After nearly two decades of cultural celebrations and music education, the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame has found a permanent home in Stony Brook.
Located at 97 Main St., the organization will open its new digs to the public this Friday, Nov. 25, at noon. [Greater Long Island received a sneak peek ahead of its opening. Scroll down for photos.]
Inside, Long Islanders can explore instruments, outfits and other artifacts from over 120 artists born and bred on Long Island, or those who’ve made tremendous impacts on the island’s entertainment landscape upon their arrival.
Since 2006, the hall has inducted musicians, venues and other figures who’ve made impacts in Long Island’s live entertainment scene throughout the years. Tuesday evening, the organization honored its sole class of 2020 inductee: journalist Wayne Robins, who covered the Long Island music scene from the ’70s through the ’90s. The organization also welcomed past inductees, including members of Twisted Sister, EPMD, Barnaby Bye and Blue Oyster Cult, to visit their museum honoring their legacies.
The organization’s co-founders Rich L’Hommedieu and Norm Prusslin expect a swarm of headbangers and other local entertainment fans, who are already flooding his inbox, to pour into the cultural center when it opens weekend.
“I read the last one at 2:30 (Wednesday morning),” he said of the influx of emails. “And when I woke up there were another 75 of them.”
Three decades of live entertainment on display
Like many of the fans expected to visit, Prusslin, 71, witnessed firsthand the performances and entertainment venues of the Long Island legend. As an undergraduate, he witnessed legendary performers descend on Stony Brook University for concerts now immortalized by mock posters that hang on the second floor of his organization’s new home.
Downstairs boasts a rotating exhibition room. The hall’s debuted exhibit spotlights the clubs of the ’60 through the ’80s Long Islanders remember — Stony Brook’s The Mad Hatter, My Father’s Place in Roslyn and Speaks in Island Park — and the acts that scorched their stages are memorialized.
“This is our introductory exhibition because all those big names, the Billy Joels, the Twisted Sisters, the Harry Chapins, they all come to those clubs,” Kevin O’Callahan, a member of the hall’s board of directors and the designer behind each exhibit, said. “Those clubs were the breeding grounds of Long Island music.”
In the center of the exhibit stands a mock stage loaded with vintage equipment, including a drum kit that belonged to Blue Oyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard and a keyboard played by Vanilla Fudge’s Mark Stein, which even appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
One famous Long Island rocker had a big helping hand setting up the stage.
“The PA system was given to us by Randy Jackson of the group Zebra,” Prusslin said. “He had his own two shows at The Paramount and he was here until 3 o’clock in the morning setting this stuff up. The guy is amazing, he’s such a great friend.”
Scroll down for photos.