Mega Poster Party and Current Aljira Shows
On April 13th I received my copy of a mass emailing from the organization Newark Riverfront Revival ("NRR") that opened with the cryptic graffic above. What is a "mega poster"? And what does "Welcome Marcy Party" mean?
The text that followed did not, to my mind, clarify either issue. Here is the bulk of that text. (I learned the answer to the first question at the event, but not the second.)
The day is almost here! Join us and the Friends of the Riverfront tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14th from 6-8pm for Newark Riverfront Revival's release of our Mega Poster at Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art located at 591 Broad Street, Newark, NJ.
DJ Gonzalo Silva will provide the sounds and drinks will be sponsored by Gallery Aferro. Our brand spanking new Mega Posters will be on sale for $3 and additional donations are welcomed. Help us reach our goal of putting a poster in every Newark school and connecting every Newarker to their River!
Learn more about Riverfront Park, Newark Riverfront Revival, Friends of the Riverfront and our partners by visiting our website at newarkriverfront.org, and signing up for our email list, following on Twitter, liking on Facebook & talking with your friends & neighbors about our river.
[Foto caption:] The Friends of Riverfront group presented the honorable Mayor of Newark Ras Baraka with one of [our] freshly printed Mega Posters.
Friends of Riverfront Park, a volunteer group of residents, meets monthly in the Riverbank Park Field House. Our next special meeting will be held on Thursday, April 16th at 6pm at the Rotunda in Newark City Hall and will feature a preview of our Summer 2015 calendar! This year, the group worked to organize riverfront events, raise funds & deal with park issues like maintenance & security.
Special thanks to our generous contributions from our funders and supporters! Special thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Program, Victoria Foundation, EPA Urban Waters, Trust for Public Land, Atlantic Federal Credit Union, Franklin Parker, Freddie Mac, Seidler Chemical Company, the Habitat Estuary Program for support.
Newark riverfront programs are funded by contributions from individuals, private & public organizations. Please consider making a donation today! Click here to donate by credit card or send a check or money order to "Ironbound Community Corporation" & mail to Newark Riverfront Revival c/o Marcy DePina, 920 Broad Street Room 112, Newark, NJ 07102.
Newark Riverfront Revival (NRR) aims to connect every Newarker to their river. Since 2008, NRR has organized for Newark’s riverfront by taking hundreds of people on boat and walking tours, hosting dozens of outreach events, organizing design education programs for youth, and staging a City Hall exhibition. Since 2012, NRR has worked with Essex County, the City of Newark, The Trust for Public Land, Ironbound Community Corporation, and other partners to build and program over 15 acres of riverfront parks, including a walking and biking trail, sports fields and courts, floating boat dock, riverfront boardwalk, playground and other settings for relaxation, picnics, exercise, and environmental education.
I rarely get to the Passaic River, in that I live at the opposite end of Newark to the west. I hope, this year, to go on one or both of the boat tours that NRR offers, one of the Passaic River as such and the other of Port Newark. I don't know that I will be up early enuf, however, to take one of the walking tours along the riverfront that NRR conducts, but I like the idea of participating. And I need to walk more.
After all the info offered in the email, I was surprised to see, when I attended the actual event, that nothing was plain as to the posters or "Marcy". Fortunately, Aljira's several art shows were up during the event, so there was plenty to see. After a while, however, I had to ask of someone who seemed to work there, where the mega posters were. She directed me to a table, perhaps 6' wide, at the front of the gallery near the entryway. There were, however, two such tables, one of which had a computer on it, and used by Aljira's management, so I did not detect the second table as dedicated to the "mega poster".
Also most unclear is why the poster laid flat on that table is called "mega". There was no space on the wall nor on a partition specially set up to display the poster. For an organization that has accomplished so much in the revival of the Passaic Riverfront, the NRR did an astonishingly bad job with this poster launch.
I ran into Byron, a very tall, cordial black acquaintance from the Forest Hill section of the North Ward whom I hadn't seen in a couple of years. I asked when the next Forest Hill Community Association's (homes) tour would be held, and he said not this year. Apparently it is a big project, and hassle, which the Association is just not up to doing every year. Newark history maven Liz Del Tufo serves as the guide to these walking tours, and she is getting on in years, so I mentioned to Byron that the FHCA might not be able to delay such tours very long. I thought she is about 90 years old, but he said she's (only) 80. Still, how much longer will a woman of her years, even tho she appears to be in very good shape, be able to conduct walking tours? (We love you, Liz, and hope you will be with us for many, many more years. But we must wonder if you have trained someone to carry on, with your level of knowledge and articulateness, once you decide you don't care to conduct such tours yourself.)
Byron was carrying one of the folded, multicolored papers that I thought might be a brochure that was on display on the table up front. It had not occurred to me that it was the folded version of the informational side, the back, of the mega poster. I had not appreciated that it was double-sided, because NEITHER side, much less both, was shown on the wall of the gallery nor on a partition near the table at which the posters were on sale. Why the heck not? This astounded me. If you have a map on offer, show it on a wall, where people can examine it closely. If it is two-sided, show BOTH sides where attendees can examine it closely in good lite.
The foto above of the poster as displayed on the table may not be clear as to why it is called a "mega" poster: it has a lot of textual information imprinted over the geograffical features. Altho I THINK the poster is two-sided, I'm not entirely sure of that, since a second side was NOT on view.
I also have to challenge NRR's holding two events on two successive days, one at Aljira and the next in the rotunda of City Hall. Space major events out by at least a week! I was not up to attending the City Hall event (launch of NRR's calendar, not their map) the very day after the poster launch, esp. in that it is nearly impossible to find free parking anywhere near City Hall on a weekday. I was not about to spend whatever (outrageous) price that might be charged in lots near City Hall. Nor did I care to leave my car at home and take buses Downtown and back home.
Worse, the last time (a couple of years ago) that I tried to enter City Hall with a camera, I was stopped by security guards, who said I would have to leave my camera in my vehicle. But I had come by bus. I tried to find a place outside City Hall to hide it, but it was found — and STOLEN. As it turns out, that was almost a good thing, because the General Electric camera with which I replaced it that same day at Radio Shack (in 744 Broad Street) proved to be much superior, except that it requires (two) very powerful AA batteries. The only ones I know for sure work right, and for a reasonable duration, are Energizer's Ultimate Lithium batteries, which cost, apiece, something like $2.25 (at the Newark Home Depot) or $2.50 (at Radio Shack). I don't think I lost any pictures from the memory card in the Olympus that was stolen. That does not mean that I consent to being robbed. How do people justify, to themselves or anyone else (including God, if they believe in God), stealing? I don't know. They need to be beaten. We need to abandon incarceration, which is WORTHLESS in changing behavior, and replace it with physical punishments that HURT criminals and teach them to avoid such pain by ending criminal behavior.
There are at least two serious issues of logic and justice involved in the arbitrary rule about cameras not being permitted in City Hall. First, why the h* not? City Hall is public property — as a taxpayer, I own part of it, as does every other resident who pays Newark City taxes, so why CAN'T we document with fotos what goes on inside it? Second, most cellfones nowadays incorporate cameras, but cellfones are NOT forbidden in City Hall. Why not? If cellfone cameras are permitted, why not dedicated digital cameras? If Mayor Baraka has not already ended the ban on cameras as such, he needs to do so now.
Pros and Cons of Taking the Bus. I actually like the bus very much. Not only does it give me, a man who lives alone, immersion in the communal life of the city, but it also permits me to ignore traffic and just look out the window or at other passengers, while sitting in a well-padded seat, and relax. I experience no worries about whether there is a car coming around a corner, headed for me, due to right-on-red, which could cause me problems if my view is obstructed. My car is sporty, and very low. Almost any car, and certainly the myriad trucks (SUV's) that fill streets today, can block my view of traffic. At nite, headlites of both oncoming and following traffic are constantly in my eyes. I don't understand why automobile designers create such low-slung vehicles, and often charge a premium for vehicles that can be hard to get in and out of AND have problems with obstructed views and headlite glare. I inherited my car from my late mother, but would not have chosen it if I had been in the market for a car and thought to take a test drive at nite, whereupon I would have discovered how great a problem headlite glare would be. Think about that if you are considering a sporty, low-slung car. Be it an inexpensive model or something enormously pricy I recently saw a very jazzy Camaro in the East Orange ShopRite parking lot that was as low-slung as my Geo Storm such low cars can be very unpleasant to drive at nite, and very dangerous even during the day because everything is taller and blocks part of the view.
A bus driver is high enuf that s/he can see any danger and avoid it in plenty of time. (NJTransit has a great many female bus drivers.) The drivers on both of the two bus lines reasonably near my house, NJTransit's No. 1 (yes, the very first-numbered line in the entire statewide network; perhaps it's silly, but I'm really proud that the No. ONE bus passes the southern end of my block; and Coach USA's No. 31) are excellent, and the buses make very good time. If I didn't have a car, I would be grateful for how efficient and frequent the buses are, and how well driven. But I am impatient, even at age 70, and don't like to wait for much of anything. I am so hard-pressed to get my work done withOUT waiting for a bus and have always at the back of my mind that I don't know how much time I have LEFT to do my work that it is hard even to contemplate waiting for TWO buses, one out and one back. And I ordinarily cannot stop to do other things along the way back, as I can when I drive my own car. Even if I could stop at, say, the Bergen Street Pathmark, which lies on the route home, I couldn't pick up many groceries because of the weight and bulk I'd have to haul up the steps of the bus and find room for by a seat.
Moreover, waiting for the bus is wasted time, and can amount to a considerable amount of time if I just miss a bus, so have to wait for the next. My stop for the No. 1 bus going Downtown (and in some cases on all the way to Jersey City) is only a few stops in from the beginning of the line, but you can't count on a bus's leaving on time, and not a minute too soon, nor making its usual time, because earlier stops entailed no pickups. So you can miss a bus that should pass at, say, 11:05am, but actually zips by at 11:03, while you're rushing to the bus stop.
Still, frequent public transportation to many locations, on one route or two connecting routes, is a very important amenity that we who live in Newark need to appreciate.
Pix at Aljira Event. After making a circuit of the gallery, I got some white wine from the beverage table toward the back of Aljira, and the appealing (young, male, dark-blond) server did not stint with those little half-glasses (or, as I might say, half "plasses", for "plastic ‛glasses’") that some galleries dole out at these events. There was no food on offer, so it's just as well that my friend Jerry was not available to come in from Manhattan. He likes the food at such events but avoids alcohol. My fake teeth are for cosmetic purposes only (and serve only poorly now, in that several of my actual teeth have snapped off since that partial plate was created, so there are visual gaps anyway), so I can't eat at these receptions. Between Jerry and me, however, we can get a good sense of the refreshments to tell you about. The wine at the Aljira event (supplied by the Gallery Aferro arts empire) was better (less sour) than many white wines at such events.
I generally don't have anything to drink at art-show openings until I have taken the bulk of the pictures I have scouted out to take, since I don't want to have to put my drink down if I see something I had not anticipated fotograffing.
You can check Aljira's website for the closing date of each of the shows now on view. I found all of them worth seeing. You might too.
I do not see on the website any information about admission fees. The charge used to be $3 per person, but perhaps admission is now free. If that is the case, (a) Aljira's website should state that explicitly and (b) Bank of America's "Museums on Us" program, which offers free admission to institutions including Aljira, offers NO advantage to visitors.
I'd like to interview Victor Davson, principal of Aljira, about his long involvement with Newark arts and where he sees the city — and not just Newark arts — headed in the near, medium, and long-term. That's one of many topics I would like to address in future posts to this blog. Indeed, I think I might like to establish a Newark audio podcast, but there may be too much to learn and do for that to happen anytime soon. Of course, if anyone among the visitors to this blog knows everything about podcasts and would like to help establish a "Newark USA" podcast, I'd be glad to hear from him or her (via email to resurgencecity @ aol.com [less spaces, of course].