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Archive for October, 2010

Out the Star

Out the Star. October 15, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Somebody swiped “The Star” from the Shoot Out the Star sign on Thor Equities-owned Henderson Building, exposing an earlier version of the signage. We’re glad they did. At least it won’t be destroyed with the rest of the building.

Following the fortunes of Shoot Out the Star on Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue is one of our longtime obsessions. One year ago this week, the game was open for business. After cutting up jackpots with the operator and helping him call people in to play, ATZ posted “Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star Still Open… Players Wanted!” Coney’s rides and the rest of the games were closed by Columbus Day as usual, but the shooting gallery was open almost every day. CB, who ran the game for Slim, kept it open year round. We’re told that Shoot Out the Star was in operation at the Henderson for about 20 years.

Shoot out the Star--Players Wanted! Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

One year ago: Shoot out the Star--Players Wanted! October 30, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On the day of my visit, CB wasn’t looking any further ahead than the next couple of days. In fact, the operator was locked out a few weeks later by Thor and never opened again. When spring came, CB found a hole around the corner on the Bowery. Shoot Out the Star remained shuttered for the 2010 season though it was “liberated” on Memorial Day Weekend by a couple of guys. We snapped a few photos, careful not to capture their faces. As far as we know, these are the last images of Shoot Out the Star in operation. It was the shooting gallery’s last hurrah. Along with Faber’s Fascination, Shoot Out the Star was among a handful of year-round amusement destinations in Coney Island. Now both are gone.

Shoot Out the Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Hurrah: Shoot Out the Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

As ATZ reported previously, the City issued a demolition permit for the former Henderson Music Hall, which has undergone asbestos abatement and is now surrounded by demolition scaffolding. The Shoot Out the Star sign above the awning is still intact, awaiting its fate. In May, NY1 did an interview with Joe Sitt in which he claimed the buildings were “horrible rundown relics.” According to the reporter “Sitt said he’ll re-use the vintage signs in a more modern setting.” After seeing the Fascination sign on the Henderson cannibalized by a tenant and the Surf Hotel sign offered to a bystander, we’re skeptical about ever seeing this historic signage again.

The Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Last Hurrah: The Star. May 29, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Shoot out the Star’s iconic signage is the work of Dreamland Artist Club founder Steve Powers, who also painted the Cyclone roller coaster seats, the Coney Island Museum steps, and the Bump Your Ass Off sign for the Eldorado. In 2003, Powers teamed up with Creative Time, the non-profit public art agency, to bring artists to Coney Island to create new signage for the stands along Jones Walk and the Bowery. The first year’s funding was $80,000. When the murals and signage debuted in June 2004, Powers told the Times: “A large percentage of them will be up forever.”

Last month, when we realized the Henderson signage was endangered, we urged Powers and Creative Time to come out to Coney and rescue their work! Don’t the signs actually belong to Creative Time? Haven’t heard back. We hope “The Star” found a good home.

Lettering on Thor Equities banner Dwarfs Shoot out the Star.  Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Lettering on Thor Equities banner Dwarfs Shoot out the Star. January 1, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

September 29, 2010: Saved or Not? Signs from Coney Island’s Henderson Building

September 9, 2010: Thor’s Coney Island: Faber’s Fascination Goes Dark After 50 Years

November 3, 2009: Coney Island’s Shoot Out the Star Still Open… Players Wanted!

August 16, 2009: Coney Island Carnival Games: My Photo Album

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This Friday at 4 pm, Coney Island artist and rogue taxidermist Takeshi Yamada is giving his annual art talk at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Coney Island branch. Titled “Dragons and Mermaids: Coney Island Sideshow Special,” the free show-and-tell will feature rogue taxidermy specimens of dragons and mermaids created by the artist for his Museum of World Wonders. You’ll get to meet the six-foot-long mermaid pictured below at Secret Science’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest.

The Japanese-born artist and Neptune Avenue resident is one of Coney Island’s most recognizable eccentrics. In the summer, you’re apt to find Yamada clad in a black tuxedo and Mardi Gras beads strolling the Beach and Boardwalk with his taxidermied sea bunny Seara.

Takeshi Yamada with his Six Foot Fiji Mermaid.  November 2, 2007. Photo © istolethetv via flickr

Takeshi Yamada with his Six Foot Fiji Mermaid. November 2, 2007. Photo © istolethetv via flickr

If you haven’t seen Yamada’s long-running “Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities” yet, the exhibition is on view through Dec. 31 at the Coney Island Library.

–“Dragons and Mermaids: Coney Island Sideshow Special,” Art Lecture by Takeshi Yamada, October 29, Friday, 4 – 5pm, FREE. The library is a five-minute walk from the Stillwell Avenue subway terminal.
–“Museum of World Wonders: Cabinet of Curiosities,” Coney Island Library, 1901 Mermaid Ave (at W 19th St), Coney Island, Brooklyn, 718-265-3220. Through December 31, 2010, FREE. Check library hours here.

Skull of the Sea Dragon by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Skull of the Sea Dragon by Takeshi Yamada. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Related posts on ATZ…

November 29, 2012: Coney Island Taxidermist Takeshi Yamada in AMC Reality Show

December 8, 2011: Takeshi Yamada’s Jersey Devil Set for Bell House Taxidermy Contest

September 18, 2010: Photo of the Day: Takeshi Yamada’s Freak Baby Museum at San Gennaro

November 7, 2009: Thru Dec 31 at Coney Island Library: Artist Takeshi Yamada’s Cabinet of Curiosities

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Philomena Marano with cut paper installation Giant Lolly

Philomena Marano with cut paper installation Giant Lolly, Homage to Philip's Candy. Photo © Tricia Vita

Earlier this month, we visited the Gowanus studio shared by Coney Island Hysterical Society co-founders Philomena Marano and Richard Eagan. In this two-part post, ATZ’s photos are interspersed with the artists’ own words about their Coney-inspired artwork.

Lately I’ve been considering one of the strains that run through both of our works- something I coined as a “Fool the Guesser” concept- Loosely defined: things seem like one thing, but may be another -perhaps bordering on “optical illusion” but not in the strictest sense- more like a form of visual play.

Eagan has a series of painted target constructions which take on a kinetic quality as one changes their point of view, and I have work in which it is really tough to decipher the medium it was created in- printed, paper or painted… thus summoning a sense of wonderment or an invitation to a guessing game.

We’re planning to group these selected works and hope to find a venue for an exhibition.

My new PLAY FASCINATION piece actually revisits an earlier set of works with the same name, but it’s more “unhinged.” In this piece I used a perception shifting ploy. What seems to be flat is actually sculptural. Is it caving in or blowing out? – there is no “one way” to view it.

To create it I made a cut paper composition which I then cut up into pieces. Next I reassembled them so that the pieces sit on different levels, some tilted inward, some outward and some level, thus adding dimension and delirium.

I originally borrowed the type face I use in my PLAY FASCINATION works from a decaying metal sign that hung on the side of the Faber’s Fascination building on Surf Avenue. In 1990 I recomposed the elements and created 5 similar works with the same title; one in cut paper and four hard edged paintings. I recall viewers engaged in examining the work as it hung side by side in an exhibit, wondering or “guessing,” is this paper, painted or printed?

This “fun house” or” magic show of illusion” concept appeals to me because it parallels my subject matter. I think it’s time to explore & embrace this unique Coney Island essence a bit further- to pay tribute to it.

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Related posts on ATZ...

October 26, 2010: Studio Visit: Richard Eagan of the Coney Island Hysterical Society

October 1, 2010: Oct 2: Coney Island Hysterical Art on Gowanus Artists Studio Tour

September 19, 2010: Art of the Day: Play Fascination by Philomena Marano

October 4, 2009: The Wonder of Artist Philomena Marano’s Wonder Wheel

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