Wednesday, September 8, 2010



September 8, 2010
Rachele Richards:
Mike Rizzo:

Mike Rizzo to Debut Bay Rizz: The Man For You Film
Brooklyn, NY-based film chronicles the story of Bay Rizz, Bay Ridge’s unofficial Mayor

Brooklyn, NY (For Immediate Release) – On September 18, 2010, Bay Rizz: The Man For You will screen in Bay Ridge at Gallery 364, Bay Ridges first fine art gallery which is located at 364 72nd Street, Brooklyn, NY. The film will show hourly from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. complete with a full red-carpet treatment.

The Man For You was shot in January, 2010 in Brooklyn's storied Bay Ridge neighborhood. The film is the 10th short in a series that chronicles the story of Bay Ridge’s unofficial Mayor, Bay Rizz, and his mission to sort out often neglected local issues. The film provides a glimpse into Mayor Bay Rizz’s personal history and enables viewers to understand how he became the man that he is today through an engaging rap music video parody.

“I am very pleased to be screening this film in Bay Ridge Brooklyn with the support of Gallery 364. Having an opportunity to show the film in the neighborhood where the story was born is very exciting! It’s also very exciting for me to have my girlfriend and business partner, Rachele Richards, on board in her directorial debut,” says Mike Rizzo, Filmmaker.

The cast includes prominent local figures such as Councilman Vincent Gentile, Brooklyn Eagle columnists Chuck Otey & Liz Gassimi, Brooklyn One Theater’s Executive Director Tom Kane, and Pierre Salemeh, the owner of several local Brooklyn restaurants. Also featured in this film are cameos from Mike Rizzo’s family; his grandmother, mother and aunt all appear in a sequence that highlights a real life family haunt, The Americana Diner.

“Many of the characters in this film are real life people from my childhood. We all have our routines; the guy we get our coffee from, the person who sells the newspaper, the places we go for Sunday brunch with the family. I’m honored to have most of these actual people from my past sing and act in this film!," says Rizzo.

For more information about the film visit:

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About filmmaker Mike Rizzo: Mike Rizzo was born and raised in Bay Ridge Brooklyn. At the age of 9, he picked up a camera for the first time and decided to tell his stories through a lens. He quickly realized that editing was his passion. He went on to cut the Summer XGames for ESPN, music videos for Capitol Records, and currently works full time for a commercial editing house in New York City. For more information visit:

About filmmaker Rachele Richards: Rachele Richards is a native New Yorker from the north shore of Staten Island. She started performing on stage at the age of four and has continued acting and singing ever since. Rachele studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute and made several television appearances early in her career. She is currently working as a graphic artist in TriBeCa and still pursues her love for acting, directing and producing along side her boyfriend and creative partner, Mike Rizzo. For more information visit:

About Gallery 364: Gallery 364 is Bay Ridges' First Art Gallery & Studio Space, offering monthly art competitions,and is a studio space for art, painting and photography classes. With its community involvement ethos, it has collaborated on projects with the Narrows Botanical Garden, Women Against Violence, the Green Spa and Wellness Center, and the Bay Ridge Greenmarket. For more information about Gallery 364: Bay Ridge’s First Fine Arts Gallery, visit Viewings are open by invitation and reservation.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Left to right, Chuck Otey, Assemblywoman Janelle Hyer-Spencer, Nostalgia best in show winner Dolores Valenza, and me...Georgine Benvenuto.

‘Nostalgia’ Art Show Brings Back Memories at Gallery 364
by Harold Egeln (, published online 09-03-2010
Theme Shows Highlight Bay Ridge Showcase
By Harold EgelnBrooklyn Daily Eagle

BAY RIDGE — “Nostalgia” is the title of the new show at Gallery 364, the three-year-old fine arts showcase in southwest Brooklyn.
“We believe in giving just a keyword to our artists. Then we see what they come up with in terms of visual art,” said gallery founder and owner Georgine Benvenuto. The professional photographer, whose photos have appeared in this newspaper, houses the gallery on the first floor of her historic brownstone at 364 72nd St.
Themes have included 9/11; Water; Spaces; Love/Desire; Brooklyn Neighborhoods; Moving Pictures and Paintings; and Recycle, Reused, Rescued. The varied themes are highly successful, producing artworks that surprise and delight.
For her work, Benvenuto will be among those honored at the annual Merchants of Third Avenue Pioneer Reception on Oct. 25 at CafĂ© Remy. “We truly appreciate Georgine’s achievement,” said merchants’ group president Bob Howe. “We believe that the entire Kings County arts community should stand up and applaud Gallery 364.”
“She has been a very positive factor in the regrowth of our artistic community in Bay Ridge,” said merchants’ organization marketing director Charles Otey, this newspaper’s Pro Bono Barrister columnist.
The “Nostalgia” opening reception included the popular art competition with guest judge and watercolorist Doug Opalski. The Best In Show $150 grand prize award was a bronze artwork by Dolores Valenza. The two honorable mentions were “Bel Air,” a painting of the 1956 Chevrolet model showing its sweeping tail fins, Jen Bissu; and the “Close Shave” oil painting by Brian Busch.
Among the many delightful artworks, which are also for sale, are “Good Ole Times” by Samuel Staastad showing an old TV Guide, Playboy and a Doors album; and a Coney Island “Wonder Wheel” photograph by Larry Nicosia done in old tintype style.
The exhibit includes “Brooklyn Brownstone in Snow” with full moonlight by painter Robert Padovano; a “Memories” artwork with old photos of 1940s family scenes by John Fitzgerald; a photo collage featuring scraps of old advertisements; and the wondrous “Journey to Ixtlan” painting by Marina Bozin. There is Benvenuto’s “Nostalgia” photo of a scene with an old eggbeater and suitcase, and many more works to be savored.
On Saturday, Sept. 18, Gallery 364 plans its first original movie screening with a full red-carpet treatment. It will be the Bay Ridge public debut screening of Mike Rizzo’s Bay Rizz – The Man for You featuring cameos by local leaders, with hourly showings from 6 to 10 p.m.
Rizzo, who grew up in the Towers of Bay Ridge, adds his latest movie to a growing list about the hometown where he resides. It includes cameos by Councilman Vincent Gentile, Charles Otey and fellow Eagle columnist Tom Kane, among others. They deliver their lines in comedic rap style.
The short movie is entered into this year’s upcoming Coney Island Film Festival. At the screening, the Nostalgia art exhibit will also be on display.
Gallery 364 also provides studio space for art, painting and photography classes. With its community involvement ethos, it has collaborated on projects with the Narrows Botanical Garden, Women Against Violence, the Green Spa and Wellness Center, and the Bay Ridge Greenmarket.



September 7, 2010
Gallery 364’s Showcase Gets ‘Classier’ in Bay Ridge
by Harold Egeln (, published online 04-02-2010

Classes for Students Helps Hone Artistic Skills and Talent
By Harold EgelnBrooklyn Daily Eagle
BAY RIDGE – Three years ago, a new art “star” first lit up in southwest Brooklyn, brightening an art gallery void and acting as a center of gravity for attracting creative people out of the woodwork and into the limelight.
Since its auspicious opening in the spring of 2007, Gallery 364, housed on the first floor of an historic brownstone on a tree-lined street now ready to blossom, has achieved growing popularity and success as word of its theme shows spread throughout Brooklyn.
A big step forward, said Gallery 364 founder, curator and photographer Georgine Benvenuto, happened when the gallery, at 364 72nd St., was included in the borough president’s annual bus tour of Brooklyn galleries. Now famed for its crowd-drawing theme shows and sales, Gallery 364 is hosting more classes in its studio space.
“We’ve launched a drawing class that has been a hit for students,” said Benvenuto, standing in the front-room gallery studio surrounded by chairs and drawing equipment. On the walls were paintings and photographs from the gallery’s recent “Love/Desire” exhibition.
The drawing class is an eight-week-long course that has been conducted in the evenings and is taught by artist David Jon Kassan (, known worldwide for his realistic paintings and drawings, in the studio. “The students really get into their drawings, and David is superb in the way he conducts the classes and guides the students,” Benvenuto said.
“It’s such a cool experience to get out of the studio to share and develop painting concepts with students all over the world,” said Kassan on his web site. He has taught classes in Australia, Santa Fe and Belgium, and his art is in the model of the Ashcan School of American Realism.
Among the winning entries chosen by the judges in the recent Love and Desire exhibit and sale were “Lover” by Roz Sterling as best in show, and honorable mentions “Loveless” by Marina Bozen and “Love and Desire” by Dave Foss.
Another highly regarded work among all the gems on display was “You Belong to Me” by Michele Delfin. Benvenuto said, “She’s 15 years old and already an amazing talent. Everyone here was really impressed by her work.”
As with many of “Bay Ridge’s first art gallery and studio” theme shows, guest judges selected the winners. Judges for Love/Desire were painter Kassan and photographers Anthony Almeida and Gary Heller.
Expansion of Gallery 364’s cooperative efforts into the community and partnership with civic, business and nonprofit venues are in the works, Benvenuto said. She was excited among the gallery’s growing role in southwest Brooklyn and the constant increase of creative people drawn to Gallery 364.
Already Gallery 364 has been active with the Brooklyn Women’s Services office in Bay Ridge, providing photos for its walls. The gallery also conducted a pilot program of photographic therapy classes that Benvenuto said had a positive impact on its participants, encouraging them and providing them with creative and usable skills.
With warmer weather around the corner, Art In The Park will soon resume in cooperation with the Narrows Botanical Garden at Shore Road Park between 69th and 73rd streets, which provides outdoor space for artists and photographers to display and sell their works.
Art in the Park is a joint effort by Gallery 364 and the nonprofit, volunteer garden organization. It has been in action since 1995, when it cleaned the parkland and created Brooklyn’s second botanical gardens spot with a crew of community “green thumbs.”
The Love/Desire show and sales has ended, and Gallery 364 is preparing to announce a new theme exhibit soon. For appointments for gallery visits and information about classes and other activities, call (917) 767-3848 and visit