There’s plenty to see and do at the third annual Motorcycle Film Festival, which kicked off Wednesday. Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds are playing an after party, the “lost film crew” of Easy Rider will convene for a revealing discussion, and– in case the name wasn’t hint enough– there are a variety of motorcycle-themed films to attend. But while you’re knocking back beers and mingling in the Littlefield atrium between screenings, look around. You’ll probably notice some small but intriguing paintings. On display are early works by artist Ray Abeyta, the late “Mayor of Williamsburg,” and close friend of the film festival.
The annual Motorcycle Film Festival, if you’ve ever imagined there could be such a thing, might defy most of or even all of the expectations you have in your head. Firstly, it’s not held at some Harley Davidson dealership outside of Hoboken. So far, the fest has had a home in Greenpoint and Williamsburg and this year, the fest’s third year, it’ll be happening in Gowanus (mostly) at Littlefield. Secondly, it was founded by a woman, Corinna Mantlo and a guy, Jack Drury. But guess which one of them has been riding motorcycles longer? Here’s a hint: she runs a badass all-female motorcycle club called the Miss-Fires. And finally, this fest is about so much more than just motorcycle films.
I only had one real conversation with Ray Abeyta. Luckily, I captured it for everybody to see. We met at his favorite hangout, the bar-restaurant Five Leaves, so I could interview him for The Regulars. I told him I’d seen him around town for 10 years and we had friends in common. He said I looked familiar. We ordered our drinks and the conversation flowed. His badass personality blazed before me.
Keep Reading »
Ray Abeyta goes way back with Williamsburg. The 56-year-old painter arrived in New York from New Mexico in 1986. A few years later, he met his future wife Alyssa and, together with Zeb Stewart, they opened local fixtures Union Pool and later Hotel Delmano. The couple (separated but still friendly) and their teenage children have been fixtures at many Williamsburg haunts — including Five Leaves, where Ray has been a regular since the start.
Keep Reading »