Bruce Banter: If You Can Put Ketchup On It Don't Eat It Exhibition Opens Sept 17 at PORTS Coffee & Tea

Across From Closed Chelsea Hotel - 23rd Street Art and Community Thrive

Sep 14, 2011, 09:38 ET from PORTS Coffee and Tea

NEW YORK, Sept 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- PORTS Coffee & Tea, specialty espresso bar across from the closed legendary Chelsea Hotel, kicks off PORTS Art Wall exhibition series with Bruce Banter's: If You Can Put Ketchup On It Don't Eat It (Ketchup)– a self advice book turned art installation. The exhibit kicks off with a private evening reception Wednesday, September 14 and a public 10 am book signing by the artist on Saturday, September 17.


Ketchup is a collection of provocative spreads from the artist's first book released earlier this year. Each spread pairs Banter's words of wisdom with an arresting image – at times photography or street art, at times references to music, brands and pop culture.  "WE ARE ALL ATTRACTED TO SOMETHING – COURAGE, BEAUTY, GOALS, ACHIEVEMENTS, CHARACTER – AND GOD FORBID A BODY," is one headline juxtaposing a magnetizing profile photograph of a chiseled male torso.

Confessional in nature, the book peels back the curtains, sheets and sunglasses exposing Banter's raw character as the artist conquers his demons with drugs, weight and alcohol and presents a firm, unapologetic embrace of true human nature -- whether it's fear, pleasure, attraction, sex or embarrassment. God, morality and a tone that's part confession, part preachy is no surprise given Banter's Southern upbringing and theologian education.

"We're all here because we failed at something," says Banter of the way his failure as a Theologian and Gospel musician led to an accidental but fabulous career in the fashion industry. The highs and lows of a life that came with this career led Banter to Ketchup.

"If You Can Put Ketchup On It Don't Eat It was my idea of a diet and an overriding strategy to solve big things simply," says Banter. "Given an interest in God and a d*** about people, I wanted to do something good. I wanted to write a dirty Chicken Soup for the Soul that said 'f***' a few times and made you love a few folks more. Inside the book you sidestep simple and find a smattering of morality based stories from the street."

"Bruce has an infectious energy about him that has built him a cult following at the cafe as an artist and as a customer," says PORTS Founder, Nina Adams. "We wanted the whole neighborhood to feel this energy and fall in love with Bruce the same way we did."

After opening in May of this year, PORTS is already a fixture on the New York City specialty coffee map, exclusively serving locally roasted Stumptown Coffee and a wide selection of organic teas. Art Wall Series is the cafe's debut onto the Chelsea art scene.

Ketchup opens to the public on Saturday, September 17 with a 10 am book signing by Bruce Banter at PORTS, located at 251 W 23rd St. The book retails for $40 and is exclusively available for sale at PORTS and The exhibit runs through October.

About Bruce Banter

A prominent Chelsean and a fabulous New Yorker, Banter balances a globe-trotting fashion career with his art. If You Can Put Ketchup On It Don't Eat It is Banter's first book and art exhibit. Born and raised in the South , Banter studied Theology in college and pursued a career in Gospel music before realizing he was no good at it. A serendipitous encounter in a Parisian boutique jump-started his career in fashion with stints at John Varvatos, Prada, Bergdorf's and Gucci among others. Banter finds inspiration in meaningful details drawing from music, film, fashion and everyday life. Banter is currently working on his next book on salesmanship, called Wiggle Your Big Toe inspired by a line from Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.

About PORTS Coffee & Tea Co.

PORTS Coffee & Tea is a specialty espresso bar in the heart of Chelsea, exclusively serving direct trade Stumptown Coffee (locally roasted in Red Hook, Brooklyn) and a wide selection of organic teas. With a strong emphasis on direct trade single origin coffees, PORTS brews to order via pour-over bar and French press and makes iced coffee with 18-hour cold brew. PORTS partners with local artisans serving MAST Bros Chocolate, Early Bird Granola, Downtown Cookie Co., BT Brownies, SCRATCH Bread among other items available for sale. The cafe moonlights as an art gallery with the PORTS Art Wall Series. PORTS is located at 251 W 23rd St. Hours of operation are 7am-8pm Mon-Fri, 8am7pm Sat-Sun.  

CONTACT:  Nina Adams, 1-917-239-3012,

SOURCE PORTS Coffee and Tea