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EPK "Astor Barber All-Stars" [2016] by David K. GREENWALD

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A film by Karen Gehres

Bruce Willis; Chris Rock; Al Pacino; LL Cool J; Susan Sarandon; John Kennedy, Jr.; Sugar Ray Leonard; Stephen Colbert; Channing Tatum and New York City mayor Bill De Blasio are just some of those who stop by to avoid bad hair days. While for NYC's college students, it's just a rite of passage. Others bring their "people" from afar to immerse them in this New York experience. Come meet non-stop Valentino; Rosa the colorist; Alberto the singer; Benny the hair designer and the other characters who make up this cultural melting pot. While many other establishments have come and gone, Astor Barber is still captivating heads seventy-seven years after its Italian-American owners opened its doors.

© David K. GREENWALD

Published in: Entertainment & Humor
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EPK "Astor Barber All-Stars" [2016] by David K. GREENWALD

  1. 1. Astor Barber All-Stars (A Documentary Feature) Astor Barber All-Stars isn’t the story of a barbershop. It’s the story of a New York City legend of resilience and creativity, and its immigrant founders who embraced this city and in return have given it its unique character. Seventy-seven years ago the Vezza family came to America and opened their barbershop. In the ‘70s, kids with long hair would stand outside and taunt the barbers. But by the ‘80s, Astor Barber had lines around the block to get their latest fashion cuts, including an enviable list of VIPs, one complete with security detail. See how they established an experience like no other, reflecting the spirit and pulse of New York City. In doing so, they created not only the world’s largest barbershop, but a sense of community that stands as a shining example of cultural diversity and integration. While other family businesses have long closed up shop, this shop continues to attract a loyal following who come from near and far. At Astor Barber you don’t just get a haircut; you get immersed in NYC culture.
  2. 2. Astor Barber All-Stars FAQs Why did you decide to make this film? As a long time resident of downtown New York, I saw many of the characteristic places that made it special disappearing, replaced by banks and chain stores. I thought that the history and charm of Astor Barber should be shared with others so they could see just what they’ve been missing. Who are the VIP clients of Astor Barber? The list is long but it includes Bruce Willis; Chris Rock; Al Pacino; LL Cool J; Susan Sarandon; the late John Kennedy, Jr.; Sugar Ray Leonard; Stephen Colbert; Channing Tatum and a rather well known New Yorker who started coming here as a student and now returns with a security detail to not only get a haircut but to practice his Italian. Why is it called Astor Barber? Because it’s located on Astor Place in New York City, a one-block stretch between Broadway and Lafayette Street just below 8th Street, an area referred to as the East Village or Noho (north of Houston Street). (Hint: One of the sure ways to tell a non-native from a New Yorker is how they pronounce Houston Street. It’s "HOW-stən" to us natives unlike the city in Texas.) How many barbers work at Astor Barber? Astor Barber features as many as sixty barbers and hair stylists, each with a different specialty. Some are adept at scalp writing and logos (the New York Yankees logo was popular during pennant fever), some at “traditional” haircuts, and others at cutting the hair of fast moving targets, aka children. What’s the most interesting thing to have happened at Astor Barber? The film provides many of these anecdotes, including the special request of one VIP and another customer who had to be put on ice. How many haircuts have been given at Astor Barber? We’d like to know the answer to that too.
  3. 3. Karen Gehres Director, Producer Karen received her B.F.A. in painting from Parson’s School of Design. She supported herself by selling her paintings on the streets of Soho and her murals have adorned walls of New York City Public schools and the now demolished 42nd Street Project. While working at Film/Video Arts, with access to video equipment, Karen began shooting a film of a fellow artist and friend that began a nine year shooting odyssey. “When I thought we had finished shooting, it turned out that it was just the very beginning”. The result was her first feature documentary, “BEGGING NAKED”. “BEGGING NAKED” was awarded grants from the New York State Foundation of the Arts and the Ford Foundation, and was selected to be included in the permanent collection of The Library of Congress, a rare honor. It attracted the attention of the late Roger Ebert as well as Martin Scorsese. It was broadcast in the US, Italy, Israel and Poland and is available on premier on demand video platforms such as iTunes and Amazon. Continuing her focus on quintessential NYC stories, Karen’s second feature documentary focuses on the legendary NYC barbershop, Astor Place Hairstylists. She is on-set most days as an EPK behind-the-scenes Producer for film and television, with credits including “Revolutionary Road”, “Young Adult”, “Win Win”, “Black Swan”, “Solitary Man” “Michael Clayton” and “Noah”. David Greenwald Producer David Greenwald is a summa cum laude graduate of the Wesleyan University film program. Beginning his career on Madison Avenue, he guided strategic planning for a blue-chip client list and supervised their commercial productions. Managing Sony’s $50 million communication program, he launched home video, negotiating partnerships with four major film studios. His work resulted in numerous awards including the prestigious American Marketing Association’s Edison Award. Embarking for Europe, David helped introduce one of Europe’s first electronic shopping malls and Internet service providers. This resulted in his co-authoring a highly regarded manual on Internet marketing. Directing an interactive media agency, he expanded its first project for a local Citibank office to seventeen countries. The Italian press recognized his vision, calling him one of "The 25 Men (and Women) of E-commerce". David has been a consultant to a content provider to CNBC, RAI, and the BBC, a television commentator on media and technology and a film festival advisor. He’s been a producer and marketing advisor on several feature films and his articles have appeared on prominent film websites such as Ted Hope’s “Hope for Film”. Manager of the LinkedIn group, Independent Film Producers, he’s worked in New York, Brussels, Milan, Rome, Paris and São Paulo, but remains true to his heart a New Yorker.

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