19 May 2008

Fillmore By Lamplight

You've got to look sharp sometimes to catch the details that make New York great.

On the corner of Second Avenue and E. Sixth Street is a lamppost which, at first glance, appears merely dirty, but on close inspection is encrusted with hundreds of glittering, colorful tiles. The letters running down the south face of the post honor a legendary music hall which used to stand here: Fillmore East. The north side spells out the name of its founder: Bill Graham.

The more you look at the post—the work of guerrilla street artist Jim Power—the more you notice. Many of the major acts that performed at the Fillmore during its short lifetime (1968-1971) are printed out, each in the distinctive lettering made famous by the group's album covers, posters and t-shirts. The care that Power took is quite amazing. Just to see such bygone bands as Procol Harum, Jefferson Airplane and Jethro Tull appear magically before your eyes on a random piece of street equipment is quite wonderfully disorienting. It's also a fine tribute of a chapter of New York history that hasn't otherwise been honored by the metropolis. (Sorry if there are an awful lot of picture here. I just found so many aspects of the work enchanting.)

At the bottom of one side of the the post, some tiles read "Happy Birthday Dad, Love B.D." B.D. certainly doesn't stand for Jim Powers. Explanation?

1 comment:

Marco said...

Thanks for this. I'll be looking in June.