Clayton’s Corner: Of Generations and Gentrification [PHOTOS]

Posted on: March 21st, 2018 at 5:16 am by

As the unrelenting winds of the international corporate gentrification keeps eroding away the deep, rich, soil of our culture, it also disposes of “neighborhood” and “community.” It affects both collective memory and history. For example: changing the name of PS 122 into Performance Space New York obliterates the connection to the previous 30-year history.

Another more natural force of gentrification is death. With the passing of one generation, so too passes opportunity. Cultures also die.

In our generation one of the most vicious, devastating, plague-like forms the wrath came disguised as an immune destroying pandemic. AIDS took away so many of our leading lights, brightest minds, original thinkers, friends, associates, neighbors. It is up to us to make sure the names and memories of those who passed, often, too young, too early in their journey, are remembered.

If we do not preserve our own history, then who will? For some of us, remembering is not a burden, but more of a responsibility and an honor.

To honor the memory of some community members AIDS had taken away, the 2018 NY ACKER Awards, included in the recipient’s award box, a bio-booklet with a section dedicated to the memory, a hand-drawn portrait on a coffee cup by Zito, a copy of the Book of the Dead, Bearing Witness, cover lettered by Steven “Tabboo” Tashjian, filled with over 1100 names written down by Eugene Fedorko.

For those interested in remembering by viewing a series of exquisitely drawn portraits, then, HOWL Happening has mounted a must see – the “John Kelly: Sideways into the Shadows” exhibition, running through March 25.

John is a multitalented artist, whose highly praised performance work I became aware of because performance artist SUNPK (aka Peter Kwaloff) made it possible for me to document Whispers, the Sunday night Pyramid Club Drag show hosted by that always funny remarkable MC Mark “Hapi Phace” Phred. Yes, John is without question a blessed performer, but I was a little taken aback at his drawing skill. The work is simply beautiful. He obviously felt a strong connection to the 40 people he drew. The drawings are keeping the names and the spirits of those gone souls alive in our thoughts.

As a documentarian, I see one of my duties, in the war against the part of the international corporate effort to take over and destroy our memories and past, is saving the memories of those who made so much possible for so many of us. And, beyond the quality of this HOWL! Happening John Kelly show, is just the fact that this show is a Never Forget, example of another form of protecting our past.

Recent Stories

Burned-out Bulbs on the Williamsburg Bridge for Months

Lights are burning a bit dimmer over on the Williamsburg Bridge. Readers point out that numerous bulbs lining the Manhattan side of the span are dark. And have been for months. Presumably the necessary approvals must snake through the bureaucracy before the necklace lighting is fully restored. So, it might be awhile yet. Department of […]

Report: Protected Bike Lanes Underway for Alphabet City

Protected bike lanes may be on the way to Alphabet City. With the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project on the near horizon, the Department of Transportation is attempting to make good on its recent promise to cyclists, by improving city bike infrastructure surrounding the project. “DOT, in consultation with Council members and other local stakeholders, […]

Henry Street Settlement Facility on Delancey Readies Move to Essex Crossing

The Henry Street Settlement is Essex Crossing-bound. In part. Its Workforce Development Center is relocating from the corner of Essex and Delancey Streets – atop the McDonald’s – to a new spot at 178 Broome (aka Site 6). Signs on the front door of the center alert locals of the imminent move. Basically, Site 6 […]

Samesa is the First Vendor Casualty in the New Essex Market

Open only six months, the first vendor of the new Essex Market has gone belly up. Not one of the long-timers, though. Samesa ended its brief run earlier this month. Established by brothers Max and Eli Sussman in 2016, Samesa first announced its Lower East Side grab-and-go stall one year ago. The Middle Eastern restaurant […]

‘GoNightclubbing’ with Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong at The 72 Gallery [INTERVIEW]

Thirty-nine years ago, a new nightclub called Danceteria featured a video installation which recreating a suburban living room. The twist was that the giant old-school TV, housed in a mid-century wood cabinet, wasn’t playing reruns of I Love Lucy. Instead, there was a live feed of bands such as Iggy Pop, The Dead Boys, and […]