Archive for Springfield

You’re invited to help save The Bing! Even if just by being there.

Posted in Activism?, art, Exhibits, Life is like Christopher Guest said it was, Mockumentaries, The Process of Art with tags , , , on December 2, 2008 by Admin

Below the invite is the story behind the story.

You’re invited to a holiday fundraiser for The Bing Arts Center!
Saturday, December 6th, 7:30 PM

at Gallery 137
137 Main Street
Indian Orchard, MA

Festive Dessert Buffet
Blue Moon Coffee

and a selection of holiday wines

The Bing's fabulous logo

The Bing, an old single screen theater in Springfield, reminds me of dollar nights as a kid when I’d ride my bike there with friends and how, under the cover of relative darkness, we’d turn around and peek at the older kids making out in the back corner row. I have no idea what movies I saw there but I remember well the ride there, for it was a long bike ride from my house. But dollar night movies were at like 5 and this was always summer and so we rode home in ample light. The background on The Bing:

“The Bing Theater at 716 Sumner Avenue in Springfield’s Forest Park neighborhood began it’s public service as Kossaboom’s Service Station in the 1930’s. In 1950 the building was converted into two storefronts, a foyer, lobby, restrooms, and an office. The 900 seat theater was built on the back. The theater was named for mega-star Bing Crosby and opened with a screening of David and Bathsheba!

Delivery Day for Dusty Make-Out Rows in the Alley. I sprayed with a hose for hours to remove all the spider webs and egg sacs and other semi-gruesome things.

Delivery Day for Dusty Make-Out Rows in the Alley. I sprayed with a hose for hours to remove all the spider webs and egg sacs and other semi-gruesome things.

The theater was essentially a second run film house primarily serving the southern areas and suburbs of Springfield. It closed in 1999 after a screening of Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho. The City took it for non-payment of taxes. After an aborted attempt by another group, the “X” Main Street Corporation (a 501 (c) 3) purchased it from the City in 2004 to renovate and develop as a non-profit, community arts center. The intention is to provide the neighborhood and surrounding areas with a tool to stimulate cultural and economic development. The Bing Arts Center will host visual and performing arts, in addition to cultural educational programs and meetings. Phase One of the project is nearly complete which will allow public use of the building once again!”

So I got a call about 6 months or so ago from Brian Hale, who is part of the “X” Main Street Corporation, and I got involved by commission.

See!?

See!?

Brian asked me to do a piece for permanent display and for the nostalgic enjoyment of the public and I eagerly accepted. I went to The Bing with him one day last summer and we walked around. He asked me to do a theater seat for permanent display in the lobby. But I thought a single seat would be awkward and that 3 seats would look far better. I wanted my piece to be special and forever, and forward and backward along memory lane.

We walked around the dusty old theater which had sat empty for so many years and as I walked around I got nostalgic, and then I remembered the spying and I looked and there in the farthest back row, which sort of diagonally stretched to the nether regions, was my remembered row (which I’d never actually sat in) and at that moment I named this project The Make-Out Row. But putting glass on the metal parts seemed too obvious and too easy perhaps and not likely to be so aesthetically pleasing so I decided to do the seats. Gluing a zillion little bits of hand-stained glass to the seats won’t work though unless you harden them first. I had previously used canvas as my canvas before when I made The Premier Grand Vacuum Cleaner in which I fortified the cloth bag with resin and fiberglass … Continue reading

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