Just Do Art: Week of March 17, 2016
BENEFIT FOR NO LONGER EMPTY | Founded in 2009 as a (literally) creative response to the still-familiar sight of businesses shuttered by rising rents and shifting consumer dynamics, one of the first projects from No Longer Empty (NLE) filled two vacant storefronts at the infamous W. 23rd St. Chelsea Hotel building with work from several of its artistic residents. The following year, NLE briefly occupied the former E. Fourth St. & Broadway Tower Records — in the guise of “Never Can Say Goodbye,” a fictional, thriving purveyor of vinyl whose record bins, walls, and stage were brimming with sound, light, and images from 20 artists tasked with delivering an experience that digital downloads and online sales can’t provide. These early projects allowed for, even encouraged, bittersweet contemplation and charged conversation about the loss of neighborhood character — but NLE quickly evolved from hosting site-specific installations to curating site-responsive exhibitions. Today, their work (much of it commissioned) is created in collaboration with the surrounding community, with the goal of leaving a blueprint for the future once the exhibit closes up shop.
NLE’s forward-looking benefit, tellingly titled “The Journey Continues,” honors three women who are advancing their respective fields, while applying their talents to the betterment of the community: Ellen Baxter, of Broadway Housing Communities, improves the quality of life for the homeless by combining housing, education and the arts; Sol Aramendi (who’ll be spinning discs at the benefit) provides art-focused educational opportunities for immigrants; and Sarah Calderon, of ArtPlace America, advocates for the inclusion of art and culture in city planning. Calderon’s organization is a partnering funder of the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling — a mixture of affordable housing, universal pre- K, and an art museum. Bidding for the art auction (hosted by Paddle 8 and available for preview at bit.ly/188Um6Q) concludes at the end of the benefit.
Tues., Mar. 29, 7–10 p.m. at Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling (898 St. Nicholas Ave., at W. 155th St.; C train to 155th St. or 1 train to 157th St.). To purchase individual tickets or tables ($200–$5,000), visit nolongerempty.org/home/benefit-2016 or send an email to email@example.com. Follow NLE on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; #nolongerempty and #NLEjourney.
BENEFIT FOR PUNK MUSICIAN SONNY VINCENT’S FAMILY | New York native Sonny Vincent was living in Europe on Jan. 2, when he learned that his son, daughter-in-law, and nine-year-old grandson were severely injured in a gas explosion and flash fire that engulfed their apartment. Vincent flew to North Carolina, with just the clothes on his back — and has been at their sides ever since, as they undergo treatment for third degree burns on 50–80% of their bodies.
A touring musician with deep roots in NYC (his band, TESTORS, performed at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB), Sonny has few resources, and has canceled three tours to be by his family’s side. All proceeds from this night of music, poetry, and rare collectible merchandise will defray the costs of medical treatment and help them rebuild their lives. Performers include Walter Lure & The Waldos, New York Junk, WYLDLIFE, Puma Perl, The Nuclears, and DJ La La Linda.
DOCUMENTARY SCREENINGS AT THE AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY | France, Jewish identity, and the Holocaust are themes that run through this night of documentary film programming dedicated to addressing the trauma, and celebrating the resilience, of those who’ve been targets of genocide and violence. Set in 2014 as France commemorates the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Curt Fissel and Ellen Friedland’s 28-minute “Yellow Stars of Tolerance” follows an effort to preserve stars painted on a Normandy synagogue’s exterior wall during World War II, that were a means of terrorizing the local Jewish community. Scheduled for national release in 2017, director Boaz Dvir will present a 20-minute preview of his PBS documentary “Cojot: A Second Chance Comes Only Once.” The character study follows Holocaust survivor Michel Cojot through post-war life as a Parisian banker, a Nazi hunter on the trail of Klaus Barbie, and a pivotal player in the 1976 Entebbe hostage drama (his son Oliver, 12 at the time, was among those held by terrorists who hijacked a return flight to Paris from Tel Aviv). Oliver will join filmmakers from both projects, for a panel discussion followed by a reception.
Wed., Mar. 23, 7 p.m. at the American Jewish Historical Society (15 W. 16th St., btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.). For tickets ($10 general, $7 for students, seniors & AJHS members), visit ajhs.org or call 212-294-6160.
—BY SCOTT STIFFLER