Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Archive for November, 2013

Photos of the day: MODERN DAY HITLER VANDALIZES ‘DEGENERATE ART’ AT 5 POINTZ

ACT OF HATE-c

Photos of the day: MODERN DAY HITLER VANDALIZES ‘DEGENERATE ART’ AT 5 POINTZ:

5 POINTZ AFTER NOV. 2013

5 POINTZ AFTER NOV. 2013

5 POINTZ BEFORE NOV. 2013

5 POINTZ BEFORE NOV. 2013

Tuesday November 19, 2013 is a day I will not long forget. It was a twist of events and cruel fate that brought many powers of good and evil together.

MARIE FLAGEUL

MARIE FLAGEUL

My dear friend and fellow tour guide Tom Orzo and I picked up 6 German tourist guests at the Queen Mary 2 at the Brooklyn piers for a 3 hour city tour. Normally Tom and I end our tour with a surprise visit to 5Pointz. Since we were coming from Brooklyn, Tom (doing the driving) insisted we make 5Pointz our first fateful stop. At 10:45 we were heading down Jackson Avenue when Tom kept calling out “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”. I thought it was his over-reaction to a smaller building in front of the Graffiti Museum that was being torn down. My back was to the museum, I’m facing my German guests telling them how extraordinary a site they are about to see. Now I realize their faces seemed odd and puzzled, so I turn around to the shock of seeing men on high cranes slopping white paint all over the building, obliterating 12 years of spectacular intricate art. I quickly got out to see if I recognized anyone.

MERES' VOW TO FIGHT

MERES’ VOW TO FIGHT

I ran back to the van and we sped to the main loading dock/entrance to the building. And there it was, a vandalized, obliterated work of art – 12+ years destroyed. I ripped open the door to the van and ran into the arms of curator Marie Flaguel and held her as tightly as I could. I cried deep from the gut. I couldn’t stop, I could not speak, I kept gasping for air. I was afraid to let go for fear of seeing Marie’s face. Finally I had to. “It’s all gone…” she said as tears streamed  down her face. The owner Jerry Wolkoff, the same man who had asked the artists to paint the murals on his building, had hired non union thugs to destroy over 1,500 pieces of art outside and even throughout the entire inside of the building. Murals that would take your breath away now had erratic white brush strokes all over them. Oddly enough, the greater more powerful murals – had extra coats of white paint over them, it was deliberate, fearful, vindictive and hateful. How do you find words in a moment when you realize it was one of the greatest mass desecrations of art in the 21st Century. An art genocide.

One of the most haunting incredible  unseen inside murals by Carlos "See TF" Game

One of the most haunting incredible unseen inside murals by Carlos “See TF” Game

As Marie was filling me in on what happened, one of my German guests, Andrea Pröscholdt-Krulich, ran over in tears. “Why?! Warum?!” she kept asking. She was quite shaken. You see – her son was a graffiti artist who had recently committed suicide. She had planned on this trip to New York to visit 5Pointz to pay homage to her son. She never thought that a ‘routine Manhattan city tour’ would have included our surprise visit here. Andrea and my guests were stunned at the amount of press around us and the unexplainable goings on. They looked on in wonderment – here they were in ‘free’ America’, in ‘progressive’ New York and they were watching Hitler-like tactics unfold before their stunned eyes. Some of my older guests were survivors of World War II. I had to get back on the coach and explain what was happening. Then  I realized something. I was with a group of Germans, some of whom had been through a time in Germany when Hitler from 1936 to 1937 rounded up all “modern” art – “Entartete Kunst“ and declared it ‘degenerate’ and had it all destroyed. Over 5,000 works were seized, including 1,052 by Emil Nolde, 759 by Heckel, 639 by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and 508 by Max Beckman, as well as smaller numbers of works by such artists as Alexander Archipenko, Chagall, James Ensor, Matisse, Picasso and even Van Gogh. What Jerry Wolkoff did was no different!

5 POINTZ CANDLE VIGIL 11-18-13

5 POINTZ CANDLE VIGIL 11-18-13

LAST STAND AT 5 POINTZ 11-18-13

LAST STAND AT 5 POINTZ 11-18-13

But we were not there to mourn the destruction of the museum, their clock was ticking and I was there paid to give a tour. We continued with our tour, but every time we came to a red light or got stuck in traffic, the conversation always went back to the disbelief of 5Pointz. We dropped off our guests and I headed to a candle light vigil that was held at 5pm.

GERMANY MOURNS WITH YOU <3

GERMANY MOURNS WITH YOU ❤

The vigil’s atmosphere was like a tomb, what had been vibrant was dead. At night the ‘white” was even more ‘deadly’ and eerie. People kept coming, looking up in silent tearful disbelief and anger. Poster boards were taped onto the building for us to leave our messages. The purpose of the posters is – we will never ever again grace his walls with a single piece of art, line, scribble name or even a dot. Wolkoff had the audacity to claim he too cried. He claimed he had done this so the artist wouldn’t have had the pain of seeing their art work torn down over a period of months.  This scumbag reasoning is because he was afraid of the momentum we were gaining. On last Sunday’s rally, when 5Pointz was packed, Marie and Meres (co-curators) had gathered over 1,000 signed petitions in ONE day, to have the building land marked and saved. The owner Wolkoff cleverly erased the value of the building. Let us also not forget, the approval of the two twin glass towers that he plans to build on the same spot were approved by the weasel of a lying two-faced councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, the lowest form of politician there is: big smiling child like innocent face, with his hand holding a knife behind his back, ready to strike for his financial gain.  Wolkoff and Bramer – greed is the intoxicant but karma is the bitch.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

So joining the ranks now of Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh are artists Onur Dinc, Esteban Del Valle, Meres One, Spidertag, Kidlew, Kkade, Rubin, Aka Shiro, Veronique Barrilot, Contort, Jekl and Dyzer5, Bisco, Bishop203, Just One, Leias, Zeso, and Zimad, Lord Roc, Bisc1, one of my favorites Carlos “See TF” Game and so, so many, many more. Who is anyone to say they aren’t the next Keith Harring, Basquiat, or Matisse? It is a knife in the soul of a fading New York.

GHOSTS OF 5 POINTZ

GHOSTS OF 5 POINTZ

Rest In Paint 5POINTZ
MARIE FLAGEUL - CANDEL  LIGHT VIGIL

MARIE FLAGEUL – CANDEL LIGHT VIGIL

MERES' 'STAND HERE'

MERES’ ‘STAND HERE’


Photo of the day: BOGEY AND ME at THE UNITED PALACE “CASABLANCA” RE-PREMIERE

CASABLANCA collage
Photo of the day: BOGEY AND ME at THE UNITED PALACE “CASABLANCA” RE-PREMIERE – ‘Mondays on Memory Lane’ takes us to a grande gala evening of tuxedos and gowns as the revitalized United Movie Palace once known at the Loew’s 175th Street Movie Palace, re-premiered the all time film classic “Casablanca” starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. Having once spent a magical evening alone with Ingrid Bergman in 1972, the film also has an extra special place in my heart.
Dooley Wilson

Dooley Wilson

The Palace originally opened in 1930 as the Loew’s 175th Street Theater, presenting vaudeville and “talking pictures.” With its spectacular Thomas Lamb design, it was the last of the five Wonder Theatres to be built. In 1969, when many of the city’s grand movie theatres had been demolished or turned into multiplexes, the Palace was purchased, and preserved in magnificent style, by Reverend Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter (Rev. Ike) for his church. Rev. Ike paid big money to have European craftsman restore the hand carved gold detail work throughout the theater declaring: “We are all created in God’s image, therefore each of us is god-like. Therefore you should be made to feel like a god when you enter this palace.” (You do, thank you Rev. Ike!)
United Palace Loew's lobby

United Palace Loew’s lobby

Since Reverend Ike’s death in 2009, the United Palace has been led by his son, Xavier, a life-long musician and minister currently working with the Rhythm Arts Alliance in Southern California, whose dream has been to create a cultural center uptown. Toward this end, he has organized UPCA as a secular non-profit that has a long-term licensing agreement to use the theater and rehearsal and classroom space.

Loew's Palace balcony

Loew’s Palace balcony

The theater is Manhattan’s third-largest; portable partitions enable its use for audiences ranging from a few hundred to its full capacity. It has hosted symphony concerts, been used in films, videos and TV shows like “Smash”.

United Palace Loew's theater

United Palace Loew’s theater

What was expected to be an event that would just draw a couple of hundred people through their web site and friends on twitter and Facebook, wound up drawing an audience of 1,100 people! (I was made aware of it by my friend Carolyn Blackbourn). Admission was $15 but those appearing in formal gowns and tuxedos were given free admission but could still make donations to the theater in form of raffles (I won a poster!). The audience was polled by a show of hands, how many were visiting this theater for the first time – 75% of the hands went up! How many had never seen “Casablanca” in a movie theater before – 50% of the hands went up! The audience gasped with the excitement knowing we were all sharing this wonderful experience of “a first” together, that is the magic of film- the shared experience in the dark.
Mike Fitelson and Lou Lumenick

Mike Fitelson and Lou Lumenick

We were treated to live music performances by the SONGS chamber Orchestra and serenaded with “As Time Goes By” by Tim McAfee Lewis. Executive director of ‘the Palace’ handsome Mike Fitelson welcomed us with a wonderful speech of his goals for this architectural treasure. This was followed by the world premier of hip hop artist GPK’s music video “Bouger” which happens to have a ‘Casablanca’ theme. “Casablanca” was introduced by New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick, declaring it his favorite film of all time. Then came that magic moment when the lights are dimmed, the dark screen illuminated with the Warner Brothers logo and the magic began. The film is perfection. Bogey and Bergman are perfection, Peter Lore and Paul Henreid are perfection, the script and editing are perfection. It’s truly is the golden age of 1942 Hollywood.
Loew's Palace mural

Loew’s Palace mural

The joy of classic lines like: “Play it! ” (no Bogey does not say ‘again Sam’, Woody Allen did).
Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money] Croupier: Your winnings, sir. Captain Renault: Oh, thank you very much.
Rick: We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have, we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night. Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you. Rick: And you never will. But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.
Rick: Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
And I hope that this is also the beginning of a beautiful friendship with the many of you who will check out The United Palace web site (below) and visit this spectacular theater for future events.
"Here's looking at you kid." Bogey & Bergman

“Here’s looking at you kid.” Bogey & Bergman

My favorite Peter Lore scene “Rick! Hide me!”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x4im8TQWY

Casablanca quotes: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034583/quotes

Hans Von Ritttern and Deborah Blau

Hans Von Ritttern and Deborah Blau


Photo of the day: EARLY MORNING SUNDAY SHAVE

ABRAHAM BARBER SHOP SUNDAY MORNING

Photo of the day: EARLY MORNING SUNDAY SHAVE – It’s 8:30 on a Sunday morning in the Bronx. On upper Broadway and 180th  street nothing is open or awake yet except for a few bodegas and Abraham (and Bobby’s)  Barber Shop. I was up there last weekend in the early morning hours waiting to do a hike of the Washington Bridge and the Jersey Palisades. As I walked up and down upper Broadway looking for a place to eat, I came across this early morning scene.

Photo and cause of the day! HELP SAVE 5 POINTZ RALLY TODAY 11-16-13, 3pm!

FERSSEN UND GEFRESSEN WERDEN - Eat and be eaten

FERSSEN UND GEFRESSEN WERDEN – Eat and be eaten

Photo and cause of the day! FRESSEN UND GEFRESSEN WERDEN/EAT AND BE EATEN
HELP SAVE 5 POINTZ AT 3pm RALLY TODAY!
We are reaching out to any and all supporters of 5 Pointz to come out and support Meres. If you love 5 Pointz, show us on Saturday. COME AND SEE MERES BY HIS OFFICE IN THE LOADING DOCK . COME AND SIGN THE LANDMARK FORM Please come out to show your support and hear more about REAL STRATEGIES TO SAVE OUR MONUMENT. The future of 5 Pointz is within OUR CONTROL! Peaceful gathering and art from 3-4. Speakers from 4-5. YOUR SUPPORT IS NEEDED! COME ONE COME ALL THIS SATURDAY!!!!

Photo of the day: CHRISTMAS DINNER AT BENDEL’S WITH LIZA, SARAH-JESSICA, WOODY, MARILYN, CAROL AND AL HIRSCHFELD

BENDEL HIRSCHFELD CHRISTMAS WINDOW
Photo of the day: CHRISTMAS DINNER AT BENDEL’S WITH LIZA, SARAH-JESSICA, WOODY, MARILYN, CAROL AND AL HIRSCHFELD  – Since I was a little boy the magical drawings of Al Hirschfeld have absolutely fascinated me! The fact that a few twists of the pen could totally capture a person and their character was astounding to me. Every Sunday I would get up early to run to the corner store to get a Sunday New York Times and pull out the Arts & Leisure section to see who had been ‘Hirschfelded’. That was a steadfast tradition from about 1964 till Al Hirschfeld’s death in 2003. I have boxes and boxes (and boxes) of clippings of all the Hirschfelds I could find from then till now.
The great Hirschfeld

The great Hirschfeld

My dream of meeting him came true one day in the year 2000, in the theater that was later to be named for him, The Martin Beck now The Hirschfeld.  The story of meeting him is a story unto it’s own. I had met the greatest of the greats until then: Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Elvis, Elton, Cher, Liz Taylor, Katherine Hepburn, but meeting Hirschfeld had topped them all. I had met the man that had documented close to 100 years of America’s entertainment history. It was the most humbling and breath taking moment of my life.
Jerry Stiller meets 'Jerry' with Margo Feiden and Bendel's

Jerry Stiller meets ‘Jerry’ with Margo Feiden and Bendel’s

When Hirschfeld died, I bought many of his possessions at the 2011 Doyle Galleries estate sale, his pens and pencils, his large wooden pencil box, his shoulder bag and many, many other items, all lovingly displayed in my home.
Fast forward to November 14, 2013 and I am standing in front of Henri Bendel’s windows waiting for the grand unveiling of their Christmas window featuring a three dimensional tribute to the great beloved Hirschfeld.
Bendel's president and top executives and creative team

Bendel’s president and top executives and creative team

I waited front row, clutching my Hirschfeld owned shoulder bag which still has his handwritten name tag attached written in his trademark squared signature. Due to arrive were Jerry Stiller who is featured in the window and Margo Feiden, the sole curator of the Hirschfeld collection. They were followed by the president of Bendel’s, the artistic director, and by Tom Carroll who created the pieces and Bendel’s Assistant VP of Visual, Gilberto Santana. Once inside, I showed the president of Bendel’s my Hirschfeld bag, “You must meet Margo!” (Shades of ‘All About Eve’!!) She welcomed me with open arms and warmth. There I was, after 49 years of collecting, sitting with Margo Feiden, holding hands and telling her my Hirschfeld stories. She so very much reminded my of my dear aunt “G” (see older posts here.) I told her: “Back in the 1960’s and 70’s I was the quintessential stage door Johnny. I had met Bergman, Davis and Crawford…” Margo squeezed my hand and cut me off, “but when you met Hirschfeld…” she interrupted. “Yes!” I proclaimed, “how did you know?” “I can see it in your eyes, it’s still there.” She held my hand tighter. I will not forget that moment. Bendel’s has a limited edition ($100.) poster available for sale commemorating the evening which I asked Margo to sign. “I hope you can read this,” she said as she rolled it up before I could read what she had written to me. I was on cloud 9 as I thanked her and left.
Hans, Jerry Stiller, Margo Feiden

Hans, Jerry Stiller, Margo Feiden

I called mom and told her of the wonderful evening and how my Hirschfeld story had come full cycle. “Well what did Margo write to you?!” mom asked. I didn’t know, because shortly thereafter it was tied up in the traditional brown/white polka dotted Bendel bow and into to fancy large shopping bag it went. “I’ll stop by your apartment on the way home and we can unveil it together.” I rushed home holding onto to it for dear life.
Margo Feiden

Margo Feiden

Once in mom’s living room, we carefully untied the bow and unrolled the large parchment poster, our eyes transfixed on the small handwriting on the poster, trying to make out the inscription. Then we both looked at up each other and were speechless when we saw what Margo had written: “To Hans, with your enthusiasm Bendel’s won’t need lights, Margo Feiden.”
My heart is full.
"To Hans..."

“To Hans…”

The celebrated party guests translated into three dimensions in the window include from left to right: Whoopi Goldberg, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Woody Allen, Matthew Broderick, Liza, Sarah Jessica Parker,  Jerry Stiller, Bernadette Peters, Carol Channing and Hirschfeld himself. (Omitted in error is Margo Feiden.)
The Margo Feiden Gallery
15 East 9 St Between 5th Ave & University Place
New York, NY 10003 (212) 677-5330 : http://www.alhirschfeld.com/index2.html
HIRSCHFELD POSTER

Photo of the day: MY EVENING WITH FRANK COSTANZA/JERRY STILLER

JERRY STILLER© COLLAGE

Photo of the day: MY EVENING WITH FRANK COSTANZA/JERRY STILLER – Last night the upscale department store Henri Bendel’s Christmas windows were unveiled revealing a tribute to the greatest caricature artist of all time and one of the greatest artists ever – Al Hirschfeld. Bendel’s Christmas window revealed the ultimate fantasy gathering for Christmas dinner with some of the most famed New York personalities, Jerry Stiller among them. After some glasses of champagne and discussing today’s TV shows “our show is better than that vampire crap today!” said Stiller, I asked Frank Costanza, er, ah, Jerry if we could pose for a few photos together, this is my favorite. More of the event to follow.

Observations of the same concert crowd 42 years later: Creedence Clearwater Revival 1971 vs. 2013

OLD CREEDENCE FAN 2013

Observations of the same concert crowd 42 years later:
Creedence Clearwater Revival 1971 vs. 2013

– The size 28 jeans had been replaced by size 40+ jeans.

– Most concert goers could not see their tickets without squinting or using their eye glasses.

– The balcony crowd was most concerned if there was a bathroom on the upper level.

– Rather than arriving by motorbikes, they were arriving by power wheelchairs.

– Walking canes had been substituted for a must-have concert accessory.

– Long shoulder length hair had been replaced with no hair.

– The cause for peace & love was now replaced by fez wearing fat shiners’ looking for charitable donations to their hospitals.

– Rather than making sure you had a dime for a phone call, everyone had cell phones.

– In 1971 no one seemed to be older than 25. In 2013 no one seemed to be younger than 35.

– Beautiful faces now had jowls and laugh lines.

– Rather than racing up to your seats, people stopped to catch their breaths up the stairs “is there an elevator?”

– The people in front of me were wearing hearing aids, I suppose from the 42 years of concert going.

– Rather than lighting a match or your lighter to show your love for a song, there was a persistent greenish glow of tiny cell phone lights.

– Coke and 7-Up were now replaced by $15 cocktails – three times the price of my original 1971 $5 admission ticket.

Gray hair, huffing and puffing, canes, $15 cocktails – who cared! This night I could go back to that hot 1971 July’s summer night in Forest Hills Queens, rock on!

John Fogerty rocks the audience

John Fogerty rocks the audience

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL CONCERT 11-12-13


Photo of the day: 1971 CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL to 42 YEARS LATER AT THE BEACON 2013 (you “can” go back!)

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL CONCERT 11-12-13

Photo of the day: 1971 CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL to  42 YEARS LATER AT THE BEACON 2013 (you “can” go back!)

In 1971 on a hot summer’s Saturday night in July, I heard on the radio that tickets were still available for the Creedence Clearwater Revival concert at the Forest Hills Stadium. I begged my mother for the money and to let me go, I was 15 years old and I was about to go to my first concert ever! I put on my size 28 faded pink with blue patch pocket bell bottoms and my purple long sleeve butterfly t-shirt and ran to the subway to head up to Forest Hills.

Creedence Clearwater Revival 1971

Creedence Clearwater Revival 1971

My seats were waaaaay in the back of the oval of the stadium, but I was so thrilled, I didn’t care. This was the group that had performed between The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin at the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival. My music tastes were still evolving, I hadn’t quite found my identity. Disco was yet to come, then I loved the bluesy rhythmic rock style of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Their albums were all the rage in school and on the radio, I had all their lps and 45s. I loved the imaginative magical hit ’doo doo doo’ “Lookin’ Out My Back Doorfrom their 1970 Cosmos album. I have never forgotten sitting way up their in the upper seats singing along and experiencing what was to be so many more incredible concerts in my lifetime. I remember I was such a goody two-shoes that when the audience rushed the stage half way through the concert, I stayed in my assigned seat – boy did I change!

CREEDENCE AUDIENCE

Within the next few years to follow, my musical tastes varied and broadened to include incredible concerts by The Rolling Stones, Sonny and Cher, any Beatle, Elvis at Madison Square Garden, Rock & Roll Revivals, and Elton John. Eventually my taste for disco and the fever to dance ruled and I forsook the sounds of rock, but never completely, always appreciating a good rock artist.

John Fogerty rocks with his son at the Beacon, NYC

John Fogerty rocks with his son at the Beacon, NYC

Forty two years later, I saw an announcement on my friend Randi Horowitz’s web site SocialEyesNYC.com  that the surviving and founding member of Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty, was going to appear at New York’s legendary Beacon Theater. I had to go! Ironically, the only tickets that were to be had were in the upper balcony, again, but didn’t mind – I was going to relive my first concert of forty two years ago. John Fogerty, an energetic and vibrant 68, gave his all and totally rocked the house with his electric guitar for 2-½ hours. Hit after hit after hit. I had come home again, and so had the rest of the audience. The audience all seemed to be from Queens, Staten Island or Westchester. The faces seemed sort of familiar yet things had changed dramatically. See my following post of “observations of a concert crowd 42 years later”.

Same seats for Creedence - 42 years later :)

Same seats for Creedence – 42 years later 🙂


Photo of the day: ON NOVEMBER 13, FELIX UNGER WAS ASKED TO REMOVE HIMSELF FROM HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE . . .

The_Odd_Couple_%28TV_series%29_titlecard

Photo of the day: On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence . . .
that request came from his wife.
Deep down, he knew she was right,
but he also knew that some day he would return to her.
With nowhere else to go,
he appeared at the home of his friend, Oscar Madison.
Several years earlier,
Madison’s wife had thrown HIM out,
requesting that HE never return.
Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?
The Odd Couple 1970 opening classic New York credits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af1h4ibpKJA

Photo of the day: THE LITTLEST YANKEE SLUGGER

LITTLEST YANKEE SLUGGER

Photo of the day: THE LITTLEST YANKEE SLUGGER – This is “Slugger”, I saw him scurrying down 8th Avenue carrying his big Yankee bat. He never let the bat hit the ground as he was following his wheelchair bound owner along the avenue. Only when they waited for the light to change at the curb, did Slugger put down the bat  to chew on it some more. Maybe he’s a Met’s fan?? . . .