Jeffrey Feeger Paints Nelson Mandela at NYC’s Times Square

feeger_times_square_mandela_2 feeger_times_square_mandelaBy Jeffrey Feeger

It has almost been two weeks since first arriving in the Big Apple to pursue my dream and today is conveniently my ‘day off’, so I’ve decided to update everyone on my experience thus far.

I recall the day of my arrival here and my post, in which I described a dirty city and miserable weather. I must say after living here sometime, my perception and thankfully the weather has taken a much brighter turn. Yep, sunny blue skies!

My manager and I have settled in well to our apartment, which is situated right on Bedford St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is an interesting place to be, very lively with a lot of goings on, quaint shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, bars etc. It is easy to see why artists, musicians frequent the place. There is such a vibrant mixture of people, mostly young people moving through here. Visiting here is great, however living here, right on the street can sometimes be a noisy and unsettling experience, especially when bars keep open in the wee hours of the night.

I have been traveling almost daily to and fro upon the subway L line to our rehearsal space which is situated on Manhattan Island, 41st St, not far from the famed Times Square. We are currently ‘blocking in’ which in theatre terms is basically rehearsing separate portions of the play. It is indeed a privileged experience to be working, watching Broadway actors, choreographers and crew at work. I’m learning a lot and impressed by the professionalism and work ethic of all involved.

We also have some three child dancers as part of the play, they are talented and not new to the stage having been expose early on in life. Who knows they might go on to be some of the greats. Makes me consider our own children in PNG and the lack of exposure they have to such high levels of expression. This I believe is what makes New York, NEW YORK. With the opportunity and exposure to the varied dynamics of art and expression, children are being conditioned to be enthusiastic, confident and creatively intelligent people. Isn’t it a wonderful future to foresee when talented children are being so carefully nurtured. Certainly a good lesson for any society. A creatively thinking society is a much healthier one.

I’ve only had a chance to see a few places while here. An afternoon walk around Harlem with local Cristina Veran was an awesome experience. I actually got to witness GrandMaster Caz (Cold Crush Brothers) and other big names, cazually smashing a few beats in a local parking lot while kids were having fun break dancing. Unreal to see the origin, the birth place of Hiphop culture, a culture that has gone on to massively influence kids of urban environments all over the world.

A visit and live painting session at Central park was fun. I painted my co-star Richard H Blake. Parts of the painting process were filmed for later use as video projections for our play. Young talented and vibrate PNG portrait photographer Victoria Yarka of ‘Color it Purple’, I guess most would recognize her as the girl that appeared upon the cover of PNG’s very own Stella magazine wearing a ‘I Love New York’ T-shirt. She was also on hand to take extra shots of the day. I believe some of her pictures are posted on her page, visit it and like it,
I also posted quite a few pictures taken by my manager Rae Smart.

Central park is surprisingly quite large, it would require an entire day to walk around and see everything, and it is such an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. I can see why it is so popular, oh and not to mention clean and green. Again so much busking and entertainment on show, you can hardly not be entertained just walking around. Roller-skaters, extravagantly pimped horse’s pulling carriages, dancers, musicians, PNG painters?

Speaking of busking, the NYC subways seem to be a hub for creative busking acts too, not just the stations but some on the trains itself, which I don’t think is allowed in the rule books. I’m sure most passengers enjoy the entertainment regardless. Check out the video I posted with B-Boyers on train if you haven’t seen it already.

Beggars here have a different kind of style too, unlike Moresby where they straight up ask you, swear at you or simply snatch it from you, beggars here have perhaps learned to become great story tellers. They take advantage of the still silence of a train ride to tell of their predicaments. It actually appears to be a well crafted skill, the ability to gather the attention of others and orate the tale of their misfortune, they then walk around with an empty hat accepting kind donations. If anything I think it is simply the most polite form of begging I’ve seen. If done charismatically you can’t help but feel obliged to give, it’s human nature to be sympathetic isn’t it?

OK I think that’s a wrap, gosh the wraps here are also another topic of discussion, yummy… Ok so much more to be said, but I’ll leave it at that and let your attention span rest in peace. I will post more pics very soon, in the meantime keep posted!



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