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September 1, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 35

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The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

9

Nine piles pounded for Pier55; But antis set to argue ‘Nein!’ BY LINCOLN ANDERSON

P

ier55 Inc. and the Hudson River Park Trust really want to pound home the message — they have finished pounding in the first nine piles that will support Pier55, the dazzling “arts island” planned for the Hudson River Park off of W. 13th St.

“We’re thrilled to be taking the first steps in what will become a transformative public park for the community,” said Celine Armstrong, project manager for Pier55 Inc., in a statement released last Wednesday. “We look forward to continuing construction this fall and makPIER55 continued on p. 14

Third wheels or for real? Stein and Johnson offer voters more of a choice BY MARY REINHOLZ

I

n this season of searing electoral discontent with Donald Trump, the trashtalking Republican nominee for president, and Hillary Clinton, his hawkish F.B.I.scrutinized Democratic rival, it’s hardly surprising that increasingly fed-up voters are considering third-party challengers campaigning to occupy

the Oval Office. The most visible contenders are Green Party standardbearer Jill Stein from Massachusetts, a Harvard-educated physician turned leftie revolutionary who, for starters, seeks to create millions of jobs by 2030 through clean, renewable energy, and advocates eliminating college student debt; and CANDIDATES continued on p. 8

Jennifer Gonzales, deput y manager of the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, left, and Rober to Nacipucha, its maintenance chief, got set to install a new sign over the old one at the Clarkson St. athletic hub, named for the legendar y late Village leader. See Page 7.

Rezoning plea is redoubled as Chinatown feels the heat BY KARI LINDBERG

W

hat kind of Chinatown would you like to see?” The question, posed in both English and Chinese, greeted attendees at the entrance of a town hall on Sun., Aug. 20. The event was held to discuss rezoning plans for Chinatown, which, if approved by the de Blasio administration, would protect the area from the current onslaught of

supertall towers and other development plans that are, even now, radically transforming the historic enclave. The meeting, which drew about 75 area residents and activists, was hosted by CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, along with the Chinatown Art Brigade. The groups want to raise local awareness about the rezoning plan that has been put together by the Chinatown Working Group, a coalition of

community groups and activists dedicated to fighting off development that leads to the elimination of affordable housing. The Chinatown Working Group’s rezoning plan was rejected by City Hall last year. Carl Weisbrod, the executive director of City Planning, sent a letter last February to Gigi Li, then-chairperson of Community Board 3, saying the proposal was not sufCHINATOWN continued on p. 4

Hey, community critters! Cute pet contest! ..... p. 17 Ukrainians keep hope alive for old country......p. 19 Really inspired by Rio show...p. 20

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September 1, 2016 • $1.00 Volume 86 • Number 35

The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933

Nine piles pounded for Pier55; But antis set to argue ‘Nein!’ By Lincoln Anderson

P

ier55 Inc. and the Hudson River Park Trust really want to pound home the message — they have finished pounding in the first nine piles that will support Pier55, the dazzling “arts island” planned for the Hudson River Park off of W. 13th St.

“We’re thrilled to be taking the first steps in what will become a transformative public park for the community,” said Celine Armstrong, project manager for Pier55 Inc., in a statement released last Wednesday. “We look forward to continuing construction this fall and makPier55 continued on p. 14

Third wheels or for real? Stein and Johnson offer voters more of a choice By Mary Reinholz

I

n this season of searing electoral discontent with Donald Trump, the trashtalking Republican nominee for president, and Hillary Clinton, his hawkish F.B.I.scrutinized Democratic rival, it’s hardly surprising that increasingly fed-up voters are considering third-party challengers campaigning to occupy

the Oval Office. The most visible contenders are Green Party standardbearer Jill Stein from Massachusetts, a Harvard-educated physician turned leftie revolutionary who, for starters, seeks to create millions of jobs by 2030 through clean, renewable energy, and advocates eliminating college student debt; and Candidates continued on p. 8

Jennifer Gonzales, deput y manager of the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, left, and Rober to Nacipucha, its maintenance chief, got set to install a new sign over the old one at the Clarkson St. athletic hub, named for the legendar y late Village leader. See Page 7.

Rezoning plea is redoubled as Chinatown feels the heat By Kari Lindberg

W

hat kind of Chinatown would you like to see?” The question, posed in both English and Chinese, greeted attendees at the entrance of a town hall on Sun., Aug. 20. The event was held to discuss rezoning plans for Chinatown, which, if approved by the de Blasio administration, would protect the area from the current onslaught of

supertall towers and other development plans that are, even now, radically transforming the historic enclave. The meeting, which drew about 75 area residents and activists, was hosted by CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, along with the Chinatown Art Brigade. The groups want to raise local awareness about the rezoning plan that has been put together by the Chinatown Working Group, a coalition of

community groups and activists dedicated to fighting off development that leads to the elimination of affordable housing. The Chinatown Working Group’s rezoning plan was rejected by City Hall last year. Carl Weisbrod, the executive director of City Planning, sent a letter last February to Gigi Li, then-chairperson of Community Board 3, saying the proposal was not sufChinatown continued on p. 4

Hey, community critters! Cute pet contest!����� p. 17 Ukrainians keep hope alive for old country......p. 19 Really inspired by Rio show...p. 20

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Getting down to business: Members of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce recently toured the Sixth Police Precinct’s stationhouse on W. 10th St. and also the adjoining Bomb Squad headquarters on Charles St. The Bomb Squad’s super-sniffing dog was happy to say hi to the local business leaders, as were members of the precinct’s detective squad. The chamber also recently toured the East Village’s Ninth Precinct stationhouse.

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Oh, mannequin! The phrase “absentee ballot” came to this roving street photographer’s mind as he took this shot in Tribeca. Hey, pretty good one! TheVillager.com

September 1, 2016

3


Renewed plea for Chinatown rezoning Named best weekly newspaper in New York State in 2001, 2004 and 2005 by New York Press Association News Story, First Place, 2015 Editorial Page, First Place, 2015 Editorials, First Place, 2014 News Story, First Place, 2014 Overall Design Excellence, First Place, 2013 Best Column, First Place, 2012 Photographic Excellence, First Place, 2011 Spot News Coverage, First Place, 2010 Coverage of Environment, First Place, 2009

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September 1, 2016

Chinatown continued from p. 1

ficiently feasible. City Planning, however, has more recently expressed a willingness to reopen negotiations into rezoning the area, which could lead to new development, including additional affordable housing units, and new community amenities. Currently, C.B. 3 and the Chinatown Working Group agree on what they want out of renewed negotiations with the Department of City Planning. Their demands include limiting new high-rise luxury development, strengthening anti-tenant harassment laws, and requiring the city to provide more affordable housing, as outlined in the C.W.G. rezoning plan. CAAAV’s position was expressed by organizer Naved Husain. “We need to focus on those demands and make sure that there is enough community support behind it,” he said. “It will take a massive showing from the public here in Chinatown that they support the Chinatown Working Group plan and that there will be political repercussions for the mayor, councilmembers or for anyone who opposes what the community wants. That is really what we want to start here.” With the City Council 45-0 vote on Aug. 16 that killed a mixed-income apartment project in Inwood proposed under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing program, Chinatown grassroots organizers are starting to feel that, with enough pushback, they will be able to pressure city councilmembers, like Margaret Chin, who represents the area, to vote for their plan. The Chinatown rezoning plan proposes capping new development at round six to 10 stories, and creating more affordable housing in line with the actual area median income of Chinatown residents. C.W.G. feels future inappropriate large-scale development in Chinatown is inevitable unless de Blasio’s affordable housing plan is modified. “We have the most developed plan,” Husain stressed. “Now is a matter of pushing back and really making Mayor de Blasio, who is a very different mayor from Bloomberg, finally live up to some kind of credential that he claims to have.” C.W.G.’s rezoning plan was first drafted as a direct response to protective zoning laws for the East Village and Lower East Side approved by the City Council under former Mayor Mike Bloomberg in 2008. The E.V. / L.E.S. rezoning, among other things, set height limits for new construction in a 100-block area. It was a means to help preserve the neighborhood’s character, which had been slowly eroding as a result of increased real estate development pressure, leading to out-of-scale tower developments. However, that sweeping rezoning, by leaving out Chinatown, has — as critics accurately predicted — now simply shifted the negative impact onto Chinatown and to nearby surrounding unprotected areas, like Two Bridges, as out-of-scale towers are proliferating. Construction on the first of

Image courtesy JDS Development Group and SHoP Architects

A design rendering showing the planned 77-stor y 247 Cherr y St. tower, at right, and Ex tell’s 80-stor y One Manhattan South, currently under construction, at left.

these so-called “supertall” tower projects — Extell’s 80-story 227 Cherry St. — has already risen to the height of the Manhattan Bridge roadway. The City assured that the 2008 rezoning would not significantly harm the Chinatown / L.E.S. community. But a 2011 “Chinatown Then and Now” report, by Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, concluded that the rezoning, in fact, would disproportionately impact lowincome and immigrant communities. There is also concern in Chinatown about the impact of the ongoing Essex Crossing mega-development project at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, or SPURA, site. Speakers at the town hall meeting said development pressures, in turn, are making the neighborhood increasingly unaffordable and unlivable, and they fear they will soon be pushed out. A Bowery resident who only gave her name as Ms. Wong, said, “When I first moved in, I only paid $600 a month for rent. Now I have to pay 1,200 monthly — a 200 percent increase. I can’t afford to live. Before shops and restaurants would be open until midnight. Now they are all closed by 8 or 9 p.m. Everyone has left. Restaurants are no longer able to stay open as late because all their customer base has left. If this continues, within three years there will be no more Chinatown.” According to a report last year, “State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods,” by New York University’s Furman Center, the percentage change in average rent from 1990 to 2014 for the Chinatown / Lower East Side area was slightly more than 50 percent, making it the city’s most gentrified neighborhood in the past quarter century, second only to Williamsburg. The gentrification report backs up the 2010 Census’s estimated findings that at least

10,000 Chinatown Chinese residents have been displaced from the neighborhood since 2000. With the potential of gaining a 200 percent rent increase, like Wong’s, incentive for landlord harassment and eviction of low-income tenants is only growing. At the town hall, advocates called for amending de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, which — for any new project where a rezoning is required — mandates 20 percent of units be affordable housing set aside for low-income tenants. C.W.G.’s rezoning plan, however, calls for 50 percent of all new area housing projects to be dedicated to low-income residents, in an effort to make up for the more than 9,000 units of affordable rent-regulated units that they say have been lost within the area. In addition, the advocates noted, Chinatown’s average median income, as reported by the 2010 Census, is $32,499, leaving most area tenants actually unable to qualify for affordable housing under de Blasio’s plan. The statistic came as a shock to most of the attendees. Speakers noted that JDS is planning a 77-story tower at 247 Cherry St., and also expressed fear that the proposed Low Line underground park could displace residents — helping speed gentrification on the Lower East Side the way the High Line has done in Chelsea. David Tang, a resident of 90 Elizabeth St., said, “The landlords and the developers just want to make Chinatown into a more luxury community and bring gentrification into the area. The city’s current zoning plan doesn’t include quotes for affordable housing in these new luxury buildings. If we don’t fight for our future and our community, then our home will disappear forever. We need to take it back and control our own fate and not let the city make the decision for us.” TheVillager.com


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September 1, 2016

TheVillager.com


A little (new) Dap’ll do ya at Village rec center Workers recently put up a new sign on the venerable Tony Dapolito Recreation Center, at Clarkson St. and Seventh Ave. South. Formerly known as the Carmine St. Recreation Center, it was renamed, after Dapolito’s death in 2003, in honor of the longtime chairperson and Parks Committee chairperson of the Village’s Community Board 2. Dapolito was variously known as “The Mayor of Greenwich Village,� “Mr. Parks,� “Mr. Playgrounds�...you name it. A lot of titles for one guy! “Oh sure, fuggedaboudit,� the humble Dapolito would surely shrug. Dapolito grew up using the center. As a kid, he and his brothers would even shower there in the mornings.

Photo by Tequila Minsky

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Third wheels or for real? Stein and Johnson offer candidates continued from p. 1

Gary Johnson, a former two-term pot-smoking Republican governor of New Mexico who is at the top of the Libertarian Party’s ticket. Johnson, 63, is fiscally conservative but opposes the death penalty and supports same-sex marriages and legalizing marijuana. Excluded from the presidential debates and lacking significant exposure by the media, Stein and Johnson were overwhelmingly defeated in 2012 when they first ran, with Stein getting a minuscule 0.3 percent of the popular vote and Johnson barely 1 percent Both are now gaining more traction because of the high negatives of Clinton and Trump, especially Johnson, who has been polling at 10 percent and higher in matchups with the two majorparty candidates. Johnson recently claimed that he could win the presidency if he qualifies for the first presidential debate later this month. “If we’re in that presidential debate, I think, anything is possible. And given the momentum that we have, I think it’s possible that I will be the next president,” Johnson said in an interview published in the Detroit News on Aug. 26. “I know that just sounds crazy, but we would not be doing this if we didn’t think that,” he said. “That possibility exists.” Critics, though, complain that Johnson and Stein are simply spoilers in the race. Stein, 66, who has been polling on an average about 5 percent, has taken heat on the stump for supposedly acting like Ralph Nader, the iconic consumer advocate who ran for president in 2000 on the Green Party ticket and arguably siphoned away votes from Democrat Al Gore in Florida and New Hampshire, causing him to lose the election to George W. Bush. At a recent CNN town hall, an audience member asked Stein if she could “sleep at night” if her campaign “brought in Trump” to the White House, like Nader allegedly “brought in Bush.” The slim, silverhaired Stein responded quickly and calmly. “I will have trouble sleeping at night if Donald Trump is elected,” she said. “I will also have trouble sleeping at night if Hillary Clinton is elected. And as despicable as Donald Trump’s words are, I find Hillary Clinton’s actions and track record very troubling,” Stein added, as she sat alongside her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, a human-rights advocate and fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies who is controversial in his own right. Several prominent lefties interviewed by this reporter seemed unconcerned that their third-party votes might help the now-faltering Trump get elected. They claimed they could vote their conscience with comfort in blue “safe” states, like New York, where Clinton is regarded by many as a shoo-in. “Hillary, I think, has New York sewed up,” opined David McReynolds, the legendary East Village pacifist and democratic socialist. McReynolds ran two unsuccessful campaigns for president on the Socialist Party USA ticket, in 1980 and 2000, and campaigned once for U.S. Senate under the Green Party banner against Democratic incumbent Chuck Schumer in 2004. McReynolds, 86, says he won’t vote for Clinton because he considers her “the war candidate. She has a terrible record,” he said. “She got us into Libya. She voted for the war in Iraq. She is dangerous on foreign policy.” As for Trump, he described the Manhattan billionaire as “unstable and should not be in the White House under any circumstance.” Jill Stein might get McReynolds’s vote as a “symbolic” gesture, even though he believes she “doesn’t have a ghost of chance” — only the opportunity to

8

September 1, 2016

Gar y Johnson, the Liber tarian presidential candidate.

build a progressive movement. But he believes Gary Johnson has a shot at the world’s most powerful job — if, that is, he reaches 15 percent in five separate selected polls by the two parties, the threshold for admission to the aforementioned presidential debate. Only Texas billionaire Ross Perot qualified for the first of the 1992 presidential debates, becoming the first third-party candidate to do so. The first of the three debates this year is scheduled for Mon., Sept. 26, at Hofstra University In

‘Remember that New York went for Reagan in ’84.’ Bill Weinberg

Long Island. It will be hosted by the privately run Commission on Presidential Debates, which both Johnson and Stein sued unsuccessfully in a Washington, D.C., federal court last September, arguing their exclusion in 2012 violated the First Amendment and antitrust laws. Both are appealing the Aug. 5. decision dismissing their case. McReynolds, retired globetrotting national secretary for the War Resisters League, seems impressed by Johnson and his running mate, William Weld, the former two-term Republican governor of Massachusetts (who endorsed President Obama in 2008). McReynolds called them both “solid people who are

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Jill Stein, the Green Par t y presidential candidate.

good on war and civil liberties.” He predicts they will garner “lots of Republican votes” from people turned off by Trump. Longtime activist Aron Kay, “The Yippie Pie Man,” once McReynolds’s East Village neighbor, who now lives in Brooklyn, has similar views. Kay, a registered Green, said he would “probably” vote for Stein, whom he “associates with good causes.” But he also had nice things to say about Johnson. Kay said he met Johnson five years ago when the candidate visited the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. He said Johnson spoke a year later about his drug policies at 9 Bleecker St., former site of the now-defunct Yippie Museum and hangout in Noho. Kay called the libertarians “an interesting bunch. My problem with them is that they don’t say much about poor people or how they would help them with food stamps and medical care,” he said. Indeed, some folks on the left fear that a president Gary Johnson would cut Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements. Johnson, however, has said he would save the “social safety net” but push for increasing the retirement age to 70 or 72, and privatize some portions, if not all, of Social Security benefits. Left-wing anarchist Bill Weinberg, editor of the radical online World War 4 Report and a contributor to The Villager, claims that Johnson would be “ideologically opposed” to rent regulation in New York, “along with all labor and environmental standards. No thank you,” he wrote about Johnson’s campaign in an e-mail to this reporter. (New York City’s rent laws are currently controlled by the state, not the feds, however.) Weinberg said he is “pretty sure” he will be voting for Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8 because he wants to see Trump — whom he refers to as “Pendejo,” Spanish for “stupid” and other more colorful epithets — strongly repudiated in New York on Election Day. “I’m not sure I buy the conventional wisdom that New York State is ‘safe,’” the East Village journo said. “Pendejo — I refuse to say his name — has more of candidates continued on p. 9 TheVillager.com


voters more of a choice Candidates continued from p. 8

an authentic hometown advantage here than Hillary does, and remember that New York went for Reagan in ’84,” he noted. Furthermore, Weinberg sees no third-party candidate worth supporting. He said Jill Stein went to Moscow “and broke bread with Putin as his bombs were falling on civilians in Syria and issued not a peep of protest over this.” Weinberg characterized Stein’s running mate, Ajamu Baraka, as “an enthusiastic supporter of the Bashar Assad dictatorship, which is now escalating to genocide its war on the Syrian people. The Green Party will never have my support until they do a complete 180 on this question, and I see no sign of that happening,” he said. Brooklyn Green Mitchel Cohen, a writer, activist and former chairperson of the WBAI FM radio local board, strongly disagreed with Weinberg’s attacks on his party. “No, I do not support Assad,” Cohen said in an e-mail exchange with this reporter. “Nor does the Green Party ‘support Assad’ — who, by the way, is the elected president of Syria. The Green Party opposes U.S. bombing, troops, military and financial intervention in Syria. That anyone chooses to portray opposition to U.S. militarism as ‘supporting Assad’ is nonsense.” Gloria Mattera, Stein’s campaign manager and co-chairperson of the New York State Green Party, said she didn’t think the campaign had “ever made a statement supporting Assad. These are very complicated issues,” she said in interviews. Stein, Mattera said, is “getting a lot of support from millennials” who had been inspired by Bernie Sanders. However, a recent Pew Research poll found that 90 percent of consistent Sanders supporters will vote for Clinton, albeit “while holding their noses.” Mattera herself appears to be disappointed in Sanders — who endorsed Clinton and plans to campaign for her on Labor Day, according to the New Hampshire AFL-CIO, which announced that the Vermont senator would speak at its Labor Day breakfast Monday in Manchester. “I’m not interested in Bernie Sanders,” Mattera said during a lunch break from her day job at Bellevue Hospital as director of Child Life and Developmental Services. “He capitulated to the Democratic Party. But Bernie was an inspiration in changing the political discourse even though he sided with the status quo,” she added. Mattera ran for lieutenant governor of New York with Teamster Howie Hawkins at the top of the Green ticket in 2010. “Our feeling is that it’s hard TheVillager.com

to start a revolution in a counterrevolutionary party,” she said. “The Democrat Party has become a corporate party.” Sanders did not respond to Stein’s call for him to head the Green Party ticket after he lost to Clinton in the Democratic primaries. The Greens, meanwhile, continue to push their message. Mattera said the Stein ticket is on about 35 state ballots and could reach “45 to 47” in the weeks ahead. In a press release, the campaign manager stated: “The enthusiasm for and success of our petition drives is proof that everyday Americans want more options on the ballot. It is time for us to demand open debates, not a rigged one sponsored by a commission controlled by the two major parties. Any candidate on the ballot in enough states to win the election needs to be in the debates.” The Libertarians say they are on track to be on the ballot in all 50 states. Brooklyn artist and activist Robin Laverne “Dragonfly” Wilson is the Green Party of New York’s candidate for U.S. Senate, challenging Democratic incumbent Chuck Schumer. Her other rivals are Conservative/ Republican Wendy Long and Alex Merced, the state Libertarian Party’s Latino nominee. Merced, 31, spoke to The Villager at the Ukrainian East Village restaurant at 140 Second Ave. near E. Ninth St., where the Manhattan Libertarians hold their monthly meetings. It’s also the same spot that hosted the party’s state convention on April 30. Merced is a self-described hipster tech geek from Brooklyn who helps train people seeking licenses in the Financial District. He said he and his team gathered 32,000 signatures to get him on the state ballot — more than twice the 15,000 signatures required. The signatures were submitted to the New York State Board of Elections in Albany on Aug. 2. “It shows the strong support for a third-party candidacy,” he said of the strong petition-gathering effort, noting his campaign hopes to appeal to both disaffected Republicans and Bernie Sanders supporters. His views? Merced, who ran unsuccessfully for New York City public advocate in 2013, said his were similar to those of Gary Johnson. “We both want to legalize marijuana, and I want to end the war on drugs. I’m against wars of intervention,” he said, noting he also supports same-sex marriage. “Chuck Schumer voted for the war in Iraq and for the Defense of Marriage Act,” he added. He didn’t appear to be awed by the competition.

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September 1, 2016

9


Police Blotter Orchard St. break-in

Photo courtesy N.Y.P.D.

Members of the search warrant team for 258 E. Four th St., with recovered loaded guns and drugs.

The pizza connection On Fri., August 26, around 7 a.m., police officers from the Emergency Service Unit, along with members of the

10th Precinct Cabaret Unit, executed a search warrant inside of 258 E. Fourth St., Apt 3H, resulting in the arrest of three East Village roommates on gun and drug charges.

September is National Preparedness Month! Join NYC Emergency Management to learn how to prepare for all types of emergencies. Activities throughout September: Free preparedness fairs, events and workshops throughout the five boroughs Family day at the Bronx Zoo on Sunday, Sept. 18 Family day at the Staten Island Children’s Museum on Saturday, Sept. 24 and much more!

For more information, visit

NYC.gov/EmergencyManagement or call 311. 10

September 1, 2016

During the search, three loaded guns, cocaine, prescription pills and marijuana and cash were recovered inside the location, according to police. Two men, Nico, Meneses, 25, and Kristopher Gibbs, 24, and one woman, Devin Detres, 24, all of the above address, were arrested and charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of a loaded firearm and criminal possession of a controlled substance. According to the New York Post, officers were investigating the Aug. 17 arrest of Meneses when they made the discovery inside the apartment, which included three locked safes. The safes were taken to Chelsea’s 10th Precinct, where they were opened to reveal the loaded handguns, according to the Post. Cops specifically found 20 ounces of coke and 130 prescription pills, the Post reported. Last week, Meneses was handcuffed in Chelsea after he ran from police with a loaded gun, according to reports. He allegedly had been menacing staff at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, at 114 10th Ave., about 4 a.m. on Wed., Aug. 17. The suspect got physical with the security guard and was tossed from the pizza joint, but soon returned, the Post reported. The staff tipped off nearby cops who were patrolling the area and they gave chase. Police eventually caught up to him, Tasered him and recovered a 9-millimeter gun. Meneses was arrested on gun charges and released on bail in that case, according to law enforcement sources, the Post reported.

Police said that on Thurs., Aug., 18, at 4 p.m., two men entered Lucky’s Real Estate, at 189 Orchard St., by cutting the padlock securing the cellar door to an adjoining establishment. T he individuals then knocked down a sheetrock wall in the basement to gain access to the location and removed the contents of a locked safe. The pair of perps f led the location with an undetermined amount of money and a bracelet. T he suspects are both said to be around 30 to 40 years old, 5 feet nine inches tall and weigh 170 to 180 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline, at 800 -577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Web site, w w w.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All tips are confidential.

Meatpack swinger Catch restaurant, at 21 Ninth Ave., had a real “swinging” patron early Saturday morning Aug. 20. At 1: 40 a.m., a man told police that another man was swinging a chair erratically around the place with intent to cause injury to him. T he “chairman” broke a table, causing $500 in damage, police said. He then punched the victim in the face, causing swelling and bruising. Police arrested Maurice M. Castellano, 36, for felony assault.

Power brawl An argument took a “sharp” turn inside Hudson Flower Shop, at 501 Hudson St., on Sun., Aug. 21, police said. At 4 p.m. that day, a man got into a verbal argument at the location with an 81-year-old man over Lotto tickets. The octogenarian then picked up a pair of scissors and threatened the victim. There were no injuries. Jose Cardojo, 81, was arrested for misdemeanor menacing.

Emily Siegel and Lincoln Anderson TheVillager.com


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September 1, 2016

11


LES school green with pride for slashing waste By Amy Russo

R

eading, writing, arithmetic — and recycling.” For Councilmember Rosie Mendez, that’s the future of education. Mendez recently recognized the school New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEST+m) through the city Department of Sanitation’s Golden Apple Awards program for cutting down trash output from 30 bags per day to a mere two. NEST+m was given a $5,000 cash prize for its accomplishments in helping the Big Apple move toward a zero-waste city. The Lower East Side school, at 111 Columbia St., achieved its goal in partnership with Cafeteria Culture, a nonprofit that has collaborated with government, environmental groups and educational institutions to promote greener diningware and zero-waste cafeterias. The organization helped the school establish its Cafeteria Ranger Program, a zerowaste-based initiative that educates children about the environmental consequences and benefits of trash recycling, explained Mendez. “The students were awarded the Golden Apple Award for this incredible accomplishment that was a col-

Photo courtesy Cafeteria Culture and Councilmember Rosie Mendez’s Office

NEST + m students at a ceremony near the end of school last year, when they were recognized for their amazing waste-reduction effor ts.

lective effort of the entire student body, with a leadership role from its third grade class,” Mendez said. Before the school began the program, its recycling had a lot of room for improvement. A presentation from the school states, “Paper was separated in the classrooms — but at the end of the day, everything went into one bin!”

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September 1, 2016

NEST+m students were able to cut down on waste output through a variety of measures. These included reusing gently worn school uniforms, collecting old batteries, phones and markers, and introducing homemade cleaning products, plus purple microfiber towels rather than paper towels. The pupils remained engaged in the classroom, as well, where Cafeteria Culture held “Garbology 101,” a course that teaches the importance of recycling and how to do it. Under the green scheme, ecofriendly initiatives are enforced in the lunchroom by students who are appointed “cafeteria rangers.” Gloves and badges denote the recycling captain, plate captain, compost captain, landfill captain and green leader. The recycling program was also completed with the help of middle school and high school volunteers, as well as school food employees and custodial staff who play an essential role each day. Environmental advocacy also extends past the classroom for NEST+m students, who attended a rally in April in support of banning plastic bags — or, more accurately, for a surcharge on plastic bags at supermarkets and delis. Students mus-

tered in front of the City Hall steps with homemade posters to “Ban the Bag” and encourage a greener city. Aside from the school’s support for such legislation, new recycling bins given by the city now stand outside the school on Columbia St., thanks to requests from one of NEST+m’s third-grade classes. On an even larger scale of waste reduction, D.S.N.Y. is currently aiming to end New York City’s contribution of garbage to landfills by 2030. “There’s no ‘away’ when we throw garbage into a can or litter basket,” the D.S.N.Y. Web site notes. “Trash goes into landfills, where it decomposes — sending methane, carbon dioxide and toxins into our air, soil and water.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cites landfills as the country’s third largest producer of methane gas — which actually has an even larger warming impact on the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

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September 1, 2016

13


9 piles pounded for Pier55; Antis to argue ‘Nein!’ Pier55 continued from p. 1

ing Pier55 a reality for all New Yorkers.” However, the nine piles — which are intended to hold up a small wedge-shaped platform along the Hudson River shoreline — are just a fraction of the total of 547 piles that would have to be driven into the Hudson riverbed in order to support the full project. The ambitious project — which will rise up to a height of six stories at one point — currently faces a stubborn legal challenge. Earlier this summer, an Appellate Division judicial panel enforced an injunction against the project, but then partially lifted it to allow only the pounding of the small number of piles. Had these nine piles not been installed this summer, it actually would have set the project back a full year, due to restrictions on pounding piles in the river from October to March. The complaint, by the City Club of New York, will be heard in court this Tuesday. The Pier55 project, announced in November 2014, is a partnership between the Trust and Pier55 Inc., a nonprofit organization established by Barry Diller’s and Diane von Furstenberg’s Diller – von Furstenberg

Family Foundation. The local power pair have pledged to fund $113 million of the $130 project. Plans for Pier55 call for 2.7 acres of undulating, landscaped new public park and performance space, which will be linked to the shoreline Hudson River Park by two pedestrian bridges. Under a lease, the nonprofit Pier55, Inc., or P55, to be chaired by Diller, would fund the new pier’s programming, operations and dayto-day maintenance for 20 years, with an option to extend this another 10 years, bringing Diller and von Furstenberg’s total commitment to hundreds of millions of dollars. The Trust and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation have agreed that 51 percent of the performance events on the pier would be completely free and 49 percent could charge market-rate admission. In addition to featuring arts and educational programming, the plan is for Pier55 to foster partnerships with schools and will provide opportunities for emerging local talent. Pier55 is slated to be completed in 2019. Tom Fox, one of the plaintiffs in the City Club case, told The Villager in July that pounding the nine piles before the lawsuit is resolved was a “risky act.”

Photo courtesy Hudson River Park Trust

Construction workers recently installing nine piles for Pier55, a small fraction of the more than 500 that would be needed for the full project.

“If they lose, they have to pull them,” he said of the nine preliminary piles. “This is another risky act by the Trust and another potential waste of scarce resources.” Speaking this Tuesday, Fox said that, in preparation, for next week’s court date, their lead attorney, Richard Emery, and the rest of their legal team on Thursday would present their arguments in a “moot court” rehearsal, to go through all possible scenarios that could arise. “It’s a little too early to do the victory dance,” Fox said of the Trust and Pier 55, Inc.’s announcement. “And it’s not the last court, either,” he added. The suit could still be appealed to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, if needed. “This is a labor of love. People are committed,” said Fox, who led the Hudson River Park Conservancy, the Trust’s predecessor agency, during the 5-mile-long park’s early planning stages. The longtime waterfront park activist also expressed concern that Governor Andrew Cuomo, by issuing a statement in support of the project after the injunction earlier this summer, has ratcheted up the pressure on the court to allow the high-profile

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September 1, 2016

project to proceed — despite the lawsuit’s host of environmental and procedural arguments against it. Among other charges, the suit notably contends that the Trust neglected to put the public-private project out to bid, as mandated by the Hudson River Park Act, the park’s founding legislation. As to accusations by some of the project’s boosters that developer Douglas Durst, former chairperson of the Friends of Hudson River Park, is surely funding the lawsuit in a grudge against the Trust, Fox said the City Club is funding it. Fox and Durst were former partners in New York Water Taxi, though Fox took a buyout a number of years ago. In a statement, a spokesperson for Pier55 said, “We are confident the court will rule in favor of Pier55, which has already been approved by Community Board 2, the State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The City Club has consistently failed to make any credible arguments in its crusade against the will of many New Yorkers who want to see a new park in their community. We look forward to making Pier55 a reality and providing nearly 3 acres of public parkland for all New Yorkers to enjoy.” TheVillager.com


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September 1, 2016

15


Mini-pooch is not living large on ‘Alamo Plaza’ Legendary punk photographer Roberta Bayley has had to face extreme grunge before, having covered Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols on their infamous vomit-spewing American tour back in the band’s brief heyday. And she encounters it regularly in her East Village neighborhood — in the form of crusty travelers lying sprawled all over the sidewalk — as she walks her pug Stella. But it really tugs at her heartstrings sometimes to see the peripatetic punks’ sorrylooking dogs. Bayley spotted this little one, at right, outside the Chase bank on the new “Alamo Plaza” last week. “Poor puppy,” she captioned the photo that she sent to the newspaper. (Hey, the pint-sized pooch’s fortunes could vastly improve if they enter The Villager’s “Cutest Pet Contest”!) It wasn’t clear what was attracting the crusties and their little sidekick to this spot — the newly expanded plaza or the jar of dog bones visible inside the bank’s window. Usually, the young hobos move on to warmer climes as New York’s summer ends. Now, though, due to global warming, they are hanging around even longer.

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September 1, 2016

Photos by Roberta Bayley

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Support community news!

Letters to the Editor Blaz, developers’ best friend To The Editor: Re “Villagers protest loss of affordable housing to de Blasio ‘ally’ ” (news article, Aug. 25): Obviously, Mayor de Blasio is advocating for his developer friends. The buildings should have been landmarked years ago, but the powers that be are slowly letting our city’s past glories erode. Who needs a hotel there? Guess how much it will cost to stay at that hotel? And we thought Bloomberg was the real estate developers’ friend! Let’s all protest this unthinking mayor and elect someone who’s really on our side. Sylvia Rackow

American residents first!

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To The Editor: Re “Villagers protest loss of affordable housing to de Blasio ‘ally’ ” (news article, Aug. 25): Impose a tax on all properties developed by foreign entities — that will put a crimp in the plans to sell America to the highest foreign interest. Americans, although poor and out-financed, are natives to this land. Hotels do not a community make. Foreign developers should not be kicking Americans out their homes. That is the ultimate insult. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. William Mendez, Sr.

Curmudgeons need love, too To The Editor: Re “Adele: Stripping away the layers, finding a friend” (notebook, by Tara Cox, Aug. 18): People are the way they are due to their life experiences. They were not born mean and grumpy. It’s called “thick-skinned,” which protects them from future hurt. We all want to be loved. The lady trusted you, Tara,

much more than others. You touched her heart. Fred Barone E-mail letters, not longer than 250 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 Metrotech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published

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War in Ukraine: The view from the East Village

global village By Bill Weinberg

A

s I write, Russian tanks are amassing on the line that separates those areas of Ukraine controlled by the Kiev government from the Crimean Peninsula, now unilaterally annexed by Moscow. Kiev has placed its armed forces on high alert, and there are fears of full-scale war. In addition to the Crimea standoff, for two years, Ukraine has faced a Russianbacked separatist revolt in the eastern enclaves of Donetsk and Luhansk. Despite official denials, Russia is widely thought to have troops there, backing the separatists. All this was set off by the 2014 Maidan Revolution — named after Kiev’s central square, which was occupied by protesters during the bitter winter of 2013-14, to demand the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich. Contrary to Britain, which recently voted to flee the European Union, Ukrainians were seeking closer ties to it. For the Maidan protesters, the E.U. represented guarantees for human rights and transparency in a country dominated by corrupt oligarchs. Yanukovich represented the epitome of this kind of political animal, and set off the Maidan movement by rejecting a treaty for preliminary ties with the E.U. in favor of closer integration with Russia. He was finally removed by a vote of parliament in February 2014. By then, some 200 people had been killed in repression, and some on the side of the protesters had started to arm. New elections were held that May, bringing the more Eurofriendly Petro Poroshenko to power. But separatists seized the east, and Russia annexed Crimea. Even if you don’t follow international news, it was hard to be unaware of all this if you live in the East Village. From the early days of the Maidan movement, a wall on the east side of Second Ave. between St. Mark’s Place and E. Ninth St. displayed news clips from Kiev and messages of support for the protesters — adorned with the blue and gold colors of Ukrainian and the trident that is the symbol of the nation. On that block sits the Ukrainian National Home, hub of the neighborhood’s 25,000-strong Ukrainian community. At the Home’s restaurant, I met with Virlana Tkacz, a respected figure in that community and a longtime director in the East Village theater scene. Throughout the crisis, she has been back and forth to Ukraine — including areas now held by separatists. Over salad and borscht, we discussed TheVillager.com

File photo by Tequila Minsky

A few of the photos of the Maidan Revolution’s dozens of victims that were left at a sidewalk memorial on Second Ave. in the East Village in Februar y 2014. The neighborhood boasts a sizeable Ukrainian population. how Ukrainians in the New York metro oppressed nationalities of other parts of which formed in response to the Maidan area have reacted to events in the old the ex-U.S.S.R. She brought indigenous movement, with affiliates in New York, country. Buryat throat-singers from Siberia to La Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Chomiak said the Maidan protests “The turn from a demand about a MaMa, as well as traditional epic theater treaty to a revolution came on Novem- performers from Kyrgyzstan. Villagers were born of betrayed dreams. “The unequal distribution of wealth, ber 30, 2013,” she said. That’s the night from Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains that young protesters were brutally set performed their Koliada winter ritual on the corruption — they hoped to change all that with the treaty with the E.U.,” upon by the riot police. E. Fourth St. “Seeing college students beaten and In 2013, Tkacz traveled to Donetsk to she said. During the Maidan protests, Razom bloodied was what did it,” she said. interview local youth about their ambi“People woke up and said, ‘No, not in tions. Their answers were incorporated held solidarity vigils in Times Square my country.’ Grandmothers came out. into her work “Underground Dreams,” and Washington Square, and in FebruEveryone came streaming out of their held at a converted industrial space in ary 2014 marched over the Brooklyn Bridge with the blue-and-yellow Ukraiapartments. You don’t beat up our Donetsk. kids.” “We spoke to kids who wanted to nian flag. “We support a prosperous Ukraine Tkacz admits, “If the students hadn’t be ballerinas or actors or soccer stars,” been beaten up it would have dissipat- she recalled. The theater piece was later — a multicultural, multilingual, diverse ed and the status quo would have just performed in Kiev — and then, after Ukraine with links to the global econlimped along.” Donestk was seized by separatists and omy,” Chomiak said. She pointed out But she emphasized the growing dis- the dreams of local youth derailed, re- that, in addition to Ukrainian and Ruscontent that led to the Maidan move- conceived at La MaMa as “Hitting Bed- sian, Hungarian, Polish, Tatar and other languages are spoken in Ukraine. ment — especially over the arrogance of rock.” A veteran of work in support of civil Yanukovich-crony oligarchs. “It was about displacement and the “They were building mansions in the war, and people we knew who were society with the International Renaismiddle of national parks, parking on killed on both sides,” she explained of sance Foundation in post-independence Ukraine in the ’90s, Chomiak said she the sidewalks with their big expensive that work. cars,” she recalled. “It was a mafia takThe Donetsk art space where “Un- is now devoted to “amplifying voices ing over.” derground Dreams” was first performed of Ukrainians in countries around the Speaking of the neighborhood’s was used by the pro-Russian separatists world.” Razom is now engaged in supporting Ukrainians, she said, “We immediately for internment of war prisoners. Tkacz saw our job was making sure people here heard that sculptures were used for tar- tech entrepreneurs in Ukraine through networking. She has also launched a know about it.” get practice. Tkacz’s productions at La MaMa TheTkacz is now at work on a piece about new Web site (so far only in Ukrainian), atre on E. Fourth St. with her Yara Arts the Crimean Tatars, the Muslim minor- Ukroko.org, that monitors global news Group began in 1990. Her work that ity of the peninsula, who were bitterly on Ukraine and “counters the Kremlin year, “Life From the East,” dealt with persecuted by Stalin and are today loathe disinformation campaign.” Chomiak points to the gains of the Ukraine’s re-emergent identity, which to be back under Russian rule. It is to be culminated in its declaration of indepen- entitled, “Ev = Home” — “ev” being the Maidan revolution. “The big change is a sense of citizenship dence from the Soviet Union the next word for “home” in the Tatar language. year. Joining us at the restaurant was Dora — for the first time in Ukraine — because Later works on themes from Ukrainian Chomiak, co-founder of the group Rahistory led to connections with formerly zom — Ukrainian for “together” — Ukraine continued on p. 31 September 1, 2016

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Rio, LES and the green ring in the Olympic flag NOTEBOOK By Elizabeth Ruf-Maldonado

A

s a devotee of Brazilian culture for most of my life, a writer on Afro-Latin musical performance and cabaret arts, an educator inspired by Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” a practitioner of the Theater of the Oppressed of Brazilian theater innovator Augusto Boal, and a community gardener concerned about climate change, I anticipated the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro with a sense of poetic justice. Indeed, it seemed that the Lower East Side community where I came into my own in the 1980s and ’90s had more access to performative Brazilian culture than the Brazil I encountered when I traveled to Rio itself. The Empire Loisaida Samba School built and staged full-blown carnival parades from its Houston St. headquarters. The Friday night parties at CUANDO on Second Ave. and Houston drew crowds of Brazilians from Queens and New Jersey to dance samba de gafieira and share home-cooked traditional foods to the strains of Jorjão’s pagode band. Lezly’s on Broadway and Houston offered classes in samba, capoeira, and Afro-Brazilian orixa dance. CHARAS, a community center carved out of the abandoned old P.S. 64 by Puerto Rican youth — Chino Garcia, Armando Perez and Bimbo Rivas (who coined the name “Loisaida”) — hosted capoeira batizados (baptisms) presided over by international capoeira masters. The Gas Station at Avenue B and E. Second St. housed gritty gatherings where Brazilian rhythms leapt from metallic instruments hammered out at an on-site forge. In the midst of this hotbed of Brazilian culture emerged Earth Celebrations, a collaborative environmental ritual conceived by Felicia Young to save Loisaida’s community gardens. Biannual seasonal processions mobilized community members dressed in the carnivalesque garb of earth spirits to parade through the LES streets to a live samba beat. As they stopped at each of the 40some neighborhood gardens, paraders offered a bulb to be planted by a child from that garden. Earth Celebrations’ rituals united the LES’s diverse community gardens, gave them an indelible public face, and helped to secure them under the Parks Department, effectively greening our neighborhood. As I took in Rio’s opening ceremony, I was transported to my early Loisaida days by a running theme at work in the opening lines of Jobim’s jazz samba “O morro não tem vez”: “The favela doesn’t get any breaks, and yet, it has accomplished so much! So look here, everyone, when they give the favela a

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Photo by Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil

A segment of the Rio Olympic s opening ceremony, showing indigenous peoples in lushly forested Brazil as the Spanish “discoverers” arrive on their ships.

chance, the whole city is going to sing!” For “favela,” the low-income hillside neighborhoods of Rio — of which Rocinha is the largest — I easily substituted the struggling Loisaida ’hood of the ’80s and ’90s that bloomed into New York’s Community Garden District. Brazil has a national history older and at least as culturally rich as that of the U.S. Yet, in the months and weeks leading up to the Olympics, the corporate media of the English-speaking North (including NPR and the BBC) had sought to make a mockery of the choice of Rio, a developing country, as Olympic host. The strain on resources for Brazil’s poor and the projected risk to the health and safety of visiting athletes were endlessly trumpeted, as if the developed world were devoid of environmental hazards, poverty and violence. Isn’t the U.S. the greatest consumer, per capita, of the world’s natural resources and a top contributor to global warming? Commentators ignored political corruption in the U.S. and the countries of U.S.-allied hosts of recent Olympics, scoffing at the travails of Brazil’s Workers’ Party and the impeachment of popularly elected President Dilma Rousseff (whose greatest infraction may turn out to have been reallocating funds to pay for badly needed social programs for the poor). The media alternately wrung its hands and gloated over Brazilian social contradictions that the creative team behind the Rio opening ceremony was

meeting head on. The ceremony underway, veteran sambista Paulinho da Viola gently sings Brazil’s national anthem, accompanying himself on guitar in a simple samba rhythm. The kinetic languages of object-theater and puppetry prevail in the choreography of Deborah Colker. A history of Brazil’s people begins in the Amazon rainforest with silken

Did NBC protect U.S. viewers from prime-time displays of bare skin?

vines woven into towering green-lit thatch by loincloth-wearing dancers drawn from the indigenous population of the Amazon region. Portuguese conquistadors arrive on skeletal ships, and the native peoples encounter them with stern curiosity. Enslaved Africans trudge across the stadium, some with their feet encased in wooden blocks and their shoulders bent under the

weight of wooden yokes. Others are tossed by gigantic metal wheels, like caged rodents. Video projections and 3D mapping fill the stadium floor with jutting and shifting cubes, signaling the urbanization of the Brazilian population. Acrobats scamper across the virtual rooftops to alight among colorful shanties stacked against the precipitous face of a favela. Dancers tumble from one railing to the next, whizzing past each other in a thrilling midair display. The favela gets its chance, and parkour becomes an emblem for a recurring theme of the ceremony, one shared by CHARAS in its heyday: “Doing more with less.” The dancers toss cubes into precarious formations to an ominous tune I recognize as Rio-born songwriter Chico Buarque’s “Construcão,” a modernist ballad to a fallen worker. More favela-fusion dancers in white orixa costumes remind the world that the legacy of African nature worship defines popular culture across the hemisphere. Moreover, iconic U.S. breakdance and hip-hop culture owe a debt to Brazilian émigrés, like Jelon Vieira and Loremil Machado who popularized the dances of candomble, as well as the acrobatic danced martial art of capoeira, in New York City in the mid-1970s. The intimate one-on-one of the capoeira roda, or sparring circle, doesn’t translate to a stadium-sized event. As a solitary capoeirista performs a selection of capoeira’s iconic floreios (acJump continued on p. 31 TheVillager.com


Just Do Art

…the special sexy September edition BY SCOTT STIFFLER

T

he lusty month of May has nothing on that sweet spot when summer’s swan song plays footsie with the first falling leaves. There’s something in the air, all right. How else to explain the abundance of provocative offerings on the boards between now and the end of September? We could continue to tease with a long intro, but best to just get down to business while the iron (and everything else) is hot, hot, hot! With her cavernous cleavage, penchant for rhinestones, and makeup seemingly applied with the help of a putty knife, sweet and self-aware Dolly Parton (“It costs a lot of money to look this cheap”) was her own drag act long before the first dude plucked and tucked his way to an affectionate imitation. While the real thing is still touring, slinging zingers, and lookin’ good at age 70, a gaggle of glitzy gals are about to celebrate the third annual installment of “Dollypalooza.” An epic tribute to longtime LGBT ally and all-around good egg Parton, the event is packed with trivia, an interactive photo booth, and Dolly-themed drag and burlesque performances. Proceeds from ticket sales and a silent auction (items include a trip to Dollywood!) benefit Dolly’s charity, the Imagination Library. Event producer and “femmecee” Bevin Branlandingham welcomes ribald, riotous, and righteous entertainment from World Famous *BOB*, Sweetie, Lady Quesa’Dilla, Nath Ann Carrera, Sequinette, Darlinda Just Darlinda, Tammy Cannons, and (in keeping with the ethos of excess) many, many more. TheVillager.com

If you’re still not sold on Dollypalooza or its namesake, consider this, from Branlandingham: “She might be the only performer who can bring together queers, Christians, country-music lovers, and hipster nightclub enthusiasts — and have everyone leave singing the same song.” Sat., Sept. 3, 6–10pm at (Le) Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker St. btw. Sullivan & Thompson Sts.). For tickets to this 18+ event ($20 in advance, $27 day of show), visit dollypalooza.com. Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat (night of event only): @ Dollypalooza. Branlandingham’s blog at queerfatfemme.com, and Parton’s charity at usa.imaginationlibrary.com. The event repeats, with a cast TBA, Oct. 29 in Los Angeles.

COURTESY FLATIRON FOLLIES

“Hurricane of intellectual sexuality” Stormy Leather touches down at the season premiere of Flatiron Follies.

AND SPEAKING OF MUST-SEE DRAG: Our favorite profane princess, the legendary Lady Bunny, is bringing her well-received summertime show “TransJester” back to Christopher Street’s Stonewall Inn. Whether she’s going postal on Caitlyn Jenner, putting a lurid spin on pop songs, or pontificating on “the new pronoun we’re forced to learn every time Will Smith’s son puts on a dress,” Bunny only has one mode: filth — and it’s stuck on “11.” Don’t bring your mother, unless she’s more open-minded than you are. In fact, Bunny advises, “This show is raunchy. Not politically correct by definition — that’s the whole point. So if that’s not your cup of tea, you should honestly skip it.” Strong words, indeed; but with

COURTESY DOLLYPALOOZA.COM

NYC’s version of the annual bicoastal Dollypalooza tribute to all things Parton offers four hours of performances, photo ops, and trivia contests.

tickets at $19.99 and the mandatory downing of at least two drinks, it’s a risky behavior you can afford to indulge in. Wed. through Sat., 7pm, through Oct. 1 (no Sept. 8 or 9 performances). Reservations and more info for this 21+ atrocity at ladybunny.net and thestonewallinnnyc.com.

Another New York institution, onetime mayoral candidate and worldrenowned drag king Murray Hill (“the hardest working middle-aged man in show business”), shares the bill with equally iconic burlesque entertainers SEXY continued on p. 23 September 1, 2016

21


Stump Speech: Election 2016

Rubbernecking the election BY MAX BURBANK

I

t’s hard to underestimate the importance of that period between the end of the conventions and the first presidential debate. One candidate seems to have managed. Here’s a hint: He looks like a Jack O’Lantern in a toupee. We should be witnessing a contest between competing visions for America’s future — but we’re not, and it’s time to stop blaming the media. There are some things you can’t look away from, even when you know you should. It’s why car accidents cause a traffic jam in the opposite lane, why your local news leads with who got shot and what burned down, why Ryan Murphy gets a second season of… well, any of his shows. Imagine a candidate, who instead of establishing a campaign headquarters, opted to build a fireworks warehouse inside a sewage treatment plant, mopped the floor with gasoline, took a fistful of sleeping pills, and dared himself to see if he could smoke 20 cigars before he passed out. That’s the Trump campaign right now. I could list the cigars for you: His childish attacks on a Gold Star family; his desire to change NATO into a protection racket; his “Second Amendment people;” his insistence that the president of the United States also lists “Founder of ISIS” on his resume. What’s the point? You know those cigars by heart, and you could name a dozen more. Each new cigar is eminently watchable, but the explosion is what we’re waiting for. It could happen any second and no one wants to miss it. We may be ashamed that we begrudge every instant of coverage given to Hillary Clinton, the drowning of Louisiana, or Ryan Lochte’s square jawed American heroism when his God-given right to public urination was threatened — but begrudge it, we do. We begrudge it so hard. How many pivots have we been through? The bar has been set so low that all Trump has to do to appear presidential is prove himself physically capable of reading a prepared script from a teleprompter. By this rubric the vast majority of third graders are qualified to be entrusted with the nuclear codes,

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September 1, 2016

AP PHOTO BY JAE C. HONG

Pop quiz: Who’s got two thumbs and little else in his favor?

and Trump CAN’T DO IT for more than a day! How many Republican interventions and “come to Jesus meetings” does it take? What’s the point of a “come to Jesus” meeting Jesus wouldn’t be caught dead at? How many staff shake-ups will it take to get Trump to lay of the cigars? Corey Lewandowski was too much of a loose cannon to rein Trump in, so he got sent packing in disgrace with a fat severance package and a paid position at CNN as punishment. He was replaced by professional dictator flack and Russian conduit Paul Manafort — a man who actually knew what delegates were, he was able to keep the “Never Trump” crowd from destroying the RNC and was amply rewarded by getting to watch a passel of low life, C-list Trump surrogates and Trump himself destroy the convention instead. Don’t feel too bad for him though; he got a sweet bonus in the form of Trump’s boot in his ass for being too controlling. So now we’ve got Kellyanne Conway, because when your goal is to make a man

with zero political experience president, it’s best to have a campaign manager who’s never run a campaign. Luckily, Team Trump took on a campaign CEO too, Stephen Bannon. In addition to holding a job title with no definition, he’s a spouse-abusing anti-Semite. Fresh from his position as Executive Chairman of Breitbart news, he brings Robert Redford looks, if Redford has spent a lifetime binge drinking while wearing cargo shorts, and a wealth of experience in being slightly more credible than the National Enquirer (but a little more racist). Together, Conway and Bannon have made a real impact. Recently the candidate expressed regret for some nonspecific unnamed things. He’s also reaching out to African-Americans, a demographic with whom he has one, sometimes even two percent support. It’s a move that shows sincere political evolution, and is in no way a message designed solely for the fraction of white supporters who still feel a tad queasy with the cam-

paign’s whole White Supremacist thing. With the unpleasant but necessary humanizing out of the way, Trump’s been able to hone his latest campaign strategy, a sophisticated reworking of the classic playground game, “I know you are, but what am I?” In recent weeks, he’s described Clinton as “mentally unstable” and a “bigot” with a “bad temperament.” It’s only a matter of time before he tells us she’s a “real estate swindler” and a “fat old man in a Chinese-made suit” with “orange skin” and an “absurd comb over he thinks hides his gargantuan, speckled bald spot.” Meanwhile, Hillary is unscrewing a pickle jar on Jimmy Kimmel because celebrity board certified internist “Dr.” Drew Pinsky said she had brain damage. He made this diagnosis without ever meeting Clinton, let alone examining her. This sort of long distance “medicine” is generally frowned on by the medical profession, as it’s less in the STUMP SPEECH continued on p. 24 TheVillager.com


SEXY continued from p. 21

Dirty Martini, Dita Von Teese, and Stormy Leather — when “Flatiron Follies” kicks off its fall season with a return to Chelsea’s swanky W. 22nd St. cabaret space, the Metropolitan Room. This is no low-rent skin show, folks. Curator, host, pin-up model, and burlesque performer Bettina May has the distinction of having been granted the USA’s first-ever burlesque-based “genius” green card (while many of our citizens are threatening to move north on Nov. 9, Canada-born May has staked America as her sex-positive turf!). Fri., Sept. 9, 9:30pm, two-drink minimum, cover starts at $15. For tickets: metropolitanroom.com & bettina.ca. Twitter & Instagram: @bettina_may.

AND SPEAKING OF MUST-SEE BURLESQUE: Clothes are peeling, eyes are popping, tassels are twirling, and tail feathers are shaking — at The 14th Annual New York Burlesque Festival. This four-day event delivers glitter, glamour, and risqué business from an international roster of over 100 DJs, circus, variety, burlesque, and boylesque performers, as well as a “Burlesque Bazaar” with pasties, custom corsets, lingerie, and “pin-up make-overs” for purchase (Oct. 2, 2–6pm at W. 15th St.’s The Tippler). Hot off the heels, or, more accurately, the wingtips, of his guest spot at the abovementioned Flatiron Follies, Murray Hill brings a little of the old dirty old man leering thing back to 42nd Street, when he hosts the Burlesque Festival’s “Saturday Spectacular” at B.B King Blues Club & Grill (7pm, Oct. 1). The

PHOTO BY JEFF EASON

PHOTO BY STEVEN MENENDEZ

COURTESY FLATIRON FOLLIES

Lady Bunny gets down to the business of fun and filth, upstairs at Stonewall Inn, in the return of her summertime atrocity, “Trans-Jester.”

Make mine minx: Dirty Stole lets it (almost) all unfurl, at the 14th Annual New York Burlesque Festival.

Drag King Murray Hill is a real man about town, making appearances at Flatiron Follies and hosting a night at the New York Burlesque Festival.

after-party happens 11pm–2am, next door, at Luilles Bar; DJ Bill Coleman spins. Doors open at 6, show at 8, Oct. 2 at Chelsea’s Highline Ballroom — where big-eared, high-heeled, sparkly spandex-clad Scotty The Blue Bunny hosts The Golden Pastie Awards. Sept. 29–Oct. 2. Individual ticket prices vary; VIP 4-day pass, $120. For the full schedule and reservations, visit thenewyorkburlesquefestival.com. When it comes to naked truth, explicit acts of sober reflection are rivaled only by the skin on display — in the world premiere of “The Jamb.” Working from a place of authenticity that could have easily sent him to an early grave, formerly homeless heroin addict and “Jamb” playwright J. Stephen Brantley co-stars as Roderick, a thoroughly reformed NYC queer punk on the cusp of 40, who sees his past misdeeds reflected when he’s prank called into making an early morning visit to the apartment of his former roommate (and longtime crush?), Tuffer, a fellow member of

the pushing-40 club still drowning himself in substance abuse and hot boy toys (specifically, half-his-age college student Brandon). The trio head to the home of Roderick’s mostly retired folk singer mom, where the rural New Mexico landscape will either inspire a sobering up or a doubling down. Packed with references to gay nightlife destinations that were gentrified out of existence long before NYU’s class of 2020 began to contemplate their SATs (The Lure! Sleazy West Side Highway

hotels!), Brantley’s “Jamb” is as much about making the case for recovery as it is about acknowledging the uneasy road traveled by former hedonists who sing of the praises of sobriety while subjecting others to endless tales of their own debauchery — a hard place to live, that doesn’t always rock. This Horse Trade and Hard Sparks coproduction plays through Sept. 17, at E. Fourth St.’s The Kraine Theater. For tickets ($25), visit horsetrade.info.

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.

WITH

SPONSORED BY

JOSEPH LICHTER, D.D.S. PHOTO BY HUNTER CANNING

Queer punks of a certain age contemplate taming the wild wild life: J. Stephen Brantley (left) and Nico Grelli in “The Jamb.” TheVillager.com

VINCE DIMICELI

GERSH KUNTZMAN

LISTEN EVERY THURSDAY AT 4:45PM ON BrooklynPaper.com/radio September 1, 2016

23


FACEBOOK.COM/HILLARYCLINTON

“They say being President takes big balls, so I brought about a thousand. Was that joke too easy? It tested well with the focus group.”

STUMP SPEECH continued from p. 22

way of “doctoring” and more in the way of “fronting for a whispering campaign” or “actively stooging for a pumpkincolored neo-fascist.” You have to give Clinton credit for getting out there and trying to run an actual campaign. She gave a devastating speech on Trump’s business record in front of the derelict Trump Taj Mahal Casino, a site he called “The Eighth Wonder of the World” before filing for bankruptcy, stiffing his creditors and contractors and waddling away with cash-stuffed pockets. Clinton gave another speech laying out Trump’s direct connection to the alt-right movement, giving voice to a heretofore underserved demographic: enraged, solitary, white male masturbators living in their parents’ basements. It doesn’t matter. Nothing Hillary does can possibly compete with a massive Fourth of July-style grand finale blowing up a poo-processing facility. That’s television. We demanded it, we paid for it, we need to see if the explosion finally finishes Donald Trump, or if he comes swaggering through all the fire and excre-

DESIGN BY MICHAEL SHIREY

ment like some hideous, gender-bent, fat, naked, orange Khaleesi. Is it true that there’s no such thing as bad publicity? I don’t know. Ask Bill Cosby. Or Roger Ailes. Clinton’s pickle jar stunt may seem a little silly, but don’t laugh. The job of opposing Donald Trump is all about unscrewing.

Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net

TNC’S AWARD-WINNING STREET THEATER COMPANY’S 2016 ANNUAL SUMMER STREET THEATER TOUR

“ELECTION SELECTION or YOU BET” (An Operetta for the Street) Book, Lyrics & Direction by Crystal Field Music Composed and Arranged by Joseph Vernon Banks 8/27 - 2PM - Brooklyn - Sunset Park at 6th Ave. at 44th St. 8/28 - 2PM - Queens Travers Park at 3 4th Ave. between 77th and 78th St.

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September 1, 2016

TNC’s 7th Annual

Dream Up Festival

19 Productions, 15 World Premieres! Musicals, Comedy, Drama, Experimental, International and more For a full listing of shows visit DreamUpFestival.org to purchase tickets visit smarttix.com or call (212) 868-4444 TheVillager.com


Buhmann on Art

‘The Waiting Room’ at the New Museum BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN

F

or years, Simone Leigh has explored black subjectives, particularly those of women, to create object-based, sculptural explorations that are often informed by ancient African and AfricanAmerican object-making. More recently, she has focused on how institutionalized control and indifference can lead to radical forms of self-care and social care. In 2014, for example, she created a socially engaged work in cooperation with Creative Time, which provided free treatments and workshops over the course of four weekends in the former Brooklyn home of Dr. Josephine English, the first black OB/GYN in the state of New York. Leigh’s current installation and residency at the New Museum continues this theme. In “The Waiting Room,” Leigh ponders whether creating a space for wellness may in fact require an act of disobedience. The work was inspired by a variety of care environments, such as medicine markets in Durban, South Africa, as well as meditation rooms. Manifesting as a sanctuary for wellness and happiness, it involves a variety of public and private workshops, healing treatments, and “care sessions.” For these, Leigh has involved various professionals in the field of holistic health, and a private, “underground” series of intimate, in-depth workshops and classes for community partners offered at the Museum after hours. Additionally, a series of talks, performances, and events conceptualized as medicinal dialogues on aging, disobedience, abortion, healing performances, and toxicity complement the project. As “The Waiting Room” makes treatments for bodily and spiritual health easily accessible to all, the notion of holistic care as a mere luxury good diminishes. Conscious of the larger historical context, Leigh’s installation evokes other examples from the past when social inequality necessitated community-organized care. The United Order of Tents, a secret society of nurses that has been active since the time of the Underground Railroad, and the volunteers in the Black Panther Party’s police-embattled clinics that were active from the 1960s to the 1980s, serve as a source of inspiration.

TheVillager.com

COURTESY THE ARTIST

Simone Leigh: “Landscape” (digital collage, 2016, from the series “Anatomy of Architecture”).

COURTESY NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK

From the care session “Herbs for Energy and Pleasure with Karen Rose.”

From the care session “Afrocentering with Aimee Meredith Cox.”

“Simone Leigh: The Waiting Room” is on view through Sept. 18 at the New Museum (235 Bowery btw. Stanton & Rivington Sts.). Upcoming public programs include “Black

Women Artists for Black Lives Matter” on Thurs., Sept. 1, 4:30–8:30pm and “Vanessa Agard-Jones: On Toxicity” on Sat., Sept. 10, 3pm. Museum hours: Wed–Sun, 11am–6pm, Thurs, 11am–

COURTESY NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK

9pm. Admission: $16 ($14 seniors, $10 students, free for ages 18 and under, pay as you wish every Thurs. from 7–9pm). For more info, call 212219-1222 or visit newmuseum.org.

September 1, 2016

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29


Photos by Tequila Minsky

War and peace on Charlton St. Harr y Schroder, who cares for the plants at Charlton Plaza, was in the thick of it among the foliage the other day, as he often is. A denizen of Charlton St., he is one of the chief caretakers of the mini-slice of green tranquilit y along Sixth Ave. On the plot’s fence, a one-frame “museum,” curated by Richard Blodgett, shows a photo of kids from the old P.S. 8 on King St. with a representative from the Office of War Information, who visited the school in 1943 and ’4 4 during World War II. The idea of the photo was to show that the school’s students, who were mostly Italian-American, were loyal to the U.S. and not Italy, who we were fighting. The image was distributed widely to show American patriotic values. The green swath was created about 16 years or so ago, par tly because benches in the triangle had become a magnet for homeless people.

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September 1, 2016

TheVillager.com


War in Ukraine: The view from the East Village Ukraine continued from p. 19

before the Soviets, we had the czars,” she said. Due to popular demands for transparency, all government contracts are now online for public viewing. “They are making progress in that direction and justly proud of it,” she said. Chomiak pointed to the Gay Pride march in Kiev this past June — the biggest since the first in 2014, and for the first time held in the city center. “All the Maidan folks were there, supporting people’s right to parade,” she said. Speaking Ukrainian was stigmatized under the Soviets: As late as the ’80s, speakers were publicly admonished by the respectable to “speak a civilized language,” even in Kiev. Today there is a linguistic renaissance underway, manifested in poetry, film and music. “There’s Ukrainian rap, and Ukrainian hipsters who look like they just got off the L train from Brooklyn,” Chomiak said. East Village Ukrainians take pride in the neighborhood’s role in keeping their culture alive through the worst years of Soviet oppression. Anna Sawaryn is a veteran community activist who grew up in the neighborhood. “Some of us speak better Ukrainian than people back home, because they’ve all been Russified,” she noted. Sawaryn was there when the first annual June Ukrainian festival was held on E. Seventh St. off Cooper Square in 1976. The next year, the former Hall Place, a small street stretching a block south from E. Seventh, was renamed Taras Schevchenko Place after Ukraine’s national poet. “He was the bard of Ukraine,” Sawaryn

said. “He unites all Ukrainians. Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox, no matter what part of the country you’re from — you love Taras Schevchenko.” Back then, St. George’s Ukrainian Church was being built on that corner, with an adjacent parochial school. Starting in 2001, Sawaryn fought to preserve Taras Schevchenko Place as The Cooper Union college sought to enclose it as a gated campus plaza and have it “demapped” as a street. “That was the only Ukrainian place name in the city of New York, and Cooper Union was going to take it away from us,” she recalled. “So we started rallying the Ukrainians.” Cooper Union ultimately dropped that plan. But the futuristic building it put up at 41 Cooper Square, alongside Shevchenko Place, now blocks the view of the church from the west. “You used to be able to see the church from the Bowery,” Sawaryn said wistfully. “It had presence.” Sawaryn’s friend Christine Sachko is the leader of the City Timbres, a local band that covers ’60s rock classics. Sachko is heartened by the cultural revival in the old country after the East Village kept the flame alive. “It’s wonderful to see Ukrainians standing up for themselves and not being afraid,” Sachko said. “The Russification did not work — the young people still identify as Ukrainians.” Her significant other, Wasyl Nysczej, a buildings engineer for the U.S. Postal Service, noted that his generation are the offspring of immigrants who came after World War II — many from displacedpersons camps. “Every Ukrainian in the neighborhood can give you a horror story,” he said. “The Soviets stopped all Ukrainian edu-

cation. They told families, ‘You have to speak Russian.’ Our parents came here and started teaching their kids Ukrainian because we couldn’t speak it back home. They put everything they had into the church and the school.” Sawaryn takes a cynical view of Donald Trump and his overtures to Vladimir Putin. Apart from his ambiguous “joke” of inviting Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s e-mail, Trump has broached recognizing the annexation of Crimea, and reneging on Washington’s NATO commitments. “Trump doesn’t care about Ukraine or the E.U.,” she said. “Putin will be able to become the father again — of the whole former Soviet Union. That’s his ambition.” There is a strange convergence of right and left around the Trump-Putin axis. Bernie Sanders supporters cheered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, widely attributed to Russian intelligence. The Green Party’s Jill Stein dined with Putin earlier this year, when she was in Moscow for a forum organized by Kremlin media mouthpiece RT. Her YouTube video, speaking from Red Square on an antiwar theme — without a syllable of criticism for her hosts — has gone viral. Julian Kytasty is the neighborhood’s foremost master of the bandura, the Ukrainian lute. Last year, he traveled to Ukraine with a group of musicians and artists to work with youth displaced by the war. He notes a “flip in the coverage” of Ukraine on left-wing Web sites. “Early reports made the connection between Maidan and Occupy,” he said. “They recognized the Maidan movement as a people’s uprising against a corrupt government.” Now, I point out, many stateside leftists call the Maidan revolution a “fascist

coup.” Jill Stein called it “a coup against a democratically elected government, where ultra-nationalists and ex-Nazis came to power.” “That meme is certainly being perpetrated,” Kytasty admitted, sadly. Kytasty said the role of the far right in Ukraine since the fall of Yanukovich has been exaggerated — or viewed with a double standard. He acknowledges the Azov Battalion, a neo-fascist militia fighting on Kiev’s side — but also points to the Night Wolves, a biker gang turned militia, on the separatists’ side. This similarly ugly formation has received far less media coverage. Virlana Tkacz also sees skewed coverage on the question. “The ultra-right got like 2 percent of the vote in Ukraine’s last election,” she noted. “In France they get 30 percent. This is so stupid.” “The real shocker is that the left would stick up for Putin,” she said, incredulously. “It’s like voting for Trump. What kind of left have we got? In the Cold War, they gave a free pass to the Communists. But why a free pass for Putin?” Tkacz is hardly uncritical of U.S. imperialism. “I was very much involved in antiwar protests during Vietnam and Iraq,” she said. She added that her interest in indigenous peoples began with her theatrical work at the American Indian Community House, in New York City, in the ’80s. Noting grim possibilities in the near future of America, Tkacz flipped the usual notion of the U.S. exporting democracy to places like Ukraine. “Ukrainians have a lot to teach us,” she said. “We may have to do it here. Are you going to be out there in Washington Square every day when we have to do it here under a President Trump?”

Rio, LES and the green ring in the Olympic flag RIo continued from p. 20

robatic flourishes), a dreamy filmic depiction of a two capoeiristas intertwined in a roda spreads across the entire stadium floor. Next, Zeca Pagodino’s samba pagode finds the humor in its own misfortunes, catching up our hips and feet with ambling sad-sack subtlety to the jingling sweetness of the cavaquinho. A battalion of gold- and silver-clad “haves” faces off against a red sea of “have-not” masses as event co-creator filmmaker Daniela Thomas (in a prerecorded insert) affirms the ethical imperative of depicting Brazil’s social contradictions on the Olympics’ international stage. According to one listing, the ceremony was broadcast with a delay, so that NBC could “curate” the coverage. Did that mean that NBC was TheVillager.com

protecting hapless descendants of Puritans in the north from prime-time displays of bare skin that accompany the carnival dancing for which Rio is known? In any case, the closest thing to a celebration of the body for its own sake is the tearful final catwalk appearance of Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen, swathed (save for some strategic slashes) from neck to toe in a silver-sequined sheath dress. The ceremony nowhere duplicates the hedonism of Rio’s pre-Lenten carnival. Rather, the performance transitions toward the parade of nations, with a Seuss-ian crowd in jellybean-tinted coveralls and afro hairdos joyously improvising as the perimeter of the stadium erupts in sprays of fireworks, evoking the rays of the sun and the danger of global warming.

A lone black child, dressed in futuristic optic white and silver-toned urban garb, traverses a wasteland. A lurid light show traces global warming from the distant past into the not-so-distant future, warning of imminent flooding of the world as we know it. But hope lives —a timelapse film of the twisting forms of plants taking root captures the insolence of “A flor e a náusea” (“The Flower and the Nausea”), a poem by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, narrated in English by Judy Dench. In Rio (and LES): … A flower, though faded Evades the police, breaks the asphalt … It is ugly. But it is truly a flower … [It pierced the asphalt, the boredom, the disgust and the hate]

The boy of the future holds a green seedling, which he and 200 others like him carry at the head of every contingent in the parade of nations, each paired with flowerbedecked youths riding oversized tricycles. In the same way that gardeners visited by the Earth Celebrations revelers in Loisaida received a bulb, each Olympic athlete receives a seed. These seeds will be planted to form the Olympic Floresta dos Atletas. Hurrah for an earnestly popular Olympic opening ceremony that furthers (on the other side of the equator) Earth Celebrations’ green mission and the Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens (LUNGS) seasonal festivals that now pick up the torch!

September 1, 2016

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