People, politics and palaver

Farewell (for now) concert:

Michael Alan’s Living Installation will give its final show at ABC No Rio, at 156 Rivington St., on Fri., Jan. 20. The interactive event will see “art model” performers strike poses while Alan paints them. Participants can also sketch all the action, or just watch as this art “happening” as it unfolds. All of it will be set to a soundtrack scored by Japanther, The Krays, Geneva Jacuzzi, Renaldo of Renaldo and The Loaf and more. The bands are currently recording the tracks, along with Alan, who is also a musician, and his mom, 74, who sings and talks on them. A double show, there will be performances from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Alan, in a press release, claimed his performance would be the last at ABC No Rio, which he incorrectly said would be torn down at the end of January. However, Steve Englander, the Lower East Side countercultural art center’s director, said that’s not the case at all. “No, no, it’s way off,” he told us. Basically, he said, everyone is trying to claim that their performance will be the last one at ABC No Rio before it’s razed. Englander said, though, that at this point, he’s still booking events through March, so the building will be up at least till then. The arts organization plans to construct a new $3.4 million center on the site. But because it recently received $275,000 from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for the project, a federal environmental review is required, which is delaying the start of things. Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of misinformation out there. “There are people who think the building came down already,” he noted. Over the summer, it was thought that ABC No Rio would, in fact, be demolished before the end of the year, but obviously that timetable is now outdated. Alan said he got his info from his friend, Gary Boake, in ABC No Rio’s print shop, who is also the producer and photographer for his Living Installations. He said Boake warned him that — who knows? — the building might not really stay up through March. Englander admitted that it’s always possible the plans could be pushed up if another donor chips in a big donation for the project — like the anonymous $1 million check they got a while back. Whatever! It sounds like it will be a cool show! For more information, visit http://www.michaelalanart.com/art/upcoming-projects/ .

Right to free speech…and to sue:
Activist Robert Lederman is notifying Washington Square Park musicians, performers and artists to preserve their right to sue if they receive summonses under the city’s new anti-vending law enforcement. He is e-mailing out a link to the personal injury claim form that must be filed with the city “to seek damages for your freedom of expression being taken away in a New York City park by means of summonses, arrest or police harassment.” Individuals have 90 days from the summons date to file a notice of claim. “Based on my experience selling in Washington Square Park the last two weekends — the Park Enforcement Police officer ignored me selling art and ignored various musicians and performers who were seeking donations — it would appear that the Parks Department has called off any further enforcement actions while they decide what to do,” Lederman told artists and buskers in an e-mail.

Schwartz:
Dodge is ‘arrogant’: So we naturally had to ask State Commiteeman Arthur Schwartz what he thinks of Dodge Landesman’s possible challenge to him. Landesman recently told us he’s not 100 percent sure if he’s running yet — but he has a “Dodge Landesman for State Committee” Facebook page, on which he recently promoted his birthday fundraiser. Following the successful event, he posted, “The strong financial showing indicates that it’s time to take the next step forward with this campaign.” Schwartz told us, “I have no problem with someone running against me, even though I would rather spend time raising money for the public-interest law firm — Advocates for Justice — that I helped launch this year than for a political campaign. I don’t understand why Landesman, who lives in Murray Hill, chose to run against me, one of the more active State Committee members in the city — I am now secretary of the Reform Caucus. Or why he wants to run in a district that he has never lived, worked or even gone to school in. I think his decision to run in our community reveals some pretty deep-seated arrogance. I believe that people who run for political office should first cut their teeth on work in the community, preferably work on some grassroots effort to make the community better.” Laying out his accomplishments, Schwartz continued, “I led parks-related community groups for a decade — and got more than $1 million for reconstruction of local parks and the Carmine-Dapolito Recreation Center. I helped found Friends of Hudson River Park, have been on Community Board 2 for 21 years, chairing or vice chairing either the Parks Committee or Waterfront Committee for most of that time. I chaired the Hudson River Park Advisory Council three times, led the Council’s Pier 40 Task Force during the last two R.F.P.s [“requests for proposals” for the pier from developers], serve as counsel to the New York City Parents Union and Class Size Matters in suits over public school overcrowding, sued to keep Costco out of the [former] 14th St. Armory, successfully sued to keep token booths open at the Christopher St. subway station, and have engaged in litigation designed to get a new hospital built on the Lower West Side. Landesman has never done anything in our community.” Also, Schwartz said, judging by past elections, he feels he has the community’s support. “I have run in contested elections four times over the last 16 years,” he said, “twice for district leader, once for State Committee and once for delegate to the Democratic National Convention. I won all four times. I think my neighbors appreciate my work and my steadfast commitment to progressive principles.” Schwartz mentioned another ambitious office seeker, Yetta Kurland. “I would like to see new blood active in Village-Soho-Tribeca electoral politics,” Schwartz said. “But running for office shouldn’t be a candidate’s point of entry. Landesman is a big fan of Yetta Kurland — who ran for City Council with no previous experience in any community struggle — and although I don’t know for sure, I suspect she has a hand in this. I hope not. I’m gearing up my campaign machinery, and Yetta is the first person I have asked to endorse me.” But the path may be cleared for Landesman, since Schwartz noted: “P.S. Here’s an early announcement: If Brad Hoylman runs for City Council — which I suspect he will — I will be running to regain the Village district leader spot I gave up in 2005.” Actually, no slight against Schwartz’s track record of winning, but as we recall, he was strongly nudged out of the district leader seat because local elected officials state Senator Tom Duane, City Councilmember Chris Quinn and Assemblymember Deborah Glick wanted to promote some new blood — i.e. Hoylman — for the office and felt Schwartz, then with two young children, was understandably busy on the domestic front. The State Committee election will be in 2012 and district leader is in 2013. Schwartz said, if elected D.L., he could hold both offices, or give up State Committee. The successor would be chosen by the County Committee. However it plays out, Schwartz apparently won’t be supporting Landesman. “I know several young activists, some active in O.W.S., who live in the district who I would support,” Schwartz said. “What has Dodge done on the Lower West Side to deserve to be our representative?”

Commander’s report:
Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo came to Community Board 2’s recent full board meeting and gave an update on year-to-date crime stats for Greenwich Village’s Sixth Precinct. As of two weeks ago, crime in the precinct was down by 2.5 percent compared to last year, whereas crime is up 0.1 percent in the city over all. There had been one murder so far this year, the same number as last year. There had been 15 rapes so far in 2011 versus 13 in 2010. There were 146 robberies compared to 141 the previous year. Felony assaults (any assault resulting in serious injury) were up a bit, 106 versus 93 the previous year, which del Pozo attributed to more nightlife incidents, such as one bar patron bashing another over the head with a bottle, etc. Burglaries were virtually even, 175 this year and 174 last year, while grand larcenies were down sharply, 937 this year versus 1,000 last year. In addition, del Pozo said that, regarding the Parks Department’s controversial new regulations on buskers in Washington Square Park, police are “waiting for Parks to clarify these rules,” so aren’t doing any enforcement of them as of now. He also admitted there’s an “epidemic of volume and traffic” in the Meatpacking District and that he’ll step up anti-honking enforcement there. He also warned people to be careful about iPod and cell-phone thefts around 14th St. and Eighth Ave. and along W. Fourth St., two hot spots for this crime. “It’s known that this is a place where people have nice electronic devices and are probably not paying attention while using them,” he noted of the Village. The best way to avoid theft, he advised, “is not to be absorbed in your texting as you walk down the street.”

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