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Rockabilly subculture in Greenport exhibit

"Toothless George," digital photo, by Patchogue-based photographer George Schneider. August 2009. Schneider's work will be showcased in a solo exhibition, "Wheels on Art," that opens July 7 at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company in Greenport. The show will run through July 31. Photo Credit: George Schneider

There’s nostalgia. And then there’s the latest wave of rockabilly subculture – complete with pre-1960s hot rods, tattoos and pinup-style dress.

Cutchogue-based photographer George Schneider captures this and more in his solo exhibition “Wheels on Art,” which opens Thursday at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., where it will remain through July 31.

The show has about 22 color and black and white photos that Schneider took in recent years around Williamsburg, where an exclusive hot-rod club called the Rumblers holds court, says curator Ann Vandenburgh.

Schneider’s work “really opens up this world, this rockabilly subculture that not many people know exists,” Vandenburgh says. “There’s something innocent and raw about these pictures. These young people are celebrating a simpler time in the 1950s, but there’s definitely an edge to it.”

The edge is evident in a photograph of a woman in saddle shoes, a red handkerchief tied around her hair dancing with a man wearing a tightly fitted shirt and a slicked-back Elvis-style hairdo. It’s all set in a parking lot under an overpass with classic cars and Toothless George -- a drummer/guitarist/singer -- performing nearby.

“You can tell they’re having such a great time,” Vandenburgh says. “I like how everyone is standing around looking at them.”

Also having a good time in another photo is a Bettie Page look-alike staring sultrily through a red car window, tattooed arms leaning on a partially opened door, her black stilettos casting a shadow on the ground.

Schneider’s knack for capturing intimate portraits is evident in another frame of a couple standing next to each other, exposing their brightly colored tattoos.

So why check it out?

“I want people to come to be exposed to something new and exciting,” says Vandenburgh. “People in their 80s can remember the times of the hot rods in the 1950s and young people are now connected to this culture. Everybody can relate to these pictures in some sense.”

“Wheels on Art”

When-where. 7 p.m. Thursday for reception at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., 234 Carpenter St., Greenport. Exhibit runs through July 31. Gallery hours: noon to 6 p.m., Sundays through Fridays; noon to  7 p.m. Saturdays.

Cost. Free to views. Beers by the glass ($5) pint ($6) available, too.

Info. 631-477-6681 or 

Note: Photo on display is a photo detail of larger image, "Toothless George," by George Schneider


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