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Heckscher Rocks On With Movies

Museum, CAC and Long Island archivist team up for rock 'n roll.

 Art comes in many different forms. On Sunday three different forms of art-music, film and photography-came together when the Cinema Arts Centre (CAC) hosted a movie of musical performances featuring several of the music legends  starring in one of the Heckscher Museum's current exhibits, Rock On!. The person bridging the gap between the art forms was Freeport resident Bill Shelley of Shelley Archives.

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with the Museum and of course, Bill," said Dylan Skolnick of the Cinema Arts Centre.

"Today was a fantastic event. People were thrilled. When the movie was over they asked Bill to show it again," said Charlotte Sky, co-founder of the Cinema Arts Centre.

The collaborative program by the CAC and Shelley Archives, Rock Legends Live!, was expressly designed to coordinate with Heckscher's exhibit which opened October 1. The first film in the series, The British Invasion, featured the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who.

Sunday's event began at the CAC where guests were served a bagel brunch followed by the movie, The Summer of Love. The title came from the phrase used to describe the feel of San Francisco in 1967 when political awareness met social consciousness through music. The movie featured performances by artists like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors, The Grateful Dead,  Jefferson Airplane and Frank Zappa. Shelley put the movie together from the thousands of musical performance films he has acquired throughout his life. He credits his love of music to his family.

"Both of my parents were musicians and I had an uncle who was a part owner of the OBI Club out east.  He had a house in Hampton Bays in the late 1960's so after the bands would play at the club they would stay at my Uncle's house afterwards," Shelley said. "My mother always had a camera handy to take pictures of the bands. There is a picture of Janis Joplin feeding me peach pie when I was six or seven years old. This was back when there was one lane going in and coming out of the Hamptons, when the Hamptons was just dirt roads, hippies and farmers," Shelley said.

Huntington resident Jeff Spencer, who has been a CAC member for over 10 years and a music fan even longer, is grateful for what Shelly is doing with the CAC.  

"The film had Joplin, Hendrix and Morrison with the Doors. All three of them are dead but for the price of admission to a movie, you get a great concert to see artists of that caliber who are not here anymore, but live on in film, and that is thanks to Bill Shelley. If you love rock and roll this is a great way to see it," Spencer said.

The Rock On! Exhibit features photographs not only of those artists featured in the movie but also of other legendary performers like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. The photographers highlighted in the exhibit include Bob Gruen, Art Kane, Joel Brodsky and Mark Seliger. The Rock On! exhibit runs until Jan. 9. The museum's other current exhibit, A Night on the Town, also runs until January. It features different depictions of night life such as dancing, dining and music. For more information, please visit the Museum's website.

The next CAC/Shelley Archives Rock Legends Live! collaboration takes place on Nov. 23 and will feature rare performances of Eric Clapton.  For more information, please visit the CAC's website.

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