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YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN

Primary Exit Poll Amounts to a ‘Hill’ of Hardcore Dems

Photo by Yannic Rack

BY YANNIC RACK It was primary day on Tues., Apr. 19, and West Side voters flocked to the polls to cast their ballots, in an election season that has taken a ruthless editor’s red pen to the rulebook — including that passage about New York not having the ability to shift the balance of power in the race for president. Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen overwhelmingly backed Hillary Clinton, with only a single precinct favoring Bernie Sanders (and one delivering a tie). The results in the neighborhoods reflected the overall outcome in the state, and especially the city, where Clinton prevailed with over 63 percent of the vote to Sanders’ roughly 37, according to results from The Associated Press. Republican voters were spread thin in the area, but those that did turn out largely backed New York native Donald Trump and Ohio governor John Kasich. Despite the persistent questioning of those exiting two polling stations on the West Side, Chelsea Now did not find a single voter willing PRIMARY continued on p. 2

The Sea Breeze Fish Market is one of the local businesses that could face displacement if the Port Authority decides to move ahead with a design for a new terminal extending west of the current station.

Hell’s Kitchen Residents Riled by Eminent Domain Scenario for Bus Terminal Revamp BY YANNIC RACK Hundreds of Hell’s Kitchen residents dreading the arrival of a new bus terminal that could obliterate parts of their neighborhood gave an earful to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey this week, in an attempt to prevent any plans that would involve bulldozing residential and commercial blocks to make way for a replacement station. A town hall-style meeting held on the evening of Mon., Apr. 18, was filled to capacity with neighborhood residents, activists and business owners voicing their concerns. The Metro Baptist Church was an appropriate host for the spirited discussion: its location at 410 W. 40th St., just west of the current Port Authority Bus Terminal, makes it a potential casualty of plans to widen the facility’s footprint in the neighborhood. Although nobody (not even its operators) disagreed about the fact that the decades-old bus terminal is an out-

© CHELSEA NOW 2016 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

dated mess in need of replacement, the residents said they were mostly worried about the prospect of eminent domain — the controversial process through which the city or state can take over private property to make way for important public projects. “Our message is, ‘Do no harm,’ ” said Dale Corvino, who lives on W. 43rd St. and is a member of Community Board 4 (CB4). The Port Authority recently launched a design competition to solicit proposals for the station, but not before it released a set of concepts that were meant to illustrate possible replacement scenarios — some of which included taking over property west of the current station (on Eighth Ave. btw. W. 40th & W. 42nd Sts.). Worries about the impact of a new, and larger, terminal in the neighborhood have started to peak in recent weeks, BUS TERMINAL continued on p. 6 VOLUME 08, ISSUE 15 | APRIL 21 - 27, 2016


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April 21 - 27, 2016

to identify as a registered Republican. We did, however, quiz plenty of proud Democrats, to find out what issues they cared about most, who they predict will face off for the highest office in the land come November, and whether they would show up to cast a ballot if their preferred candidate did not secure the party’s nomination.

OUTSIDE OF BAYARD RUSTIN HIGH SCHOOL IN CHELSEA 351 W. 18th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves. Brian Fithian, 27 & Jacqueline Dow, 28 Voted for: Bernie Sanders Years in the neighborhood: 3 and 9

date if they get the nomination? Fithian: “Yes.” Dow: “Absolutely.”

Alex Stylianides, 30 Voted for: Bernie Sanders Years in the neighborhood: 7 What issue(s) brought you to the polls today? “I’m a huge Bernie supporter — yuge! I feel like he encapsulates everything that I stand for. Everything that he says I agree with, so I feel like repeating his platform is redundant. One very important point is income inequality, I would say.” What’s your prediction for the candidate matchup in November? “I think Hillary and Trump is where we’re headed, but I want to stay optimistic, and I think Bernie still has a shot. But I’m 60 percent sure it will be Hillary and Trump.” Would you support the other candidate if they get the nomination? “If it was between her and Trump, I would. If it was between her and Ted Cruz — I don’t think I’d bother to vote in that case!”

Photos by Yannic Rack

Brian Fithian and Jacqueline Dow, who live together in Chelsea, both back Bernie Sanders because of his economic policies and stance on social issues.

What issue(s) brought you to the polls today? Fithian: “This is my first time voting in a primary, and I guess the issues I care most about are Bernie Sanders’ economic policies and his attitude towards free public college. That’s probably what gets me most excited about his campaign.” Dow: “I came out mostly for social issues, I think that Bernie cares much more about people than most of the other candidates. I’m staunchly against all the Republican candidates. I think they’re all terrible people!” What’s your prediction for the candidate matchup in November? Fithian: “Probably Hillary Clinton versus Ted Cruz.” Dow: “I’m very nervous that it’s going to be Hillary/Trump. I’m hoping for Bernie, because I think he can beat him [Trump].” Would you support the other candi-

Jane Greenwood, 81 Voted for: Hillary Clinton Years in the neighborhood: 50

Jane Greenwood, who has called Chelsea home for more than half a century, thinks Hillary is more qualified to be commander-in-chief.

What issue(s) brought you to the polls today? “My very definite issue was wanting to vote for Hillary Clinton to be the next president! I think she seems the most qualified. I look at all the candidates that we’re having offered to us, and I feel she’s very .com


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Brigitte Gilliam Voted for: Hillary Clinton Years in the neighborhood: Born there

What’s your prediction for the candidate matchup in November? “I think it’s going to be very difficult, I don’t know who will come out of the Republican field. So I’m not going to predict it.”

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Would you support the other candidate if they get the nomination? “Yes, but I’m hoping for Hillary!” Naomi, 77 Voted for: Hillary Clinton Years in the neighborhood: 20+ What issue(s) brought you to the polls today? “The real issue was Clinton, I want to see Clinton elected — even though I love Bernie Sanders and everything he stands for. But I don’t think it’s humanly possible in this atmosphere for him to do it. I don’t think he’s a realistic candidate.” What’s your prediction for the candidate matchup in November? “I suppose it looks like it’s going to be Trump and Clinton, which is just bizarre!” Would you support the other candidate if they get the nomination? “Oh yes, of course.” Gregory, 65 Voted for: Hillary Clinton Years in the neighborhood: 40 What issue(s) brought you to the polls today? “It’s gotta be Hillary. We already had a black president, now let’s have a woman. And she has experience. Her husband was president, and those were good times. I’m sure he will give her a little advice if she ever gets tied up. I hadn’t even heard about Sanders before this election, he clearly doesn’t have the experience. I mean, the woman’s been Secretary of State!” What’s your prediction for the candidate matchup in November? “It looks like Trump is going to be it. But Hillary has a chance, because she’s just more knowledgeable.” Would you support the other candidate if they get the nomination? “I would have to. That’s what everybody should do — support the party. We can’t let the Republicans win, no matter who they put out there for themselves.” .com

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Brigitte Gilliam said she voted for Hillary but thinks that Bernie could make it work with a capable cabinet, should he be the next president.

What issue(s) brought you to the polls today? “The economy, the middle class and equal rights for all!” What’s your prediction for the candidate matchup in November? “God forbid, she’ll be facing Trump. But I really hope not. I think she’d have a much better chance against Cruz. Trump doesn’t know anything about what’s going on in the world — he knows about business and real estate.” Would you support the other candidate if they get the nomination? “Yes, I would. I would just hope [Bernie Sanders] would have a great cabinet to help him in the White House, because he just doesn’t have as much experience as Hillary. That’s my fear.”

OUTSIDE OF PS 111 IN HELL’S KITCHEN 440 W. 53rd St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves. Wesley Westenberg, 54 & Benito Larow, 53 Voted for: Hillary Clinton Years in the neighborhood: 7 What issue(s) brought you to the polls today? Westenberg: “Hillary, and her experience. Her husband, she was Secretary of State — that’s what I voted for.” Larow: “Same thing.” What’s your prediction for the candidate matchup in November? PRIMARY continued on p. 12

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Judge Sinks Pier55 Suit BY ALBERT AMATEAU A Manhattan State Supreme Court judge has dismissed the City Club of New York’s lawsuit to prevent the $130 million Pier55 project, funded by Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, from going forward without a full environmental impact review. In a 40-page decision delivered on Apr. 4, judge Joan B. Lobis threw out the lawsuit against the Hudson River Park Trust with prejudice, meaning that although the dismissal may be appealed to a higher court, the lawsuit cannot be filed anew. Diller, who with von Furstenberg has pledged $113 million for the project that would replace the old Pier 54 just north of W. 13th St., was jubilant. “The court did what we hoped, reject completely the claims made by the City Club,” Diller said. “On behalf of the Hudson River Park Trust and all those involved in this project, I’m glad we can get back to the work; that of building a great park and performance center for the people of New York and

Image courtesy Pier55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio

A design rendering showing the proposed Pier55 project, which will overlap the old pile fields of Piers 54 and 56.

all those who come to visit.” Madelyn Wils, president and CEO of the Trust, the state/city authority building the 4.5-mile long riverfront park, said, “This marks a victory for the tens of millions who enjoy Hudson River

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Park. We’re pleased the judge dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety, and we’re eager to move ahead with what will be one of the most spectacular public park piers anywhere, yet, happily in Hudson River Park.” Tom Fox, a City Club member and an individual plaintiff in the suit, said that the City Club board of directors might appeal the dismissal. Their decision was still pending at press time. The square-shaped project, more an island than a pier, with two access ramps, would cover 2.7 undulating acres, supported on 547 concrete pilings. Its height above the river would vary from 8 feet to 62 feet. The pier would have three performance spaces, with a total audience capacity of nearly 6,000. The Trust and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation have agreed that 51% of the performance events on the pier would be completely free and 49% could charge market-rate admission. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation approved the project at the end of last month. However, the US Army Corps of Engineers, which has jurisdiction over navigable waters, has not yet issued a permit for the project. Nevertheless, the Trust hopes to begin construction

on the new pier later this spring, with completion expected in 2019. The lawsuit, filed in June 2015, contended that the Trust’s approval of the project violated the public trust doctrine, both the city and state environmental quality review laws, and the state Hudson River Park Act, which is the legal basis of the park and which established the Trust. The public trust doctrine holds that “parkland is impressed with a public trust requiring legislative approval before it can be alienated or used for an extended period for non-park purposes,” according to the decision. But Judge Lobis held that the doctrine applies to municipal parkland and not to state parkland, like Hudson River Park. Moreover, the judge ruled that the uses envisioned for Pier55 are all legitimate park purposes. (The park was built on a combination of state- and city-owned land.) Regarding the environmental review requirement, the Trust last year filed an environmental assessment form (EAF), and found that Pier55 would not have a significant environmental impact, so would not require further study. Projects deemed to have a significant impact must complete a full environmental impact statement (EIS), which could take a year. The City Club suit contended that the EAF failed to take the required “hard look” at the project to assess the potential impact. But Judge Lobis held that the EAF examined alternatives and potential risks to reach the “no significant impact” judgment. Pier55 only partially overlaps the footprint of the old Pier 54, built in 1906 for the Cunard Line, which it would replace. Last year, the State Legislature lamended the Hudson River Park Act to permit the new location. Judge Lobis held that the project does not violate the act. The Pier55 project has the support of Friends of Hudson River Park, the Municipal Art Society, New Yorkers for Parks and former city Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

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It’s Up to Us! BY BILL BOROCK For the Council of Chelsea Block Associations The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) recently granted a request made by our Manhattan Community Board 4 (CB4) to install a protected bike lane on Sixth Ave. — from W. Eighth St. to W. 33rd St. — which will feature 33 pedestrian refuges located between the vehicle traffic lanes. These islands will be too small for trees — as compared to the bike lane sites on Eighth and Ninth Ave., where members of the Chelsea Garden Club have done an outstanding job of adopting “tree pits,” and filling them with beautiful flowers and small shrubbery. On Sixth Ave., the planting areas will be much smaller — but at 4’ x 5’, they will be large enough to create “micro-gardens.” From the north side of W. 14th St. to the south side of W. 32nd St., there will 27 pedestrian island sites in Chelsea that have the potential to become micro-gardens (with more potential sites below 14th St.). I say “potential” because the DOT has let the community know that all unadopted islands will be solid cement upon their installation. To prevent this scenario, the Council of Chelsea Block Associations (CCBA; a coalition of 15 block associations covering 25 blocks in Chelsea) has been trying to get every potential site adopted by individuals, groups, businesses and other entities. CCBA’s mission includes improving the quality of life for those who live in, work in, or visit our neighborhood — and that .com

is why our members have answered the call to find adopters. Who asked CCBA to do this? Chekpeds did. They are a community group that works directly with elected officials, businesses, Business Improvement Districts, local institutions, CB4, block associations, and residents of the community to obtain critical traffic relief and pedestrian safety measures. To date, the joint efforts of Chekpeds and the CCBA have resulted in the adoption of all 19 sites between W. 14th and W. 26th Sts. There are two areas that CCBA was not dealing with, that still have sites in need of adoption. One area is from the north corner of W. 27th St. to the south corner of W. 32nd St. Anyone interested in one of these sites should contact Christine Berthet, at cberthet@ me.com. The second area runs from the north corner of Christopher St. to the north corner of W. 13th St. Anyone interested in one of these sites should contact Shirley Secunda, at secunda@ cb2manhattan.org. The name of every adopter will be sent to the DOT — which will convene a meeting for all these new Sixth Ave. gardeners to share their plans and ideas (it is our understanding that the bike lane will be completed by this summer). If you have any further questions, or would like to become involved with the CCBA, contact me at wborock@hotmail. com. See you around the neighborhood, Bill Borock

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after the Port Authority announced at its board meeting last month that it was committed to building a much-needed replacement in Manhattan — rather than New Jersey, which, unsurprisingly, seemed to be the more popular option with Manhattanites. “You have the perfect solution…the light should have gone on and somebody should have said, ‘Why don’t we move the bus terminal out to the Meadowlands Sports Complex and then build a light rail into Manhattan?’ ” suggested Bob Minor, one of the speakers at the event and a co-chair of the HK 50-51 Block Association, to thundering applause. “We don’t want to throw the community under the bus — or the bus garage, in this case,” said state Senator Brad Hoylman, who organized the town hall together with Assemblymember Dick Gottfried and CB4. “I think we can all agree that the current Port Authority Bus Terminal is obsolete,” said District 3 City Councilmember Corey Johnson. “We need a plan that will right-size the terminal…what I am not in favor of is any plan that displaces Hell’s Kitchen residents, institutions or businesses. We need a plan that takes into consideration this neighborhood.” The Port Authority officials at the meeting emphasized that the agency would work hard to avoid any scenario that would displace longtime residents. “We’re going to use Port Authority property wherever possible, I can’t emphasize that enough,” said Mark Muriello, the agency’s Deputy Director of Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals. “We’re not looking to overrun the neighborhood — we want to integrate the neighborhood,” he added.

Michelle O’Connell Diaz, who lives on W. 42nd St., said every piece of the neighborhood was worth preserving. “There’s so many great things on this block still, despite everything that’s been torn down,” she said.

Joe Calcagno, who owns the Capizzi pizzeria on Ninth Ave., told his neighbors that trying to thwart any plans by the Port Authority was a hopeless cause.

The current terminal serves more than 230,000 passengers daily, which is already more than it was built for in 1950. The Port Authority estimates that number will increase to 270,000 by 2020, and could reach 337,000 after .com


ate’ Neighborhood Could Obliterate Parts of Hell’s Kitchen

Photos by Yannic Rack

On a recent weekday, buses were queuing up on Dyer Ave. to get into the terminal through a ramp.

another 20 years — clearly demonstrating the need for an expanded facility. But the community was not convinced of the agency’s assurances to minimize its impact, with some going so far as to declare the whole discussion as over before it even started. “The Port Authority is a horrible neighbor. The back end of Ninth Avenue is their dumping ground,” said Joe

Calcagno, who owns the Capizzi pizzeria around the corner (547 Ninth Ave., btw. W. 40th & W. 41st Sts.). “It’s inevitable, the fix is in, guys. This thing is done already, don’t fool yourself,” he told his fellow neighbors. Most of the other speakers were more hopeful that they could still avert a doomsday scenario, and many spoke to the value of the neighborhood, which

The Metro Baptist Church (on W. 40th St. btw. Ninth & Dyer Aves.), where hundreds of local residents directed their anger and concerns at officials from the Port Authority this week during a town hall meeting.

has lived with the bus terminal for decades. During the meeting, buses were parked on the street outside, waiting for their turn to pick up passengers inside the station. This block alone, a microcosm of the Hell’s Kitchen South neighborhood, is home to a row of handsome residential buildings and a range of long-standing community organizations, including the

Clinton Housing Development Company and The Dwelling Place, a women’s shelter. The Metro Baptist Church itself, which has been on the street since 1985, houses a teen center and an after-school program, and has a roof garden that helps feed up to 800 people every month through a food pantry. BUS TERMINAL continued on p. 13

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COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

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Broaden your health horizons with a weekly low-impact stretching class in Clement Clarke Moore Park, courtesy of Shape Up NYC.

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LIVE DRAWING BY MICHAEL ALAN As part of his “Nine Lives” solo exhibition, artist Michael Alan invites you to become part of the performance, and part of the art. Laboring

at a small desk and surrounded by his painting tools, Alan applies the seemingly chaotic lines, splashes and squiggles of his signature technique to your appearance and temperament. The result is a portrait that’s less concerned with how you appear in

the mirror than what the artist sees when he looks into your eyes. Free. Thurs., Apr. 21 & 28, 4–8pm, in the window of Tanja Grunert Gallery (524 W. 19th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves). Visit michaelalanart.com and gassergrunert.net.

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Serious devotees of New York nightlife don’t wind down until dawn — but as they say goodnight, a different breed of club kid is eager to get out of bed and drive on. On Apr. 30, over 1,000 of those who greet Saturday morning by hitting the links instead of the sheets will gather at NYC’s longest-running golf expo. That’s where you can test drive the latest clubs from leading manufacturers on America’s most technologically-advanced driving range, receive instruction from pros, and plot for tee time on courses close to home and across the globe. The Kids’ Corner has snacks and putting games, and adults can enter to win prizes — including a onehour golf assessment from Lenox Hill Hospital’s TPI-certified physical therapists. Sat., Apr. 30, 12–6pm at the Golf Club at Chelsea Piers (Pier 59, W. 18th St. & Hudson River Park). For tickets ($15 for adults, $10 for ages 3–14), visit chelseapiers.com/ golf/newsfeed/golf-fest.

FLATIRON SPEAKER SERIES: 13TH PRECINCT SAFETY As the latest guest speaker in this long-running series sponsored by the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, Commanding Officer of the NYPD’s 13th Precinct, will discuss safety and security in the Flatiron District. Fri., May 6, 8:30–10am, at General Assembly (915 Broadway, third floor “Concourse” space; enter at 10 E. 21st St.). Free. RSVP by Wed., May 4, by calling 212-741-2323 or visiting generalassemb.ly/education/flatiron23rd-street-partnership-speaker-series/new-york-city/24149. Also visit flatirondistrict.nyc and flatirondistrict.nyc/facebook.

LOW-IMPACT EXERCISE CLASSES The West 400 Block Association invites you to take part in a weekly stretching exercise class — led by an instructor from the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, as part of their Shape Up NYC program. Classes will be held every Wed., 8–10am, at Clement Clarke Moore Park (10th Ave. & W. 22nd St.). For info, contact Allen Oster at aoster@ earthlink.net.

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La Marina 212-567-6300 La Marina, located in upper Manhattan, offers a variety of indoor and outdoor event spaces for parties of 50 -1,500, right on the shore of the Hudson River. Step into our extraordinary venue where the food, the scene and the music share a stage; where the George Washington Bridge consumes the panorama; Boasting unbeatable views and large open spaces, both indoors & outdoors La Marina can be your dream wedding. Landmark Venues 866.683.3586 LandmarkVenues.com Landmark Destination Weddings, Crave Caterers, The Boathouse At Mercer Lake, Stone House at Sterling Ridge, The Ryland Whitehouse Station, Celebrate At Sung Harbor, Hotel Du Village, Liberty House Restaurant & Catering For over 25 years, we have been celebrating beautiful weddings at our venues across News York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Marble Collegiate Church* Weddings at Marble Collegiate Church, renowned for our inclusiveness and diversity, we have many unique spaces to offer, from our elegant Sanctuary, to more intimate sacred venues. At Marble, your Wedding can be spiritual, beautiful and memorable. It’s a celebration of love. That’s what Marble Collegiate is all about. 1 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001 212-686-2770 www.MarbleChurch.org Plaza Athenee 37 East 64th Street at Madison Ave, New York 212-644-0202 plaza-athenee.com Le Trianon, our ceremony space is elegantly appointed in natural earth tones with ten windows overlooking the townhouses of East 64th Street. For your wedding reception, the venue’s dazzling, gold-domed Arabelle restaurant provides one of the most unique settings in Manhattan with its blend of murano glass and brass chandeliers, chiffon colored walls and murals of Asian pagodas. Russo’s on the Bay 162-45 Cross Bay Boulevard, Howard Beach, NY, 718-843-5055 russosonthebay.com Exemplary service and exquisite cuisine combined with professional attention to detail was the best way to achieve customer satisfaction. Sirico’s Caterers Sirico’s is a tasteful event planning and catering hall in Brooklyn, maintaining a beautiful facilities with top-notch event services. With three event halls accomodating 300 guests. They pride themselves on elegant wedding receptions and private events that are second to none. In The Heart Of Dyker Heights 8015/23 13th Avenue Bklyn, NY 11228 718-331-29008–331–2900 www.siricoscaterers.net Soleil Caterers 212-316-5000 Your wedding day is one of the most memorable days of your life and we at Soleil Caterers would love to be a part of it. No matter what your theme or food preferences are, we

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OFFICIANTS Alisa Tongg Storyteller & Celebrant For AisleBound Couples Ceremonies from Scratch Serving NYC, New Jersey and Pennsylvania 570-369-3955 www.alisatonggcelebrant.com For This Joyous Occasion Officiating Services & Seaside Ceremonies Andrea Purtell NJ Wedding Officiant Weddings, Vow Renewals & Baby Blessings Certified in NJ All Faiths/Non-denominational Traditions/Lifestyles Point Pleasant Beach Atlantic Highlands Red Bank Asbury Park Ocean Grove Island Beach Long Beach Island www.forthisjoyousoccasion.com thisjoyous@gmail.com 848-333-9948

Mitch the Minister Mitchell S. Maged Wedding Officiant and Minister 201-410-6834 www.mitchtheminister.com email: mitchtheminister@aol.com 70 Oneida Avenue, Oakland, NJ 07436 Ny Life Events Mary A. Carroll – Universal Life Minister 201-410-0782 – In your home or venue • Wedding/Civil Union – NonDenominational • Evenings/Weekends – NJ-NY-NYC www.NJLifeEvents.com Reverend Greg Kits, DD NY & NJ Wedding Officiant 973-220-9400 text/cell Gregg37@optimum.net Servicing NY, NJ, & NYC www.GayWeddingMan.net www.TheWeddingMan.net Reverend Luisa’s Holistic Weddings & Ceremonies Interfaith Minister Bilingual English & Spanish Wedding Ceremonies for Tristate Couples 2014 ABC-NY Sparkle Award Top Wedding Vendor Officiant 2015 Couples Choice Award Wedding Wire 917-572-4831 revluisaceremonies.com Reverend Samora Smith Common Ground Ceremonies Ordained as an Interfaith Minister Specializing in all types of ceremonies Commongroundceremonies.com 711 East 11th Street, New York 646-709-2090 Sacred Journey Healing* Reverend Kyle Applegate Interfaith Minister 212-777-1119 kyle@sacredjourneyhealing.com sacredjourneyhealing.com Stephen David DYM/WEDinNYC LGBT Wedding Officiant Creating Custom Wedding Ceremonies for you and your partner. www.WEDinNYC.com 917.855.6830

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POLICE BLOTTER ASSAULT: Rec league rumble

him in the right eye (causing bruising) and spat on him. Both bad sports wound up getting arrested and, almost certainly, red cards from the ref.

A staggering display of poor sportsmanship caused two hard-hitting hooligans to hit the big house instead of the showers on Thurs., Apr. 14. At about 10pm, at the northwest corner of W. 20th St. & 11th Ave., a dispute broke out between two men (a 35-year-old Manhattan resident and a 30-year-old from Queens) about a game of soccer. Things escalated to the point where the Queens man came at the Manhattan man from behind, and punched him in the nose — causing swelling, pain, and bleeding. In a separate police report filed just after, the Queens man stated that the Manhattanite slapped

MAKING GRAFFITI: Caught with his “Richard” out On Fri., Apr. 15, one 22-year-old discovered the hard way that he was not quite the Banksy-level street artist he may have aspired to be. At about 2:25am, police observed the impromptu artist writing on the step and aluminum door of the closed Nancy Hoffman Gallery (250 W. 27th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) with a purple marker. The tagger’s work read “Richard G Hoe,” and, more bluntly, “Dick,” causing damage under $250, and securing him a solo show in jail.

THE 10th PRECINCT Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Deputy Inspector Michele Irizarry. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced. The next meeting is Apr. 27.

GRAND LARCENY: Seized wallet Most people with a conscience know not to kick a person while they’re down, but it shouldn’t have to be spelled out that taking someone’s wallet while they’re down is also not morally kosher. Back in mid-March, a 28-year-old man walking home from work had a seizure on the street outside of Chelsea Market (75 Ninth Ave., btw. W. 15th & W. 16th Sts.). He woke up in the hospital, to discover that his wallet was missing, and that charges had been racked up on his cards, which the victim quickly cancelled. He told authorities that he believed he had been pickpocketed — and on Mon., Apr. 11, police were able to corroborate the victim’s account of the incident, by obtaining video from Chelsea Market’s security director, which clearly showed a stranger taking the wallet from the unconscious man.

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PETIT LARCENY: Hard time possible for soft serve crime Perhaps they have an insatiable sweet tooth, or perhaps they’re in cahoots with Mister Softee — but either way, two unknown thieves will have a lot of explaining to do if they’re ever caught. At about 2pm on Fri., Apr. 15, a 33-year-old employee of CVS (500 W. 23rd St., at 10th Ave.) reported to police that two criminals, acting in concert, had just shoplifted from their store for the third time (though it was the first time authorities were involved). Their haul? A brain-freezing 148 items of miscellaneous ice cream products, totaling $935. They “split” before they could be brought in — and this publication puts forth the possibility that the perps, who clearly have a soft spot for Ben and Jerry, are currently en route to Vermont, via ice cream truck.

ASSAULT/HARASSMENT: Bottle popping weekend

tionally unlucky 25-year-old Staten Island employee of Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company (286 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 25th & W. 24th Sts.) had would probably be looking for a new job, ASAP. At around 11pm on Fri., Apr. 15, an unknown individual entered the store, and started having an argument with the man, who threatened, “I’m going to shoot this place up.” The rabble-rouser was told to leave, but he didn’t respond kindly to the request, choosing instead to punch the employee in the left eye, causing bruising and swelling. Once the antagonist was finally out of the store, he found a bottle on the street, and threw it at the employee, causing even further bruising and swelling to his face. Video of this incident is available. The very next day (Sat., Apr. 16), with the same Staten Islander manning his position after nursing his injuries, another troublemaker had to be asked to leave the store by the employee at around 6:15pm. He grabbed a Snapple bottle, and once outside, threw it at the store, in the direction of the employee.

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METRO DINER

The West Side Tradition

Would you support the other candidate if they get the nomination? “Yes.” Greta Dunn Voted for: Hillary Clinton Years in the neighborhood: 20+

Photos by Yannic Rack

BREAKFAST

Wesley Westenberg, right, and his partner Benito Larow both voted for Hillary Clinton because she has the experience of being Secretary of State — as well as First Lady under her husband’s presidency. PRIMARY continued from p. 3

Westenberg: “It’s gonna be Hillary and Trump.” Would you support the other candidate if they get the nomination? Larow: “Of course.”

LUNCH

Jamie Roach, 33 Voted for: Bernie Sanders Years in the neighborhood: 4

DINNER

Jamie Roach, left, cast his vote for Bernie Sanders after much deliberation. Amber Caldwell, who was visiting from California, vowed to do the same when her state heads to the polls in June.

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April 21 - 27, 2016

What issue(s) brought you to the polls today? “There’s so many things that it effects, like healthcare, LGBT rights, our international relationships, the way that big banks work and companies are allowed to operate. I sat in that room forever hovering over my ballot! I came down without knowing who I was going to vote for. I’ve been weighing it for months, listening to everyone’s opinions — and I finally just sat and thought for myself. I walked out sort of conflicted. I feel like it’s a higher stakes bet!”

Greta Dunn, who has lived in Hell’s Kitchen for more than 20 years, says she wants her candidate — Hillary Clinton — to make life in the city more affordable.

What issue(s) brought you to the polls today? “Housing and living, just surviving in New York. Healthcare. And Trump! We cannot let him take office; things will really go downhill. But housing and health insurance is really an issue that is not being addressed. Homelessness is on the rise; there’s no affordable housing. Either you have two grand to pay for rent, otherwise you’re gonna live in a rat-infested, run-down area. People get minimum wage and can’t support their families. People are starving and this is supposed to be one of the richest countries in the world. Something’s gotta be done.” What’s your prediction for the candidate matchup in November? “Hillary’s my girl, she’s gonna do it! But it might be Bernie. Anything is possible.” Would you support the other candidate if they get the nomination? “Yes.”

What’s your prediction for the candidate matchup in November? “I have no idea, which is kind of exciting. I feel like it could totally go either way.” .com


Photos by Yannic Rack

The current Port Authority Bus Terminal is already overcrowded, and the station is expected to see ridership increase by tens of thousands of additional daily passengers over the next four years.

BUS TERMINAL continued from p. 7

“From the roof, where we have a farm, to the basement, where we have a food pantry, it’s a very vibrant building. It’s so important to the neighborhood, so we want to encourage looking at land that the Port Authority already owns,” said Metro Baptist pastor Scott Stearman. “We know that the Port Authority needs to be revitalized — there’s no question,” he added. “We just don’t think it needs to be these blocks.”

Scott Stearman, center, the pastor at Metro Baptist, said his church provided essential neighborhood services to the Hell’s Kitchen community, including a food pantry, as well as teen and after-school programs.

“My family has lived in Hell’s Kitchen for six generations,” said Michelle O’Connell Diaz. “This neighborhood has always been about community, and gradually everyone is being pushed out and displaced. But there’s so many great things on this block still, despite everything that’s been torn down.” Another resident offered some advice to the Port Authority, which he said had made things difficult by being a bad neighbor to the community for so many years. “If you want to make people feel better about you, be better neighbors,” said CB4 member David Solnick.

“Don’t be the guy who leaves his car jacked up in the front yard.” The locals won’t have to wait long to find out whether or not the concerns raised at the town hall will have any impact on the eventual design: the Port Authority expects to announce the winner of its competition in the fall. For anyone attending the event, one thing was clear, however. “We certainly heard tonight that the community draws the line at eminent domain,” Hoylman said.

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BEACHES April 21 - 27, 2016

13


Rhymes With Crazy THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER

Publisher

Jennifer Goodstein

Editor Scott Stiffler

Editorial Assistant

Film Frames Shaken Baby Syndrome as Faulty Diagnosis

Sean Egan

Art Director Michael Shirey

Graphic Designer Rhiannon Hsu

Contributors

Lincoln Anderson Stephanie Buhmann Jackson Chen Sean Egan Winnie McCroy Colin Mixson Puma Perl Yannic Rack Paul Schindler Trav S.D. Eileen Stukane

Executive VP of Advertising Amanda Tarley

Account Executives Jack Agliata Allison Greaker Jim Steele Julio Tumbaco

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NYC Community Media, LLC

One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.chelseanow.com scott@chelseanow.com © 2016 NYC Community Media, LLC Member of the New York Press Association

Chelsea Now is published weekly by NYC Community Media

LLC, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. (212) 229-1890. Annual subscription by mail in Manhattan and Brooklyn $75. The entire contents of newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2016 NYC Community Media LLC, Postmaster: Send address changes to Chelsea Now, One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201.

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BY LENORE SKENAZY On Saturday night at Cinema Village on E. 12th St., I met Marine Sgt. Aaron Rasheed. He was up from Virginia with his wife and three young children, including baby Elijah, who cried part-way through the new documentary we were there to watch: “The Syndrome.” I can’t blame him. The movie is about Shaken Baby Syndrome — a heinous crime we’ve all heard of. Back in the fall, when Elijah was three weeks old, he suffered a seizure. Sgt. Rasheed and his wife rushed him to the hospital. The baby had two hematomas — blood on the brain (or at least it looked like that at the time). How had he gotten them? The desperate parents had no idea. Tsk, tsk. They must be hiding something. Child Protective Services swooped in and accused Rasheed of shaking the baby. Rasheed was floored. He loved his son! He’d never do that! “But I think because I had served in Afghanistan,” Rasheed said, the authorities assumed he must be suffering from Post-Traumatic

Stress Disorder, and further assumed he must be taking it out on his baby. All three children were placed in a relative’s custody, and Rasheed faced trial. Frantic, he went online and tried to find any information he could about Shaken Baby Syndrome. That’s where he found Susan Goldsmith, the researcher behind “The Syndrome.” A journalist for more than 20 years specializing in child abuse, her investigative reporting resulted in two new laws protecting children in foster care. She was especially revolted by the idea of anyone who’d shake a baby. I guess we all are. But the more she looked into this crime, the more surprised she became. It turns out that the constellation of three symptoms that “prove” a baby was shaken (a type of brain swelling, brain bleeding, and bleeding in back of the eyes) can actually be caused by all sorts of other problems, including genetic issues, birth trauma — even a fall off a couch. And yet, over and over, distraught parents and caregivers with no history of anything

other than loving their babies have been accused of shaking their kids to death, simply because their children presented these symptoms — or other unexplained symptoms. To this day, about 250 parents and caregivers are prosecuted for this crime every year. “The Syndrome” tells the tale of how this new category of crime appeared seemingly out of nowhere in the mid-1990s. Goldsmith found that some of the same doctors who had actively promoted the Satanic Panic of the early ’90s — accusing daycare workers of things like sacrificing animals in the classroom and raping the tots in Satanic rites — abandoned that narrative when people started doubting its plausibility. In its wake, those doctors found a new horror to focus on: Shaken Baby. As Goldsmith puts it, “They medicalized Satan.” Attention, donations, and research money flooded in. But after Goldsmith’s film interviews parent after parent who brought their ailing babies to the hospital only to find themselves accused of the sickest, saddest crime possible, it turns to the heroes: doctors who gradually started to question the syndrome. Consider the case of Natasha Richardson, says neurosurgeon Ronald Uscinski: She hit her head in a skiing accident and even joked about it afterward. No big deal! Two days later she was dead. This happens to children, too, he says. Toddlers toddle. Sometimes they fall. Usually it’s fine, but sometimes it’s

tragic. It may be diagnosed as the fallout from a shaking, but here’s the sticking point: If someone shook a baby so hard that its head went flopping back and forth, the neck would show signs of whiplash, right? And yet, the film notes: none of the hundreds of “shaken” baby cases Goldsmith reviewed showed serious neck damage. Not one. Deborah Tuerkheimer, a Northwestern law professor interviewed in the film, estimates there are 1,000 people in prison today for a shaken baby crime they did not commit. Rasheed was almost one of them, but he was found not guilty. The idea that the shaken baby diagnosis may be as unfounded as the Satanic Panic does not sit well with the medical establishment. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a 14-page document criticizing “The Syndrome.” Three different film festivals were threatened with lawsuits simply for screening it. But the show goes on. “The Syndrome” is available on demand through iTunes, Amazon, Time Warner Cable — almost everywhere. And Rasheed is hosting a screening back home in Virginia. He knows firsthand how easy it is to end up in the medical establishment or a child protective services prosecutor’s crosshairs. It’s enough to leave anyone shaken. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids.com). .com


Congregation Beit Simchat Torah’s Big Day

Photo Essay by Donna Aceto

In a show of extraordinary exuberance, celebration and reverence, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah marched from its longtime, crowded home at Westbeth in the West Village to its stunning new sanctuary and community space in the Cass Gilbert Building on W. 30th St. The Apr. 3 event drew CBST members, community leaders and elected officials to a colorful display of the congregation’s traditions, including its five Torahs, which prominent participants took turns carrying. At the end of the festivities — which took the crowd from Westbeth to the congregation’s borrowed worship space at Holy Apostles Episcopal Church on Ninth Ave., where they were greeted by that faith community’s leaders — Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum led the group into CBST’s new sanctuary, designed by architect Stephen Cassell, where a Muslim woman and a Christian man offered opening prayers. Above, top, Mayor Bill de Blasio takes his turn carrying a Torah, flanked by West Side Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, marriage equality champions Edie Windsor and Evan Wolfson, and Rabbi Kleinbaum. Senator Chuck Schumer (above) also got his turn carrying the Torah. Among the community leaders on hand were (left) comedian Kate Clinton and her partner Urvashi Vaid, who for decades has held top posts in nationwide LGBT advocacy. .com

April 21 - 27, 2016

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The Vulcan Was Down-to-Earth

Adam Nimoy’s Spock doc earns an emotional response

Leonard photo, courtesy CBS archival; Adam photo by Kai de Mello.

Time travel episodes are generally frowned upon, but this is an exception.

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW “FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK” BY MAX BURBANK I have no memory of ever watching an episode of the original “Star Trek” for the first time. I do remember my dad and I watching it first-run on a black and white TV, when I was four. By the time I was watching reruns religiously, I wanted to be James T. Kirk. My lack of success with the ladies at Franklin Elementary made it pretty clear that was never going to happen. Maybe though, just maybe, I could be Spock. Standoffish? Check. Alien? I was the only Jew not on a Sunday School felt board any of my classmates had ever seen. Smart? Well, I got punched a lot for using “big .com

words.” That counts, right? So yeah. I could be Spock. Full disclosure, I also thought I’d be a good choice to carry the One Ring to Mordor, which would not have gone well for anyone. Except, you know, Orcs, I guess. You get the picture. So my dad gave me “Star Trek.” Adam Nimoy’s dad gave him, and the world, Spock. Now Adam has given us “For the Love of Spock.” Begun in 2014, it was originally intended to focus solely on the character of Spock, to commemorate the original series’ 50th anniversary. With Nimoy’s passing, it became clear the film should celebrate the man as well as his creation. Loaded with archival stills, restored original footage, interviews with original and reboot cast members, family, celebrity superfans (Jason Alexander and Jim “Sheldon” Parsons), scien-

tists (Neil deGrasse Tyson, can I get a what WHAT?) and astronauts, this is the Spockfest everyone wanted, a claim for which there is empirical evidence. Crowdsourced, the documentary holds the Kickstarter record for Most Successful Campaign. Why? Simple. No Spock, no “Trek.” The original “Star Trek” and the eventual franchise (with the possible exception of “Voyager,” sorry, that’s just how I feel) is full of memorable characters, but Spock…Spock resonates. Spock is more than just a character; he’s a way of looking at life, a lens through which to view the human condition. I know, super nerdy, right? But also true. Fascinating. Adam Nimoy grew up with that. Leonard was his dad, but Spock must have loomed over that family. It must have been hard, but there’s not an iota of bitterness or regret in Adam

Nimoy’s documentary. It doesn’t shy away from the inevitable difficulty of being Spock’s kid, but there’s an embrace of both the man his father was, and the icon he created. It’s where everyone who ever had a fraught relationship with their father would want to end up. There’s not a lot of new ground here. If there are new insider “Trek” stories to tell, I haven’t heard one in a long time. I did come away with some fresh insight into how Nimoy shaped the character of Spock as a reaction to Shatner’s acting style, and that was cool. One thing that’s especially nice? The film dishes no dirt on cast infighting. The elder Nimoy didn’t want that. It focuses on how Spock touched people, and how the character Nimoy created wove himself into people’s lives. Everyone has their Spock story. Here’s mine. Back in the ’80s, I was a camp counselor, and, for movie night one time, we showed “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn,” aka the awesomest “Star Trek” movie. And it’s Spock’s death scene, so I’m crying, even though I’ve seen it like eight times, thank God it’s dark, the kids can’t see. And this one kid, this little privileged rich snot, laughs. Laughs! And I yell “YOU ARE A HEARTLESS A-HOLE!” Except of course I didn’t say “a-hole.” I got a talking to from the owner afterwards, but not a very stern one. ’Cause he was crying too, I guarantee it. Anyone half-human or more cries. Spoiler alert, you’re going to cry at the end of this documentary. You won’t think you will, but there’s a section that sneaks up on you, as stealthy as a Vulcan nerve pinch — and you’ll cry. It’s okay, because Leonard Nimoy is gone, and he will be sorely missed. But Spock is still here. Will you like this documentary if you are not familiar with “Star Trek?” Insufficient data. I’m not a “Trekkie,” or “Trekker,” couldn’t even tell you what SPOCK continued on p. 23 April 21 - 27, 2016

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Run To, Run From: Egan Takes On TFF Multiple standouts aside, ‘Women Who Kill’ dominates the slate

Photo by Stuart Brereton

Seth Green in the Christmas-themed segment of “Holidays.”

Photo courtesy The Orchard

L to R: Julian Dennison and Sam Neill in “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”

BY SEAN EGAN The weather tells me it’s officially spring, which can only mean one thing — it’s time to hole up in a movie theater and take in all the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF; tribecafilm.com) has to offer. Or at least that’s what I gladly did this past weekend, to ensure you needn’t roll the dice on quality when picking your celluloid poison. Here’s the lowdown on some of the best (and not so best) picks you can consider before the festival concludes on Apr. 24. If you can’t make it to TFF (or the remaining screenings are sold out), note that many of its films get picked up for wide release theatrical distribution or become available via streaming services, soon after their festival run.

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“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is an excellent odd couple comedy, and a strong contender for festival breakout hit — which should come as no surprise, considering the talent behind the camera. Hailing from New Zealand, writer/director Taika Waititi’s film tells the story of Ricky (Julian Dennison), a young troublemaker from the city, and his begrudging, detached foster father Hec (Sam Neill), who, through a series of escalating misunderstandings, find themselves the targets of an extensive manhunt, forced to go on the lam for weeks in New Zealand’s expansive forests. While “Wilderpeople” might lack the acidic bite (pun shamelessly intended) of his recent vampire mockumentary “What We Do In The Shadows,” Waititi’s dry, understated

sense of humor remains intact, palpable in both the dialogue and visual gags. It’s a sweeter and sadder movie, and Waititi renders the central relationship accordingly — with nuance and specific human flaws — allowing him to avoid the kind of cheap sentimentality that usually sinks this kind of movie. The struggles the duo endure, therefore, feel real, and their personal breakthroughs feel earned — and that makes all the difference in elevating the film from a good-natured crowd-pleaser into something altogether more affecting. For those looking for something a little more gory than gentle, “Holidays” should do the trick. It is, appropriately enough, a holiday-themed horror anthology movie that boasts a startlingly solid lineup of high-quality shorts. True, as with all films of this nature, unevenness is the norm; the opening Valentine’s Day piece has little to praise but its lighting design, and Kevin Smith’s Halloween-themed segment is pretty slight and underwhelming, especially following his deranged, inspired “Tusk” (2014). But that can be forgiven when the hit-to-miss ratio is as high as it is here. From the bluehued, measured tension of Anthony Scott Burns’ “Father’s Day,” to the blasphemous black comedy and stunning practical effects of Nicholas McCarthy’s “Easter,” to the nutso, offbeat humor of Gary Shore’s “St. Patrick’s Day,” “Holidays” is a brisk and bloody good midnight movie. Best of all, however, is “Women Who Kill,” a confidently low-key yet hysterical hybrid of dark comedy, queer romantic drama, and murder mystery. Set in Park Slope with a lovingly skewering eye, Morgan (Ingrid Jungermann) produces a podcast about female serial killers with her ex-girlfriend Jean (Ann Carr). Things begin to go awry when the pair suspects Morgan’s mysterious new sweetheart, Simone (Sheila Vand), may actually be a killer. Vand (also turning in good work in “Holidays”) draws upon the same steely-eyed intensity she brought to her titular breakout role in the 2014 thriller, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” but effectively shades Simone with a tangible vulnerability, refusing to remain a simple cipher or plot point, while Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre vet Shannon O’Neill brings perfect comedic timing to her empathetic portrayal of best friend Alex. The real find here, though, is multi-hyphenate Jungermann, who handled writing and directing duties, in addition to delivering a perfectly unassuming, deadpan leading turn. As a debut feature, “Women” is remarkably assured, effortlessly balancing its competing tones with emotional authenticity, and more than a dash of gallows humor. Simply put, it’s the kind of homegrown gem that Tribeca, at its best, was designed to highlight and bring to the attention of a wider audience. But it can’t all be good, can it? Enter “Nerdland.” ROUNDUP continued on p. 19 .com


ROUNDUP continued from p. 18

Produced by Adult Swim alums Titmouse and boasting a voice cast packed with alt-comedy royalty like Paul Rudd, Patton Oswalt and Hannibal Burress, the Hollywood-set animated feature is allegedly a satire of our fame-obsessed culture — but damned if Andrew Kevin Walker’s aimless, regressive, mean-spirited script amounts to anything but tired juvenilia and rehashed, dated tropes. Things wouldn’t be so bad had Walker and Co. remembered to make their bad-taste exercise actually funny, but no amount of inventive animation or lively voice work can distract from the dearth of laughs. As it stands, its most effective (and cruelest) joke is on itself. As the opening credits roll, a tongue-in-cheek song blares: “Get your hopes up,” the voice commands. “It’s gonna be great; it’s gonna be awesome!” “Nerdland” was neither great nor awesome. In fact, it was the worst thing I had the misfortune of seeing at the festival — and with plenty of fine offerings and events coming up, I implore you not to make the same mistake I did in giving this movie time of (a beautiful) day.

Photo by Diane Russo

Writer/director Ingrid Jungermann (left) with Sheila Vand in “Women Who Kill.”

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A Weak Arc Red Flags Color Guard Doc Concert film falters, but the art form is admirable TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW “CONTEMPORARY COLOR” BY RANIA RICHARDSON While spinning batons, rifles, sabers or flags in the air, the color guard performs a joyous dance to celebrate school spirit during a football halftime show, to the tune of the high school marching band. Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne stumbled upon the art form and “was knocked out,” and so, to bring it to a wider audience, matched 10 color guard teams chosen from national competition with 10 established composers. The yearlong collaboration culminated in a performance at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015. The motion of the props, the synchronized choreography and the fresh music — as well as the exuberance of the youth — created a lively spectacle that drew crowds. With Byrne as producer, sibling filmmakers Bill and Turner Ross turned the event into the documenta-

Photo by Jarred Alterman & Wyatt Garfield

St. Vincent (pictured) is among the major recording artists who collaborated with color guard teams for a lively Barclays Center performance.

ry, “Contemporary Color.” Lucius, Nelly Furtado, St. Vincent, How to Dress Well, Zola Jesus and other artists of profiles both high and low worked with the troupes, many of whom were performing their final color guard and saying goodbye to their team forever. It was an emotional time for the student performers, who exhibit diversity in

body size and ethnicity, and some appear to be social outcasts. Color guard provides a skill, a community, and, it seems, a safe space for misfits. The Ross brothers choose not to adhere to the standard structure of similar films, which usually follow the stories of a few characters closely, document rehearsals, and build momentum towards

Clash and Burn A rock rebel comes of age in Tunisia

an exciting main event. Instead, they use camera tricks, such as superimpositions, to add interest, and zero in on some interesting moments, such as the girlfriends who lean on each other for support, the “dads” who pitch in with set building, and a pair of eccentric boys bursting with excitement. Without the typical pattern, though, the film is unfocused and the trajectory falls flat. In the final minutes, all performers come together for a powerful and uplifting group number that hints at what could have been with a more traditional form of storytelling. Not every concert film can be a pinnacle of achievement. For that, we have the Talking Heads in “Stop Making Sense,” directed by Jonathan Demme in 1984.

Directors: Bill Ross, Turner Ross. Runtime: 97 minutes. Thurs., Apr. 21, 8pm at Regal Cinemas Battery Park (102 North End Ave., at Vesey St.). Tickets: $20 plus $3.50 phone & web processing fee. Visit tribecafilm.com or call 646-502-5296. For more info, visit contemporarycolor.com.

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW “AS I OPEN MY EYES” BY PUMA PERL Vivacious, rebellious, 18-year-old Farah (Baya Medhaffer) loves rock and roll, hates convention, and is a member of an underground band — all of which brings about conflict with her mother, who is insistent that she forget about music and go to medical school. This description sounds like any coming of age story, but there is a catch. The film is set on the eve of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution, and the young people, fueled by creative energy and disenchantment with the authoritarian government, are more likely to wind up beaten and imprisoned than losing their driving privileges. “I decided to place the mother/daughter relationship in the center of the film. It was a way of demonstrating that the explosiveness and idealism of the younger generation modernized the elder one,” explained writer and director Leyla Bouzid at the Q&A that followed the film’s first Tribeca Film Festival screening. Although the script is not strictly autobiographical, it does include some of her life

Photo courtesy Kino Lorber

L to R: Montassar Ayari as Bohrène and Baya Medhaffer as Farah in “As I Open My Eyes.”

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AS I continued on p. 23 .com


Snapped Shots

from the Tribeca Film Festival

Photo Essay by Jenny Rubin

From the top down: Demetri Martin with co-star Kevin Kline, at the premiere of the Martindirected “Dean”; TFF signage at the festival hub (Spring St. Studios, 50 Varick St.), where virtual reality programming took place; A crowd gathers outside Chelsea’s SVA Theater; Ingrid Jungermann, Alex Scharfman and Ann Carr (L to R), from the standout festival selection, “Women Who Kill”; Martin, on the red carpet, also from his “Dean” premiere; Malin Akerman, at the premiere of “The Ticket,” in which she co-stars; Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea at night. .com

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SPOCK continued from p. 17

the difference between those terms is, but I’m a huge fan. I can’t separate myself from the degree to which “Star Trek” has been the ambient noise in the background of my life. Embarrassing? Sure. But I’m not sorry. I spent most of the year I was 13 in front of the medicine chest mirror teaching myself to raise one eyebrow. I have never regretted it. Director: Adam Nimoy. Runtime: 105 minutes. Fri., Apr. 22, 3:30pm & Sat., 9:15pm at Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Tickets: $20 plus $3.50 phone & web processing fee ($10 plus processing for pre-6pm screenings). Visit tribecafilm.com or call 646-502-5296. Also visit fortheloveofspock.com.

AS I continued from p. 20

experiences. Under the dictatorship of Ben Ali, she and some friends ran a cinema club, and, like the film, one trusted compadre turned out to be a police agent. In her discussion, Bouzid exhibited some similarities to her heroine, but was careful to explain that in some ways she was the opposite of her. Farah is fearless, with no regard for limits, whereas Bouzid was extremely conscious of limits and consequences. Central to the film is the music, not only for its narrative component, but also for the intensity of Ghassen Amami’s lyrics and the beauty of Iraqi musician Khyam Allami’s compositions. Medhaffer, a newcomer to the screen, is a riveting performer and has excellent chemistry with her love interest, singer-performer Benali, a fellow band member. Singer Ghalia Ben Ali plays the part of her mother, who is initially seen through the daughter’s eyes as rigid and oppressive. As the story unfolds, we begin to understand her fierce love and devotion to her daughter, and the ways that her past drive her to stop at nothing to protect her. Again, the music is elemental, playing a role in their communication and in their shared healing processes. The close examinations of the familial relationships, as well as the friendships, provide a normality that makes the violent historical events even more shocking. Farah’s bold nature and free spirit are simultaneously admired and judged, even by her nonconformist boyfriend, as she .com

Photo by Sébastien Goepfert

Director Leyla Bouzid incorporated her own life experiences in the rebellious character of Farah, whose creative awakening happens against the backdrop of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution.

breaks the gender rules that govern women’s behavior. The film atmospherically focuses in on a specific moment in the history of an oppressive, authoritarian government, often utilizing residents as extras in the smoky clubs and dark streets. There continues to be a battle against the limits in Tunisia, but the fact that the film has received funding from the government, and has been shown in festivals there, can only be considered a good sign for the future. Director: Leyla Bouzid. Screenplay: Leyla Bouzid & Marie-Sophie Chambon. Runtime: 123 minutes. Thurs., Apr. 21, 6:45pm at Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea (260 W. 23rd St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Tickets: $20 plus $3.50 phone & web processing fee. Visit tribecafilm.com or call 646-502-5296. April 21 - 27, 2016

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