Monday, November 25, 2019

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

B-Ball NYC

"For those who have crashed their skulls against poles, chain link fences, and concrete after taking it to the butter, and have gotten up and kept playing"

                                                 from "For Those Who Know ... the Playground" - Bobbito Garcia

Larry Racioppo's newest book, B-BALL NYC is a great tribute to the game here in New York. Basketball played city-wide, from Hunts Point to East New York, from Sunset Park to Staten Island, in a playground or a gym, or anywhere a wall or a fence or a branch of a tree can accommodate a makeshift hoop.  Along with its cousin soccer (as played in the cities of the world where nobody calls it that), a game where a ball and the wobbly painted lines of goalposts are all you need by way of equipment, basketball belongs to everyone.

Players are largely absent from the book. The sidewalks & scrappy lots and & rain-slicked schoolyards are mostly caught in between games, when the kids are elsewhere.  But their spirits are ever present.  Generations of them. The photographs span forty years of street ball dreams.

Tomorrow night there'll be a B-BALL NYC exhibition opening and book signing at the Brooklyn Arts Council, in DUMBO.  Details below.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

13th Street, 1982

Here's a film worth seeing. In tandem with the Undesign the Redline interactive installation currently at the Art Mobile in Thomas Green Park, the Fifth Avenue Committee will be showing the 1982 Erik Lewis documentary Where Can I Live - A Story of Gentrification on October 26th. The film examines the harassment and displacement of working-class Black and Brown Park Slope tenants in the early 1980s. Its main focus is on a group of 13th Street residents fighting to protect their homes and their community. The film was shot just as the Ansonia Clock Factory was being redeveloped as co-operative housing, as were a number of smaller multi-family rental buildings, and as landlords & developers were emptying buildings as fast as they could to maximize rents & property conversions.

Where Can I Live reminds us of just how much more diverse Park Slope used to be - both racially & economically.  A neighborhood that loses that diversity is always a diminished one.

The film will be shown at 12:30 at 621 Degraw Street, home of the Fifth Avenue Committee. You can also watch it online, on Vimeo.  A word of warning: the online film has a very uneven sound quality, making some parts of it inaudible.  I imagine the screening at FAC will have overcome those issues.

Where Can I Live - A Story of Gentrification from Erik Lewis on Vimeo.

Looks like this film is no longer available, but here's a link to regional libraries that have copies either on VHS tape or on DVD.