Volume 77 / Number 46 - April 16 - 22, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Villagers Breakout role: The Villager will soon be hitting the big screen. We recently received a product placement request for permission to use copies of The Villager in the upcoming Uma Thurman film Motherhood. Set in Greenwich Village, the movie also stars Minnie Driver and Anthony Edwards. Without giving away the entire plot, we can tell you that Thurman plays Eliza Welch, a mom with two kids who lives in two separate, sixth-floor walkup apartments in a rundown building in an otherwise upscale Village and is having an extremely challenging day: A film crew takes over her block for a shoot, she battles to find a parking space and she has to walk an incontinent dog and navigate playground politics. Sounds like the kinds of things many local residents typically have to deal with. And, in fact, perhaps its not just pulp fiction, after all, but actually somewhat autobiographical: Thurman lives in the Village and who knows? maybe she even reads The Villager!
Riot concert will rock: It looks like a riot but not a riot anniversary concert has been averted after the Parks Department this week agreed to issue a permit for a weekend of hardcore punk bands commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park riots. John Penley, one of the concert organizers, called us Monday night to report that Bill Castro, Manhattan borough Parks Department commissioner, had signed off on a permit allowing the event to occur with amplified sound in the East Village park on Sat., Aug. 2, and Sun., Aug. 3. Now Chris Flash, whos helping finance the concert and book the bands, just has to take the permit over to the Ninth Precinct and get the commanding officers John Hancock, Penley said. On Tuesday, Cristina DeLuca, a Parks spokesperson, confirmed that Castro has O.K.d the permit. Theyre good to go, she said. Were just waiting for the P.D. to sign off. The Aug. 2-3 weekend is now obviously no longer a so-called quiet weekend without amplified sound, so another weekend in the park will be designated quiet, DeLuca said. In addition to media coverage, such as in The Villager, Penley said helping win the victory was the threat of a lawsuit by their attorney Norman Siegel over the legality of the whole quiet weekend concept. DeLuca, though, said she was unaware of any potential lawsuit. Said Siegel, The initial decision not to grant the permit was wrong, and they corrected it. Its an example where government, when given all the information, sometimes does do the right thing. Siegel is expected to be one of the speakers at the concert, which features a bill boasting so many leftist and radical attorneys it might as well be called Radical Lawyerpalooza. In addition, Penley noted, this years event will for the first time feature a childrens play area called RadKids Art Around the Park, with crayons, paints, paper, snacks and juice. A lot of the squatters from the 1980s now have kids, he noted. Weve got really a lot going on now, he said, the pig roast, the concert and now RadKids Art Around the Park. In related news, the Opie and Anthony radio show e-mailed us last week requesting Penleys phone number, saying theyd been following our coverage of the park permit flap and wanted to interview him on their show. But Penley told them hed only talk over the phone, and they didnt call him back. I think they wanted to go after me, he told us. Theyre right-wing Republicans. They wanted to ambush me.
Menin vs. Gleason, Round I: Concluding what could be the first skirmish in the pending Council District 1 race, the struggle over Julie Menins domain names is over and Pete Gleason must return them like them though he may to Menin. A panel with the National Arbitration Forum ruled that Gleasons buying of all three generic top-level domains juliemenin.com, juliemenin.org and juliemenin.net is consistent with an effort to deprive or at least limit [Menins] full and effective use of her name. The arbitrators slammed as disingenuous Gleasons charge that Menin should have been quicker on the draw and bought her own domain names before he did. Ultimately, N.A.T. found Gleason used the usurped U.R.L.s in bad faith. While Gleason has 10 days after the decision to file a legal challenge, he said he wont. I dont have the time or the inclination to continue this saga, he said, though adding, I think the whole thing has shed light onto the competence of Julie Menin. Menin was simply relieved the entire episode is over, saying, No person should have to have their names taken, and that she hopes her case serves as a model in similar future disputes. Meanwhile, Gleason, a former firefighter, continued to hammer away at Community Board 1 Chairperson Menin and the fact that her husband, Bruce Menin, at one point owned the Varick St. parking lot on which Donald Trump is building his Trump Soho hotel condominium. She still has not answered any of my questions about her family involvement in the Trump Soho, nor has she condemned the project, nor has she used any of her political resources to stop this aberration, Gleason said, adding, I would welcome any and all assistance in stopping this project. Menin fired back: If Pete Gleason came to community board meetings, he would see that Community Board 1 has had a resolution for several years against the Trump Soho site, and that our director of land use [a paid board employee] testified at the Board of Standards and Appeals hearing against the project. Menin reiterated that her husband has no connection to the Trump project, noting of Gleasons charges, Thats ridiculous. Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said C.B. 1 has been against the Trump project from the start and had a strong resolution against the condo-hotel early on. As for Gleasons anti-Trump Soho crusader credentials, Berman said, Ive never met him. Ive never heard his name mentioned in any of the meetings and rallies and press conferences so I cant attest to his involvement in any way. As for when shell declare her candidacy for Council, Menin said, Im very, very seriously considering running and expect to make an announcement very soon say, in a couple of months.
Shining a light on Varvatos: Billy Leroy of Billys Antiques & Props said a man identifying himself as John Varvatos came into his E. Houston St. tent last week and purchased a $150 lamp for his new boutique at the former CBGB space on the Bowery. Saying he knows what the street thinks of the Varvatos shop, Leroy said he checked it out and was pretty impressed. I am glad it is not a bank or a Starbucks and I think John did a tasteful decorating job, Leroy said. However, I did warn him about the ghosts of the dead rockers and junkies that haunt CBs and the Bowery, and offered him an exorcism kit when he was buying a cool lamp.