Volume 80, Number 48 | April 28 - May 4, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Another shot of Tequila:
Photojournalist Tequila Minsky asked us to clarify that she wasn’t merely on a “visit” to Haiti last year when the earthquake hit, as we stated in our article two weeks ago on the newspaper’s NYPA contest awards. Minsky won three first-place awards for her on-the-scene photos and reporting on the disaster. “I was there on my own personal assignment,” Minsky said. “I had a series of projects I was going to pursue. I did accompany a delegation to visit a peasants organization in the countryside that is concerned with food. And one of the projects I was going to work on was the mango industry as a viable income-generating industry for Haiti.” Another organization Minsky said she was interested in documenting was Fonkozé, a micro-credit organization working to support small businesses.    

No good news on Weiwei:
After Clayton Patterson’s article in last week’s issue about his friend artist Ai Weiwei, who was detained by Chinese authorities earlier this month for alleged “economic crimes,” the L.E.S. documentarian received the following e-mail from Weiwei’s studio. The news still isn’t good: “Dear Clayton, I read your article, and thank you for your support for Weiwei. Unfortunately we have not heard anything about him. I am minimizing the use of this e-mail now as it is not secure. We are all hoping to hear some news about where he is and when we will be able to be in contact with him. Best, E-Shyh.”

Traveling N.Y.U. gym:
At New York University’s roll-out last month of its revised superblocks plans, university senior vice president Lynne Brown confirmed that N.Y.U. would build a temporary gym in Washington Square Village’s garden courtyard when it tears down its Coles Gym on Mercer St. The temporary gym, however, would not contain a swimming pool due to weight issues, she noted. N.Y.U.’s ultimate plan is to add two so-called “boomerang buildings” on the W.S.V. block and rebuild the gym on the southern superblock as part of a new development there.

There outta be a law:
F. Seidenbaum’s exposé in last week’s issue on the abrupt, albeit temporary, closing of the Jefferson Market Library for renovations prompted reader Alan Jacobs to urge the library to take this opportunity to add one more sorely needed improvement to its work list. “If only they would install bathrooms for the public! Isn’t there some law about that?” he fumed. Sharon Woolums confirmed that Jacbos’s plaint is accurate — that the stately library has nary an adult bathroom. “Correct! Isn’t that disgusting!” she said. “There is for the children on the first floor but not for anybody else. I believe there should be a law insisting that there be one. Perhaps there is one already?”

HOWL!’ing in June:
East Village photographer Shell Sheddy gave us the update on this summer’s HOWL! Festival of the Arts. One major change is that HOWL! won’t be occurring in September this year, but much sooner. Art Around the Park and the performances in Tompkins Square Park will be held June 3, 4 and 5, according to Sheddy. Meanwhile, Sheddy and singer/multi-format artist Phoebe Legere will be running Underground HOWL! throughout the month of June. Underground HOWL! will feature a symposium panel series on feminism, censorship, community and activism, held at 221 E. Second St., art shows around the neighborhood, live art performances and an alternative Art Parade where the “Official Flag of the New York Underground” will be unfurled. Jane Friedman and Nathaniel Siegel will be running the main HOWL! In October, there will be another event, HOWL! Help, intended to assist artists with medical insurance, housing and other pressing needs.

Forward-looking museum fest:
Sheddy noted there will be a booth on the Bowery with information about the HOWL! Festival at the New Museum’s upcoming StreetFest for its Festival of Ideas for the New City on Sat., May 7, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The “innovative, minimal waste” StreetFest will feature more than 100 local grassroots organizations and small businesses presenting model products and practices.” As for the future-oriented Festival of Ideas itself, it will run from May 4 to 8, and will, according to the museum’s Web site, “involve scores of Downtown organizations, from universities to arts institutions and community groups, working together to effect change.” It will take place in multiple Downtown venues, including more than 100 independent projects and public events.

Save Tribes!
In the ongoing community effort to save the East Village’s A Gathering of the Tribes gallery and performance space, Two Boots Pizza held a “Save the Tribes Day” fundraiser on Tuesday. All the day’s pizza sales from all of Two Boots’ seven Manhattan stores were donated to the E. Third St. art space. That night, an open-mic performance and poetry fundraiser was held at Tribes’ threatened longtime home. Poet and playwright Steve Cannon bought 285 E. Third St. in 1970, and founded Tribes 20 years ago, when he converted part of his apartment into an informal salon. Soon after, his place evolved into an important performance venue and meeting place for local artists in all disciplines. Cannon, who subsequently lost his sight to glaucoma, sold the building in 2004 to help finance the organization’s programing, and has since paid rent to continue occupying the space. But he recently found out the new owner intends to sell the property.

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