The Paper of Record for Greenwich Village, East Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Union Square, Chinatown and Noho, Since 1933
May 4, 2017 • $1.00 Volume 87 • Number 18
Chin is developers’ doormat, must step down, activists cry BY K ARI LINDBERG
he monthly protest led by the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side was held once again on Wed., April 26 — and this time its target was City Councilmember Margaret Chin. While the group’s previous demonstrations have been held
in front of City Hall, the location was now moved across the street, directly in front of the offices of New York City councilmembers at 250 Broadway. The message of the 40 mostly older Chinatown residents who braved the rain was simple: Chin must immediately step down CHIN continued on p. 3
Nurses Week and Eldercare Special Sections Pages 8 to 11
PHOTO BY MILO HESS
The Love Parade brought back that lovin’ feeling to Union Square on Sunday. See Page 23 for more photos.
Sorry, housing is No. 1: Mayor on garden battle BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
t’s not every day that a sitting New York City mayor comes to a local Democratic political club seeking its endorsement. But Mayor Bill de Blasio swung by the Village Independent Democrats’ candidates night on Tuesday, where he made his case for why he deserves election to a second term. But during the question-
and-answer period, de Blasio came under fire from advocates from the Elizabeth St. Garden, who repeatedly peppered him with questions about why he won’t accept the community’s alternative plan that would save the besieged Little Italy / Soho green oasis by shifting a planned senior housing project to a vacant site at Hudson and Clarkson Sts. Yet, as he did in March at a
town hall meeting in Chelsea, the mayor was unbending. He said he felt the current plan for the garden lot — which would only preserve one-quarter of the open space — was the best option, and that creating affordable housing is the city’s topmost priority. During his allotted three minutes for his opening remarks, de Blasio said the city MAYOR continued on p. 6
The Roots rock Third St. Music School gala.......p. 2 Editorial: Suing only chance to save garden.....p. 12 Hats off to Amanda Lepore.... p. 13
THIRD STREET ROOTS: At its spring gala at Capitale, at Grand St. and Bowery, on Mon., May 8, Third Street Music School will be honoring The Roots, Clarfeld Financial Advisors and Beverly Harper, the school’s director of safety for nearly two decades. The $500-a-ticket event (or $5,000 per table) raises funds to transform lives through music and arts. “Saturday Night Live” alum Rachel Dratch will be the evening’s emcee and hipster auctioneer C K Swett will do what he does best. Dave Guy, who plays trumpet with The Roots, is excited about the event for the school, where he honed his chops as a budding horn blower growing up on E. 10th St. and Fourth Ave. “Defi nitely, it was an integral part of my early musicianship,” he told us this week. “I went to preschool there, too — my mom taught preschool there — and I started taking trumpet lessons there at age 11.” His mother still teaches at Third Street. Guy, who also attended P.S. 41 and LaGuardia High School, is proof that a start at Third Street Music School can take you far. He made his name by touring with the late Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings for a dozen years before joining The Roots for their tours and on the Jimmy Fallon show. “The Tonight Show” is a dream gig for him. “It’s an incredible job for a musician,” said Guy, who now lives in Westchester with his family. For more information about the gala, contact Katherine Nemeth at 212-777- 3240 ext. 26 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit thirdstreetmusicschool.org/gala. SHE’S IN THE MONEY: Jessica Berk tells us that she and her elderly mother, Ruth, have agreed to buyout terms with their landlord, BLDG Management, to move out of their airy penthouse apartment at 95 Christopher St. They are set to receive a hefty $250,000 apiece and have about a year and a
The Roots will be playing the Third Street Music School’s spring gala on Mon., May 8. Music school alum Dave Guy, who plays trumpet with the band, isn’t pictured here, but you will definitely hear his horn at Capitale on Monday night.
half — until the end of October 2018 — to vacate. In addition, more than $30,000 in back rent will be forgiven. The landlord had tried to attach a 26page set of conditions to the deal, including putting a gag order on Jessica and saying she couldn’t come within two blocks of the building after she leaves — but the judge tossed that out. “Suddenly, everyone is being very nice to me!” Jessica told us. “I’m thinking of going to Europe and visiting friends who have pools, and going to California and getting back into the music industry.” She barely mentioned Arthur Schwartz, the attorney who actually worked out the deal. “It was difficult to get Jessica to get to a number,” Schwartz noted. He added that it was he who got the judge to toss out all the landlord’s conditions. Jessica is saying that she basically will be getting $500,000, but Schwartz, in a clear dig, said, “She has to hope her mother leaves her her half.” Ruth, 94, who was a glamorous cabaret singer in her heyday, is currently on the mend at a nursing home on the Upper West Side. “She is very happy there,” though she may not stay there, according to Schwartz. As for Jessica, she noted that she may eventually also sue over the hidden security cameras that the landlord placed outside their apartment, which Schwartz famously yanked out and took two years ago. Although Schwartz ultimately was cleared in court of any charges in that incident, Jessica noted that he never actually sued over the cameras having been put there in the fi rst place.
ON THE MEND: Doris Diether, the legendary zoning maven of Community Board 2, fell in her garden on Monday and fractured her pelvis. She was taken to Beth Israel Hospital — where, of course, the doctors and nurses have fallen in love with her — and will be transferred to a rehab center to heal up. Feel better soon, Doris!
“But, after careful consideration and consultation with my family, friends and advisers, I have decided the 2017 race for mayor of New York will not be it. It was a tough decision to make because I truly love this city and its people,” he added. “My decision was based in part on the fact that the power of an incumbency is extremely hard to defeat.” He said he will continue to speak out on issues, including education, police and crime and affordable housing. “We can’t allow New York to become another Chicago,” he declared on crime. “The New York City Housing Authority is a national disgrace!” he charged. On small businesses, Catsimatidis said, “I will always fight to protect those who run small businesses and are burdened by high taxes, red tape and regulation. These businesses are the lifeblood of our city and I want other New Yorkers, especially immigrants, to have the same opportunities I had to live the American Dream.”
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CATS’ CALL: Supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis has announced he is not running for mayor — at least not this time around. “I have often said I have one more race for office in me,” “Cats” said. 2
May 4, 2017
Coalition protesters call for Chin to step down CHIN continued from p. 1
from office for failing to make decisions representative of the needs of Lower Manhattan’s Council District 1. The coalition’s and protesters’ calls for Chin to step down underlines their frustration and anger with the decisions the local politician has made during the course of her eight years in office. Much of this group’s anger with Chin comes from what the community views as her passive acceptance of both former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s and current Mayor Bill de Blasio’s rezoning and housing policies. During Bloomberg’s tenure, the coalition charges, Chin did not object to the city’s decision in 2008 to enact a protective rezoning for the East Village and part of the Lower East Side. That sweeping, 100-block rezoning plan left out Chinatown and parts of the Lower East Side, leaving those areas vulnerable to luxury development that often leads to rent increases in the surrounding neighborhood. It has also led to the explosion of new supertall towers in the Two Bridges area — though builders say the city had always earmarked that to be an area for bigger development. Community Board 3 also supported the ’08 rezoning plan. Meanwhile, Chin’s support for de Blasio’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing initiative was another major misstep, the group charges. M.I.H. allows developers to construct taller buildings in any part of the city, as long as 20 percent of the project’s units are affordable housing. Yet, while touted as a victory for the construction of more affordable housing, so far it has only seen construction of more out-of-scale luxury buildings, such as Extell’s 80-story 227 Cherry St. in the Two Bridges area, critics charge. The Chinatown Working Group — a coalition of more than 20 community groups, activists and local residents — created its own rezoning plan in response to de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. The approach by the C.W.G. calls for height restrictions on new development, strong anti-tenant-harassment laws against landlords, the creation of more affordable housing, and a change in the income requirement for affordable housing to better reflect the average income levels of Chinatown residents. However, Chin stood by the statement of the Department of City Planning in February 2015 that the C.W.G. rezoning plan was “too vast an undertaking.” Instead, she proposed her own Chinatown rezoning plan that would only cover historic parts of Chinatown, leaving out atrisk areas of the Lower East Side. Coalition member David Tieu said the protesters’ fundamentally believe that Chin’s actions do not support the needs and desires of the community. “It’s pretty clear from the past eight years in office, that she doesn’t have the best interest of the community at heart,”
PHOTO BY KARI LINDBERG
Councilmember Magaret Chin is little more than a doormat for developers, who have been walking all over her — and Council District 1 — protesters charged at last week’s demonstration.
Tieu said. “She has helped to pass racist rezoning plans — like the East Village rezoning plan. She rejected the Chinatown rezoning plan, and instead continued to push for a Chinatown-only rezoning, that will exclude the Lower East Side, excluding Latinos and African Americans from having equal protection.” Older Chinese immigrant residents feel Chin has betrayed the Chinese community, said Chen Xian, a 20-year neighborhood resident, “She didn’t agree to pass the Chinatown rezoning plan,” Xian exclaimed. “Instead hundreds of Chinatown families have been forcefully evicted. Rents have been rising at such a fast pace, families that weren’t forced out can no longer afford to live here. She never once showed or came out and said she was worried about the number of families being forcefully evicted. She never showed she cared.” The coalition members — along with the same 40 protesters who always show up — have vowed to be out there protesting again next month. “We are here to remind them that it’s their job to represent us,” said Fran Benitez, a Lower East Sider who is has been at every one of the protests. “For me, it’s not an option to just sit in my house and not do anything.” And with the Starrett Corporation’s announcement this past December that it plans to develop a 62-story, 700-foot tower adjacent to 227 Cherry St., it is unlikely the monthly protests will stop anytime soon. May 4, 2017
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
PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN
EDITOR IN CHIEF LINCOLN ANDERSON
ARTS EDITOR SCOTT STIFFLER
CONTRIBUTORS ALBERT AMATEAU IRA BLUTREICH TINA BENITEZ-EVES SARAH FERGUSON BOB KRASNER TEQUILA MINSKY CLAYTON PATTERSON JEFFERSON SIEGEL SHARON WOOLUMS
GRAPHIC DESIGNER CRISTINA ALCINE
Hero 6th Precinct auxiliaries are honored 10 years after tragic night
ast Thursday night, family members and Sixth Precinct officers marked the 10th anniversary of the deaths of hero Auxiliary Officers Nicholas Pekearo and Yevgeniy “Eugene” Marshalik. Sixth Precinct officers marched from the precinct stationhouse on W. 10th St. to Sullivan and Bleecker Sts., where a simple memorial service was held. Flowers and photos of Pekearo, 28, and Marshalik, 19, were left on a street lamppost at the northeast corner of the intersection. It was near that spot that the two young men were killed execution style by David Garvin. The mentally troubled former Marine-turned-filmmaker had just killed Arturo Romero, a bartender at a pizza place on W. Houston St. a few blocks away. Police, in turn, gunned down Garvin in a hail of bullets after he emerged from the Village Tannery, on Bleecker St., inside of which he might have ducked
PHOTO BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
Protected by some plastic wrap, a framed photo of patrol par tners Nicholas Pekearo, left, and Eugene Marshalik was left, along with a bouquet of flowers, on a lamppost on Bleecker St. last Thursday near where they were slain by a crazed gunman.
to reload his gun. Pekearo, a writer, grew up in the Village. Marshalik immigrated with his family from Russia and was attending New York University. On that fateful night, the two heard a report about Romero’s
shooting over their police radio. As Garvin came running wildly by, they confronted him at the corner of Sullivan and Bleecker Sts., demanding he put down a bag that turned out to contain an additional 90 bullets. Garvin punched Marshalik in the face,
but dropped the sack. Then-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the duo had saved lives by getting Garvin to shed the ammo. “People are alive today because of the actions of Eugene and his partner,” Kelly said back then. Although auxiliaries are only supposed to act as “the eyes and ears” of the police, the two then closely tailed Garvin up the street. But he doubled back and fatally shot Pekearo — who was wearing a bullet-resistant vest — six times in the torso and Marshalik once in the back of the head. The two men’s deaths compelled the Police Department to finance bullet-resistant vests for all auxiliaries. Prior to that, the volunteer unarmed officers had to buy the vests — often secondhand ones — themselves.
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES GAYLE GREENBURG JIM STEELE JULIO TUMBACO
CIRCULATION SALES MNGR.
POLICE BLOTTER Ex-treme assault
Charles chip thief
A man was assaulted by his ex-boyfriend inside 96 Perry St. on Thurs., April 13, at 11 p.m., police said. The victim, 20, and his older former flame got into an argument, and the suspect punched him in the face, according to a police report. But he was just getting started. The suspect then threw a book at the other guy, slammed his arm and leg into a closet door, and shoved him to the ground. Joyer Tomas, 49, was arrested on April 26 for felony assault.
A group entered the Charles Gourmet store, at 140 Charles St., and one of them stole bags of chips on Mon., March 10, at 10:45 p.m., according to police. As he was leaving, the potato-chip perp struck a 56-year-old employee in the head. Cortrell Thompson, 21, was arrested for felony robbery on April 30.
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May 4, 2017
Sixth Ave. slash An argument between two men ended with one of them being slashed. According to police, cops observed one man chasing another at W. 14th St. and Sixth Ave. on Fri., April 28, at 8:22 a.m. Both had blood on their clothes. Police said the two men had argued and one of them cut the other on the left bicep with a razor, after which the victim was chasing the assailant when police intervened. Gilberto Reyes, 22, of Jersey City, N.J., was arrested and charged with assault and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
Stolen on Sullivan Police said that on Thurs., April 27, at 4:50 p.m., a woman stole a package at 150 Sullivan St. The suspect entered the apartment of the victim, 24, through the door and reportedly removed the package, which had a sweater and T-shirt, totaling $32. Shateasha Byrd, 42, was arrested for felony burglary.
Smith home invasion Police said four men pushed their way into a 47-year-old Lower East Side man’s apartment and robbed him at gunpoint on Sun., April 30, around 3:15 p.m., the New York Post reported. The victim was at home in the Alfred
E. Smith Houses, at 182 South St., when he heard a knock. He opened the door, and four masked men, at least one of them armed, barged in and started slugging him, police said. The man was pistol-whipped as the men stole electronics and other items before running out.
Bulb battery A 16-year-old told police he was hanging out in Seravalli Playground, at Gansevoort and Hudson Sts., on Fri., Feb. 17, at 3:50 p.m., when he was attacked by three people. The trio hit him in the face with light bulbs, getting glass in his eyes. Ousmane Niambele, 16, was arrested March 22 and Francisco Serrano, 17, on April 25, both for felony assault. The third suspect is still at large.
Delivery delinquents According to cops, on Fri., April 7, at 9:50 p.m., two teenagers attacked a 40-year old food deliveryman inside the lobby of 60 Columbia St. near Delancey St., in the Baruch Houses. The pair filched the food and fled. The suspects are described as 14 to 16 years old, both wearing hooded sweatshirts.
Tabia Robinson and Lincoln Anderson TheVillager.com
TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell
phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.
Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-
haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.
Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and
chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at
a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.
Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.
May 4, 2017
At candidates’ night, de Blasio says the housing MAYOR continued from p. 1
has changed for the better since the tenures of his predecessors, Mayors Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani. “For 20 years, we had Republicans, independents — whatever you call them — that did not reflect the values of the clubs in this room,” de Blasio noted. (The event was also sponsored by five other local political outfits, including Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Village Reform Democratic Club, Downtown Independent Democrats, Chelsea Reform Democratic Club and Coalition for a District Alternative.) Stop-and-frisks are down by 93 percent over the past three years, but so is crime, the mayor said. “And we are going to continue and deepen it,” he said of tactics to retrain police and reduce crime. All children now have access to pre-K — “and someday soon there’ll be ‘3-K’ for all,” he said, referring to preschool for 3-year-olds. “There’s a different kind of Rent Guidelines Board that’s making a different kind of decision,” he noted of the rent freeze for rent-regulated tenants the past two years. For decades, he added, the assumption was that tenants “were at a disadvantage” versus landlords, but that has now changed, too. “In the last three years, we’ve upend-
ed a lot of the status quo,” the mayor stated. “We’ve changed the rules of the game.” But during the ensuing Q&A, he was barraged by questions about the Elizabeth St. Garden, Rivington House and “Broken Windows” policing policy. “It looks like listening to the community is what you say you do — but you’re not listening to the community on Elizabeth St. Garden,” accused District Leader Keen Berger. De Blasio replied, “There’s no greater need for affordable housing than for seniors.” “I’m a senior and I don’t want it!” one woman in the audience shouted out. “You made that decision — not the community. We need our open spaces, too!” “There’s an alternative site,” veteran V.I.D. member Frieda Bradlow pointed out. But de Blasio was unswayed. “I’m sorry. The number one issue in the city is affordable housing,” he stated. “There’s a vast crisis. There’s a hell of a lot of people in the city who think that should be our number one priority. “We struck a balance in keeping some public space,” he added, referring to the current plan for Elizabeth St. that would preserve 5,000 square feet of open space. The only politicians who support the
Book and Lyrics by Carolyn Balducci Music by Mira J. Spektor Directed by Lissa Moira Music Direction by Cristina Dinella Projections by Bank Street Films Choreography by J. Alan Hanna Set Design by Marc Marcante & Lytza Colon Costume Design by Lytza Colon Lighting Design by William Geraldo Cast: Amanda Alyse Thomas, Matt Angel, Kimberly Bechtold, Torian Brackett, Jef Canter*, Kareem Elsamadicy, Xi Lyu, Zen Mansley, Douglas McDonnell, Amelia Sasson, Matthew Serra, David F. Slone, Esq., and Amanda Yachechak.
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May 4, 2017
PHOTO BY ZELLA JONES
Mayor de Blasio, speaking to Downtown Democratic clubs Tuesday, said his accomplishments over the past three years show the status quo can be changed. Yet he’s unwilling to change his position on Elizabeth St. Garden.
housing project on the garden site are de Blasio and Councilmember Margaret Chin. David Gruber, a former chairperson of Community Board 2, noted that City Hall had agreed to move a project slated for a site in W. 20th St. in Chelsea, so that a park could be built there. Why couldn’t the same thing be done with Elizabeth St. since an alternative site has been found that would allow much more affordable housing to be built? he asked. Soho activist Lora Tenenbaum noted that after 9/11, the importance of clean air became crucial to Downtowners. The garden provides that, she noted. “We need air,” she stressed. “We need green space.” De Blasio reiterated, “The focal point of this administration has been affordable housing.” One woman in the audience — who had been asking tough questions of the candidates all night — indignantly chimed in, “But you destroyed units on E. 11th St. to create a Marriott!” The mayor said he wasn’t familiar with what she was referring to. “I’ve had enough!” the woman declared, and stormed out of the meeting. Of course, she was referring to the project on E. 11th St. across from Webster Hall, where Marriott is replacing several historic brick row houses with a so-called “affordable chic” Moxy Hotel, geared toward the “millennial traveler.” Earlier in the meeting, the same woman had asked de Blasio a question, presumably partly inspired by Rivington House, the former Lower East Side AIDS hospice that was allowed to be
secretly sold off for private development, despite deed restrictions for use as a nonprofit medical facility. “When are you going to stop selling public assets and turning them into luxury developments — like that thing across the street?” she said, in this case, referring to the Rudin Management market-rate development going up on the former St. Vincent’s Hospital site. De Blasio said it’s really a question of the city’s bottom line, noting, “We do not have the public resources that we used to have in the past. I’m looking at results case by case.” In the case of St. Vincent’s, it was privately owned by the Archdiocese of New York — not city-owned — though the city did make the decision to rezone the site for residential use. Responding to a question about the Vision Zero plan to increase street safety, de Blasio said people will be seeing more enforcement against texting while driving and more alcohol checkpoints out there. He also said that the safety improvements on Queens Boulevard — a.k.a. “The Boulevard of Death” — “have made a difference, and there’s more to go.” Regarding a question on the lack of full-service hospitals Downtown, de Blasio said the most important thing is to preserve emergency-room capability. Councilmember Corey Johnson, who is running unopposed for a second term, introduced de Blasio. They showered each other with praise, de Blasio noting that Johnson was one of the first to hold an organizing meeting after the presidential election on “how to fight back” against Trump. “Corey set the tone,” the mayor said. “Of course people were upset or freaked out,” and yet Johnson’s effort helped create “a spirit of optimism.” “He excels on focusing on the quality-of-life things, but he also looks at the big picture,” the mayor added of the councilmember. Before the mayor arrived, Johnson gave his own remarks to the political crowd. “The last 100 days have been like daily PTSD,” he noted, referring to Trump. In response to an audience query, he said he does support the closing of Rikers Island jail — and, in fact, would even welcome a small jail in the Village, Chelsea or Hell’s Kitchen. “I’m supportive of a boroughbased facility in this district, as long as the community is on board with it and there is consultation,” he said. He said among the achievements he was most proud of during his past three years in office was winning designation of the final part of
MAYOR continued on p. 7 TheVillager.com
planned for garden isn’t a candidate for change MAYOR continued from p. 6
the South Village Historic District as part of the St. John’s Partners rezoning deal, which the crowd greeted with applause. He also noted he is firmly against the “Gansevoort Row” rebuilding and “upzoning” project in the Meatpacking District that the community has been battling in court. On the open secret that Johnson aspires to be the next City Council speaker, Bradlow referred to — though without naming her — former Speaker Christine Quinn, who formerly represented Johnson’s Council District 3. Bradlow said that Quinn’s decisions “often worked against the district” because Quinn admittedly felt she had to take into account the broader interests of the whole city. Johnson responded to Bradlow, “I think your first obligation as an elected official is to the people who elected you. I have 170,000 constituents.” Several other candidates for mayor also spoke. Sal Albanese, the former Brooklyn councilmember, said “payto-play corruption is rampant” in city government. Traffic and the subways are terrible, he added. “I’m going to be the ‘Subway May-
or,’ ” he vowed. “The real estate in this city controls the politics,” he said. “If you look at the contributions, across the board — the politicians are owned by real estate developers.” De Blasio,
‘You’re not listening to the community.’ Keen Berger
he charged, “is owned lock, stock and barrel by big real estate. “New York City should be Athens,” Albanese declared, saying that city government should aspire to cleaner ethics. Bob Gangi, from the Upper West Side, said Rikers could be closed immediately and that there is no need to
build smaller replacement jails in the boroughs. Asked how that could be done, he said most of the inmates in Rikers are not convicted, just awaiting trial, but can’t make bail. They could all simply be released, with supervision in some cases, he said. He said de Blasio can’t call himself a progressive yet support “Broken Windows” policing since “it has been proven to be blatantly racist.” In fact, de Blasio is a “hard-liner” on police and crime, Gangi accused, noting, “He and Jeff Sessions think ‘Broken Windows’ is good for law enforcement.” Gangi said he also supports free mass transit for low-income New Yorkers. Candidates for public advocate, Manhattan district attorney, comptroller and Manhattan borough president also spoke. Only public advocate saw more than the incumbent turn out. The New York Post’s report on the event, headlined, “De Blasio shows up late for Democratic candidates’ forum,” focused on the fact that the mayor showed up 15 minutes late. However, Erik Coler, V.I.D. president, said the club was focused on the issues and substance. “It wasn’t a big issue with us,” he said of when De Blasio arrived. “We
were running behind anyway, and I think people were more concerned with what the candidates had to say. “I thought the mayor did a fine job speaking about what he wants to do next,” Coler said. “However, I don’t think everyone in the room was happy with all of his answers, especially regarding the Elizabeth St. Garden.” Asked if the mayor generally goes to every political club to seek its endorsement, Coler said, no. “He does not,” he noted. “We appreciated the mayor joining our forum and speaking to our members. V.I.D. was the main sponsor. However, we had a number of clubs who co-sponsored the event with us. De Blasio realized that this was a major political roadblock he couldn’t avoid. If he wants to win Downtown, it’s necessary to work with progressive clubs like ourselves.” Coler said de Blasio does not have a lock on Downtown clubs’ support. “It’s never a guarantee with V.I.D. who we are going to endorse,” he said. “Our club members go with who they feel is the most qualified elected official.” The club will hold its discussions and endorsement votes next Thursday for mayor, district attorney, comptroller, public advocate and borough president.
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May 4, 2017
National Nurses Week 2017 Nursing trends show a profession in transition
the increase in the number of medical procedures done on an outpatient basis or in homes.
he healthcare industry is changing rapidly, and nurses, the largest group of healthcare professionals in the nation, are at the forefront of these changes. Despite the difficult economic conditions of recent years, nursing as a profession has thrived — particularly when compared to other professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job growth for nurses will continue to be more rapid than the national average, making the profession among the best career choices available today. So what can nurses and those considering entering the field expect over the next decade?
Hospitals will increasingly require registered nurses to have four-year degrees Many hospitals have begun hiring only those nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees or providing incentives for their employees with two-year associate degrees to return to school to earn their degrees. Similarly, many nurses with these degrees are heading back to the classroom to become Master’s degree-level nurse practitioners.
The demand for nurses will continue According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be nearly 712,000 new nursing positions by 2020, making this profession the fastest growing occupation. One of the factors fueling the growth is the aging population, and there will be great demand for nurses who are trained in geriatrics and who are able to work in ambulatory (i.e., outpatient) settings.
More nurses will work in outpatient settings,
The field of nursing is seemingly recession-proof. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 2.6 million nurses in the United States. No other career choice within the field of healthcare can claim such strength in numbers, both in the United States and Canada. Over the next 20 years, the bureau predicts 800,000 vacancies in the field of nursing in the United States alone. Financial gain is to be had as well. Depending on the type of nurse, he or she has the potential to make anywhere between $43,000 and $115,000 a year, ac-
May 4, 2017
programs that were developed largely to attract people from other fields.
Nursing educators will be in demand as well Nursing program faculty will be among the retirees who will leave the profession over the next decade and there is expected to be a shortage of nurse educators to take their places.
Technology will continue to alter how nurses operate and learn Come 2014, all medical records will
There is a rise in nurses needed in a home setting.
private homes and nursing homes The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects that hospital nursing jobs will grow much more slowly than jobs in outpatient facilities and home healthcare. This is due both to the growth of the aging population and
Nurses are getting younger and older
be electronic, so nurses will be saying
During the last decade, a variety of efforts were made to make nursing more attractive to younger people. As a result, the number of younger nurses (ages 23 to 26) has grown significantly. This is expected to help offset the mass retirement of nurses that is expected to occur between now and 2020. At the same time, more people are entering the profession later in their careers as a result of the proliferation
and a big hello to keyboards and tab-
Explore the many hats worn by today’s nurses urse is a broad term used to describe most individuals who perform patient-based care in a variety of settings.
of two-year and accelerated nursing
cording to the bureau’s Occupational Employment Statistics Program. Here are the common types of nurses and the type of education required to become a nurse: Nursing aide or orderly: Nursing aides and orderlies help nurses care for patients and perform routine tasks. They spend most of their time with patients, serving meals, keeping patients comfortable, answering call lights, making beds, and giving baths. A high school diploma may be all that’s needed to become a nursing aide. Licensed practical nurse: A licensed practical nurse studies for a year after earning a high school diploma and must be licensed in the state
in which he or she will work. He or she typically records medical histories, weighs and measures patients, records symptoms and administers injections. Registered nurse: A registered nurse typically pursues a two-year Associate’s degree in nursing or may re-
a final good-bye to their black pens
lets. In hospitals, nurses will continue to rely on texting to relay messages or provide information to doctors. Technology, in the form of digital textbooks, mobile phone applications that access drug information, and simulated online clinics, will continue to alter how nursing students learn.
ceive a Bachelor’s degree in the field. Candidates must pass a national exam before they are licensed. A registered nurse’s duties are more varied and indepth than those of a licensed practical nurse and can include helping patients manage treatment plans. Nurse practitioner: Nurse practitioners are among the most educated hospital employees. In addition to their registered nurse study, they earn a Master’s degree and may specialize in one area. Also, they may be able to work outside of the authority of a physician. They can run a medical practice, diagnose and prescribe medication just as a doctor would. Although doctors are often thought of as the primary-care providers in most healthcare settings, nurses increasingly have taken on many of the roles once reserved exclusively for doctors. TheVillager.com
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May 4, 2017
Advice for aging athletes
etired professional athletes often speak about the difficult moment when they knew it was time to retire from pro competition. The transition can be easy for some but far more difficult for others. But aging amateur athletes know you need not be a professional to realize there comes a time when your body is telling you itâ€™s time to ease up. Athletes are used to stretching their limits, but some limits are best not pushed, such as those posed by aging. While athletes donâ€™t have to hang up their cleats, tennis shoes or other athletic equipment as they approach senior-citizen status, there are steps aging athletes can take to ensure they
arenâ€™t pushing their bodies too far as they grow older. Recognize your new recovery time. Veteran athletes tend to have a sixth sense about their bodies, knowing how long they need to recover from, for example, ankle sprains, knee pain, back pain and shin splints. Despite the bodyâ€™s remarkable recovery ability, itâ€™s not immune to aging, and that recovery time increases as the body ages. Whereas a sprained ankle might once have been fine after a few days of rest, aging athletes must recognize that the ankle sprain now might require more recovery time. Returning too quickly from an injury can only make things worse for aging athletes, so donâ€™t push
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Older athletes need not associate aging with ceasing their athletic pursuits. But recognizing your limitations and the changes your body is going through is an impor tant element of staying healthy in older adulthood.
yourself. Take more time to warm up. As the body ages, its response time to exercise increases. This means the body needs more time to prepare itself for cardiovascular and strength-training exercises. Increase your warm-up time as you age, gradually upping the intensity of your warm-up exercises until your body feels ready for more strenuous exercise. Focus on flexibility. The more flexible you are, the more capable the body is of absorbing shock, such as from repetitive activities. But as the body ages, it becomes less flexible, making it less capable of successfully handling the repetitive movements common to exercise. Aging athletes should focus on flexibility, stretching their muscles before and after a workout. Activities such as yoga can also work wonders on improving flexibility for athletes of any age.
Keep on strength training. Some athletes mistakenly feel they should stop strength training as they get older. No longer concerned about building muscle, older athletes might feel as if they have nothing to gain by lifting weights and continuing to do other muscle-strengthening exercises. But the body gradually loses muscle mass as it ages, putting joints under greater stress when aging athletes perform other exercises. That stress can put people at greater risk for arthritis, tendinitis and ligament sprains. While you no longer need to max out on the bench press, strength training should remain a part of your fitness regimen as you age. Older athletes donâ€™t need to stop exercising and working out. But recognizing your limitations and the changes your body is going through is an important part of staying healthy in older adulthood. TheVillager.com
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May 4, 2017
EDITORIAL Must try suing
e wish we didn’t have to write this editorial. We wish Mayor Bill de Blasio — who, when he ran for election the first time, pledged to heed the community on development issues — would listen now. As you might have guessed, we’re writing about the Elizabeth St. Garden. Yes, admittedly, we might just as well be writing about Rivington House, too, unfortunately. Clearly, there is a pattern here...and it’s troubling. Backroom deals hatched in secrecy never turn out well. A new nonprofit group has now been formed to take over the Elizabeth St. Garden and its programing. The group, Elizabeth Street Garden, Inc., supplants the Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden, the nonprofit that has been programming the garden the past several years. The main reason the new nonprofit was created and why it assumed control of the garden was for one purpose: to sue the city. Enough cannot be said about the work of the Friends in activating this beautiful — but previously not too accessible — space and transforming it into an amazing community hub, for everyone from little kids to seniors. The garden today has a mailing list of 6,000 supporters. The Friends’ Jeannine Kiely, Elizabeth Hellstrom and all the other volunteer gardeners deserve tremendous credit for all their effort to show us just how essential open space is to this corner of park-starved Little Italy and Soho. Although this may be sacrilege, we think E.S.G. has made the right move in assuming leadership of the garden, at this point. And we support the idea of filing suit. In short, what other option is there? Yes, the Friends continue to hold protests — complete with a “Reveille”-playing bugler — to try to “wake up” the mayor to the importance of saving this priceless open space. But, let’s be honest, de Blasio isn’t “changing his tune,” so to speak. As we heard him say at the candidates’ night on Tuesday hosted by local Democratic political clubs, affordable housing is his top priority — and none more so than senior housing. He’s willing to save one-quarter of the garden — 5,000 square feet — but obviously that’s a far cry from the unique, majestic 20,000-square-foot block-through space that is there now. The new nonprofit has a three-member board, including the son of Allan Reiver, the gallery owner who created the garden more than 25 years ago and continues to be the leaseholder of the city-owned space; a leading garden activist; and a woman in her 80s who suffers from painful arthritis and says the garden, nearby her, is a critical part of her relaxation and well-being. All the area’s local politicians — save for Councilmember Margaret Chin, who supports the housing project to the hilt — back saving the full garden and relocating the housing to an alternative site on Hudson St. that Community Board 2 has identified. But the mayor doesn’t care. Sure, there are no guarantees, but once you get in court, you never know what can happen. Allan Reiver — who would be a plaintiff on the suit, along with likely E.S.G. — says there are some good legal strategies they are exploring. Again, it’s worth a try. And as of now, it seems like the only option.
May 4, 2017
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Tenant advocate on target To The Editor: Re “Freezing out the tenants” (editorial, April 27): Michael McKee makes excellent sense, as usual. Susan Brownmiller
‘Leaf’ Allan out of this To The Editor: Re “Seeds of discord? Garden sprouts a sue-ready group” (news article, April 27): I appreciate the full reporting in your article regarding the Elizabeth Street Garden. I am a consultant working with Allan Reiver on this matter. I wanted to point out that Allan had no role in forming Elizabeth Street Garden, Inc., the new nonprofit, nor did he form it. He is not involved in this organization and is not a board member. It is entirely separate and apart from Allan and the Elizabeth Street Gallery. Yes, his son Joseph is a board member of E.S.G., but Allan has no role in the organization, did not have a role in its creation. Menashe Shapiro
P.S. 21 was beautiful To The Editor: Re “Seeds of discord? Garden sprouts a sue-ready group” (news article, April 27): I remember the school and when it was demolished. Amazing how they destroyed this beautiful, historic, well-built building for a project that never happened. It should have been landmarked. RD Wolff
Save our green space To The Editor: Re “Seeds of discord? Garden sprouts a sue-ready group” (news article, April 27): The important thing here is that Councilmember Margaret Chin and Mayor Bill de Blasio need to listen to the people who want to keep Elizabeth Street Garden, and not the developers in their pockets, and that Elizabeth Street Garden be saved.
In addition, Pleasant Village Community Garden H.P.D. Lots and these other community gardens — Chenchita’s, Little Blue House, Friendly, the Two Santurce’s and Mandela — should all be saved. De Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Chin and the rest are making New York City an unlivable place with some misguided move toward grotesque overdevelopment on a small island. Meanwhile, our environment — and climate — is suffering miserably. We should be making more real green space for the Earth’s health and people’s physical and mental well-being. I wish they would just stop this. It is a small amount of space the communities would like to keep green. We don’t have to cement every inch of this wonderful city and turn it into Dubai. Christine Johnson
We need Schwartz To The Editor: Re “I survived, but will Lower Manhattan healthcare?” (Progress Report, by Arthur Z. Schwartz, April 20): Thank you, The Villager, for sharing this important news with the community. Arthur, many of us on W. 15th St. wish you a swift recovery and return to full health. Thank you for all your help over the past years to make our community a better and safer place. Stanley Bulbach
Keep score on ’em! To The Editor: A quick comment on your Progress Report supplement in your April 20 edition: It’s nice that The Villager gives local elected officials and other Downtown luminaries the opportunity to write about what they view as their recent successes and what they view as problems in the area that need to be addressed. But it might also make sense for The Villager to help its readers take a more focused view of what these folks are doing. As I wrote to you a few months ago, The Villag-
LETTERS continued on p. 22
‘I’m the most militaristic person you will ever meet.’
Memoir is latest chapter for glam trans icon
PEOPLE BY BOB KR ASNER
manda Lepore has many accomplishments on her résumé — model, salesgirl, performer, recording artist, dominatrix, party hostess, actress. But she is probably most famous for being Amanda Lepore. The startling transsexual combination of Barbie and Marilyn Monroe is now an author, as well, having just published her memoir, “Doll Parts.” When she made her entrance into the West Village shop Bookmarc for the book-signing event — and she definitely knows how to make an entrance — there were plenty of fans waiting, many dressed for the occasion. It’s doubtful, though, that any of them have gone to the extremes that Lepore has endured to create what she calls “the most expensive body on Earth.” Among other procedures, she had her lower ribs broken to form a smaller waist. Graphic designer John Vairo — who still has all his ribs — has been “obsessed” with since the day he first saw her. “I first laid eyes on her in 1990 when she was working at the makeup counter at Patricia Field on Eighth St.,” he recalled. “Amanda was the first and only person to make me believe that we can truly be anything we want to be in this world. She’s truly a carefully curated work of art!” Fashion designer — and former club kid, like Lepore — Richie Rich has described Lepore as embodying the “ultra-glamorous myth of being a woman.” Ava Glasscott, a beautiful transsexual model, calls the book “inspiring, funny, amazing.” “Reading it made me think that, if you can conquer fear, you can conquer anything,” Glasscott said. “I have been in very dark places in my life and felt as though I was alone. But getting through that and being able to live as your true, authentic self is something that words can’t describe.” Lepore, who did not have an easy time as a transitioning teenager, associates “glamour with being happy,” but still describes herself as spiritual. After two hours of signing books and posing for a seemingly endless series of photographers, she told us that she was “very happy” with “Doll Parts,” which was a two-year project. Then, after a few more photos, she went out to the limo that would take her to the party at The Top of The Standard. Before the car door closed, though, she had to take a few more minutes — to pose for more photos. TheVillager.com
PHOTOS BY BOB KRASNER
Amanda Lepore at the recent book-signing for “Doll Par ts,” her new memoir, at Bookmarc.
One of the faces in the crowd.
Ar tist Harr y Charleswor th. May 4, 2017
The good and bad: A look at the state budget
PROGRESS REPORT BY BR AD HOYLMAN
or even the most casual onlooker, Albany has rarely been a model of functional governance. This year’s budget kabuki theater has provided further evidence that Albany is in serious need of reform. Budget bills are frequently considered in the state Senate with little or no time for legislators — or the public — to read them. Just last week, we were given 13 minutes to read a 961-page budget bill. That’s due in large part to the fact that negotiations are conducted in secret by the “three men in the room” — the governor, the Senate majority leader and the Assembly speaker. Legislators often learn more about the budget process from reporters on Twitter than from our own colleagues. This opaque process too often results in bad public policy. That said, there were some victories for New Yorkers in which we can all take pride, thanks to Governor Cuomo
and efforts among my Democratic colleagues. I think it’s important to take a minute to discuss the good and the bad in the 2017-2018 New York State Budget. First, the good. Raise the Age: The budget raises the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years. Until now, New York was one of just two states that treated 16- and 17-year olds the same as adults, which studies show leads to recidivism and other poor outcomes. Now, most proceedings involving 16- and 17-year olds will be handled in Family Court. Public Schools: Public schools across the state will receive an additional $700 million in support, representing a 4.25 percent increase over last year (less than what is due our city schools pursuant to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit). The budget also keeps in place the charter school cap, meaning public education dollars won’t be siphoned off further to support new charter schools. Safe Drinking Water: The budget includes $2.5 billion for water infrastructure across the state. Following the water crisis in Hoosick Falls, I’ve advocate strongly for improved water quality and accountability by corporate polluters. Environment: The budget maintains last year’s historic increase to the Environmental Protection Fund — our state’s primary source of capital fund-
ing for environmental projects — at $300 million. Protecting Seniors: The budget staved off a proposal that would have removed $27 million in Title XX funds from our senior centers, thereby averting disaster and the potential closure of 62 New York City senior centers. The budget also includes $2 million for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC’s), like Penn South. But there is much about this budget — both what’s in it and what was left on the chopping block — that is bad. No Ethics Reform, Again: Even with another new indictment of a Republican state senator being handed out two weeks ago, the budget once again fails to include any ethics reforms. In his budget, the governor included proposals for closing the notorious “LLC loophole,” instituting early voting and addressing the issue of outside income. It’s time the Senate got on board. Eliminating a Memorial to Orlando: I was shocked to see the Senate removed the governor’s proposal to include $1 million for the creation of a memorial in our Senate district to memorialize the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. This action speaks to a deeper pattern of intolerance for L.G.B.T. issues by Senate Republicans. In response, I introduced an amendment to reinstate this fund-
ing, which ended up being blocked. Tax Break for Developers: The budget reinstates the 421-a real estate taxabatement program, which will cost New York City taxpayers more than $2 billion a year, without so much as a public hearing. I spoke on the floor about my concerns with this program and how decoupling its renewal from renewal of the rent laws could spell trouble for tenants. Delay of Diesel Clean-up: I’m disappointed at the Senate’s continued delay of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA), which would require state vehicles to meet clean-air standards. Failing to Protect Kids in Public Schools: The Senate majority stripped a proposal from the governor’s budget proposal that would include public schools in New York State’s Human Rights Law. Democracy dies in the dark; our budget process is deeply flawed and deep in the dark. We must do better for the people of New York, and I intend to keep working to create a state government that works for the people, and not in spite of them. Hoylman is state senator, 27th District (Greenwich Village, East Village, Hudson Square, Chelsea, Stuyvesant Town, Midtown, Hell’s Kitchen, Upper West Side)
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May 4, 2017
Sex and Death: Read all about it! Singular sensation Dandy Darkly puts stage to page BY TRAV S.D. For someone who can’t be pigeonholed (humorist? playwright? poet? clown? comedian? performance artist? horror writer? LGBT icon?), the phenomenon of nature known to the public as Dandy Darkly is totally distinctive. Living fully up to his pseudonym, Darkly is a Southern Gothic steampunk grotesque given to flamboyant recitations and fl ights of persiflage accompanied by courtly and commedia-like presentationalism. He is the personification of decadence, and he knows it, and audiences love him for it — from his local queer fanbase here in NYC, to his even more rabid one in Edinburgh, where he has had four sold-out hit shows in the International Fringe Festival. The popular performer has two undertakings to tout: a new book of his monologues entitled “Dandy Darkly’s Six Hundred and Sixty-Six Tales of Sex and Death, Volume One,” which will be launched with an event at NYC’s Bureau of General ServicesQueer Division on May 6; and a national tour of his solo show, “Dandy Darkly’s Myth Mouth” — which starts in May at the Tampa International Fringe Festival and Orlando Fringe, then the Providence Fringe Festival in July, followed by the Chicago Fringe and San Francisco Fringe in late August and early September. Dandy Darkly is the creation of Brooklyn-based Neal Arthur James, who began performing the character in 2010. Originally from rural Georgia, James graduated from the state university in 1997 with a degree in theatre, tried his hand as a conventional actor for a while, but began to have more success writing columns and op-eds for publication. The character of Dandy Darkly emerged from a fiction blog James created. An invitation from the Stonewall Inn to perform his writings live is what first brought the character from the page to the stage. The typical Dandy Darkly monologue is extravagant, over-the-top, violent and extremely ridiculous. One of his more popular pieces is “Bearskinner,” a sort of horror-infused tween summer camp story; part pseudo-autobiographical confessional, part Dr. Seuss, and part “Silence of the Lambs.” “This little clown has been living inside me forever,” said James. “There is an eight-track recording of me at age five telling Georgia ghost stories. My grandfather was a wonderful natural storyteller. He influenced me a lot. It’s been really rewarding, watching the process of Dandy developing organically over the years.” James is a wordsmith par excellence, forging great COURTESY GAYBIRD PRESS
Dandy Darkly launches his new book with a May 6 event at the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division.
DANDY DARKLY continued on p. 16 May 4, 2017
PHOTO BY BOBBY MILLER
PHOTO BY ATTICUS STEVENSON
Our favorite straight shooting storyteller in a promo photo for 2015’s “Dandy Darkly’s Trigger Happy.”
Touring this summer, “Dandy Darkly’s Myth Mouth” is a caveman tale that takes a detour into, among other places, the world of virtual reality.
DANDY DARKLY continued from p. 15
dense confections of self-expression that ought to be the envy of most armchair writers and poets. The extreme musicality of his writing seems to contain echoes of Great American Authors, especially Southern masters like Thomas Wolfe and William Faulkner, but ground up in a parodymill with other elements like hokey porn, horror, and fantasy. Shockingly, James claims to have grazed very little among the greats. “I’m really an outsider when it comes to that,” he said. “I come out of classical theatre and clowning. I write and satirize popular culture, and as such I am a font of movie trivia and television tidbits — subconsciously I do perhaps
tap into writing styles of authors like Thomas Wolfe, but it’s the theater and the horror cult film world I critique that I’m most enamored of. I’ve also been influenced by classic rock artists like the Eagles, or the Beatles much more than fiction writers.” Oddly, you can see it. His monologues are imbued with the clarity and power of pop songwriting. The leap between his Cha-Cha the Caveman or Mister Timothy and the Beatles’ Rita the meter maid or Mean Mr. Mustard is not the size of the Grand Canyon. James also admires many contemporary performance artists. Names he mentions in this context include Penny Arcade, Taylor Mac, Desiree Burch, Paul Soileau, Justin Sayre, Peter Michael Marino, Killy Dwyer,
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May 4, 2017
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and Jenny Lee Mitchell. For someone who knows him primarily through his stage work, the process of reading him is both familiar and disorienting. The voice is there, but disembodied, like an echo. On stage, there is a powerful visual component. Dandy Darkly is a clown, with an elaborate baroque costume and make-up that takes the artist over an hour to get into prior to every performance. “Believe it or not, I had one critic who said I shouldn’t perform the stories in costume, that the writing should speak for itself,” laughed James. “But I think it’s absolutely necessary. The part is shamanic. I need the mask. Dandy is more outgoing than I am, more of a people person. At the same time, I am more friendly and gentle. Dandy says horrific things. Horrible things happen in these stories. A pirate eats a mermaid!” Though Dandy was originally a creature of the page, for seven years now he has been living primarily in theatres and cabarets. Returning him back to his original format has had its challenges, said James. “For the book, I needed to pull back a little,” he said. “Onstage I do things like break the fourth wall, and make asides directly to the audience. I had to make many to fit it into the constraints of the page. Punctuation had to be conventionalized. But the process was also help-
ful to me as a writer. Going back and looking over older work was instructive, seeing how the work progresses over time. I also noticed several tricks I have that I tend to repeat, and will know to look out for.” But that self-criticism is balanced with a healthy supply of well-deserved self-regard: “Ultimately, I think as artists we need to be true to our voices and try to create work that makes us laugh the loudest, swoon the hardest and weep the most willingly. Some people may say it’s selfish or egocentric to be moved by your own work. I know some artists who are very detached from their work, but I’m quite the opposite. I love Dandy because he makes me feel totally comfortable in my skin, but also utterly like an alien being — which I adore.” Get your own fix! “Dandy Darkly’s Six Hundred and Sixty-Six Tales of Sex and Death, Volume One” (Gaybird Press) is now available through most online booksellers, and the launch event happens Sat., May 6, 7–9:30pm, at the Bureau of General Services– Queer Division (located in Room 210 of the LGBT Center; 208 W. 13th St., btw. Seventh & Greenwich Aves.). Suggested donation of $10 to benefit the Bureau (no one will be turned away for lack of funds). Visit the Bureau at bgsqd.com, the Center at gaycenter.org, and the author at dandydarkly.com. TheVillager.com
Just Do Art BY SCOTT STIFFLER
BATTERY DANCE: 41ST ANNUAL NEW YORK SEASON Informed by interactions with artists and audiences during recent tours of Europe, Africa, South and East Asia, and the American Midwest, an invigorated Battery Park Dance touches down on the ground of its namesake neighborhood. Longtime company members will join forces with dancers from Iraq and Romania, composers from Syria and Tunisia, and an Armenian-Syrian visual artist. “Never before have we had artists as diverse as those being presented in our New York Season,” said the company’s artistic director, Jonathan Hollander. “We have seen the power of dance to bring people together and to express emotions that cannot be touched by words alone.” The program features four migrationthemed world premieres. “On Foot” is an ultra-relevant realization of a decade’s worth of the company’s exposure to refugees and youth in conflict zones, who struggle to overcome the staggering loss of family, community, and homeland. “Reconstruction” takes cuts from the 2003 studio effort by electronic music duo Matmos, which explored the
formance; $250). For reservations, visit batterydance.org. On May 11, Cornell University’s Dr. Penny von Eschen gives a 6:30pm pre-performance talk: “The Role of the Arts as a Vehicle for Public Diplomacy.”
IVY FILM FESTIVAL This satellite event of the Brown University-based Ivy Film Festival, currently on a tour of campuses across the country, comes to the School of Visual Arts’ SVA Theatre for an evening-length program of short films created by under-
COURTESY THE FILMMAKER
Bell (Beier) Zhong’s Shanghai-set tale of awakening screens May 12 at the Ivy Film Festival.
COURTESY IFC FILMS
Punching above his weight: Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner in “Chuck.”
American Civil War, with various Battery Dance members choreographing individual segments from the album. “Double Knot” features Hussein Smko from Iraq and Razvan Stoian from Romania, in a gladiatorial duet that explores competition and brotherhood. “Echoes of Erbil” is a solo piece spotlighting the culture of Iraq’s Kurdish region. It’s performed by Hussein Smko, the first recipient of Battery Dance’s Adel Euro Campaign for Dancers Seeking Refuge. Wed., May 10 & Thurs., May 11, 7:30pm, at the Schimmel Center at Pace University (3 Spruce St., btw. Gold St. & Park Row). Tickets are $25 (opening night reception follows the May 10 perTheVillager.com
PHOTO BY CLAUDIO RODRIGUEZ
Battery Dance rehearsing “On Foot,” one of four world premieres at migration-themed May 10-11 performances.
graduate and graduate student filmmakers. The selections include “Shark Tooth,” in which a mother and daughter deal with their past while attending a spiritual workshop in the desert (by Oren Gerner of Israel’s Minshar for Arts Academy). Iran is represented by Saman Hosseinpuor of the Hilaj Film School, whose “Fish” has the titular creature separated from its bowl, which sends a longtime couple scrambling for water. University of Southern California undergraduate Raquel Korman’s documentary “Forever Home” takes a candid look at 10 children adopted from the foster system, living under the same roof. LGBTQ cinema has strong representation among the 11 selections at this
screening. “Broad Strokes,” by Philip Vernon of Chapman University, has queer best friends Annie and Austin navigating romantic temptations at a New Year’s Eve party that’s on the wane. NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ Elegance Bratton’s “Walk for Me” sees Hassan’s mother discover him as Hanna, a girl who vogues in the NYC ball scene. Another proud product of Tisch, Bell (Beier) Zhong’s Shanghai-set “Blooming Night” is a largely wordless, visually and emotionally engaging look at a pivotal day in the life of a lonely street guy who spies a pair of red heels passing by, follows, and is enticed — by an invite written in crimson lipstick — to walk through the doors of a “forbidden” club. Once inside, a question from his dancing partner provides an answer about his own emerging identity. Fri., May 12, 7pm, at the SVA Theatre (333 W. 23rd St. btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). A reception with the filmmakers follows the screening. Tickets are free to the public (reservations required via http://bit.ly/2pXyvcw). For festival info, visit ivyfilmfestival.org.
CHUCK Seen by this ravenous fan of boxing biopics at last month’s Tribeca Film Festival, “Chuck” gets its local release at
AMC Loews Lincoln Square and Regal Union Square Stadium on May 5, then goes nationwide on May 12. Making weight at a trim 101 minutes, director Philippe Falardeau’s R-rated tale of real life New Jersey liquor salesman and heavyweight underdog Chuck Wepner suffers a crippling cut at the opening bell — use of the main character’s flashback voice-over — that continues to swell all the way into the final round. Known to his eternal displeasure as the “Bayonne Bleeder” (he’s rarely knocked out but spurts the red stuff like nobody’s business), Wepner’s epic journey from rags to riches to rock bottom and redemption is written by a team of four and played by Liev Schreiber as the ultimate Sphinx — and I don’t mean Larry. With precious few fight scenes and an endless parade of atrocious behavior (adultery, coke habit, boozing, bad parenting), there’s little to cheer for, even when Wepner goes 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali and inspires the Rocky franchise. The filmmakers just don’t seem interested in asking, or capable of grasping, what made this guy tick. Too bad, because “Chuck” has some powerful allies in its corner: Morgan Spector nails the voice and physicality of a young Sylvester Stallone; Elisabeth Moss, rocking a Jersey accent to the point of either stunning accuracy or sly parody, brings strength and insight to the thankless role of Wepner’s long-suffering wife; Ron Perlman, superb as Wepner’s manager, is a scheming slob smart enough to hold his own with Don King; and Jim Gaffigan, in a rare dramatic turn, is refreshingly unlikable as Wepner’s childhood buddy, errand boy, and occasional foul-mouthed meanie. These major assets, plus the admirable recreation of 1970s clothing, décor and general malaise, make the film’s shortcomings all the more glaring. Like the man himself, “Chuck” works hard to get a shot at the title, but comes up short according to the scorecard of any reasonable judge. Visit ifcfilms.com for more info. May 4, 2017
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PHOTOS BY REBECCA WHITE
Little Mish kids dig Earth Day!
n the Friday before Earth Day, the kids from the Little Missionary’s Day Nursery walked over from their building on St. Mark’s Place to Tompkins Square Park to help spread a message of environmentalism, while also pitching in and picking up trash left by yucky litter bugs. The tykes had typed up an official press release to The Villager inviting coverage, which the paper was happy to do for these budding stewards of the Earth. Kamil Wood, 4¼ years old, said he had learned that “you can’t break down trees,” which is a relief to him, since his favorite activity is “climbing on trees.” For Carlotta Strepparava, 3¾ years old, composting is her thing. “I like when I do the Plant Club,” she said, “it’s from vegetables. We have to chomp down the soil that’s growing, then we give it to the worm and the worm makes it fat.” Arielle Lubetzky, 4, had some simple but very good advice — which President Trump, in fact, really ought to listen to. “If there’s no soil, then no seeds can grow,” she said. “Vegetables grow from seeds.”
May 4, 2017
Going native now: Beads, feathers and history RHYMES WITH CRAZY BY LENORE SKENAZY
hen you think about Native Americans and fashion, your first thought might be “beads.” (Well, at least mine was). Wait, no. Feathers! No — buckskin with fringe. What’s more Native American than buckskin pants worn by some high-cheeked hunter about to shoot a deer? Well how about a Louis Vuitton arrow quiver? That is just one of the beautiful and unsettling items on display at “Native Fashion Now,” an exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan, just opposite the Bowling Green subway stop. Admission, by the way, is free — the museum is part of the Smithsonian Institute. Step into the exhibit and you are surrounded by the kind of beauty and boundary-pushing you’d expect at a fashion show, not a powwow — and that’s the idea. While most non-indigenous Americans may think of Native fashion as whatever the “bad guys”
wore in old Westerns, Native Americans themselves have been designing chic clothing since at least the 1950s. That was when Lloyd “Kiva” New burst onto the scene. Trained at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cherokee designer opened a boutique in Scottsdale, Arizona, that was so popular, you could buy his dresses in New York and Beverly Hills. Neiman Marcus carried his clothes. He hobnobbed with the Kennedys. When New came out with a line of leather handbags inspired by Navajo medicine pouches, they were the Birkin Bags of their day: Everyone wanted one. His genius was to straddle both cultures. He used beads, yes, and Native
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symbols and colors — but the dresses of his on display at the show were classic ’50s and ’60s silhouettes. Think of the first cocktail dresses Barbie wore. She’d look great in New’s. Frankie Welch, New’s friend and sometime collaborator also of Cherokee extraction, incorporated Native designs and even basketry patterns into her work, too. From the ’60s through the ’80s, her styles were so popular, she designed clothes for five first ladies and seven U.S. presidents. Her most celebrated creation was the Cherokee alphabet scarf, an accessory she designed in 1966 when Virginia Rusk, the secretary of state’s wife, asked her to come up with an “all-American design.” What could be more all-American than Cherokee? While Welch continued designing, New pivoted in the early ’60s and opened the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, which to this day serves as an incubator for Native American fashion. Karen Kramer, curator of the “Native Fashion Now” exhibit, goes to the annual Indian Market there, which has grown to a gathering of 1,000 artists. While the market had always held a “traditional clothing” contest, Kramer said, “I started noticing more and more contemporary Native fashion making its way on to the scene.” That was the inspiration for this show, which debuted at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, where Kramer works. “There are a lot of things in this show that might not look quote-unquote ‘Native American,’ ” she said. “But why is that? Everything in the show is Native American, so it should look native whether there are symbols and patterns you recognize or not.”
Most of the clothes are simply, strikingly gorgeous. For instance, there’s an Oscars-worthy gown of orange and black swirls accompanied by a spiky headdress made of, as it turns out, porcupine quills. The ensemble is worn with a short cape of shiny black feathers as sexy as it is stunning, fastened with a sparkly, beaded choker. Then there’s the “Old Time Floral Elk Tooth” dress by Bethany Yellowtail, of Apsaalooke and Northern Cheyenne heritage. A sheer black sheath covers a tight ivory-colored mini-dress. The sheath is decorated with elks’ teeth, which Kramer says were the epitome of wealth and style among the Apsaalooke people (also known as the Crow). That’s because only two teeth per elk are ivory, and considered suitable for adornment. On the dress, they form an outline that is sleek and slightly scary. But not all the items on display are meant for the red carpet. In a section of the exhibit titled “Activators,” Kramer highlights designers who are also activists. “Native Americans Discovered Columbus,” says a T-shirt that manages to flip history on its head. Jared Yazzie, of Dine (a.k.a. Navajo) heritage designed that shirt to protest Columbus Day. “I’m rockin’ the tee today because I am the 500-year resistance,” he wrote on his social media account. “I have been persecuted, stereotyped, hated and killed. I stand strong with my people. I wear the tee to continue the fight and share the truth.” As with all the clothes in “Native Fashion Now,” the shirt is a startling reminder of the fact that, like America itself, American style has been around for thousands of years, and it just keeps evolving.
Letters to The Editor LETTERS continued from p. 12
er could look more systematically at these folks’ stated policies, and what they promise to do to pursue them, and how well they reach the goals they set. My thought was a periodic (maybe quarterly) scorecard in which each person states his or her goals for the next period, and, later, The Villager reports how well, or not so well, the person did in reaching the period’s goals. That could have real value. Bryan Dunlap
Amazing job, Bob! To The Editor: Re “St. Mark’s ‘egg scramble’ a sweet success” (news article, by Bob
Krasner, April 20): I really appreciate the photos and article about St. Mark’s Church’s children’s Easter egg hunt in your April 20 issue. Bob Krasner really caught the joyful flavor of the event, but also included the daunting exhibit in our east yard of T-shirts representing child victims of guns. Katharine B. Wolpe 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 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.
They were lovinâ€™ it at the Love Parade Love was the drug for revelers at the Love Parade in Union Square on Sunday. Indeed, all you need is love, and love trumps hate, they all agreed.
PHOTOS BY MILO HESS
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