works offered, I was impressed most by a group of typewriters, wrapped in charcoal rubbings of tree bark patterns on washi, a Japanese wood pulp paper and encased in resin; these created by Japanese artist Keiko Miyamori, who typed the beginnings of phrases on the paper; also Guerra de la Paz ‘s Sealing the Deal, (2009) a full size Magritte-like coupling of two figures, clothed but disembodied, financial charmers with a reptilian exchange of bargains.

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I was very impressed by the quality of some of the students’ art, including some from local schools: Newcomers, and Long Island City High Schools. On duty when I visited were three student docents from The Academy of American Sciences, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and Manhattan Hunter Science High School.

Student docentsIsabelle Montesinos, Alejandra Siguero and Natalie Bedon

Student docents
Isabelle Montesinos, Alejandra Siguero and Natalie Bedon

Guerra de la Paz ‘s "Sealing the Deal"

Guerra de la Paz ‘s “Sealing the Deal”

The exhibition continues through March 13. Check out www.nolongerempty.org.

This article is an extended version of one previously published in www.licspot.com , an excellent local news blog