“SHOWTIME: Underground Arts” OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

BuskNY is pleased to announce that we are open for submissions for our upcoming exhibition. Please submit your work or share this information with any artists you know whose work is relevant to our theme!

SHOWTIME: Underground Arts”

OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

BUSKNY ART SHOW at Armature Art Space

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BuskNY and Armature Art Space invite you to submit work for “SHOWTIME,” an exhibition of art made in and about the subway and public transit.

BuskNY is an arts advocacy organization that was created in 2013. Our mission is to generate broad awareness of the legality of artistic performance in the New York City subway, in order to end wrongful ejection, ticketing, and arrest of subway performers. While our primary focus is on musicians and performing artists, we also promote the creation, promotion, and sale of art by independent artists in the subway.

Through SHOWTIME, we will support visual artists whose work deals with or is made or sold in public transit and public space, with a particular focus on art made in the subway system itself. SHOWTIME will refocus the subway art dialogue on work made by independent artists, and publicly reemphasize that all New Yorkers can participate in the creative process.

Our partner, Armature Art Space, is a Bushwick gallery that showcases local artists using traditional media. Armature, which describes itself as “the support (or “armature”) on which artists can express themselves and around which artists may build community,” has graciously offered its gallery space free of charge.

The opening reception for SHOWTIME will feature refreshments and live performances by visual artists and prominent subway musicians.

Show dates: October 3-12
Opening: Friday, October 3 7-11 PM
Submission deadline: September 19
Work dropoff times: Minimum 3 days before opening
Work pickup times: Sunday, October 12 1-5 PM
Address: Armature Art Space, 316 Weirfield St, Brooklyn, NY

Submission information appears on the following page. We appreciate your interest, and will respond to all queries in a timely manner. Please feel free to forward this message to other artists, and to connect with us online at buskny.com or armatureartspace.org.

Milo Wissig

BuskNY Co-founder

milo@buskny.com


Submissions

Please send all submissions and inquiries to Milo Wissig, milo@buskny.com, with SHOWTIME SUBMISSION in the subject line. Please include an image of the piece[s] you would like to submit with the file name formatted as: Name_Title_HeightxWidthxDepth_Medium_Year.jpg.

The images should be 72 DPI JPEGs about 1000 pixels wide. Please include the following information:

Name

Title

Dimensions

Medium

Year

Retail price

If you choose to sell your work, you will receive 100% of the retail price. (Armature Art Space takes no commissions).You may submit up to six pieces for consideration; we will likely choose 1 to 3.

Open_Call_SHOWTIME (PDF)

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2014 MUNY Auditions

Yesterday, Music Under New York held its 27th annual auditions in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. About 20 acts out of the 60 contestants will be chosen by a panel of 35 judges to be added to the MUNY roster. The auditions lasted five minutes each over the course of about six hours, and winners will be announced within the next few weeks.

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We asked MUNY manager Lydia Bradshaw to make sure the legality of freelance busking was mentioned during this year’s auditions. Kalan and I attended the first few hours of the auditions to find out if our requests had been honored as well as to see some of the performances, and MUNY turned out to be quite supportive of our cause. We were unexpectedly invited into the press area where we found that MUNY had included a highlighted copy of MTA rule 1050.6 in the press packets for the event.

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Every reporter covering the auditions has one of these.

We stuck around to see the first 20 performers, and I managed to get close enough to get clear shots of most of them:


Based on some of the articles we’ve seen so far, not every member of the press has actually read everything in the packet, since some still conflate MUNY membership with a general busking license. BuskNY has been largely successful, however, when asking the authors of such articles to make corrections. If only informing the NYPD and general public that busking is legal were that easy!

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Megan Gillis rolling her xylophone out after a really excellent performance.

But back to the auditions themselves: we’ll be looking forward to finding out who wins, and hope to run into all sixty of the contestants performing in the subway soon.

Painting Underground: Chris Wright

Compared to musicians, we don’t encounter many visual artists in the New York subway system. Sure, the MTA has done significant work bringing visual art into public spaces, but we rarely see the process: even people sketching strangers on the train in little Moleskine notebooks are a rare sight. So I’m always excited to hear about somebody painting down there:

Chris Wright, the professor at Pratt who taught me how to paint with oils, has been posting pictures on his Tumblr blog of oil paintings he’s done on the G line platforms (as well as just about everywhere else!)

Flushing Avenue G August 16, 2013 (12:00-3:00 pm)

Flushing Avenue G
August 16, 2013 (12:00-3:00 pm)

Classon Avenue G September 7, 2013 (12:00-2:00 pm)

Classon Avenue G
September 7, 2013 (12:00-2:00 pm)

Very exciting to see painting not only on display, but actually being made in the transit network. Clearly, this is something that the public has an interest in protecting. You can see more of Chris Wright’s work at his web site, chriswrightpaintings.com.

Zoom Balloons in the 14th Street Sixth Avenue Tunnel

On our way back from Harlem, Matthew and I stopped to pick up some cheese at the Westside Market on 14th St. and ran into balloon sculptor Zoom in the tunnel. We had met Zoom a few times before, and in fact still have a gift from him, one of his heart flower balloons, slowly shriveling on top of a dresser.

This time, we got this great balloon clown. Everyone was jealous of it. Or terrified. It was hard to tell.

Matthew and Zoom

Matthew and Zoom

Nothing seems to lower Matthew’s inhibitions quite like holding a silly prop does.  Enjoying the reactions of strangers to the balloon man, he asked our train neighbor what we should name it.

He responded, “Charlie Sheen.”

Matthew and Charlie Sheen

Charlie and Matthew reflected in the train window

Zoom’s web site at http://www.zoomballoons.com/ appears to be down, but I found an article about him on the blog Manalapan Patch. If you’re in the tunnel between the L and the 1 on the 14th St Sixth Avenue station, check out his work!

 

8/20: How I was(n’t) robbed

Today was toasty below-ground, but I had an excellent day out. (And that’s welcome news, given my struggles early this summer. I’ve been having a blast ever since the week of vacation, so clearly things have taken a turn for the better!)

Speaking of ups and downs, here’s a story from today. After a fun and well-paid hour at 86th St, I played on the 53rd St EM platform, which was one of the first places I ever played at the beginning of last summer. It’s a great spot, and I had a blast playing for a very supportive audience. (At one point, I lost a few dollars to the infamous 53rd St wind tunnel — and lo and behold, a guy came up with a big grin and a $5 bill to console me. My hero!)

I finally fixed the wind problem by closing my case and setting it behind me, then opening up my messenger bag on top of the case to accrue donations. That also gave me added protection against the insidious “blocking traffic” charge by consolidating things behind me:

53rd st case

The only downside was that listeners had to go behind me to deposit their money. But hey: though I’ve had my share of bad train service, angry police, unidentifiable dripping gunk, and worse things in the MTA, I’ve never had a reason to mistrust the wonderful people who ride the trains.

After about forty-five minutes, I needed a break and turned over the spot to a duo of drummers. I counted up my lucre in the train and very pleased. But I went to put it in my messenger bag, I found the pocket open. And the money I had made at 86th was no place!

Once I had looked through the bag, I decided that the money wasn’t a big problem. I still had the tips from 53rd anyway, and I had time for another hour or two later on in the afternoon anyway. But what did bother me was the loss of trust in the riders. Sure, I don’t always love ’em, especially when they don’t give. But from the bottom of my heart, I think city folks are good people — and so this was a bummer!

Anyway, turns out there’s not much of a dramatic ending to this story. I had just put my 86th St earnings in a pocket that I usually overlook, and so there they were. (I was happy as a clam, needless to say.)

So thanks, NYC, for being just as good as I’ve always thought you are. That’s saying a lot!

7/30: Rules pamphlets: Update

Update 7/31: Further detective work has uncovered a new lead on pamphlets in downtown Brooklyn. The crack BuskNY team is headed over to investigate and will let you know if pamphlets are found.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post on how to request an MTA rules pamphlet. This was important to be able to demonstrate to MTA officials and to police what the rules say, and it also makes a visual impact when it’s sitting in the case.

As a matter of fact, this booklet is even recommended by the NYPD’s own crime prevention page:

“All persons who are interested in performing on the subway and who wish to avoid violating the law are strongly advised to contact New York City Transit beforehand to get a copy of the Rules of Conduct, as well as a more complete explanation of their requirements.”

When I wrote that post, I submitted my own new request for the booklet through MTA.info to check if the process was working. Four days later, on 7/22, I received this response:

“We truly appreciate your interest in New York City Transit.  The information you requested may be available under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).  You must submit an electronic FOIL request to the appropriate MTA Agency via the FOIL Request page on the MTA web site.  If you send an electronic FOIL request in any other way or to the wrong agency, you will not receive the records you are seeking.  You may submit an electronic FOIL request at http://new.mta.info//foil.htm.  Be sure to select the appropriate MTA Agency.”

This was not what’s supposed to happen — but I went ahead and completed a FOIL request addressed to MTA Headquarters. Two days later, on 7/24, I received this response:

“In response to your FOIL request, below is the link from the MTA website  for the New York City Transit Rules of Conduct
http://www.mta.info/nyct/rules/TransitAdjudicationBureau/rules.htm
This completes the MTA’s response to your FOIL request.”

I replied that I needed a physical copy of the booklet, and was immediately emailed a phone number to call the woman I was emailing with. I called, and she said that I should go to the New York Transit Authority building at 130 Livingston St., Brooklyn to get a copy in person. I took down the address, and although things were interrupted by my arrest, I got down there yesterday on the 29th:

NYTA Building

I walked in, but to no avail: the check-in staff told me they had never even heard such a question before and couldn’t tell me where to go. And without a specific office to go to, I wasn’t even allowed in the building.

Fortunately, I’m not easily dissuaded. I called up the MTA representative I had spoken with before, and she said she could call around to find out. She then emailed back with this:

“I called someone at New York City Transit; she has a Rules of Conduct booklet dated 2005 (which I am told is the most recent); if you want to pick it up, you can call [redacted] or she can mail it to you.”

I called the new number, gave my address, and was told that the pamphlet will be mailed out. “In fact, it’s my very last copy,” she said. “Wait, then I have another question,” I said. “I know a number of other musicians who need this pamphlet, and one has already told me that mta.info responds that the supply is exhausted. Who can we call?”

She was unsure.

I emailed back the MTA representative from before, explained about the warning on the NYPD site, and asked if she was aware of any remaining stock of pamphlets. She said she would inquire. Three hours later, she replied with this:

“I am told that the Rules of Conduct brochure has not been printed for several years.  The link you provided to me is from the NYPD website, which does not appear to be up-to-date.  The Rules of Conduct on the MTA website are current.  I was also informed that abbreviated rules are posted in some stations on the front of station booths.”

Now, I am not sure if she’s aware that officers routinely ignore home-printed rules on 8.5×11.” I do assume she’s aware that we are not allowed to play in front of station booths where the abbreviated rules are posted. But in any case, I wrote back with this:

“The link I provided is dated 2013.”

I haven’t heard back yet, but I’ll keep pushing. In the meantime, I’d invite anyone who’s filed a request and had it turned down to drop me an email so I can get a rough count. Again: it is NOT fair for the NYPD to request a pamphlet that cannot be obtained.

Printing the “Music is Legal!” shirts

The shirts arrived Thursday evening, and since I only had two days available to print them before losing access to my studio space (and I’m spending Sunday helping to install my show at the Painting Center), we had to rush to get them done.

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135 t-shirts

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Printing the first shirt.

With only two people, it took seven or eight hours to finish the front side of all 135 shirts.

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We started with the pink shirts.

My cousin Zeke took a detour into the city on his way up the Appalachian Trail, and he offered to help us print the backs. With his help, we finished them in four hours.

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And he bought us food!

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The print shop’s mustachioed Pratt Cat, who is most often found sleeping in the paper guillotine’s scrap bin, visited us in the silkscreen lab.

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About half of the finished shirts.

Matthew and Kalan will start distributing them to subway performers this week. Remember: Music is Legal!