The Stones: A Jaw-dropping Event, Part I

March 01, 2017

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I had been hearing about The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism for some time before I decided to bite the bullet and go. However, my first step was to look at the Stones’ website and see how to get to the obscure spot, 775 Washington Street, where Exhibitionism was taking place.

Ticket to the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism on January 19, 2017

I decided to take the subway and the IRT 1 or 2 on the Westside of Manhattan. This seemed to be my best bet. The site said to get off at “Christopher Street” which seemed a little odd to me. However, since it was on their website I figured it must be correct. It wasn’t.

After getting off and walking forever on a cold January 19th, I came to the conclusion that using the 14th Street stop would have been a much better choice. When I finally got to 356 West 12th Street to buy my $30+ ticket my feet were starting to ache.

Since the ticket seller was so friendly I told her about my roundabout trip. “Oh my goodness,” she exclaimed, “that website was created by an Australian company and they were told to check everything.”

Front cover of the brochure one receives when entering the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism. The error in The Stones’ website also appears here.

After this minor glitch, I entered the exhibit itself, which was across the street, and was met by another friendly soul right inside the door. “Do I need a map to go around,” I asked. “No, no,” he said, “the exhibit is very linear, you won’t have any problem making your way.”

The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism in New York: The View Outside

Well, he was certainly right about that. The entire exhibit, which is on two floors, is beautifully laid out and has excellent signage to guide one from one spot to the other. Upon entering you are hit by a video wall that blasts out music and images from the Stones’ career of 50+ years.

THE STONES’ LIFE IN THE SIXTIES

One thing that becomes very clear is that, over the years, the Stones have worked extremely hard to be where they are today, and to be named “The World’s Greatest Rock Band”. Forget all the antics and craziness we’ve all read about in the past: these guys are workaholics.

In no particular order, I’d like to describe the things that really interested me in this exhibit. Moving on from the video wall, one sees a recreation of their first apartment (or, as the English say, “flat”) at 102 Edith Grove in Chelsea, England.

The apartment has a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen is very realistic – a total mess with unwashed dishes, cigarette butts and beer cans on every flat surface. “It was basically a pigsty,” says Keith. “Occasionally we’d have to clean up the place,” adds Mick. They left these elegant digs just before their first British Tour in September 1963.

As everyone knows, The Stones have always said that their roots are deep in the music of the American blues. Or, as Muddy Waters says, “The Stones introduced the blues to the white kids of the United States.” “He was very supportive of us,” notes Mick.

At the beginning of their career the Stones had it tough. “There was no time off in those days,” says Keith. “For three or four years, we maybe had 10 days or two weeks off in the whole year.”

Exhibitionism has 500 Stones’ items on display. This includes great memorabilia from the sixties: colorful posters, fan club notes, handbills dated 1963 and programs from 1964 – all in excellent condition. There’s even a tiny diary of Keith’s written in almost unreadable script from 1963 (I’m sure he can read everything).

The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism in New York: The Image Gallery

There’s one element of the entire exhibition that is very appealing. All the descriptions that appear are written in big type on the wall close to the item. You don’t have to bend over double to read descriptive copy down on the ground or peer closely to read it on the wall.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

Shaun Nelson-HenrickSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

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