ALSO INSIDE WHY IS IT SO HOT IN HERE? P.6 GRAPHIC ARTIST OFFENDS FOR A GOOD CAUSE P.10 SEAPORT DEVELOPMENT UPDATE P.3 ANDREW JENKS IS TRANSFORMING MTV P.9
COMMUNITY NEWS BELOW 14TH STREET
Fight To Save After School Programs Local students and education advocates rally against budget cuts. P. 4.
NEIGHBORHOOD CHATTER By Helaina Hovitz & Jessica Mastronardi
VERIZON WANTS TO MOVE 1,100 DOWNTOWN WORKERS TO BROOKLYN
The lobby of Verizon Wireless located at 140 West Street post-Hurricane Sandy. At Community Board 1’s full board meeting last week, hundreds of Verizon workers showed up to make an appeal for the board to take action and call on Verizon to stay in Lower Manhattan. Their 140 West
Street building has been vacant since Sandy hit, and now the company is trying to move its 1,100 on-site workers into Brooklyn. Verizon claims that because so much damage has been done from Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, the move would be a cautionary measure to protect from future displacement. “It’s like they’re saying if you’ve been displaced by Sandy, you should not bother to rebuild,” said Brad Sussman, Labor Relations Specialist and attorney for the Communication Workers of America’s Local 1101 Union. “This seems like a step toward what they’ve done with other buildings downtown, converting them into some other form of real estate and selling or repurposing them.” Verizon employees say they don’t want to move because they’ve developed lives and routines rooted in the downtown community, and the community doesn’t want to see them go because of the devastating impact such a large loss of businesses will have. In an attempt to fight the move, workers are going to bring the issue to CB1’s Financial District Committee meeting on Wednesday, April 3rd, and ask for a resolution to be passed insisting that Verizon stay put. A letter writing campaign to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has already been launched.
“Verizon is turning their back on a commitment they made to downtown,“ said Sussman.
CHANCELLOR WALCOTT TO ADDRESS DOWNTOWN OVERCROWDING The next meeting of Speaker Silver’s School Overcrowding Task Force will be on Thursday, April 4th at 4 p.m. and will take place at 250 Broadway, 23rd floor. Chancellor Dennis Dennis Walcott Walcott will be joining the meeting to discuss the issue of school overcrowding in Lower Manhattan. There will also be an update on kindergarten registration for the upcoming school year and information from Community Board 1 on their recently completed population report based on 2010 census data.
HUGE LEAP IN LOCAL SCHOOL FINANCIAL AID The 20132014 school year appears to hold some promise for local schools, at least financially. Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Education Chair Catherine Nolan Catherine Nolan have announced that that State Fiscal Year (SFY) Budget agreement for 2013-2014
school year provides $21.2 billion in aid for local school districts, which is close to $1 billion more than the previous school year (2012-2013). “From critical prekindergarten Sheldon Silver programs and support for students with special needs to reinforcing our core curriculum, we are providing our students and teachers access to the tools they need to build the knowledge and the skills to compete against the world for the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow,” stated Speaker Silver. “The education of our children remains our top priority” said Nolan. “This investment in public education, which strengthens our schools, encourages innovation and fosters positive learning environments, is an investment in the future of the Empire State.” So where will all these additional funds be going towards? Aside from the $171.3 million Foundation Aid and $517.4 million Gap Elimination Aid increase from last year, millions more will be put towards prekindergarten slots, additional learning time, public libraries, summer programs for students who are Deaf and Blind, a center for those with autism and related disabilities, adult literacy and much more. Districts penalized by the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) in the present year will not endure the penalty in the following school years because of a $240 million restoration for future years. Finally, a term of the budget agreement permits the State Education Department to create a bar exam for teachers and principals and demand that the quality of student teacher experience being heightened if necessary.
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Downtown Community Calendar Thursday, April 4 Community Board 3 Human Services, Health, Disability, & Seniors / Youth & Education Committee meeting, 6:30 p.m., The Lee, 133 Pitt Street (at Houston)
Monday, April 8 Community Board 3 SLA & DCA Licensing Committee meeting, 6:30 p.m., University Settlement Neighborhood Center, 189 Allen Street (btwn Houston & Stanton Streets)
Tuesday, April 9 Community Board 3 Transportation & Public Safety / Environment Committee meeting, 6:30 p.m., University Settlement at Houston Street Center, 273 Bowery
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THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
The Plot Thickens: Seaport Update South Street Seaport and its museum may be no more, thanks to Hughes, Council Members, and the E.D.C. By Helaina Hovitz s suspected and outlined in last week’s article, March 20’s City Council “food market” victory announcement turned out to be a lot of smoke and mirrors. In signing a ULURP deal with the Howard Hughes Corporation, the city knowingly handed over the rights for the developer to convert the entire historic area surrounding the South Street Seaport into high rise hotels, condos, and upscale retail stores, turning it into another generic American mall complex. Initially, members of Community Board 1 were given a Letter of Intent with a blackedout “Mixed Use Project” section detailing the plans for the Fish Market area. Nine days after the ULURP deal was sealed with a vote, the unredacted version was released, revealing the corporation’s true intentions. Lo and behold, the City Council did, in fact,
Member Margaret Chin’s press secretary, Kelly Magee, who countered, “There is absolutely nothing in the L.O.I. that describes HHC’s plans. Absolutely nothing.” The latest news to unfold is that the South Street Seaport Museum, also under HHCs control, is facing an 18-month deadline to get back on solid financial footing, a deadline that’s up on April 5th. Rescued from going under by the Museum of the City of New York back in 2011, the SSSM is now, after Sandy, $22 million in debt. In a newsletter that Margaret Chin’s office handed out at the monthly CB1 meeting on March 26, HHC offered to provide the SSSM with $250,000 over the next three months, followed by $100,000 a month for five months. HHC has made no commitment to give up lease options to former Museum properties now under first option as per the 12.12.11 L.O.I. depriving the SSSM of a steady source of lease revenues. If the museum goes under,
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You want an outstanding doctor and we can connect you with one who’s right for you. Whether near your home or office, doctors affiliated with Continuum Health Partners hospitals – Beth Israel Medical Center, Beth Israel Brooklyn, Roosevelt Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, New York Eye & Ear Infirmary – are have that unredacted L.O.I. (Letter of Intent) in their possession, according to a firsthand account from East Village resident Robert LaValva, president of the New Amsterdam Market. LaValva saw the L.O.I. himself back in August of last year, but was told he couldn’t have or keep a copy. LaValva tried to warn everyone about the developer’s plans at March 14’s City Council Hearing. “By voting to approve this ULURP, you will be approving a rezoning not only of the Pier 17 mall, but of the entire waterfront. What is troubling about this is that E.D.C. and Howard Hughes have a Letter of Intent to redevelop the Fulton Fish Market site as a luxury residential high rise, hotel and retail complex,” he said. But nobody listened, except for Council
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
HHC will gain all of its property. Additionally, the letter reveals that they are not providing any new docking berths for the Seaport’s historic vessels, and are reluctantly allowing the AMBROSE to stay where it is until they decide otherwise. According to the Save our Seaport Coalition, HHC is also interfering with SSSM educational efforts at Pier 16 by building a new adjacent performance stage which also blocks the Fulton Street visual corridor to see the ships. HHC has repeatedly declined to comment, just as they have refused to put forth a “Master Plan.” But they don’t have to. What’s happening before everyone’s eyes is the master plan, and it’s unfolding with the help of the city, the Economic Development Corporation, and others.
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Save After-School Programs
Leaders and students from downtown after-school programs rally to keep them oďŹ€ the budget chopping block By Joanna Fantozzi â€œInvest in us; weâ€™ll rise to the top. Give us a little, weâ€™ll grow a lot!â€? This was the rally cry of the 700 children and afterschool advocates that attended the March 28th rally outside City Hall to save child care and after-school programs. Dozens of after-school programs citywide, including downtownâ€™s Henry Street Settlement and University Settlement Society on the Lower East Side, and the Chinatown YMCA, brought representatives to the rally to protest the extreme proposed budget cuts. Mayor Bloombergâ€™s proposed fiscal plan in 2014 would cut $130 million from after-school programs and leave 47,000 children without a place to go after the school day â€œI think what we want to look at is how kids are staying in school and how our
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and how these programs build the skills of our youth,â€? said Cathleen Fitzgibbons, of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, one of the sponsors of the rally, along with the Campaign for Children. â€œThese programs are critical for their overall development, and for shaping them as theyâ€™re going through middle school and high school.â€? The rally was packed with hundreds of advocates, who brought signs and posters pronouncing their love for the after-school programs: â€œHelp Keep After School Alive!â€? and â€œDo Not Close Child Care!â€? Matt Phifer, Director of Educational Services from the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side, led the rally as MC. He brought to the stage numerous council members like District 6â€™s Gale Brewer, as well as District 8â€™s Melissa Mark-Viverito, who both touted the educational importance of these programs. Brewer explained that every year for the past 12 years, the mayoral office has done this â€œbudget danceâ€? where they cut programs they know the City Council can restore. â€œThe uncertainty is still scary,â€? said Council Member Brewer. Children from the after-school programs showed off their extracurricular skills on stage - from double-dutch, to singers and
budget proposals. â€œWeâ€™re working with the City Council to deliver an on-time, balanced budget that keeps the cityâ€™s fiscal house in order, while also protecting vital services,â€? said City Hall spokeswoman Lauren Passelacqua. The budget right now has not included any of the City Councilâ€™s one-year funds, which would cause hundreds of programs to have
And there are other measurable benefits too. A Wallace Foundation Evaluation of â€œOut of School Time Programsâ€? in 2006 found that 56 percent of program participants felt the programs really got them interested and involved in activities outside school. Plus 69 percent of participating students said that they made more friends in the program. Besides social skills, most
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traditional drummers, making for quite an exuberant scene. As for the kids in the crowd, many of the younger students said that they loved playing sports like dodgeball and rugby in their afterschool programs. But the older teenagers conceded that the programs keep them off the streets and out of trouble. â€œVisibility was great. It was a perfect storm of different concerned parties,â€? said Phifer. â€œHopefully we will be able to make some change.â€? Mayor Bloomberg has not yet responded to the pleas of families impacted by these
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to shut their doors completely. In addition, the $10 million proposed cut would slash after-school slots by 75 percent. This struggle is not new - just last year, similar budget cuts were proposed. But after several rallies last year, many of the funds were actually restored for one more year, according to Phifer. Emma Woods, a representative from the Campaign for Children, an organization that was started last year in response to the budget difficulties and one of the rallyâ€™s sponsors, said that the Mayor should just baseline the money for these programs in his budget, so that this fight would not have to happen year after year. â€œIn the long term, the goal would be to no longer put these programs on the chopping block,â€? said Woods. â€œAs the number of kids served goes down, poverty increases.â€?
of the students surveyed felt that their schoolwork improved. Phifer explained that at the Henry Street Settlement, the damages would be devastating, if the budget went through as proposed. They might lose their OST contract at one or more of the participating schools. In addition, they would have to cut staff and activities. In total, they would probably have to cut 160 student slots out of 850. â€œThere is a clear educational impact,â€? said Phifer. â€œGive a kid the ability to access their mental faculties out school and negative risk behavior and bullying decreases. Itâ€™s that simple.â€?
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
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Tax Policy or Political Gimmick? Sen. Brad Hoylman questions the eﬃcacy of a state tax rebate program in helping New Yorkers By Adam Janos
f you’re a New Yorker with a kid, you may have some cash that’ll be waiting for you in your mailbox, come next autumn. That’s because the state is issuing a $350 tax rebate check to families with at least one child (under 18) whose total household income falls between $40,000 and $300,000 per year. There’ll be no forms for you to fill out; claiming the money will be as effortless as a walk to the bank. Just in time for the general election. That’s the claim made by Citizen Action of New York, a grassroots organization that advocates for economic justice and an end to electoral corruption. “Mailing out checks is designed to make people appreciate the incumbent legislators at election time, because they just got a check in the mail,” said Karen Scharff, executive director. “It’s an election year gimmick… I think it’s fine to make the tax system more progressive. A child tax credit is fine, but we need a comprehensive reform to our tax system; we shouldn’t do one-time rebates that are tied to election cycles.” State Senator Brad Hoylman agrees, which is why he voted against the bill when it came to the senate floor. But beyond his problems with the gimmick element, Hoylman also believes that the $375 million which will be spent over three
years on this rebate is a poor use of taxpayer money, which could go to a variety of programs, including – amongst other things – restoring $90 million in cuts to New York State’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), providing $25 million to start up the Dream Act, and increasing community college-based aid. “I’m not saying that people need to pay more taxes,” explained Senator Hoylman. “But we need longer term strategies. No one has studied the impact of this rebate check. It came up at the last minute behind closed doors. No constituency was campaigning for it. On the other hand, I had troves of seniors, kids with disability issues, public school parents… all trying to preserve their programs. I mean the New York State AIDS Institute was cut by $5 million. That’s what I find objectionable. The rebate discussion came within the course of a few days without any data or economic information to back it up.” Hoylman, who served as Vice President at the Partnership of New York City, has some background working in the world of commerce and fiscal policies. However with this tax rebate, his thinking comes less from his experience in the financial sector and more from his philosophy regarding the relationship between the state and its citizenry. “The basic function of government is to protect the most vulnerable in our society,” said Hoylman. “For families and individuals who have conditions [ranging] from cerebral palsy to autism… they’re left behind in this budget [due to cuts in the OPWDD]. I’ve met with a lot of people who directly benefit from those services, and there’s widespread concern that with this budget, some people will have to institutionalize their family members. That’s a very
Why Is It So Hot In Here?
A downtown building manager explains why you might be sweating in your apartment until May 31, despite rising spring temperatures By Sophia Rosenbaum
ew Yorkers’ knowledge of how their heating systems work is minimal, and the lack of information often leads to a blame game – tenants blame landords, landlords blame tenants and building managers blame both. But what is really at fault is the combination of antiquated heating systems, the desire for quick and cheap fixes and, of course, city regulations. “We continue to overheat our buildings for that one selfish tenant that likes to have their windows open or have an air conditioner during the winter,” said Peter Marciano, a building manager in Manhattan. Marciano said tenants are disconnected from their heat because they don’t pay the bills. It they did, he said they wouldn’t keep their windows open or leave air conditioners in all winter long. Cue Henry Gifford, who can fix a leaky roof, a malfunctioning heat system or a broken boiler. He’s been working as a handyman since 1982, and he’s got the blackened, wrinkly hands to prove it. Gifford said understanding a building’s heating system provides insight as to why apartments get so hot and how to fix the problem.
New York buildings use one of three heating systems, each with drawbacks. When a boiler heats water into steam that moves through the pipes in an apartment, it is producing steam heat. It does not require electricity because heat rises naturally. “Overall, steam heat is a disaster,” Marciano said. “It is either on or it’s off and the building is either overheated or freezing or both.” Hot-air heat blows air through tubes called ducts. “People like it because it’s invisible,” Gifford said, “but it’s not practical to control temperatures individually to each room.” Hot-water heat uses a boiler that heats water just below the boiling point. The water loops from the pipes to the radiators and back to the boiler. Prewar buildings require enormous pipes that are difficult to control. Modern systems used in postwar buildings use much smaller pipes. Hot-water heating systems provide the most control because they can be adjusted to outdoor temperatures, Gifford said. It’s also easy to add a thermostat in apartments for better temperature control. Without thermostats in every apartment, controlling the temperature in a building is tricky. Factors like a building’s age, height and heating system all contribute to the system’s efficiency. Between October 1 and May 31, The City Housing Maintenance Code requires building owners to heat
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frightening prospect.” Hoylman also questioned the exclusivity of the tax rebate: immigrants, senior citizens, and the extremely poor will all be left off the payroll when the checks start getting cut. Meanwhile, at the more affluent end of the rebate bracket, households with $300,000 will be receiving money for their kids. “At the upper scale, it makes no difference,” Hoylman said. Hoylman is indignant that his colleagues in the Senate and Assembly are trying to buy votes, rather than help advance the greater good; for him, programs like these rebate checks are the seeds from which cynicism with government grows. “One-time feel-good rebate checks are not the answer, particularly when they’re not targeted at the poorest people. There’s a growing income inequality in New York, and to me the better approach is to fix it in a systemic way.”
apartments to 68 degrees Fahrenheit from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.—if the temperature outside is below 55 degrees. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., buildings must be heated to 55 degrees—if it is below 40 degrees outside. Marciano, who manages about 20 properties downtown, said heating complaints always start the same. A tenant will call and say “I’ve had no heat all winter.” If that was true, Marciano said he’d have over 200 phone calls from all his tenants. “The tenant is either lying, they want it warmer or there’s something wrong with that unit,” he said. Both Marciano and Gifford think the key to efficient heat is keeping the apartment airtight. Like every professional, they have a plan when they get that kind of call. “I look to see if people are wearing shorts and a T-shirt when they answer the door,” Gifford said. “I stand across the street and see how many open windows they have in the winter.” Overheating can occur for many reasons besides open windows and air conditioners. Bad boiler installations cause uneven heat distribution and covering an ugly radiator with a bookcase can impede a heating unit. Valves on radiators offer tenants some heat control, but they are often broken or painted shut. Many times, the outdoor sensor that controls the heating system is in the sun. “Those sensors get sun from about 7 until 8 every morning, which turns the heating system off just when people are getting out of the shower in the morning,” Gifford said. “Then, they complain, the super turns the heat up and the building is overheated the other 23 hours of the day.”
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
THE 7-DAY PLAN FRIDAY
05 06 07 08 09 10 11 SATURDAY
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
The Nature of the American Dream
American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St., amnh.org, April 9th, 6:30 p.m., $13.50-$15.
In preparation of its Theodore Roosevelt Memorial being re-opened, the American Museum of Natural History is presenting Conservation, Wilderness, and the American Dream. This lecture places emphasis on Roosevelt’s strong held belief that natural surroundings have strong ties to natural rights. The host, NBC News’ Tom Brokaw, will delve into the specifics with participants Douglas Brinkley, Lisa Graumlich, Michael Novacek, and Rick Ridgeway.
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the FUN in Fundraiser ◄ Putting Le Midi Bistro, 11 East 13th St., haontech.com, 6:30 p.m., $10.
Ethics in Film New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th St., nysec.org, 7 p.m., $5. Ever interested in doing more than just watching a film? If so, Ethics in Film is the program for you. Head over to the New York Society for Ethical Culture for a special viewing/group discussion of the film Round Midnight, the drama of how one of the jazz greats meets a necessary friend on the road to self-destruction.
It is never too late to give to a worthy cause. The Catholic Fellowship of NYC is proud to present a French & Karaoke Night / Sandy Hook Fundraiser. Anyone in the mood to have a great time for an even better cause should hit up this authentic French bistro. Free appetizers and great food and drink deals are just the icing on this very delectable cake.
Find & Follow Your Passion
Whodunnit Family Scavenger Hunt
The New School, 66 West 12th St., nycreativeinterns.com, 9 a.m., $20-$150. “What do you want to do in life?” is not an easy question to answer, but NY Creative Interns wants to help you figure it out. Find & Follow Your Passion is a great way for anyone, especially upcoming and recent graduates, to figure out where their passions lie and how to follow them by listening and engaging with speakers from different professions and fellow hopefuls like themselves.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave., watsonadventures.com, 4 p.m., $29.50 to $40.50. Watson Adventures is embarking on a murder mystery scavenger hunt unlike any other and needs the help of children 10+! Help the police find the killer with the clues. Things to remember: dress comfortably, one child and one adult team minimum, 6 people team maximum.
Take Two Film Festival
Affordable Art Fair
Theatre 80 St. Marks, 80 St. Marks Pl., taketwofilmfestival. com, 212-388-0388, 1 p.m., $9-$12. The Take Two Film Festival is finally ready to commence after a Hurricane Sandy induced postponement. This three day festival will take place in the East Village and with 56 independent films coming from 14 different countries there promises to be a film for everybody.
Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th St., affordableartfair.com, 11 a.m., free-$75. Can one really put a price on art? Unfortunately, the answer is most always yes. The Affordable Art Fair is a great way to take beautiful art pieces home without having to actually sell your home. Over 84 galleries will be showcased at this spring event so if nothing else you will leave having seen many fascinating and diverse works of art.
New York Rangers vs. Toronto Maple Leafs ◄FREE: Ainsworth Park, 111 E.18th St., ainsworthparknyc.com, 7 p.m.
Skating with the Stars Gala
With the NHL season coming to a close, don’t miss some of the last chances to watch your favorites take to the ice. Head on down to Ainsworth Park, and chose from one of their 65 TVs, to watch the Rangers take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Go Rangers!
Trump Rink in Central Park, 59th St & 6th Avenue, figureskatinginharlem. org, 5:30 p.m., $325. It’s that time of year again for Figure Skating in Harlem’s annual benefit Skating with the Stars! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to skate with Olympians, celebrities, and corporate leaders; all gathered to help the young girls of Harlem with a passion for skating. Past guests have included Kelly Ripa, Dorothy Hamill and Diana Ross.
FREE: “Serious Matters”
Three of Cups Lounge, 83 1st Avenue, whimquarterly.com, 8:30 p.m. Come on down to the Lounge for a night of big laughs. The editors of Whim Quarterly, a humor magazine, present to you a comedy/variety show that stems from some of the greatest comedians and comic writers in the biz. Seriously, they know their stuff.
New York City Center Stage II, 131 W.55th St., collapseoffbroadway.com, 7:30 p.m., $60-$75.
Everyone has a breaking point, and Women’s Project Theater’s COLLAPSE by Allison Moore is the perfect portrayal of how that point can be reached. Meet Hannah, a woman with a worried husband, perhaps too-spirited sister, and a plant with drunken tendencies. Come see how she, who appears to kind of have it all together, travels on a journey to the edge (and possibly over).
Another Nail in the Coffin ◄ FREE: Housing Works, 130 Crosby St., thecoffinfactory.com, 6:30 p.m.
Fabulous Fruits Collage
The Coffin Factory, a magazine that serves as the joining link between readers and writers, is excited to release their fifth issue and wants you to be a part of it. Head on down to Housing Works for the official launch party! Bonus: There will be plenty of beer to go around and the earnings will go towards fighting AIDS and homelessness.
Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd St., cmom.org, 1 p.m., free-$11. If your child doesn’t understand why a packet of Skittles doesn’t fulfill their fruit quota for the day, EatSleepPlay Tots has the perfect solution. Children ages four and under are all welcome to partake in the Fabulous Fruits Collage class that allows children to simultaneously make a beautiful and color filled collage while learning how fruits can help make their bodies strong.
Photography and the American Civil War
Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, 79th St. and West Drive in Central Park, cityparksfoundation.org, 12 p.m., $7-$10. City Parks Foundation is proud to present their fresh take on the old classic “Pippi Longstocking”. “Pippi” is a visual marvel that maintains that old spirit and drive that Pippi Longstocking conveys and takes pride in. This show is perfect for the whole family!
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue, metmuseum.org, 9:30 a.m., free-$25. This exhibit, which is filled with hundreds of emotional photographs of the American Civil War, captures much more than an image. The conflict, the heartache, the struggle, the pride and much more are portrayed with a realness that one may not be used to seeing.
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15 1 4 7
ways to Jealousy: The Green your Eyed Monster newspaper old
Use it as wrapping paper, or fold & glue pages into reusable gift bags.
Add shredded newspaper to your compost pile when you need a carbon addition or to keep ﬂies at bay.
Use newspaper strips, water, and a bit of glue for newspaper mâché.
Crumple newspaper to use as packaging material the next time you need to ship something fragile.
Tightly roll up sheets of newspaper and tie with string to use as ﬁre logs.
After your garden plants sprout, place newspaper sheets around them, then water & cover with grass clippings and leaves. This newspaper will keep weeds from growing.
Make origami creatures
Use shredded newspaper as animal bedding in lieu of sawdust or hay.
Make your own cat litter by shredding newspaper, soaking it in dish detergent & baking soda, and letting it dry.
Wrap pieces of fruit in newspaper to speed up the ripening process.
The trend of tuning into our primal instincts can help explain some modern emotions
Cut out letters & words to write anonymous letters to friends and family to let them know they are loved.
Roll a twice-folded newspaper sheet around a jar, remove the jar, & you have a biodegradable seed-starting pot that can be planted directly into the soil.
Make newspaper airplanes and have a contest in the backyard.
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By Kristine Keller
Stuff newspapers in boots or handbags to help the items keep their shape. Dry out wet shoes by loosening laces & sticking balled newspaper pages inside.
a public service announcement brought to you by dirt magazine. PAGE 8
ew York City is chock-ablock with evanescent fads. While quinoa is the reining queen of menus from Canal Street to Meatpacking, it could be replaced tomorrow by another obscure South American grain-like substance. And though trampoline jumping was dominating gyms a few months ago, now classes like “Animal Flow” at Equinox gyms are devoted to unearthing our inner primal animals. And to match the current workout craze devoted to our primal past, dinner menus and cookbooks have caught wind of the trend and have implored us to eat like a Paleolithic caveman. So while we’re on a current primal-instinct binge we might as well embrace the fact that several of our emotions are derived from our ancestral past too. And like hunting and gathering wild animals, some of these emotions are dangerous, ugly, and at times unpalatable. Romantic jealousy in particular is a phenomenon that that can be observed anywhere in a city where competitiveness is virtually carved into the sidewalks. If it’s true as Darwin ascertained, that advantageous traits are passed on to generations because they contain evolutionary value, then jealousy as it’s seen today should serve some purpose. Evolutionary psychologists maintain that there are two types of jealousy: emotional and sexual. Psychological research demonstrates that while women are more inclined to feel jealous and betrayed when their significant other flirts emotionally with another, men are more prone to jealous outbursts at the threat of a sexual affair. The fact that jealousy might be different for both genders has been attributed to the differing evolutionary pressures faced in our ancestral past. Evolutionary theorists argue that back then, in order to prolong one’s genetic line, men had to shack up with as many ladies as possible in order to maximize their chances at producing offspring. Conversely, women were most concerned with a partner who could invest time, energy, and resources in
their offspring. This might be one reason today that some women are more attracted to successful and powerful men—people who possess the “provider” quality for their children. So, while men inherited the desire for spreading their seed, they also inherited the unwanted consequence of possibly fathering several children from different women. And if a man is going to invest all he’s got in his children, he wants to be sure as hell that they belong to him. Paternity uncertainty is the prime reason attributed to the evolution of sexual jealousy—and might also be one reason a guy goes off the rails when he thinks you’ve crossed a physical boundary with your cheetah-teaching fitness instructor. And while paternity uncertainty isn’t something people are consciously concerned about, it may be a subconscious thought left over from a time when our ancestors had to worry about it most. Raising another’s child is the kiss of death to one’s genetic line and research has actually demonstrated that nearly two percent of men in the United States today are unknowingly raising another man’s child. But while men are concerned about physical swindles, evolutionary theorists argue that women’s jealousy stems from emotional cheating. In line with the aforementioned theories, women are attracted to men who can provide for their children and provide a consistent foundation for a stable upbringing. A man who cheats emotionally with another might neglect in his commitment duties for his child and possibly put the child’s successful upbringing at risk. This is why studies maintain that women are more likely to forgive and forget a sexual affair before they would an emotional affair. You might have been fine with your boyfriend eyeing the waitress at lunch, but both feet were out the door the second he put those looks into words and started sexting her under the table. While paleo-fad diets and ancient animalistic high-jumps might be beneficial to our health, jealousy can take its toll. Darwin might have his reasons for why you experience jealous rage, but if you can help it, check yourself before you wreck yourself. Channel your energy into examining why you’re jealous and assessing what you can do to combat the green-eyed monster. Maybe then you can improve your strength, resilience, and health without ever even signing up for an “Animal Flow” class.
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The World of Jenks is Close to Home Filmmaker Andrew Jenks on his documentary series that is transforming MTV By Angela Barbuti
ndrew Jenks is changing the world. In a recent episode of his MTV documentary series World of Jenks, he paraphrases a famous quote when he says, “Never believe a small group of people can’t change the world, because that’s the only people that ever have.” For one year, Jenks, 27, travels with three young adults who are facing incredible challenges— and documents it all on film. In order to truly empathize with them, he lives with each person, accompanying them on their daily routines. He travels to San Francisco to meet Kaylin, who has already had two bouts with cancer at the age of 24. Another stop is upstate New York to find Chad, 21, who is living with autism. A visit is also made to Oakland, where Jenks cohabits with D-Real, also 21, who is grappling with the violence that is prevalent in his city. Jenks begins the journey with each of the three with just a video camera and an open heart, and ends the season having made three lifelong friendships. Since Jenks has his friend do the filming, we actually see him on camera interacting with his subjects— sharing laughter and tears, and learning from their hardships. In March, just before his show started its second season on MTV, he released a memoir entitled Andrew Jenks: My Adventures As a Young Filmmaker. So what does this Chelsea resident miss most when he’s on the road? “Well, you can’t beat a Mamoun’s falafel. I definitely miss Ray’s Pizza. And I always miss¬—not too sound too cheesy—my friends and family,” he admits.
This show came about because MTV reached out to you, right? Yes. At first I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure if I would fit at MTV in terms of, I don’t go tanning and I’m not pregnant. The fact that they gave me this opportunity to tell stories that would normally never get exposure on television has made me endlessly grateful to the folks over there.
they’re willing to. They‘re going through extraordinarily tough times, if not tougher, than when I was first with them. The thing about the show is that I love these people. When we stop filming, it becomes a really strong friendship.
and there was a guy who pulled out a gun and started shooting a bunch of people. They’re all safe. He’s had another kid since we started filming. None of these are fairy tale endings, I wish they were, but it grounds the show in reality.
How is Kaylin feeling?
What do you think of reality TV?
Kaylin’s cancer returned again. She’s currently going through intense chemo. They found a tumor the size of a laptop in her chest. She was in Bellevue, and it was disheartening to see how they were treating her. I worked really hard with people on my film crew to get her into Sloan-Kettering, which I believe is one of the best hospitals in the country for her particular cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma.
I’m not a big fan of most reality TV. I don’t know them personally, but I feel like the Kardashians represent some of the more negative parts of our generation. I do think there’s some wonderful programming—like what Morgan Spurlock does. But I think it’s unfortunate that the Kardashians are all over the airways.
How is Chad? Once they graduate, one of the toughest things for young people is trying to find a job. That’s something we really get into in the show. He’s currently having a tough time finding his place in the world. But luckily he has unbelievable parents.
People are responding to the show on Twitter, and thanking you for raising awareness of autism. When I was young, we lived in Nepal and Belgium. I think what got me into filming was we’d always be in these countries where no one spoke English, so my best friend, by default, became this big, bulky VHS camera. I would literally just sit there for 45 minutes filming a tree in the backyard and narrating what the tree was like. It was a weird obsession. And because my dad worked for the UN and my mom’s a nurse practitioner in a very poor area, when we sat down to the dinner table, a lot of times the conversation would be my dad talking about a genocide in Africa and my mom talking about an immigrant who couldn’t afford proper health care. I’m happy because I feel like that helped me learn more about what was going on.
We’ve had screenings with Autism Speaks and organizations that provide support for young adults with cancer. Screening our show to those people and getting responses on social media from people who have brothers, sisters, or family¬—or are themselves autistic¬—has been far and away the most gratifying thing.
How is D-Real doing in Oakland? He said watching the show helped remind him what he’s trying to do in Oakland because it’s easy to lose focus. Recently, his girlfriend was on a bus with their daughter
The ﬁlm festival you started at your high school has branched out into an All-American Film Festival this year in New York City. When I was 16, I started a high school film festival at my local public school, which wasn’t a wealthy school by any stretch of the imagination. We started it for myself and some buddies to play our short films in the auditorium. It somehow grew and we had James Earl Jones speak the following year, which was unbelievable. Since then it became one of the biggest high school film festivals in the country. This year, we teamed up with the Mayor’s office and are doing the first annual All American High School Film Festival October 4- 6th. It’s a chance for young filmmakers all over the country to network and see their films on the big screen. Watch World of Jenks Monday nights at 11 p.m. on MTV To learn more about the All-American High School Film Festival, visit www.aahsff.com
You went to NYU and majored in Film and TV. I ended up moving into an old folks home for another [documentary] project, so I didn’t end up graduating. I was quite the outcast at NYU, so I really had—not to be self pitying¬—no friends, and was very lonely and depressed. I felt kind of trapped there, like I couldn’t go and work on projects that I really cared about. I said it before and it’s not something that I’m scared of saying, but it just really wasn’t for me.
Your dad works for the United Nations, so you moved around a lot as a kid. That’s how you began your How are your three subjects doing now that the ﬁlming is over? career behind the camera. I try to talk to them as much as THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
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Designer’s Provocative Cards Benefit Downtown Homeless An artist known for his boundary-pushing work launches a line of oﬀensive – and complimentary – business cards with a local company to raise money for the homeless By Helaina Hovitz
esigner Stefan Sagmeister has worked with Aerosmith, Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones, and the Talking Heads, to name a few wellknown clients. Known for his album covers and museum exhibits, he’s also lectured in over three dozen countries over the past decade. His most recent venture, though, is designing Luxe “business cards” for MOO. These cards aren’t your average 3 by 2 paper nuggets, though; in fact, your information isn’t on them at all. So what is? Phrases ranging from “It’s a pleasure to be around someone who loves what they do,” to “You have too many mouths and not enough ears” and “You are a waste of time.” The Luxe cards are hardly Sagmeister’s most controversial work; in 1999, he carved words from a lecture onto his body for an American Institute of Graphic Arts poster to symbolize the “pain” that comes with production design. He announced the launch of his design firm by sending out postcards that pictured him entirely naked, (when he re-launched the company with Jessica Walsh, they sent it out again, via
email. Both were naked). He also put a black and white photo of a naked autopsied female torso on the cover of Pro-Pain’s album “The Truth Hurts.” In one of his most popular exhibits, he stacked 10,000 bananas against a wall, using green ones to spell out, “Selfconfidence produces fine results,” against the yellow ones. The message disappeared once the bananas rotted out and turned black. The inspiration for this most recent project came after encountering rude passengers on a train ride from New York to Philadelphia in June of last year. “We only present one concept to a client. This was the concept,” said Sagmeister during an interview in his office last Wednesday, opening up the cards and seeing them for the first time. He held one up and continued, “I think it’s a nice gesture to leave on a table with a tip. It could also be helpful for someone to know that they’re annoying.” Leaving behind a card with a certain unprintable explicit certainly isn’t subtle, but it is less confrontational than shouting it. The inspiration for the card that cannot be named came from his friend, the late Tibor Kalman, a graphic designer best known for his work as editor of Colors magazine and co-founder of design firm M&Co. “He’s definitely got a point of view and
Cooking Under a Big Tent When some chefs adopt another culture, it’s a crime. Tertulia is proof that there’s room for everyone. By Regan Hofmann
icture an American chef. He falls in love with a cuisine from another country, travels to that country for a few heady months, takes copious notes (maybe studies with a few locals), then opens his own restaurant offering the real deal back here in the city. It’s a common scenario these days; in a restaurant-dense economy like New York, the prospect of an untapped vein of culinary interest is hard to resist. It’s also one that’s hotly debated, with critics coming down hard on chefs who dare to move in on someone else’s slice of the cultural pie. That criticism almost always falls on restaurateurs who take on the cuisine of a group that has traditionally existed outside the fine-dining orbit. Think of Eddie Huang’s beef with Marcus Samuelsson, an Ethiopian-born Swede who purported to bring old-school Harlem chic to his Red Rooster. But how many chefs are there running Italian restaurants who’ve never met a Silician nonna, let alone been raised by one? Can Keith McNally roll his Rs, and did that affect his ability to create the perfect French bistro in Soho? Somehow, once the culinary conversation moves to Europe, cross-pollination becomes the norm. Studying with chefs in other countries is a badge of honor, rather than a back-alley entrance to someone else’s party. Thankfully for Seamus Mullen, he found his inspiration in Spain, a perfectly acceptable region for a young chef from New England to tour, fall in love with, and want to spend his career trying to recreate. It worked out for us, too, as Tertulia (tertulianyc.com; 359 6th Ave.), his take on the sidrerias of northern Spain, captures all of the right notes of those cheery public houses with food that is at times more essentially Spanishtasting than what can be found there. Patatas bravas, for example, are usually dressed with
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an opinion, which he’s not afraid to put out there,”said Sagmeister’s friend, George Azar. For twelve years, Sagmeister also handed out something other than bracing business cards: food, as part of a distribution program for the Coalition for the Homeless, located at 129 Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan. “Coming from Austria, homelessness was new to me. You’d only have a couple of bums here and there,” he said. “People who could be our grandparents were going through the garbage.” Sagmeister spent the next twelve years traveling by van to hand out fruit and sandwiches to people literally living on the streets, from the Staten Island Ferry to the Bowery and the East Side Heliport. Now that he spends about 40 percent of his time traveling, he’s found a new way to give back. MOO works with a different designer on each Luxe project, and 100 percent of the net proceeds go to a charity of the designer’s choice. Sagmeister’s are going to the Coalition. MOO picks a new Luxe designer and a new charity each month, and has raised $15,000 for various charities since launching the initiative in February of 2012. “Stefan’s one of those unique people who brings not only his compassion and willingness to get directly involved helping
people, but also a fantastically creative approach to life and how to make it better for all New Yorkers,” said David Giffen, the Coalition’s executive director. Sagmeister teaches a class at the School for Visual Arts called “Can Design Touch Someone’s Heart.” For a recent project, students picked a group of people and designed something for them, then presented it to them to see firsthand if the recipient was in fact “touched.” One group designed golden hamburger trophies and brought them to fast food restaurants around NYC to show their appreciation for the people of the night shift; students rolled out a red carpet and played Beethoven’s 8th for a baffled Taco Bell crew at 2 a.m. in Union Square and visited various downtown McDonalds. “He definitely isn’t interested in trying to be politically correct, like the rest of us are,” said Azar of his friend. “He’s interested in putting his truth out there. You’ll definitely elicit a reaction doing that.”
a smoky red pimenton sauce and a bright, garlicky allioli; like so much pub food, the allure is in the condiments. But at Tertulia, the potatoes are coated in the paprika itself, building a crackly, spicy base of flavor atop which the allioli sings counterpoint, rather than carrying the show. Wine flows from taps and is served in wide-bottomed tumblers; there is, of course, Spanish cider from a barrel, which tastes more like a vin jaune than the sugar-sweet Woodchuck of your youth. Ragged red brick and Moorish tiles line the TERTULIA walls, and the back corner is dominated by a tiled ■ 359 6th Avenue chimney and grill, on which the magic happens. Phone: (646) 559-9909 Without smoking out the room, that grill captures ■ Price: $$$ all of the earthy, wild flavors of the north Atlantic ■ Hours coast in dishes as diverse as grilled prawns lightly Mon - Thurs: 9:30 - 3:30, dressed with olive oil and sea salt and a lamb shank (dinner) 5:30 - 11 p.m. that is braised first and dressed with Moorish flavors Fri: 9:30 - 3, 5:30 - 12 a.m. of sweet dried fruit and vinegar. Sat: 11:30 - 3:30, 5:30 - 12 a.m. There is paella (technically Valencian –thankfully Sun: 11:30 - 3:30, 5:30 - 11 p.m. the authenticity police aren’t around) in a shallow pan that allows for an admirable quantity of socarrat, the burnished crust of rice that is the true prize. And there is jamon and chorizo for days, presented lovingly on wooden boards or tossed in with chickpeas, Brussels sprouts, and more. But most importantly, there are large groups whose raised voices and laughter never grate, a front bar that can get crowded but never claustrophobic, and solicitous service that always feels genuine. That may be the hardest thing to replicate in the city, and Mullen has done it. Who cares where he was born?
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New York’s Review of Culture . CityArtsNYC.com
Edited by Armond White
Wearable Art Impressionists, Fashion and Modernity at the Met By Marsha McCreadie
big show founded on a simple idea, “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” is like taking a gander at the walkin closet of some very elegant people, only they’re expecting you. The dresses, also a few men’s frock coats, are there, as well as hats, corsets, even dressing table accoutrements of hairbrushes and hand mirrors. It’s not voyeuristic though, but showcases the colors and textures in various lights (sometimes in plein air) of fashion that inspired the great painters of the 19th Century in and around Paris. Just some are Renoir, Monet, Manet, the token Mary Cassatt, the surprisingly impactful Tissot. His paintings of white “day dresses” trimmed with yellow, on humans naturally, are exquisite. There’s a dress, too, in a glass case; museum folks call it a vitrine. It looks like the dresses worn by the women in the portraits, but it’s not. All curtsy now to Diana Vreeland, in many ways the show’s godmother, the first to raid the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute to fulfill her vision. This exhibit is a bit more reality-based, if just as crowd-pleasing. Some gallery rooms are organized around colors. Black. Manet was so good with black dresses, and his “Lady with Fans” of Nina de Callias so enticing, that her estranged husband asked that it not be shown. More white, a section for blue, all following
the stunning opener of the green and black/brown striped dress as modeled by Camille, Monet’s notquite-yet-wife (the artist-modelmistress pattern runs throughout). The focus is on the voluminous skirt which gleams--perhaps because Monet was clever enough to add a touch of white—and seems to practically move out of the frame. The paintings of ball gowns and evening dresses are charming, mirrored in a dusty rose number decorated with imitation rosebuds and leaves, under glass, from the “House of Worth,” the premiere design house of the time. A even closer tie-in is a greige gown with a cashmere paisley shawl, a near lookalike to the painting of “Madame Louis Joachim Gaudibert.” What was the attraction? Did the artists know they were “painting fashion”? New shapes must have appealed: the bustle for instance. Color of course. And the living mise-en-scene of urban life. People were out and about—in the streets, on the lawn. You might quarrel with the curators’ working definition of modernism as democratic, but not with “Paris Street; Rainy Day” with each figure using a standard umbrella, though in a fancy arrondissement. Some of the artists even responded to the new phenomenon of the department store, and ready-towear: in The Ball on Shipboard Tissot shows two women—mon Dieu!—wearing exactly the same dress. The exhibit of 79 artworks and 17 dresses, which should have been titled “Impressionists, Fashion and Modernity,” isn’t new; but the crowds haven’t thinned out. One reason might be art historical: the crowd-drawing Luncheon on
the Grass by Monet, with its two panels shown side-by-side for the first time. Perhaps less significant-fun if you can afford it--is that you can leave the show as a living museum piece yourself. One of those Metropolitain shops that seem to spring up like mushrooms in the spring is at the exit of the show, with knock-offs of the gloves, boaters, those wonderful paisley shawls, all pictured in the art. “Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity” will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through May 27 in the Tisch Galleries, second floor of the main building. The Museum is open Tuesday through Thursday, and Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The museum is located on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street.
Monet’s Luncheon on the Grass
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FILM CITY ARTS
Granola Politics Turned Cornball Redford ﬁlm misremembers 60s radicals By Armond White
en years ago, a documentary titled The Weather Underground opened at Film Forum and inadvertently exposed the follies of romanticizing the radical student movement of the 1960s. Now Robert Redford presents his own romantic version in The Company You Keep. It’s an old-timer’s look at the movement’s faults when an attempted Robin Hood-style bank robbery resulted in a bank guard’s death and the gang of radicals disappeared into the underground taking on new identities to hide out from the Man, er uh, the law, I mean, justice. Redford plays James Grant, a former radical who did not participate in the robbery-killing yet has been on the run ever since, wary of contact with his once-engaged peers-Susan Sarandon, Stephen Root, Nick Nolte, Richard Jenkins, Sam Elliott. This old-timer’s convocation shows that Redford expects 21st century viewers (possibly Occupy Wall Street zealots) to approve his tale of reminiscence and remorse. It might have worked if Occupiers cared about has-been actors or if Redford and screenwriter Lem Dobbs had come up with a compelling storyline. But since Grant is innocent, unlike those radicals in The Weather Underground doc who still justify their lawless, what’s the point? Redford’s film proposes a comity of radicals
similar to his previous dismal anti-government/pro-radicals film The Conspirator. There’s no real moral struggle in The Company You Keep. Instead, the only tension is generational and professional: Redford once again takes shots at journalists, the trade he formerly valorized in Three Days of the Condor and All the President’s Men but recently upbraids as in the underrated Lions for Lambs and here. Shia LaBeouf plays an aggressive reporter chasing Grant on the lam, aiding FBI agent Terence Howard III’s manhunt. With his ego-hip eyeglasses and obnoxious manner, LaBeouf stands-in for the current, selfish young generation, the audience for Grant’s sermons. Alternating their stories prolongs the film and covers up Redford and Dobbs’s ethical and historical evasions. Redford’s damnedest equivocation sentimentalizes
60s radicalism through Grant’s past romance with Mimi (Julie Christie), an unrepentant extremist who even now illegally smuggles “good honest weed.” It’s unpleasant to report that Redford and Christie, who are no longer their youthful selves, let their own vanity substitute for the thin characterizations; that means the attempt to make 60s politics appear glamorous depends on Redford and Christie’s faded glory. Sadly, the film emphasizes the stars’ wrinkles, wattles, pockmarks (and physical exhaustion whenever Redford runs). That Redford’s granola politics turn cornball is terrible but the exploitation of wizened countenances is hurtful. My guess is that this would not be a problem opposite Jane Fonda or Vanessa Redgrave who have kept their vigor but they probably wouldn’t consent to the film’s simple-minded view of radicalism--or maybe Christie is just frightfully directed. It is Redford whose mediocre Ordinary People began the actor-turned-director vogue that has led to the nonpolitics and non-aesthetics of Ben Affleck‘s Argo. The banal politics of The Company You Keep compares poorly to David Mamet’s recent Broadway examination of student radical motivations in The Anarchist. Redford nostalgically equates My Lai and Selma, Ala. even though they have no historical or political similarity. His fatuousness is summed up by a Bill Ayers-type former radical now privilege-ensconced college professor who introduces Frantz Fanon to his students yet mispronounces the name. Follow Armond White on Twitter at 3xchair
Eye on Auctions
By Caroline Birenbaum
spate of auctions cluster around the annual AIPAD (Association of International Photography Art Dealers) Show, April 4-7 (aipad.com), and the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, April 11-14 (nyantiquarianbookfair.com), both at the Park Avenue Armory.
Phillips (phillips.com) The Photo sales begin here on the evening of April 2 and continue on April 3. Among the eclectic images assembled by Dr. Anthony Terrana, “The Curious Collector,” are Ansel Adams’s shot of “The Golden Gate Before the Bridge,” circa 1932, and a recent vivid color abstraction, Walead Beshty’s “Three Color Curl,” 2010, as well as a print of Robert Frank’s “Trolley, New Orleans,” 1955-56, printed later, which shows up at several other houses, too.
Christie’s (christies.com) Carlos Alberto Cruz calls his superb collection, which was exhibited at the International Center of Photography in 1985, “the deLIGHTED eye.” To be sold
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on the evening of April 4, it includes 71 vintage prints of modernist masterworks made in the first quarter of the 20th century, such as Alvin Langdon Coburn’s “vortograph” composition, “The Eagle,” 1917, and photograms by Lazlo MoholyNagy and Man Ray. On April 5, among over 200 photographs from various owners, is an exhibition print of “Trolley New Orleans” that was made by Robert Frank himself in 1961 for his show at the Museum of Modern Art.
Sotheby’s (sothebys.com) On the evening of April 5, another top-notch photograph collection, “The Modern Image,” offers 59 works collected by Dr. Paul Lloyd Scharf. Common threads among the wide range of photographs are consistently excellent print quality and focus on early and rare versions of images, as exemplified by an early state of Edward Weston’s “Two Shells” on matte-surface paper, signed and dated 1927. A sale of 240 lots on April 6 features Man Ray’s gorgeous solarized print of “Cala Lilies,” signed and dated 1931, which was treasured by former owner Andy Warhol. This sale also has a print of Frank’s “New Orleans Trolley.”
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Back of the Bus, Top of the Heap Michel Gondry’s latest ingenuity may be the best teen ﬂick ever By Armond White At first Michel Gondry’s The We and the I is charming and then it’s scary. It starts with a delightfully, deliberately crude F/X of a boom box style city bus traversing the rough streets of The Bronx--a toy-like transformation that gets smashed into realism: An actual city bus opens its doors to rowdy New York kids coming home as high school ends. Despite their varied, awkward traits--jostling, joking, rushing, yelling--each could be the protagonist yet Gondry draws us to the back of the bus. And that’s the scary, great part. As any bus rider knows, the back is where the bullies sit--away from authority, gangedup, undisciplined and inevitably cruel. They huddle in masculine privilege and unchallenged toughness and Gondry doesn’t shy away from it; he gets close--Cassavetes close, Godard intimate. The We and the I indulges a frank, emotional, non-sociological look at the chaos of adolescence. Gondry is French but he doesn’t offer any of the guilty Liberal condescension that was so appalling in Laurent Cantet’s The Class about the children of non-white immigrants who are trapped in the boring Paris school system. Instead, Gondry’s cast of Black and Latino teens set their own terms of presentation. (The film is a collaboration with students from a Bronx community center.) They are as they unselfconsciously present themselves: natural naifs, punks, dreamers, lovers, clowns and all are amazingly trenchant, believable actors. Imagine the kids of George Washington electrified with urban impudence. Professional actors should be learning from this from now on. Credit Gondry’s openness to the kids’ humanity including a keen perception (possibly based on his own memories) of adolescence. They reveal that barely perceptible childhood shift between sadism and vulnerability: When a bully trashes a boy’s guitar, a girl gets ridiculed for wearing a wig and an indiscretion at a party, two friends berate each other’s insensitivity, the ache of real pain and confusion is palpable and unsettling--credible facts of life being learned. Gondry’s beautiful title conveys the tension of group identity and personal isolation, as in the closing tete a tete between Michael Brodie and Teresa Lynn. It’s the
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universal process of realizing oneself within the experience of socializing--the reason why, emotionally, we never really get out of high school. As boys and girls, shy kids and show-offs mix together, Gondry moves from individuality (a boy drawing in a sketch pad), solipsism (another quietly reading a comic book) to friendship (two girls planning a house party, two gay boys flaunting their freedom, the obnoxious, fractious bullies). Fuctuating tempers, flirtations and anxieties (at least several kinds of each) provide an amazing, at-hand survey of human kind. Where Spike Lee’s 1997 Get on the Bus made political points by contriving an Everymen cast with predictable arguments, The We and the I avoids dramatic convention and predictability. This bus trip is a conceit taking youths from day to a dark night of the soul--recalling the revelations of Time of Your Life, The Iceman Cometh as much as The Breakfast Club yet none of those sober landmarks boasted such fresh, delirious vernacular. Luis Figeroa sighs, “I don’t know where the hell the day went wrong. “‘Gut feelings’ are gay” says the gay kid. Gondry dives into youthful unruliness and keeps up with it through improvisational ingenuity, occasionally featuring both theatrical and video cutaways--all hand-styled like his quaint, joyful, groundbreaking music videos. Much of the film’s excitement owes to its fresh exactitude about how feelings are translated through the media options available for youth’s attention and comprehension. Musical instruments, pens, artist’s pencils, cell phones and digital cameras become tactile means of the kids’ personal expression. Mobile devices are Gondry’s ruling metaphor: A boy’s pratfall at home caught on video and endlessly circulated runs throughout the film provides
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a leitmotiv about instant awkwardness and fame via technology. This isn’t Gondry being meta but he’s aware of how kids’ view of the world (and themselves) is being shaped. As he proceeds, each story gets more personal and more poignant. Teen sass, sensitivity and vulgarity
are lovingly observed here; and it’s not faddish as proved by Gondry’s music track featuring the still-charming, ever-enjoyable Young MC rap hits “Bust a Move” and “I Come Off ” from the 1990s. Miraculously, The We and the I achieves the real-world poignance--the horror of high school--that Robert Mulligan sought in the fine but traditionally constructed Up the Down Staircase. Learning from Cassavetes, Godard, even Altman’s California Split, Gondry has made the liveliest, toughest teen movie since Jeff Kreines and Joel DeMott’s Seventeen and Joe Cornish‘s Attack the Block. Gondry’s combo verisimilitude and selfdramatization come from the inside (as in the slo-mo fascination with a girl riding a bicycle alongside the bus) like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Set at the end of spring semester---on the cusp of adulthood--The We and the I takes on the special hell that “school’s out” signifies for every student (as well as every New York straphanger). It’s not nostalgic about adolescence but reveals its complexity and that makes it deeper, sweeter--maybe the movie of the year.
Follow Armond White on Twitter at 3xchair
Antiques, Fine Art and Mid Century Modern Wanted for Consignment or Purchase
“Walk-In Wednesdays”: Free appraisals 12pm-4pm Monthly Multi-Estate Auctions Next Auction: Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 12pm View 400 lots at www.ClarkeNY.com
Theophile Somme: Silvered Bronze Snake Dancer
Eames: Rosewood Chair and Ottoman
Barbara Morgan: Gelatin Silver Print of Martha Graham (1 of 3)
Clarke Auction · 2372 Boston Post Road · Larchmont, NY 10538 Ph: (914) 833-8336 · Fax: (914) 833-8357 · Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ClarkeNY.com www.nypress.com
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Mail Center for Sale Fantastic mail and parcel center on busy Avenue in the heart of Manhattan. Great business grossing almost $1,000,000. Owner retiring. For more information, contact: Estraus@tworld.com
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DONâ€™T LET YOUR CHILD FEEL LIKE A FISH WITHOUT WATER.
OUR TOWN DOWNTOWN
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OUR TOWN DOWNTOWN
Take part in the dialogue on timely & critical issues that shape our lives.
CONFERENCES Photo: ÂŠWireImage.com
NOW through MARCH 31
Solo in the City: Jewish Women, Jewish Stars featuring Sandra Bernhard, Jackie HoďŹ€man, Tovah Feldshuh, Sheba Mason, Rachael Sage, Inna Faliks and Judy Gold.
What is the Reputational Risk of Being Politically Active? A panel of experts addresses this question at Corporate Communication International at Baruch Collegeâ€™s 11th Annual Symposium on Reputation, held at and hosted by PďŹ zer Inc.
Living and Working in a Connected Community, Accessible Technology for All This Annual Conference from Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) features interactive workshops, app recommendations and a â€œBreaking Barriersâ€? award ceremony. Featuring Dr. Judy M. Dixon, Library of Congress.
Photo: The Travelers Companies
Photo: The Rubin Museum of Art
FutureprooďŹ ng Our Cities: Urban Resilience, At What Cost? Problems, Solutions and Pathways to Implementation; a half-day conference featuring key NY City leaders presented by The Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute.
The 8th Annual Burton KossoďŹ€ Business Leadership Lecture featuring Jay S. Fishman Mr. Fishman is chairman and chief executive oďŹƒcer of The Travelers Companies, Inc.
Museums and Higher Education in the 21st Century: Collaborative Methods and Models for Innovation Co-hosted by the School of Public AďŹ€airs and The Rubin Museum of Art.
FOR A COMPLETE CALENDAR OF THE BARUCH
CONFERENCES GO TO
OUR TOWN DOWNTOWN
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
The April 4th, 2013 issue of Our Town Downtown. Our Town Downtown (OTDownTown) is a newspaper for 25 to 40-year-old New Yorkers living, work...