Volume 78 / Number 16, September 17 - 23, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since
1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Cracked: The L.E.S. Slacktivists’ sound-permit flap spilled over to the recent HOWL! Festival, causing some howls of frustration from festival organizers. After John Penley, Jerry “The Peddler” Wade and Bill Cashman, Leftover Crack’s manager, argued in federal court that the local crust-core band’s planned concert outside the Ninth Police Precinct on Sept. 5 was being held to unfairly low decibel levels, police apparently felt they had to make a better show of monitoring HOWL! sound levels. Artist James Romberger, whose wife, Marguerite Van Cook, ran this year’s festival, as she did last year, said that “The Death to the Police Rally,” as he called it, caused a headache for HOWL! “We were enforced,” Romberger said. “They stood there all day with whatever those were…sound guns, or whatever.” Actually, Romberger said he’s more concerned about the whole “death” trend of late by local singer/activists, from Leftover Crack’s Sturgeon singing “Kill cops” to David Peel leading choruses of “Die yuppie scum!” “Anyone who’s against the death penalty cannot be behind calling for death,” Romberger stated. “Throwing donuts and pies is O.K., funny, ha ha. But calling for death is anti-reasonable and uncivilized.” Speaking of throwing donuts, we hear that the harassment charge against Sturgeon for trying to pelt police with the pastries on Sept. 5 was dropped but that he was asked to perform 200 hours of community service, which he refused. And as for pitching pies, we’re told Aron Kay, a.k.a. “The Yippie Pie Man” — who, in his heyday, was famed for splattering archconservatives’ faces with cream pies — so exhausted himself attending both national conventions that he landed himself in a Minnesota hospital. … Coming back to Leftover Crack, since last week, when The Villager first reported that Internal Affairs Bureau police officers barged into See Skwat to question Crack’s manager Cashman, more details have emerged. According to a source who requested anonymity, the I.A.B. officers actually inquired about two of the band’s shows in Brooklyn that were effectively shut down by police after they raided the clubs looking for violations, just hours before the shows. The source said it seems police are targeting the band, possibly for its political activities, though, at this point, it’s not exactly clear. ... Meanwhile, beyond the sound-enforcement issues, HOWL! also had to put up with stormy weather that played havoc with outdoor events in Tompkins Square Park. Art Around the Park was cancelled for the whole weekend, not only because of the torrential downpour Saturday afternoon, Sept. 6, but also due to the threat of 50-mile-per-hour winds, which would have ripped the canvases right off the park’s fence. But the festival persevered as best it could. “We don’t have the budget to do a rain date,” Romberger noted. The highlight was a New Orleans-style band march from St. Mark’s Church to the Bowery Poetry Club on Sept. 11, the festival’s closing day and, of course, the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attack. Before the march, a list of names of artists who have died too soon — many, but not all, from AIDS — was read. “The march cheered the hell out of us: ‘Oh, happy 9/11,’ ” Romberger said. That’s the idea of a New Orleans march, he added, to somehow find joy even in the depths of sadness. … For his part, Deputy Inspector Dennis De Quatro, Ninth Precinct commanding officer, said police are holding outdoor events with sound permits to the same standard: 70 decibels measured at a distance of 100 feet. De Quatro said this has been the sound level in the precinct for something like 15 years, or as long as Detective Jaime Hernandez has been the community affairs officer, and was agreed to by the precinct and the Parks Department. Penley said the Crack concert a half-block from the precinct was allowed to be 50 decibels at only 50 feet, but he admitted that might have been because it was on a side street and not in the park.


Herman’s home: Herman Gerson, father of Councilmember Alan Gerson and former Democratic district leader out of the Village Independent Democrats club, recently returned home from the Rusk Institute. He welcomes visits from friends, but call him first to schedule, at 212-533-3565. He is currently being assisted by a health aide.

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