Sunday, April 20, 2008


John Varvatos , Live at CBGB ...

Designer John Varvatos

Clayton , Skull on cap and Billy, cigar in mouth : we have been told that these two neighborhood dignitaries were turned away by the clip-board girls at the gate .

Being that Thursday night at 315 Bowery was an evening of partying , The beer surely passed readily from delivery truck to portable sanitary facilities .

Arturo Vega formerly with the "Ramones"support team , waxed prolix about what its like to be a creative contributor .
An "Administratrix" with boots , head-gear , clip-board but alas no whip administering the Thursday night event .

A brutal several-second-long staccato burst of light from 7 or 8 camera flashes always made it quite clear who the celebrities were even though we did not know their names or whence their distinction derived .

Protestors , a major attraction of the evening , out front of the art gallery "Morrison Hotel" . Left to right Rebecca Moore , unknown , Norman Yamada , Liza , the Reverend "Billy"

A seemingly bemused Arturo Vega dismissively ridicules the protestors telling them that money follows talent . Admonishing that they should just work harder and someday maybe they too will have money and be able to be a part of the mix on the new Bowery .

Bobby Steele and freind . Bobby performed with his band the "Misfits" at CBGB in the past . Bobby was on the guest list thursday night .

Protest leader Rebecca Moore above who organized the protest along with Norman Yamada . The Reverend "Billy " also participated with several others . Actually as the evening progressed Ms . Moore's protest group grew with the addition from the public of several converts to the cause .

Sadly Bobby and Rebecca fought it out , not quite comming to blows , Thursday night .We have known both for years . Bobby is a neighbor just down the street from NMNL world headquarters. Both are long time neighborhood folks that have a lot in common . Both have fought against gentrification and mourned the loss of of so many small but important music venues. On the Bowery Thursday night there was no common ground acknowledged by these two combatants .
Bobby , as reportedly do many of those musicians that performed at the event , believes that Mr. Varvatos is doing as much as can be done with his use of the CBGB space to maintain at least some of the old CBGB spirit and also provide some financial support for music downtown . Rebecca sees Mr. Varvatos' efforts as mostly condoning and supporting gentrification which is simply destroying the downtown art and music scene .

Street entrepreneurs worked the crowd-- it is after-all still the "Bowery"-- touching the well-to-do for money .The Reverend "Billy" below offered alms to ease this man's difficult life in the street .
This man regularly works avenue A at Ray's candy store also .

The man in the hat from "Continental" made an appearance .
A pensive film photographer surveys the scene as residents of BRC (Bowery Residents Committee) also survey the scene out front their door .

With a couple of brightly colored custom Harleys and a big black Mercedes parked out front , members of the upper crust and some upper crust wannabes swarmed the entrance to 315 Bowery , the address of the former CBGBs . Each with either a ticket , a place on the guest list or just some unrealistic hope of entering and being part of it all . Members of the BRC next door just watched all the rich folks right next door partying down as members of the CBGB music days of yore played on , live on stage one more time at 315 Bowery .
Those that performed live included Handsome Dick Manitoba , Jesse Malin , Slash , Ronnie Spector , Joan Jett and more .
It was the night of the opening of the new John Varvatos store that has taken over the old CBGBs space and morphed it into a new sleek , chic and very expensive fashion emporium on the new Bowery . The evening bash was also intended as a fund-raiser for VH1's "Save the Music Foundation" which helps to further music education in city schools .The space and evening were definitely the domain ,with a few token exceptions , of some of the wealthier members of today's society ... and unapologeticly so .
Much has been preserved from the CBGB past with Mr. Varvatos claiming to be making an attempt to save something of this rock-n-roll-punk past. Memorabilia is placed about the store . Very expensive , rediculously expensive , clothing is also all about the store and at what has to be a $40,000 or so per month rent probably necessarily expensive .
We only witnessed the scene on Bowery out front of the store . We were not important enough to get inside and see the performers of yore do their routines one more time live on stage at the rear of the space . Though tickets for the opening reportedly raised $30,000 for the VH1 "Save the Music foundation" , clearly out front on the Bowery sidewalk Mr. Varvatos by making a big splash of a party only managed to create a lightning rod to attract fulgurations from those that are against gentrification and its sad consequences for the art and music world downtown .
No matter how well meaning Mr. Varvatos' intentions may have been , and actually be , what many local artists and musicians saw in his Thursday evening extravaganza was just another example of a very conspicuous display of the wealthy sucking up and devouring even more of the soul of downtown NYC.
For more on the evening see below , starting with Bobby Steel's comments at the top of the list and then Rebecca Moore's and Norman Yamada's next .

What utter bullshit, money follows talent. Money exploits talent. Some of the most hard working artists never make money. Some of the most talented hard working people on the planet do not make money.

You can be shockingly stupid, arrogant, ruthless and have zero empathy and make a lot of money.

How funny they turned people is a clothing store and a supposed charity event or at least a tax write off. How about proof the money raised gets to where it is suppose to go.

Disgusting and so is the publicity at the continued expense of the community or what is left of it.
thanks, neither more nor less is truly a resource, i've linked to you on my latest photo posting.
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