YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN
Changes Coming to M23 Bus Route BY SEAN EGAN A new M23 Select Bus Service (SBS) line is forthcoming — an effort to help increase the efficiency of the consistently sluggish M23 line along W. 23rd St. — and news of the upgrade has the Chelsea community eagerly anticipating improvements, while voicing concerns about issues that may arise because of the line’s launch. A notoriously slow route, the M23 runs from Chelsea Piers to E. 20th St./Ave. C — mostly along W. 23rd St. — and currently serves 15,000 passengers daily. An October 2015 presentation by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) reports that 51% of the time, the M23 is either stopped in traffic or at a bus stop. Of the time moving on the road, 9% is spent below 2.5mph, and the vast majority of the rest of the time is spent under 8mph. SBS bus lines feature devoted bus-only lanes (marked with distinctive red paint) to speed along routes, and also employs off-board fare collection kiosks at bus stops M23 continued on p. 3
MONSTER MOVIE MAVEN
John Waters’ “celluloid atrocity” returns to the silver screen, when a restored version of “Multiple Maniacs” opens at IFC Center on Aug. 5. See page 17.
Photos by Scott Stiffler
Do you have to let it linger? This tag, attached to a derelict bike on Seventh Ave. (btw. W. 23rd & W. 24th Sts.) appeared on July 23. As of our press date, both tag and frame remained. A derelict bike on Seventh Ave., btw. W. 21st & W. 22nd Sts., on July 25. The next day, it was tagged for removal.
Derelict Bikes Are Unwelcome Sidewalk Staples BY ALEX ELLEFSON You’ve seen it there for weeks, months, maybe even years: an abandoned bicycle chained along the sidewalk. Scavengers have picked off most of the parts, leaving only a rotting frame. You might consider it unsightly, or know first-hand the danger presented by protruding metal parts. Either way, you want it removed. What do you do? The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is responsible for addressing sidewalk obstructions, including what are called “derelict bicycles.” However, one Chelsea resident’s effort to call attention to such a bike — which involved repeated calls to 311, a phone call with a surly sanitation supervisor, and involvement from a city councilman’s office — demonstrates how the city’s scattershot approach to removing sidewalk
© CHELSEA NOW 2016 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
obstructions is in need of reform. Steve Starosta said he has walked by the abandoned bike at W. 15th St. and Eighth Ave. for at least three years. However, it wasn’t until he received an email blast from Community Board 4 (CB4) about how to report sidewalk obstructions that he thought to flag it for removal. “It’s right outside the subway. We’re inundated with people at that corner and I thought someone might trip or snag their leg on a mangled piece of metal from the bike frame,” he explained. Starosta made two calls to 311 to report the forsaken bike frame. The first complaint was erroneously recorded at the BIKES continued on p. 4 VOLUME 08, ISSUE 31 | AUGUST 04 - 10, 2016
Stump Speech: Election 2016
RNC, DNC, WTF: A Convention Comparison
Photo via facebook.com/hillaryclinton
“Thank you. Thank you all. I’d have a flag on stage, but I don’t love America.”
BY MAX BURBANK By the time you read this, there will be less than 100 days until the general election. Like all good crap storms (and this election is the Crapmageddon of crap storms), awful things are happening a whole big lot, and also quickly. It behooves us (BEHOOVES us, I say!) as thoughtful citizens to pause a moment and reflect. I spent the last two weeks “live tweeting” the conventions for Chelsea Now, watching at least four hours a night — a combined 32 hours more than I usually watch. More than most Americans who did not actually attend a convention, and more than some who did. I got paid for my time, but I’m also getting paid for this. So, having established this exercise benefits us all, let’s review.
THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION Thunderdome! A whole party enters, one man leaves. I don’t know if you’ve ever worshipped Cthulhu or been a member of one of those quasi-Egyptian death cults Mr. Spielberg seemed so fond of in early ’80s, but I imagine their get-togethers were something like this year’s RNC. Except, you know, more organized and competent. #NeverTrump became #NeverUs with a whimper, beaten to death by the Magic Gavel of Reince Priebus. If only they’d had the foresight to have an alternative candidate, or a path toward nominating one if they existed, or, say, any kind of plan at all. The stars came out! Remember, Trump is a celebrity
August 04 - 10 , 2016
who hobnobs with all sorts of Hollywood and sports luminaries! He promised a “show biz” convention, and boy, did he deliver! Scott “Chachi” Baio! Charles in Charge of being asked to speak two days before the convention started! Underwear model and former actor on something or other, Antonio Sabato Jr.! Conventioneers unclear on who he was might have thought him Latino, which could have been a plus, but he left his shirt on, so it was a wash. Golf Lady! Guy who owns that thing where people beat each other bloody in a cage! Seriously? What the hell, Donald? I thought you were supposed to be good at TV! Chachi, Donald? You know how you like to call people “losers?” Chachi. That’s a loser choice. There were plenty of Republican Party movers and shakers. Sure, none of the previous Republican Presidents. Or any of the previous Republican candidates for President, unless you count Bob Dole. It’s not clear he knew who the nominee was. Some of your rivals showed. Rick Perry had a speech, but you put him on in the afternoon when no one was watching. Still been smarting from that time Perry called you “Cancer?” Sarah Palin almost came, but Alaska is just too far away, as any of the delegates from Alaska who all managed to somehow make it will tell you. Rudy Giuliani did... something. I’m not sure what. An attack? He stood on a live wire? Hard to say. Whatever it was, it looked like it hurt. At least Trump has a big family, and that filled some slots! Potential First Lady and time-traveling Bond Girl
from the Roger Moore era, Melania Trump, gave a lovely speech that was almost as good as the first time it was delivered. The Trump boys took time out from slaughtering large animals and using all the hair gel there is to speak glowingly of their Dad, a man who… uh… has various human-like qualities often displayed by living people to their non-generic offspring. We were even treated to a description of The Donald hauling drywall, or sheetrock, or some other construction material everyone knows he has never lifted in his entire life, because he has people he’ll later refuse to pay to do that! Tiffany “See? I’m not invisible!” Trump further humanized her Pop with a charming anecdote about this one time? When a close friend of hers died? Her Dad called her! On the phone! Himself! Like a hug, but no touching! And then Ivanka, the “Marilyn” of Trump’s Munster clan… Okay, I’m gonna stop for a sec. That’s like the third time this year I’ve made that joke. I don’t think people truly appreciate it. See, on “The Munsters,” Marilyn looked like a totally normal person and the rest of the family felt bad for her because she wasn’t a freak. See, Ivanka? If you just met her? Out of context? Screw it, that joke is comedy gold. Anyway, Ivanka gave this great speech about women’s rights and equal pay and then she ruined it by saying her Dad was for that stuff. Ivanka. Your Dad wants to date you. He thinks women are Perfect Tens or pigs. I thought she was endorsing Hillary. Imagine my disappointment. STUMP SPEECH continued on p. 21 .com
Select Bus Service Route Gains Support, Sparks Concerns M23 continued from p. 1
(which dispense tickets to customers) to reduce time-consuming on-board MetroCard swipes. In addition, SBS bus lines seek to eliminate stops that are redundant or underused, in order to speed along the route. Stops that would be dropped from the M23 would be its Lexington Ave. and Fifth Ave. stops (with the Broadway stop shifting slightly closer to the current Fifth Ave. stop site). The project, as handled by the DOT and the MTA, is currently in its implementation phase — which includes installing infrastructure for the line. Community Board 4 (CB4), whose area of coverage includes a large portion of the M23’s route, appears relatively positive about the prospects for the new line. After a presentation was delivered to its Transportation Committee in June, a letter was drafted expressing general approval, and outlining suggestions. It was approved to be sent to the DOT’s Manhattan borough commissioner and the MTA president at CB4’s July 27 full board meeting. While it did state, “CB4 supports the overall plan,” and praised the possibility of a new bench at Seventh Ave. and the installation of bus clocks at certain stops, they did voice some concerns. “We strongly object to the placement of the fare payment machines in their current configuration and request that it be changed,” reads a portion of the letter. “We continue to hear negative comments on the fare collection system from all users in our district, and particularly from users of scooters and wheelchairs: The location of the fare payment machines makes it extremely difficult if not dangerous for these users to maneuver their scooter on the very narrow gangway adjacent to the moving traffic.” They called for augmentation at the 10th Ave. intersection, to avoid traffic issues at this busy site, recommending a turn bay and split-phase signal be installed at the location. “At a minimum,” the letter reads, “a trailing green arrow signal should be installed.” Concern over this particular area was echoed and amplified by one community resident, Susan Numeroff, who was present at the full board meeting, and spoke out against the .com
Courtesy NYC DOT/MTA
A diagram from a June 15 presentation to CB4, detailing the changes to the M23 bus route during its transition to being an SBS line.
MTA and the DOT during the public comments section — claiming that the agencies moved ahead with their plans too hastily, and without studying the area enough. Speaking with Chelsea Now by phone after the CB4 meeting, Numeroff said the area of W. 23rd St. between Ninth and 10th Aves. “is very heavily residential, and the traffic that is accumulated on the north side of the street in the evenings — in particular to the Lincoln Tunnel — is tremendous,” adding that traffic sometimes stretches all the way back to Eighth Ave. The SBS, as currently planned, would further exacerbate problems with traffic congestion on the block, and make life more dangerous for pedestrians — desperately requiring some new systems to be put in place for motorists trying to turn on the block. “Already we have an accumulation of traffic now daily, for the past week,” she noted, as the SBS bus lane has already been painted on her block. “I don’t think they’ve really done their homework well, and I guess they bulldozed, and are doing what they’re doing.”
Courtesy NYC DOT/MTA
A current M23 bus, making its way from the East Side to Chelsea Piers. New improvements to the route are expected to make travel more efficient.
When reached for comment about the concern surrounding the issue, a DOT spokesperson told this paper, on background, that the agency is aware of the concern and is examining if improvements to the area — including split-phase signals and left turn bays — would be possible to implement. They went on to maintain, however,
that after their studies, the SBS would be able to improve customers’ commuting experience and further Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative. The MTA could not confirm a specific launch date for the M23 SBS, but it is expected to be fully functional sometime between now and September. August 04 - 10 , 2016
Gear Shift: City to Consider Revising Bike Removal Criteria BIKES continued from p. 1
wrong location, but the second prompted a phone call from a truculent DSNY supervisor, who tried to explain the bike did not fit the criteria for derelict bicycles, Starosta said. “I asked him what are the criteria for a derelict bicycle. He said it has to be rusted, missing parts, and locked,” Starosta recalled. “I told him it fits all three.” Starosta said the supervisor became irritated. “He started to raise his voice and was acting rude. He said the case was closed and he wasn’t going to follow up,” said Starosta. “It felt like the Twilight Zone. This is just a rusted piece of metal. It should have been removed a long time ago.” Starosta emailed the community board and the leader of his block association about the bike. His account of trying to get the bike removed, which Starosta described as “a comedy of errors,” was followed and/ or forwarded by members of block associations, CB4, and the Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety (CHEKPEDS), until it reached the office
of District 3 City Councilmember Corey Johnson. On July 19, Matt Green, Deputy Chief of Staff for Community Affairs for Johnson, wrote back (via “Reply All” to the email chain) that the DSNY agreed to tag the bike for removal. However, as Chelsea Now went to press for its August 4 issue, there was no tag on the bike frame (Sanitation can return and remove the bicycle seven days after it’s been tagged). A DSNY spokesperson said the frame still did not meet the criteria for a derelict bicycle, which she clarified requires three or more of the following characteristics: The bicycle’s appearance is crushed or not usable; There are parts missing from the bicycle other than the seats and front wheels which are both commonly removed by the owner to prevent theft of bicycle; The bicycle has flat tires, or is missing its tires; The handlebars or pedals are damaged, or the forks, frames or rims that are present are bent; 75% of the bicycle — which includes the handlebars, pedals, frames — are
Photo by Scott Stiffler
Tagged for removal, this derelict bike on Seventh Ave., btw. W. 21st & W. 22nd Sts., doesn’t seem to meet all of the removal requirements put forth by the DSNY. An Aug. 9 hearing will consider amending their criteria.
rusted, along with the chain affixing the bicycle to public property. The spokesperson also said the DSNY is reviewing rules on derelict bicycles and will hold a public hearing
on the issue next week. Among the proposed rule changes, the agency is considering reducing the number of BIKES continued on p. 14
Have confidence in the home you purchase. Let us help you realize
Your Dream. Your House Your Apartment Your Home.
August 04 - 10 , 2016
Garnet Wines & Liquors is proud to offer
NEW LOW PRICES 20% OFF 15% OFF PERMANENTLY AND FOREVER!
ALL STILL WINES
Order online for our most competitive prices!
EVERY DAY DISCOUNTS!
No coupons needed! No Limit – All Sizes
FREE DELIVERY IN MANHATTAN
212-772-3211 | GarnetWine.com Mon-Wed 8am – 9pm Thurs – Sat 8am – 10pm Sun 12pm – 7pm 929 Lexington Avenue (Between 68th & 69th Streets) .com
August 04 - 10 , 2016
Photos by Jane Argodale
Councilmember Corey Johnson and Midtown North Precinct Commanding Officer Peter Venice at center, with NYPD officers in Hell’s Kitchen Park.
Meat, Greet, and More at National Night Out Against Crime
Fulton Houses’ Barry Wilson stands by the DJ Booth set up on W. 17th St.
Midtown North Precinct Council treasurer and neighborhood resident Eileen Spinner in Hell’s Kitchen Park.
August 04 - 10 , 2016
BY JANE ARGODALE On Tuesday, August 2, Chelsea’s 10th Precinct and Hell’s Kitchen’s Midtown North Precinct held outdoor festivities as part of a the annual National Night Out Against Crime, which brings local police and communities together. The events, held at the Fulton Houses (W. 17th St., btw. Ninth and 10th Aves.) and Hell’s Kitchen Park (10th Ave., btw. W. 47th & W. 48th Sts.), saw numerous officers and residents, including families with children, in attendance. At the Fulton Houses event, there was a concerted effort to make residents aware of resources in their community. Along with games for children, a barbecue with burgers and hot dogs, and a DJ, information booths were set up by organizations including Friends of the High Line, the Hudson Guild, the District Attorney’s Office, and the NYPD’s Domestic Violence unit. Officer Maria Candres of the 10th Precinct was at the Domestic Violence Unit’s booth, and explained that, “We have these flyers here to reach out to the community.” Candres praised the event, telling Chelsea Now, “It’s good for residents to see cops when they’re not arresting people. There’s a lot of bad stereotypes about cops, especially in low income areas.” Commanding Officer of the 10th Precinct, Captain Paul Lanot, also praised the event. “We’re building relationships and connections block by block. The people here have been so warm and inviting, and I’m hoping to
L to R: Detective Mike Petrillo, NYPD Chief of Personnel Raymond Spinella, and new 10th Precinct Commanding Officer Paul Lanot attending the Night Out Against Crime event in Chelsea’s Fulton Houses.
get to know everybody — or as many people as I can,” Captain Lanot told Chelsea Now. Fulton Houses resident Barry Wilson found the event successful in improving police-community relations. Speaking to Chelsea Now, he explained, “People really get to know the police. Every year it’s nice. [The relationship between police and the community] is good, a lot better than it is in other places.” In Hell’s Kitchen Park, the 35 boxes of pizza members of the Midtown North Precinct Council had brought quickly ran out — making the event a success. City Councilmember Corey Johnson was among the attendees. Commenting on the annual event, Councilmember Johnson told Chelsea Now, “It’s always an opportunity to come together and
further our relationships, and it’s one of the biggest community events. The relationship between the police and community on the West Side is really good. There’s an open dialogue; violent crime has gotten lower, and I’m proud of the NYPD’s work here.” Hell’s Kitchen resident and treasurer of the Midtown North Precinct Council Eileen Spinner described police in the neighborhood as “very responsive,” noting that recently they’d had responded quickly to noise complaints that she had made. Spinner praised the NYPD’s work, noting, “Crime statistics have gone down all over the city.” With both police and neighborhood residents in attendance, the Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen events were packed throughout the evening. .com
Coach, Inc. Sells Stake In, Puts Down Roots At, 10 Hudson Yards BY ALEX ELLEFSON The stock in Hudson Yards is soaring faster than developers can build its towers. Coach Inc., the first tenant in the recently completed 10 Hudson Yards, sold off its $503 million stake in the building for $707 million, the company announced this week. Coach simultaneously signed a 20-year lease to continue occupying almost half of the 1.8-millionsquare-foot tower. “We are very pleased to monetize our investment in Hudson Yards, where we were the first company to commit to the project and will be the largest tenant in the new building,” Victor Luis, CEO of Coach, Inc., said in a statement. Allianz Real Estate, the New Yorkbased arm of Europe’s largest insurance company, scooped up Coach’s shares in the 52-story tower — as well as those owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority — to acquire a 44% stake in the property. “This opportunity reflects the goal of our U.S. team to pursue high-quality, long-term investments with best-in-class partners,” Christoph Donner, CEO for Allianz Real Estate of America, said in a
statement announcing the sale. Allianz now owns the building alongside developers Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group, as well as a group of investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Coach has been marketing its shares in 10 Hudson Yards for almost a year, Bloomberg News reported in November. Related CEO Jeff Blau told the outlet that it was “always part of the original plan” for one of the investors to sell off its interest in the property in order to recapitalize on its investment. In announcing Allianz’s buy-in at 10 Hudson Yards, Related CEO Jeff Blau said the deal demonstrated the “momentum at Hudson Yards is undeniable.” “Hudson Yards is transforming Manhattan’s West Side and creating an entirely new, vibrant neighborhood,” he said. “The recapitalization of 10 Hudson Yards showcases the global appeal of Hudson Yards and is further evidence of the value we have created through our mixed-use strategy focused on bestin-class architecture and planning and meticulous execution.” Allianz is the latest investor enticed by the sprawling Hudson Yards project
35 Hudson Yards, viewed from the public square.
— envisioned as a “city within a city” on Manhattan’s West Side. Less than a week before Allianz committed to 10 Hudson Yards, the developers announced they scored a $1.2 billion loan to support construction of the 1,260-foot-high tower at 35 Hudson Yards. The financing came from the Children’s Investment Fund (TCI), which already sunk $1.3 billion into 15 Hudson Yards last year. In total, the project closed out 2015 with $5 billion in construction financing. Although 10 Hudson Yards is the
only building to wrap up construction, the developers have already inked commercial leases to fill up most of its other properties. Additionally, 285 condos at 15 Hudson Yards and 137 condos at 35 Hudson Yards are expected to hit the market this fall. When the project is completed, it will occupy 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space — including 100 shops and restaurants, 14 acres of public space, a 750-seat school, a luxury hotel, and approximately 4,000 residences.
Please join us as we discuss…
Elder Law 101 Breakfast August 25 at 10:00 AM
River Room 545 East 14 St., New York, NY
RSVP at (212) 867-3520 or by e-mail at email@example.com .com
August 04 - 10 , 2016
Talking Point THE WEST SIDE’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
Editor Scott Stiffler
Editorial Assistant Sean Egan Jane Argodale
Art Director Michael Shirey
Graphic Designer Cristina Alcine
Lincoln Anderson Jane Argodale Stephanie Buhmann Jackson Chen Sean Egan Alex Ellefson Winnie McCroy Colin Mixson Puma Perl Paul Schindler Trav S.D. Eileen Stukane
Executive VP of Advertising Amanda Tarley
Account Executives Jack Agliata Lauren Blair Allison Greaker Jim Steele Julio Tumbaco Published by
NYC Community Media, LLC
One Metrotech North, 10th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.chelseanow.com firstname.lastname@example.org © 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.
PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR: The Publisher shall
not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.
August 04 - 10 , 2016
Achieving Vision Zero BY NYC COUNCILMEMBER COREY JOHNSON On June 6, a 67-year-old woman was crossing W. 38th St. when she was struck by a motorist making a turn onto Eighth Ave. Tragically, she did not survive the crash. She is now one of 123 New Yorkers who have been killed in traffic fatalities in 2016 alone. These terrible incidents are a jarring reminder of the need for Vision Zero, a city initiative that aims to achieve zero fatalities or serious injuries on our streets. Traffic fatalities are, in many cases, avoidable, and our city can and must do more to protect lives and bring the number of those fatalities down to zero. Pedestrians, trucks, cars, and bicycles share Manhattan’s bustling streets, and this presents a great challenge. But it’s one we must overcome, and it’s going to take a range of approaches. I’d like to discuss some of them here. Under the de Blasio administration, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has enacted many practical, effective, and lifesaving street improvements. Some of these initiatives are taking shape right at this very moment. In Chelsea and Midtown, the DOT has been introducing split-phase signals at several problematic intersections. Splitphase signals give pedestrians a lead-time before cars can make a turn into the crosswalk. This is crucial, as two of the three pedestrian fatalities in Council District 3 this year were caused by the motorists’ failure to yield the right of way. Split-phase turning is an improvement that should be expanded across the District, particularly at intersections like W. 23rd St. & 11th Ave. and W. 41st St. & Dyer Ave., which are notoriously dangerous. The DOT has also begun construction on a protected bike lane on Sixth Ave., from W. Ninth St. to W. 32nd St. With shorter pedestrian crossings, traffic calming measures, traffic signals specifically designed for cyclists, and more, this project will bring greater safety to this busy corridor. Street redesigns are necessary for a city that relies on a grid system built in 1811, and these targeted, effective solutions are going to make a big difference. I’ve called for similar improvements to be made on Seventh Ave. South in the West Village, and I encourage the DOT to implement them wherever appropriate to ensure safety for pedestrian, cyclists, and motorists alike. The increase in cycling has tremendous benefits, both for our environment and our overwhelmed transportation system. As the number of cyclists continues to grow, we need to create a culture of safety around biking that will benefit cyclists and pedestrians alike. At the street design level, traffic signals that specifically target cyclists, like those we’ll see on Sixth Ave., will certainly help and should be implemented more broadly. At the enforcement level, our public safety officials must ensure that cyclists are held accountable when they disobey existing traffic laws that protect both their safety and the safety of others. And ultimately, as we discuss traffic and pedestrian safety, there is no way of getting around this startling fact: New York City receives 2.7 million cars from outside the city every single day. Any serious effort to combat pedestrian injuries and fatalities must include a plan to reduce the number of cars on the road.
File photo by Zach Williams
From 2015: Installation of split-phase traffic lights at W. 23rd St. & Seventh Ave. led to a decrease of 63% in injury collisions.
The Move NY Plan presents an appealing option. Under the plan, tolls would be enacted on East River crossings to Manhattan, while tolls would be reduced at bridges and tunnels in other boroughs. The idea is to limit the number of cars that pass through Manhattan and encourage the use of public transportation. It’s a plan that has earned the respect of Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, the City Council’s outstanding Transportation Chair, as well as an increasing number of elected officials at both the city and state level. I encourage the de Blasio administration and the DOT to look earnestly at this plan and consider adopting some of its key components. Of course, an intelligent tolling system won’t work all on its own — an “all of the above” approach is needed. New York State should revisit “congestion pricing,” which would limit the number of cars in Midtown during peak hours. We need to adequately invest in our public transportation system. We need to expand initiatives that are already proving successful, like split-phase timing and innovative street redesigns. And we need to invest in alternative forms of transportation for the West Side, like ferry service. All across Council District 3, we are lucky to have outstanding transportation advocates. The transportation committees on our community boards are among the most active, and I’ve had the privilege of working closely with them. Organizations like Clinton Hell’s Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety (CHEKPEDS) and Transportation Alternatives are diligent and fierce advocates, and because of their work, we’ve already seen improvements on our streets that are saving lives. I look forward to continuing my work with these leaders and organizations, and with you, members of the community, to implement bold solutions for the safety of all New Yorkers. Together, I know we can achieve Vision Zero. Lives are depending on it. Councilmember Corey Johnson, a Democrat who represents District 3, can be reached via 212-564-7757 or at coreyjohnson.nyc. For Vision Zero info, visit nyc.gov/html/ visionzero/pages/home/home.shtml (see the online version of this Talking Point, at ChelseaNow.com, for direct access to these links). .com
Safety not juSt driverS’ reSPonSibility Safety should be a top priority for everyone sharing the road, including cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. The following are a few tips each of those groups of travelers can employ to ensure the roads stay safe for everyone.
• Bicyclists must follow the same traffic rules as automobile drivers. Stop for red lights and stop signs, signal lane changes or turns, and
drive on the correct side of the road. • Watch out for parked cars. Oftentimes, drivers exit their vehicles and do not check for oncoming traffic or cyclists. You can be hit by a swinging car door. • Make yourself as noticeable as possible. This could include using a light or horn on the bike to signal your presence to drivers. • Always wear a helmet and other applicable safety equipment.
• Maintain your bike so that it is safe to ride. • Do not carry others on your bike (such as a friend or a child) if it is not designed to do so. Riding on the handlebars or behind the cyclist can be dangerous. • Avoid the use of ear buds or headphones while cycling. You want all of your senses to be available to avoid accidents. • Cycle out of the way of drivers’ blind spots so you’ll be more visible.
• Do not ride your bike on the sidewalk where you could injure pedestrians.
• Always use sidewalks and crosswalks when available. If no sidewalk is present, be sure to walk against the direction of traffic. • Use traffic signals as your guide. However, make sure all traffic has stopped before crossing the road or stepping off of the sidewalk. • Keep control of pets when
walking on a leash, so you’re not pulled out into traffic. • Use caution at bus stops. Many injuries occur from pedestrians running to catch a bus or stepping out into traffic after exiting a bus. Remember, there will be another bus behind the one you’re chasing and safety is more important. • Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing if walking at night. • Do not cross highways or interstates on foot.
August 04 - 10 , 2016
Business Networking in Harlem
The first suspect, last seen wearing a gray shirt, light blue jeans, and white sandals, with sunglasses on top of her head, carrying a bag.
The second suspect, last seen wearing a light blue sleeveless shirt, black Capris, and carrying a black purse.
GRAND LARCENY: Subway swipe
The Manhattan Chamber LGBT Business Network and Harlem Pride are hosting a professional networking event at Alibi Lounge, a new gay-owned lounge in Harlem. Come meet LGBT professionals and see firsthand how the neighborhood is growing with new dynamic businesses. Out in Tech will be joining us to give some insights on how they unite and showcase the LGBT technology sector. Five people will be selected to give a chance to “toot their horn” by giving a 3 minute presentation on their business. Enjoy drink specials and light food. Prizes will be raffled off!
Celebrating LGBTQ Leaders
The NYPD is asking the public for assistance in identifying two suspects in connection with a grand larceny that occurred while in transit. At about 3:45pm on June 21, an 18-year-old woman discovered her wallet was missing while at the 34th St. and Eighth Ave. subway station. Her cards were then used at a Marshalls (Broadway at 78th St.), and two suspects were caught on camera (pictured above). Police ask anyone with information to reach out to the Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS or nypdcrimestoppers.com.
CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE: Dopey dealers
Officers busted a trio of not-sodiscrete dealers on Sat., July 30. The first perp (a 33-year-old Yonkers man) walked up and down the 300 block of W. 16th St. (btw. Eighth Harlem Pride & & Ninth Aves.), at about 3:40am, Public Advocate Register in advance: Letitia James to approaching pedestrians and a line www.manhattancc.org/events/Summer-LGBThonor leading of people waiting to get into a nightLGBTQ businesses, Business-Networking-in-Harlem-2444/details entrepreneurs, club, repeatedly yelling “Coke!” in & charities. a manner more befitting a baseball Interested in tooting your horn? hot dog vendor than a dealer trying Email email@example.com not to draw the attention to their clandestine operation. Authorities’ June 15 at Hyacinth’s Haven attention was thoroughly grasped at networking from 6-8pm • free appetizers this point, however, and they witdrink specials • raffle prizes nessed a second suspect (a 39-yearold Bronx man) hail him over, and then receive a small yellow item www.gaycitynews.nyc www.manhattancclgbt.org www.pubadvocate.nyc.gov pulled from his sneaker. Then the 212 473 7875 • manhattancc.org/lgbt
Wednesday, August 10, 6pm - 9pm Alibi Lounge 2376 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (at West 139th Street), NYC
West 139th St. & Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd
August 04 - 10 , 2016
second man, and a third associate (a 46-year-old Brooklyn man) walked to Eighth Ave., and made a hand exchange with two people (who were not apprehended). At this point the police intervened, and all three dealers were arrested. The first dealer had a yellow Ziploc with residue in it in his left sneaker. The second held a veritable contraband cornucopia, with an alleged bag of cocaine, marijuana, and two loose red pills found in his sneakers, wallet, and pants.
GRAND LARCENY: Pizza perv gets burnt A 19-year-old woman encountered a character far more greasy (and much less savory) than a fresh slice when she was harassed by an employee while buying pizza at Chelsea 23 Pizza (268 W. 23rd St., at Eighth Ave.), at 2:15am on Sat., July 30. Perhaps taking one too many cues from his profession’s depiction in adult entertainment, the creepy criminal touched the woman’s chest and waist — causing her to (rightly) feel uncomfortable and leave. It was then that she noticed her wallet was missing from her purse, at which point she reluctantly returned to the restaurant to ask the 47-year-old employee if he took it. At first he ignored her, then told her to come back in the morning. Upping the ante, she returned with authorities shortly thereafter. The suspect initially refused to speak, and tried to leave, but the authorities found the woman’s wallet at the other end of a wallet strap hanging from his pocket. BLOTTER continued on p. 11
House HOUSE Calls CALLS BLOTTER continued from p. 10
HARASSMENT: Making fiends In a city of millions, it sometimes can be hard to make friends — so you can’t quite blame one hotheaded harasser for making the effort. On Sat., July 30, at about 3:40am on W. 26th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.) a 62-year-old man was approached by an unknown individual, who struck up a conversation with him. After a little while, the man decided he no longer wished to make small talk with the stranger, and tried to end the conversation — leading his companion to start a verbal altercation with him and challenge him to a fight. Doubling down on the escalation, the stranger placed his hand in his waistband and told his former friend “I’ll f**king shoot you,” and then walked away west on W. 26th. The man was not found.
PETIT LARCENY: Lingerie lifter bust-ed A 48-year-old woman found herself intimately incriminated on Sat., July 30, when, at about 2:45pm at the Javits Center (655 W. 34th St., btw. 11th & 12th Aves.), she was seen on the floor near trade booths that were not yet open for business. The woman was stopped by security and escorted away from the
CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawedoff shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.
booths — and in the process was observed with merchandise in her bag. The woman apologized for her transgression, but it was soon found to be only a performative penance. Further inspection by security left nothing to the imagination, as she was found to have $249 of underthings in her bag: Three pairs of Saxx underwear, a Munki Munki nightgown, two pairs of Cheekfrills underwear, and one Tutti Rouge bra.
Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212-741-8211. Community Affairs: 212-741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-741-8226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-9243377. Detective Squad: 212-7418245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced. They are on hiatus until Sept. 28.
Same day Service available
TOP $ PAID FOR JUDAICA COLLECTIBLES
ANTIQUES & ESTATE BUYERS We Pay $CASH$ For Paintings, Clocks, Watches, Estate Jewelry & Fine China, From Single Items to Entire Estates!
THE 10th PRECINCT
Serving manhattan and the entire tri-State area
Military Collections Wanted
Swords, Knives, Helmets, etc.
Top $ Paid for Antique Sterling!
• Coin & Stamp Collections • Costume Jewelry • Antique Furniture • Lamps • Bronzes • Paintings • Prints MOVING • Chinese & Japanese DOWNSIZINor G CALL ? Artwork & Porcelain US! • Sports Collectibles • Comic Books • Old Toys • Records • Cameras • Sterling Flatware Sets
HUMMELS & LLADROS See our ad in the Sunday PoSt
516-974-6528 aSk for chriStoPher
ANTIQUE & ESTATE BUYERS WILL TRAVEL ENTIRE TRI-STATE!
We We buy buy anything anything old. old. One One piece piece or or house house full. full. WILL TRAVEL. HOUSE CALLS. WILL TRAVEL. HOUSE CALLS. Will Travel. We make house Calls.
1029 WesT JeriCho Turnpike, smiThToWn l.i.
THE 13th PRECINCT Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timoney. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-477-7444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct. They are on hiatus until Sept. 20.
August 04 - 10 , 2016
Alphie McCourt, Youngest of Irish Clan of Writers, Dies at 75 BY ALBERT AMATEAU Alphie McCourt, a writer and memoirist, died suddenly at his home on the Upper West Side while taking an afternoon nap on July 2. He was 75. Born in Limerick, Ireland, Alphonsus Joseph McCourt was the youngest brother of the late Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Angela’s Ashes,” and of Malachy McCourt, the writer and actor. Another older brother, Michael, of San Francisco, died last year. As a young man who came to New York to live for a time with Frank, 10 years his elder, McCourt found work wherever he could and eventually owned two restaurants in Manhattan. In 1975, he married Lyn Rockman, who survives him, as does their daughter, Allison. For 20 years, from 1993 until he retired in 2013, McCourt worked for the Penn South Co-op in Chelsea in charge of apartment restorations in the 2,800-unit residential complex. Brendan Keany, general manager of
Penn South, recalled meeting McCourt in the late 1980s at Allison’s, named for his daughter. The restaurant on Eighth Ave. near Penn South closed after a time, but McCourt went on to run Los Panchos on Columbus Ave. near W. 71st St. However, as a man with a family, running bars and restaurants was not ideal, so McCourt found the job at Penn South, inspecting apartments and directing their restoration. The author of short stories, newspaper essays, songs, and verse, McCourt, in 2008, published a memoir, “A Long Stone’s Throw.” Surveying the range of jobs McCourt had taken on in a review of that memoir in Chelsea Now’s sister publication, The Villager, the late Jerry Tallmer wrote, “Working on a great glop-a-da-glop mainframe computer on Wall Street; issuing tickets for British and Irish Railways; a one-day job as bellhop in a Montreal hotel; a bank teller in Montreal; an encyclopedia salesman — for a month; working at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service
on 14th St. as a buyer of luggage and musical instruments, knowing nothing about luggage and less about musical instruments; filing clerk; and, oh yes, teacher.” Lyn McCourt recalled first meeting her future husband. “We were friends for a long time before we were married,” she said. “He was working as a bartender at the White Horse Tavern when I came in with a writer friend. He told me that he ‘saw the light behind’ me when I came in. He could twist words and turn something ordinary into something poignant. Just before he went to California around 1970, we spent a whole night walking and talking. He came back from California in 1974 and we got married in 1975. It’s been 40 years.” Then, recalling the devoted relationship her husband had with Allison, Lyn continued, “Our daughter has special needs and has learning and speech problems. Alphie sang to her every night as a baby and eventually she sang back to him. They were inseparable.
Courtesy The Villager
Alphie McCourt, 1940-2016.
He’d have breakfast with her every morning. He was a great father — he, who hadn’t seen his own father very much. When we went to Ireland in 1980 he went north to find his father, and he did find him. I’m a Jewish girl from the Bronx who wanted to marry MCCOURT continued on p. 13
Navy to Name Ship in Harvey Milk’s Honor BY PAUL SCHINDLER US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has notified Congress of the Navy’s intention to name a Military Sealift Command fleet oiler the USNS Harvey Milk, in honor of the LGBT rights leader and San Francisco city supervisor who was assassinated in 1978. In a July 28 story, USNI News reported that Mabus sent the notification to Congress on July 14, but that a Navy official told the publication no additional information would be released until the official naming announcement. USNI News is an online publication of the United States Naval Institute, a nonprofit educational organization focused on discussion of defense and security issues. The ship is one of a class of Navy oilers named for John Lewis, the Georgia Democratic House member who has been a leading civil rights leader since the 1960s. Other civil rights leaders honored in this class of ships include Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy, women rights advocate Lucy Stone, and abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Sojourner Truth, USNI News reported. Slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers and Latino farm workers organizer Cesar Chavez have also previ-
August 04 - 10 , 2016
ously been honored by Mabus, the publication reported. Milk, whose family included naval veterans, joined the Navy in 1951 during the Korean War, and he served on the rescue ship USS Kittiwake and later as a diving instructor at Naval Base San Diego. He left the Navy in 1955 at the rank of lieutenant, junior grade. In a Facebook post, Stuart Milk, Harvey’s out gay nephew who has been advocating for the Navy to take this step since the military ended its Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy five years ago, wrote, “Joyful tears thinking of the meaning & symbolism at global ports of call for the USNS Harvey Milk.” The younger Milk specifically cited the advocacy by San Diego Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez in moving the issue forward. Milk, who grew up on Long Island and worked for a time on Wall Street, eventually moved to San Francisco, where he owned a famous neighborhood camera shop in the Castro and became an outspoken gay rights leader. After several failed runs for public office, he was elected to the Board of Supervisors in November 1977. In the statewide elections the following November, Milk was a leader in the successful effort to beat back a voter initiative that would have required the firing of public school teachers who were
Courtesy Harvey Milk Foundation
Harvey Milk during his service in the navy.
gay or supported LGBT rights. Just weeks after that victory, Milk and his political ally Mayor George Moscone were gunned down at City Hall by former Supervisor Dan White, a conservative rival of Milk’s who days before had resigned his office in frustration but hoped to take back that decision. A year and a half later, White was acquitted of first-degree murder but convicted of voluntary manslaughter and given a sentence of less than eight years in prison, a verdict that inflamed the LGBT community in San Francisco and nationwide. Eighteen months after his release from prison, White took his own life. MILK continued on p. 13 .com
MCCOURT continued from p. 12
an Irishman with a brogue, and I did.” Joe Hurley, of Joe Hurley’s Irish Rock Review, said McCourt, in his later years, had gotten into singing with the group, performing tunes from “the Great Irish Songbook,” like “The Old Triangle.” Hurley recalled, “He just performed with us at the Highline Ballroom in March. He loved being around young people. The place was full of young people and rock and roll, and then Alphie comes out — you could hear a pin drop. He would talk about how he had these incredible older brothers… fantastic storyteller. He never tooted his own horn.” On July 6, a memorial gathering
MILK continued from p. 12
In a written statement, Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association, an organization of LGBT military families, said, “Harvey Milk is an American hero and an icon for LGBT equality, and it’s phenomenal that the US Navy is going to honor
for McCourt on the Upper West Side attracted nearly 200 friends. “I got calls from Guatemala, Ethiopia, Ireland, Spain,” Lyn said. The call from Ethiopia was from a woman who helped the McCourts with their daughter. “Her husband was in New York and had phoned her,” Lyn explained. “She wanted me to tell her that what she had heard was a lie.” At the July 6 gathering, the words repeated over and over by speakers were, “He was a gentle man.” Malachy McCourt, the last of the four brothers, was the final speaker and ended his remarks with a song, with everyone joining in. Another celebration of Alphie McCourt’s life is planned for September.
WE’RE HEATING UP THE HARBOR SHAWN PAUL MAZUR & MATTHEW GAGNON IN ASSOCIATION WITH NEW YORK WATER TAXI PRESENT
his legacy by naming a ship after him. Harvey Milk’s incredible leadership in the face of adversity continues to inspire all of us in our ongoing fight for full LGBT equality. By breaking down barriers and fighting for the dignity and worth of all Americans, he left behind an example for all of us in his service to our nation, both in and out of uniform.”
Three unique resorts in the Heart of the Pocono Mountains.
Get a room % TO 30 SAVE UP
THURSDAY, AUG. 18 | 9PM-MIDNIGHT ABOARD LUXURY YACHT ZEPHYR DJ LARRY 2FACE HOSTED BY BOOTSIE LEFARIS & ENTOURAGE MUSIC BY
ONE HOUR OPEN VODKA BAR & SPECIALTY DRINKS
SPECIAL GUEST PERFORMANCES AND GIVEAWAYS! Oversized sexy suites In-suite pools World-famous Champagne Tower
All-you-can-eat Breakfast & Dinner Live nightly entertainment Heart-pumping activities
800.972.3820 • CoveHaven.com/GayCity
DEPARTS FROM CHELSEA PIERS | NORTH SIDE OF PIER 59
212.742.1969 | nywatertaxi.com/pride
August 04 - 10 , 2016
BIKES continued from p. 4
requirements from three to two, removing flat or missing tires from the criteria, and bringing the minimum amount of rust down to 50%. Examples of abandoned bikes can be found up and down Chelsea’s main thoroughfares, including one on Seventh Ave., between W. 24th and W. 23rd Sts. that was tagged for removal on July 23 (“This bicycle has been scheduled for removal after 7 days,” read a portion of the tag). In total, there have been 56 reports of derelict bicycles to 311 this year in Community District 4 — which covers Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. Of those, only four have been removed, according to city records. In response to a growing number of complaints about derelict bicycles, DSNY revised its rules in 2010 to make the criteria more specific and easy to enforce. However, community advocates want the definition loosened and have called for reforms to speed up the removal of derelict bikes. Last year, City Councilmember Brad Lander introduced legislation that would allow Sanitation to impound an abandoned bicycle after 36 hours — and require bike owners to pay a
August 04 - 10 , 2016
Photo by Sean Egan
One of these things is not like the other: a derelict bike at W. 15 St. & Eighth Ave., on the scene for over three years, doesn’t meet current city standards for removal. To its right, a fully equipped counterpart.
$25–$100 fine to get their rides back. However, DSNY Director of Cleaning and Collection Steve Costas said his department lacked the personnel to administer the policy, according to a transcript from a City Council hearing on the proposed legislation. CB4 District Manager Jesse Bodine said board members have included a request for additional sanitation
enforcement officers in their yearly statement of district needs since 2008. “I think the guys on the job do what they can, but they have a lot of ground to cover,” he said of DSNY’s enforcement abilities. Bodine explained that derelict bicycles, as well as other sidewalk obstructions like A-frame signs and unlawful outdoor cafes, are a “consistent con-
cern” for the community. Stanley Bulbach, head of the West 15th Street 100 and 200 Block Association, said overcrowding in the neighborhood — spurred by a growing population, the new Google office building, and the addition of tourist attractions like the High Line and the Whitney Museum — has increased the need to keep sidewalks clear. “We are hypersensitive in terms of what is going on around pedestrians. The sidewalks are so congested with people and obstructions that it’s a nuisance just to stop and talk to your neighbor. People slam into you,” he said. Bulbach noted that calls to 311 rarely lead to a resolution and Starosta’s experience highlights the need for city agencies like DSNY to foster better relationships with the public. “We need more cooperation,” he said. “The city depends a lot on the public to support their policies. Yet, the city is turning around and slamming the door in the public’s face.” The public hearing on amending DSNY’s criteria for derelict bikes will be held Tues., Aug. 9, 10am–12pm, at 125 Worth St. (btw. Centre & Lafayette Sts.), Room 819.
Being sick and hungry is an urgent crisis no one should face. Help us deliver hope, compassion and love, all wrapped up in a nutritious meal.
Volunteer. Donate. Advocate. godslovewedleiver.org
August 04 - 10 , 2016
August 04 - 10 , 2016
The Sickest Monster Movie Ever Made ‘Multiple Maniacs’ remains a high Waters mark of filthy fun BY SCOTT STIFFLER It’s turning out to be a very good summer for widely misunderstood women hell-bent on slaying the competition. Last Thursday, Hillary Clinton rose above decades of slander and scrutiny to accept the Democratic nomination. This Friday, the criminally insane Lady Divine returns to the silver screen in pristine condition, after slowly deteriorating for the better part of 50 years while tucked away in the home of delightfully transgressive cinematic trash merchant John Waters. Shot in his native Baltimore, edited in his attic using a hot splicer and glue, and released in 1970 to the delight of proto-punks and the dismay of respectable society, “Multiple Maniacs” is a campy, often cutting, take on peace and love platitudes, religious ecstasy, social turmoil, and good old-fashioned romantic betrayal — expressed through graphic, often gleeful, acts of robbery, rape, murder, and cannibalism. “It developed because of the ’60s,” Waters said of his second feature film. “There was a war going on. It was us against them. The Black Panthers and the Weathermen were in the news. Bombings were not at all uncommon. There were skyjackings. Nixon [Watergate] came later — but Woodstock, Altamont, that all happened while we were making the film. It was a volatile time.” As for the counterculture (San Francisco and Provincetown were influential ports of call for many cast and crew members), “We lived in the hippie world, but we made fun of it at the same time.” The last film Waters would ever shoot in black and white, his use of that stock — along with the presence of objects, clothes, and cars that belong to a century we no longer live in — gives the modern day screening of “Maniacs” a vibe every bit as compelling and slightly off-putting as the deeply invested performances, which were as much a product of budgetary concerns as natural born quirks and charisma. “We had rehearsals, a lot, in my apartment,” Waters recalled, noting the .com
Photo by Lawrence Irvine
A connection forged by beads: Mink Stole (left), as Mink, and Divine, as Lady Divine.
film has many scenes written as “long takes, so if you didn’t make a mistake, I didn’t do it again. Three or four times, they made a mistake and I thought, ‘I can live with it.’ There was no digital. This was real 16-millimeter film you had to take to the lab and get developed. It was expensive.” Furthermore, the director quipped, “A performance that is supposed to be funny doesn’t get any better the more times you do it.” The ensemble includes longtime friends of Waters (Divine, Mink Stole) alongside new discoveries (Cookie Mueller, Edith Massey) — all of whom would further refine the signature Dreamland Studios tone in 1972’s “Pink Flamingos” and 1974’s “Female Trouble.” Few, however, would live to appear in his work after 1981’s “Polyester” (distinguished by its casting of matinee idol Tab Hunter, and the “Odorama” scratch and sniff cards distributed upon admission). Divine,
who passed away less than two weeks after the release of 1988’s box office hit “Hairspray,” was the last of the original “Dreamlanders” to star in a Waters film. Johnny Depp, Kathleen Turner, Edward Furlong, Melanie Griffith, and Tracey Ullman had top billing in five subsequent releases, ending with 2004’s “A Dirty Shame.” Nicely scrubbed up by Janus Films and scheduled to open nationwide on August 5, George S. Clinton contributed music to the restored version of “Maniacs.” “He did the soundtrack of ‘A Dirty Shame,’ ” Waters noted, “so I knew he would understand it. Some of it is original [new] music, some was made to sound alike, and some of it is a different version of the exact same music.” Of the surf and rockabilly sound (prominent in all of Waters’ early work, and culled from his extensive collection of vinyl), he noted, “That was the kind of music I liked growing
up. I went to real theaters, where those movies were playing, so I have that kind of music in all of my movies. I was just a record guy.” Back to 1970: “Multiple Maniacs” begins with Mr. David (David Lochary) using his one-of-a-kind, clipped carnival barker delivery to lure passersby into a tent (“This is the show you want. Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversion, the sleaziest show on earth… real actual filth who have been carefully screened in order to present to you the most flagrant violation of natural law known to man.”). Cavalcade acts include a puke eater, a heroin addict going cold turkey, and, Mr. David points out, “two actual queers kissing each other like lovers on the lips.” In the show’s ritualistic climax, Lady Divine holds curious onlookers at gunpoint and demands their “wallets, jewelry, handbags, any MANIACS continued on p. 18 August 04 - 10 , 2016
Photo by Greg Gorman
Photo by Lawrence Irvine
John Waters was a hardscrabble pop shop indie pioneer at the time of 1970’s “Multiple Maniacs.”
Michael Renner Jr., as the Infant of Prague, guides Divine, as Lady Divine, to a Catholic church — where a life-changing epiphany (and a rosary job) awaits.
MANIACS continued from p. 17
fur items, all loose change, and any narcotics you may be carrying.” When a victim’s backtalk pushes her to the breaking point (not the last time this will happen), she adds murder to her list of crimes. After a gossipy barmaid (the endearing Massey) phones Lady Divine to report the infidelity of her longtime lover, Mr. David (who’s involved with Mary Vivian Pearce’s Bonnie, a desperate Cavalcade wannabe), the rest of “Maniacs” plays out as a violent, sexually charged road trip, albeit conducted entirely within the Baltimore city limits — during which Lady Divine is violated by a glue-sniffing duo, has an encounter with the Infant of Prague, stumbles onto a Catholic church and receives criminal instructions by way of a religious vision, converts to lesbianism after Mink (Stole) gives her a “rosary job” (ask Google if you’ve never heard), suffers a multitude of other indignities, declares herself a “maniac,” and is ulti-
August 04 - 10 , 2016
mately taken out by the National Guard. “It was a monster movie,” Waters declared, “and the monster always has to die in the end. I mean, look at Divine. She’s a monster; a big, lumbering idiot.” She’s also a killer — as are other Cavalcade denizens whose short fuses help to increase the body count. “Yes, they’re murderers,” Waters readily admitted, “but Divine was out of her mind.” The final straw: Lobstora, a 15-foot crustacean, pins her down on the couch and has his way with her. Wait. What? “It makes perfect sense,” Waters reasoned. “Don’t you think Divine is going crazy at that point? Is it a hallucination? Is it real? It pushes her over the edge. She is having a mental breakdown. She had a tough day. She got a rosary job, raped by a lobster. A lot happened.” Reaction to the film was swift and decisive. “Horrendous. Sickening. Revolting. Most distasteful. The court’s eyes were assaulted,” wrote Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan, who declared the work “obnox-
ious but not legally obscene.” One member of the Maryland State Board of Censors was brought to tears after a screening; and when Waters attempted to retrieve a print seized by the Ontario Board of Censors, the only thing that arrived in the mail was a one-word note: “Destroyed.” Feedback from the mainstream press, which either didn’t get the joke or didn’t like it, was similarly unkind. “Critics would rise to the bait,” Waters noted of his output from this era, “and give us horrendous reviews.” It’s no wonder. At the time, he recalled, “Everything was taboo. ‘Straight people’ meant they didn’t smoke pot. People went to exploitation movies because they wanted to see weird behavior, but they didn’t want to be around it.” Nearly a half-century after the first run of “Multiple Maniacs,” far more heinous examples of the bad behavior and gratuitous nudity found in Lady Divine’s Cavalcade tent are only a click or a swipe away. And while downloadable pictures and video clips certainly
have the power to entice and titillate, those weaned on such grab-and-go fare are likely to experience familiar stirrings from disturbing new sources, after spending 96 minutes immersed in Waters’ world. “Religion, I think, will still be the shocking thing,” he said, referencing sex acts and drug use filmed in a real Catholic church. “It still has a kick to it, even to me. I thought, ‘God, what was I thinking about?’ ” Partial insight is provided by a comment made as Waters exited a recent Provincetown International Film Festival screening of what he once dubbed his “celluloid atrocity.” “Somebody said to me, ‘The LSD must have been pretty good back then,’ which he was correct about.” Produced, directed, written, filmed, and edited by John Waters. Opens Fri., Aug. 5 at IFC Center (323 Sixth Ave., at W. Third St.). Daily screenings at 12:40pm, 2:50pm, 5:05pm, 7:20pm & 9:40pm. Visit ifccenter.com and janusfilms.com. .com
Arcade Doc Gets High Score Filmmakers find a community at Chinatown Fair
Courtesy 26 Aries
Courtesy 26 Aries
Gamers congregate outside of Chinatown Fair prior to its closure in 2011.
A glimpse inside Chinatown Fair as it once was, bustling with people playing games and forging connections.
BY SEAN EGAN “The first time we ever stepped into the arcade, we were just hit with this really strange feeling which we wanted to capture,” recalled Irene Chin, the writer and producer of “The Lost Arcade,” a documentary centered on the last video arcade in Manhattan, Chinatown Fair (8 Mott St., btw. Chatham Sq. & Worth St.). “It felt very alive. It also felt very unique and rare, especially in Manhattan,” noted director Kurt Vincent, citing the tactic of raising rents to strong-arm longtime locals out of business. “So that was our initial catalyst for starting the investigation.” Their start couldn’t have been more auspiciously timed — just a month after the pair’s first sojourn to the location in 2011, the neighborhood institution shuttered its doors, putting the final nail in the coffin of arcades, which had been on the downswing since their ’80s heyday. Armed with cameras and the connections they made from their visits, the pair began to sift through the storied history of the location, and the tight-knit community fostered by the place came into sharper focus. As the film progresses, significant figures who called the arcade home gradually begin to emerge: Sam, the elderly Pakistani man who operated the arcade for decades; Henry, his teenage employee turned devoted manager; and Akuma, a foster home runaway who found a job (and a family) at Chinatown Fair. “It was a struggle to find the story, and I think the turning point happened when Irene and I both realized that what .com
really made us want to make the movie and tell the story was the people, and that’s when it sort of clicked,” Vincent commented. “It became much more of an emotional story based around the people we were connecting with, because to us, the arcade was more about humans and people coming together. That’s what we really found pretty powerful.” To this end, Vincent employs the well-worn building blocks of documentary: allowing archival material, candid footage, and talking heads to do the narrative lifting. It’s in the margins, however, where the filmmakers most effectively capture the spirit of camaraderie unique to the arcade and its community. Opening with a prologue accompanied by some poetic first-person narration, the film then explodes in a sequence of light and color, a frenetic montage of old school gameplay footage and eight-bit art. Set to Gil Talmi’s pulsating, glitchy score (aided in its warmth by the use of analog synths), these sequences periodically pop up and inject a sense of fun that informs the proceedings. Crosscutting between hyper-kinetic, half-forgotten arcade favorites, and the alternatively intense and jovial faces of patrons creates a haze of nostalgia that lingers endearingly over the whole endeavor. “The feeling of being in the arcade is very dreamlike, so we were really trying to capture that visually,” Chin concluded, with Vincent verifying that they wanted the film’s sense of earnestness reflected in its visual tableau. “We filmed stuff on CRT [cathode-ray television] screens,” he revealed. “It would have been easier to just put it
on our computer screens and film closeups of video games on our computer screens, but to us that was inauthentic,” he explained. “You needed to see the scan lines.” The process of filming and editing wound up taking the team through 2015;
for a film initially about a defunct arcade, a surprising amount of new developments cropped up over time. Fitting for a film so focused on togetherness and community, the pair launched a ARCADE continued on p. 21
Je!erson Market Garden Free
Sunday Summer Music !
Curated by Ron Wasserman
August 14, 5-7 pm:
NY Jazzharmonic Trio
Tribute to Stephan Grapelli & Django Reinhardt August 21, 5-7 pm:
NY Jazzharmonic Sextet
Music of Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman & Duke Ellington August 28, 5-7 pm:
Hard Tango Chamber Band
August 04 - 10 , 2016
WeddingPrideDirectory CELEBRATING GAY AND LESBIAN MARRIAGE
ATTORNEYS Law Office of Rachel Einbund, PC 118 East 28th Street, #1005, New York, NY 10016 212-252-2125, firstname.lastname@example.org http://lo-re.com Law Office of Rachel Einbund is a boutique immigration law firm specializing in family petitions, marriage-based green card applications, and LGBT visa processing. We combine a one-on-one client-centered approach with cutting-edge legal analysis.
CENTER PIECES Edible Arrangements 133-22 Springfield Blvd. 718-528-3344 158-18 Cross Bay Blvd. 718-848-3344 1357 Fulton St. 718-622-3344 1557 Ralph Ave. 718-451-3344 www.ediblearrangements.com/ stores/StoreLocator.aspx
CEREMONY AND RECEPTION VENUES Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts* Our Pocono Wedding Packages provide the perfect intimate celebration for 2, with as little or as much privacy and intimacy and as your hearts’ desire. Beside the backdrop of the beautiful Pocono Mountains, or from a candlelit indoor ceremony, a Wedding Concierge can help you plan a special day that’s uniquely customized for you in every way. Discover all the ways you can create a Wedding to remember. 800-972-3820 CoveHaven.com/Pride Edison Ballroom Delivering Happiness One Event at a Time. 240 West 47th Street, New York, NY 10036 212.201.7650 email@example.com Entertainment Cruises* Emilie Hagon • Wedding Specialist 646-358-3117 • firstname.lastname@example.org Erin Trinidad • Wedding Specialist 646-358-3116 • email@example.com Grand Oaks Country Club Grand Oaks goes above and beyond when it comes to setting the standard for superiority in the industry. Award-winning chefs are dedicated to provide customized menus for the most selective tastes. 200 Huguenot Avenue, Staten Island. NY. 10312 718-356-2771 grandoaksnyc.com Highlands Country Club 955 Route 9D, Garrison, NY 10524 845-424-3254 The Highlands Country Club offers a unique blend of romance and elegance in a country setting, just one hour north of New York City. Established in 1898, the Highlands Country Club includes a grand ballroom and several indoor and outdoor spaces that blend old world elegance with the verdant surrounding landscape to accommodate up to 150 guests.
The Hotel Andrew 75 North Station Plaza, Great Neck, NY 516-482-2900 www.andrewhotel.com Leave the details in accommodat-
August 04 - 10 , 2016
ing your friends and family the the professionals at The Andrew, Great Neck’s Boutique Hotel, where chic sophistication meets the timeless essence of Long Island’s Gold Coast.
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
will work closely with you down to the last detail to be sure that every moment is exactly as you picture.
Terrace On The Park 52-11 111th Street Flushing, NY 11368 718-592-5000 www.terraceonthepark.com Award winning food, breath taking views, and impeccable service. Tio Pepe 168 W. Fourth St. in New York 212-242-9338, tiopepenyc.com At Tio Pepe you have a choice of atmosphere. The skylight dining room supplies a touch of romance while the enclosed sidewalk cafe provides a room with a view of Greenwich Village. The Vanderbilt at South Beach Waterfront Facility 300 Father Capodanno Blvd., Staten Island, NY 718-447-0800 www.vanderbiltsouthbeach.com Boasting both a luxurious banquet hall, as well as magnificent outdoor oceanfront space. Vavaldi’s 201-10 Cross Island Parkway Service Road Bayside, NY 11360 718-352-2300 www.vavaldiny.com Woodhaven Manor Caterers & Banquet* 96-01 Jamaica, Ave., Woodhaven, NY 11421 718-805-8500 woodhavenmanorny.com We have created the ultimate venue for the most special of celebrations!
ENTERTAINMENT Amazing Bottle Dancers Add a touch of tradition and excitement to your B’nai Mitzvah or Wedding! bottledancers.com 800.716.0556 East Coast Band New York’s Ultimate Party Band 516-354-2372 EastCoastBand.com Soul System Orchestras 1650 Broadway, Suite #503 New York, 800-466-7685 soulsystemorchestras.com Soulsystem Orchestras bands have been on the leading edge in providing “elegantly hip” wedding entertainment for the past 15 years. Clients can choose from a 3-piece ensemble to a 20-piece swing orchestra and beyond.
FORMALWEAR Lindman NewYork What the dress is to the bride, the necktie is to the groom. Well, perhaps not quite, but it is important. Well-designed neckties for you, the best man, and the groomsmen will capture—as well as add to—the style and sophistication of the wedding as a whole. 917-364-6675 LindmanNewYork.com
HEALTH & BEAUTY Central Park Cosmetics 200 West 57th Street Suite 1005 10th Floor NYC www.centralparkcosmetics.com 646-692-3248 Look and feel your best! Laser Hair Removal,
Coolsculpting Ultherapy™ Microdermabrasion IPL Skin Rejubenation Facials
HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS Sand Castle on the Beach 127 Smithfield, Frederiksted St. Croix, Virgin Islands 340-772-1205 sandcastleonthebeach.com Our quaint, beach side boutique hotel is designed to meet your personal vacation style. We maintain a sense of intimacy and freedom in this seaside oasis. It’s our home and we invite you to relax and unwind in this comfortable and tranquil setting. Villa Amor Camino a Playa los Muertos, Sayulita Bahia de Banderas Nayarit, Mexico 619-819-5407 hotelvillaamorsayulita.com. “Sweeping ocean vistas and a sexy room concept do away with outside walls and invite you to see Sayulita through a rustling fringe of palm fronds.”Travel+Leisure.
JEWELRY Fortunoff Fine Jewelry New Jewelry Boutique by Esther Fortunoff 1504 Old Country Road, Westbury, NY 11590 FortunoffJewelry.com 800-636-7886 Shop 24/7 - Phone appointments available Solomon Jewelers 74 Manetto Hill Plaza Plainview NY 11803 516-681-6111 www.solomonjewelers.com A third generation family business with seventy years of experience, Solomon Jewlers is the only premiere certified Verragio Dealer in NY State.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 848-333-9948
Mitch the Minister Mitchell S. Maged Wedding Officiant and Minister 201-410-6834 www.mitchtheminister.com email: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org sacredjourneyhealing.com Stephen David DYM/WEDinNYC LGBT Wedding Officiant Creating Custom Wedding Ceremonies for you and your partner. www.WEDinNYC.com 917.855.6830
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO Glamour Me Photo & Video* 109-19 Rockaway Blvd. South Ozone Park, NY 11420 718-504-1970 www.glamourmestudio.com
REAL ESTATE SERVICES Accurate Building Inspectors 1860 Bath Ave. in Brooklyn 718-265-8191, accuratebuilding.com Accurate Building Inspectors is a full-service home and building inspection firm servicing the tri-state area since 1961.
Rev. Kyle Applegate Interfaith minister 212-777-1119 email@example.com www.sacredjourneyhealing.com
PICK UP THE LATEST ISSUE OF WEDDING PRIDE TODAY!
STUMP SPEECH continued from p. 2
Then, the moment we’d all been waiting for — admittedly somewhat diluted, since he’d managed to make an appearance every single night. The Annoying Orange himself. I had to listen on earphones to spare my family, which made it like he was yelling directly in my ear for 70 minutes. I felt as if someone used a belt sander on my brain. I have no takeaway beyond the certain knowledge that brown-skinned people are going to murder me and everyone I love, and take their sweet time doing it. And at the close, a sentence that is never true, when spoken by anyone about anything: “I alone can fix this.” Superman doesn’t say crap like that. Oh, and lest we forget, Laura Ingraham heiled The Donald’s giant Jumbotroned mug. That happened.
THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION I want to talk an equal amount of smack about the DNC. I truly do. I can’t. I want to say the conventions were comparable. They weren’t. Yes, Bernie got the shaft. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was a disaster long before Donnie’s comrade man-crush outed her. The spectacle of Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, gaveling in the convention was an embarrassing reminder of entrenched machine politics. The opening prayer was booed! A prayer, booed! On the other hand, the DNC managed to be about things besides White Identity, Bigotry, Terror (as opposed to Terrorism), and sweaty-faced, spittle-flying hatred. Was the whole show forcefully, strategically overly optimistic? Sure. Did watching Democrats chant “USA, USA” and co-opt Reagan’s “Morning in America” shtick make me a little queasy? Yeah, ’cause it wasn’t morning then — and for a lot of folks, it isn’t now. But it’s not the friggin’ “Purge” either, and listening to that corn silk toupeed jack-o’-lantern holler that we were living the apocalypse, but that the day, the instant after he was elected everything would be fine, was puke-inducing. Sorry. I’m a satirist, not an analyst. And not for nothing, the DNC held together as a TV show. Star Power? Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Sarah Silverman, Elizabeth Banks, Meryl-frikkin-STREEP! Streep alone is equal to 752 Chachis! That’s just math.
ARCADE continued from p. 19
Kickstarter campaign, the success of which is evident in the wall of text devoted to backers in the credits. “Kickstarter’s awesome because people from all over get to know about your film,” Chin asserted. “It’s a good way to bring a community [together], especially one that’s a culture like gamers. They’re very much online and they’re a really great community, we found out, that supports each other — and they don’t want to see arcades die.” “I think the arcade experience, of people coming together around video games is a profound one that changed people’s .com
AP photo by Bill Clark
“I’m not the least bit like Hitler. Believe me. Believe me. Believe me. Believe me.”
Bernie endorsed Hillary! Not quite the same as Creepy Ted saying, “Vote your conscience.” Bill made a whole speech that bordered on sweet with no finger wagging or lecturing. Joe Biden said “malarkey,” and I’d vote for whoever he told me to based on that alone! And the Obamas. Even the people who didn’t like them are going to miss them. They don’t know it yet, but they will. It’s been less than a week, and what do we have so far? Trump slamming the Khans, implying Hillary wrote their speech, claiming building gaudy-ass mono-
lives, and I want people to see that video games are not just simply entertainment — and that’s what I think a lot of people don’t understand. To these people in the arcade, video games are so much more. They gave them a voice, they gave them an outlet of expression,” Vincent added. “Through the video games, it bridged the gap between these different types of people that otherwise never probably would have come in contact.” While the film begins on the bittersweet note of a closure, it ultimately becomes a hopeful celebration of a subculture and its resiliency. Gamers found ways to adapt to change: Old school fans migrated to a new Brooklyn arcade
grammed towers constitutes a SACRIFICE on the level of losing a child, throwing shade at firemen who just pulled his fat, orange ass out of a stuck elevator, throwing a BABY out of his rally, and saying that if Ivanka were to be sexually harassed, she should just get another job! We are well outside of normal and way beyond party politics. The conventions showed there are only two choices on the ballot: Flushing the American experiment down the crapper or not. Choose.
operated by Henry, while a reopened Chinatown Fair (under new management) nurses a fledgling scene of younger gamers. The sense of community then, is still tangible today, as Vincent recently witnessed firsthand in “a beautiful moment” at Chinatown Fair, when he attempted to try his hand at a Japanese racing import. “I sat down to play it, and I realized that the screen was all in Japanese, so I couldn’t understand how to even select a car. So the guy that was sitting next to me, he was my challenger, he walked me through it and helped me. And after he beat me, he introduced himself,” Vincent recalled. “It was the first time I had been
to Chinatown Fair as a fan. I wasn’t there with a camera, I wasn’t working on the movie, and to have that happen, to be introduced and welcomed into this racing community, it was just incredible, and made me feel happy to see that the spirit of Chinatown Fair is very much alive.” Runtime: 79 minutes. Written by Irene Chin. Directed by Kurt Vincent. Opens Fri., Aug. 12 at Metrograph (7 Ludlow St., btw. Canal & Hester Sts.). Daily screening at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, & 9pm. Call 212-660-0312 or visit metrograph.com for more info. Also visit facebook.com/ArcadeMovie and 26aries.com. August 04 - 10 , 2016
August 04 - 10 , 2016
Rhymes With Crazy
We Can Take a Joke (Kidding!) BY LENORE SKENAZY Just a few weeks after the terror attacks of 9/11, Gilbert Gottfried took to the stage of the Friar’s Club and explained he had to leave early to catch a plane to California. “I couldn’t get a direct flight,” he said. “We have to make a stop at the Empire State Building.” The crowd booed and someone yelled, “Too soon!” But in fact, Gottfried’s timing was impeccable. He told the joke before the invention of Twitter. Also before outrage became America’s consuming passion. The rollicking new documentary “Can We Take a Joke?” brings our lust for umbrage into sharp focus. Audiences, it points out, have become hypersensitive — especially on campus. Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld have both sworn off college gigs, because, as Rock put it, “You can’t even be offensive on your way to being inoffensive.” And so the film, by documentarian Ted Balaker with support from the free-speech advocacy group the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), interviews comedians both famous and up-and-coming about how they’re dealing with the onslaught of offendedness. One interviewee, stand-up Jim Norton, has worked his frustration into his routine. “Why is comedy the only form of the arts where people think they have to agree with, or approve, the content?” he asks. “You don’t walk through a museum with a towel and throw it over paintings you don’t like [saying] ‘I don’t want anybody else seeing this because I don’t enjoy it.’ ” Comedy’s job is, as George Carlin once said, “to find where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.” That’s been the comedian’s job ever since the first jester joked about the king’s much younger wife. “If we steered clear of every topic that could offend someone, we couldn’t open our mouths,” says Lisa Lampanelli, whose entire act is making fun of absolutely everyone. That might not be your thing. But if it’s not, stay home. Instead, audiences are coming in, .com
sitting down, and demanding that comics not say anything crude or cruel. But when my idea of cruel is your idea of hilarious, my super-sensitivity automatically wins. I get to declare not just that the comic isn’t funny, but that he is a bad person and needs to be punished. Consider what happened at Washington State University, where a student named Chris Lee wrote a musical designed to offend absolutely everyone. In fact, he billed it as such. But one night, the university itself requested 40 tickets. Those ticket holders came in and started shouting, “I’m offended!” They stood up and shook their fists. The shouts grew into threats. And guess what? Turns out the university had paid them to attend and disrupt the show. When Chris asked the cops for protection, they wouldn’t promise it. He had become someone not worth saving, because he was politically incorrect. Then there’s Justine Sacco. The young publicist was on her way to South Africa. As she boarded the plane she tweeted, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white.” She was making a lame joke about the way whites see Africa, the continent where her parents had worked as anti-racism activists. But one of her handful of Twitter followers assumed this was actually a racist remark and retweeted it. It got picked up by more and more people and by the time Sacco got off her 12-hour flight, she found herself the No. 1 trending item worldwide on Twitter, with people calling for her to be raped or killed. Because of a bad joke. Jon Ronson wrote about her story in his book, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.” As he notes in the film: The mob that took her down wasn’t actually making the world a better place. It was just getting off on outrage. The same thing happened to Gottfried when he joked after the 2011 tsunami, “I was talking to my Japanese real estate agent. I said, ‘Is there a school in this area?’ She said, ‘Not now. But just wait.’ ” He lost his job voicing the Aflac duck, and became officially a terrible person —
more so than after 9/11, when we were still able to be shocked but move on. Now, maybe that wasn’t a tasteful joke. But comedy does not have to be tasteful. It has to be allowed. It is free speech. It is the way a society copes with its fears and stands up to tyranny. I’m guessing Vladimir Putin doesn’t tolerate a lot of anti-Putin punchlines. “Do you really want to live in a world where everyone has to think
twice before they tell any kind of a joke?” asks Greg Lukianoff, the president of FIRE. America, lighten up — or be prepared for dark times. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids.com).
THE NEW SOUND OF
BROOKLYN The Community News Group is proud to introduce BROOKLYN PAPER RADIO. Join Brooklyn Paper Editor-in-Chief Vince DiMiceli and the New York Daily News’ Gersh Kuntzman every Thursday at 4:45 for an hour of talk on topics Brooklynites hold dear. Each show will feature instudio guests and call-out segments, and can be listened to live or played anytime at your convenience.
JOSEPH LICHTER, D.D.S.
LISTEN EVERY THURSDAY AT 4:45PM ON BrooklynPaper.com/radio August 04 - 10 , 2016
Child Health Plus +++++ with Fidelis Care Affordable health insurance for children under 19. See top-quality providers, close to home. Checkups, dental care, hospital care, and more! + Fidelis Care is a top-rated plan in the 2015 New York State Consumer’s Guide to Medicaid and Child Health Plus.+
How much does Child Health Plus cost? Coverage may be free or as little as $9 each month, based on household income. For families at full premium SL]LS-PKLSPZ*HYLVќLYZZVTLVM[OL lowest rates available. How do I enroll my child? Through NY State of Health at nystateofhealth.ny.gov. Apply by the 15th of the month to have coverage for your child on the 1st of the following month. Fidelis Care is in your community! =PZP[ÄKLSPZJHYLVYNÄUKHUVѝJL[V ZLHYJOMVY[OLJVTT\UP[`VѝJL nearest to you.
1-888-FIDELIS • ÄKLSPZJHYLVYN (1-888-343-3547)
To learn more about applying for health insurance, including Child Health Plus and Medicaid through 5@:[H[LVM/LHS[O;OL6ѝJPHS/LHS[O7SHU4HYRL[WSHJL visit www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov or call 1-855-355-5777.
August 04 - 10 , 2016