March madness: During the press conference last Sunday morning before the United for Peace and Justice march, reporters noticed a woman in the Chelsea Savoy hotel at 23rd St. and Seventh Ave. waving a blow-up doll with a handcuff dangling from its wrist. That was weird. More painful was the high-pitched scream of actress Rosie Perez who let loose with a Whats up New York! during her comments at the mic. Short and sweet, thats my style, she said, as reporters were left reeling from her sonic blast. Unfortunately, according to the Daily News, Perez was later arrested by police as she was filming a part for a movie along the march route while wearing a mask. We also learned from Diane Cardwell of the New York Times a useful trick of the trade: how Times reporters calculate crowd size. The Gray Lady figures 4,000 persons per tightly packed block.
Pit stops at McBurney: The McBurney YMCA at 125 W. 14th St. had more visitors than ever before on Sun., Aug 29. when tens of thousands of demonstrators massed along 14th St. between Union Sq. and Seventh Ave. to begin and end their marches protesting the Republican National Convention. Our most popular program that afternoon was the bathrooms, said Christian Miller, McBurney executive director. We stopped counting at 300. The Y was open its usual Sunday hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and had its usual complement of eight staff members and about 800 of its members during the day. Lots of people were just hanging out in front, Miller added. It was a very peaceful crowd.
Liberals need not R.S.V.P.: According to the Associated Press, the Bush-Cheney campaign has held a closed-door rally in New York for hundreds of religious conservatives. Leaders who were introduced at the Faith, Family and Freedom Rally included the Reverend Jerry Falwell, conservative activist Gary Bauer and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. The campaign also distributed written endorsements from Christian leaders including the Reverend Jack Graham, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family. President Bush appeared on video, emphasizing his opposition to abortion and gay marriage. This is one party we dont feel sorry about not crashing.
Secret FEVA: We hear the Federation of East Village Artists is working on a new project that could put FEVA and the HOWL! Festival on firm financial footing for years to come. However, publicizing details about the plan in particular, a certain potentially controversial component could jeopardize not only the project itself, but the very future of FEVA, according to a source. I cannot talk about it at this time, said the FEVA board member. This is a critical moment. If this gets done, there will be a new thriving theater and arts scene on the Lower East Side. Information may be forthcoming in three weeks.
Going North: A lot of beauty and nature, are the reasons that Kathy Kinsella, district manager of Community Board 5 and the Democratic district co-leader of Chelsea, gives for her intended move 107 miles north of Manhattan to Rhinebeck with her partner Christine Holzer sometime in October. Community Board 5 will soon be posting its district manager vacancy to find Kinsellas replacement and the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club is already looking for a new female district leader candidate to be elected this fall by New York County Democratic Committee members from the 75th Assembly District Part A. Rhinebeck, Kinsella assures us, is a progressive town and getting more progressive all the time, so she hopes to continue as a political activist. She doesnt have a job there yet, but shes confident that her community board experience and her previous job as an aide to Assemblymember Richard Gottfried will attract employment offers in Dutchess Co.
ACTing up: Sarah Kovner, a former state committeewoman out of Village Independent Democrats way back during the De Sapio days, who later worked eight years in the Clinton administration, is still up to her eyeballs in political activity. She is busy recruiting Kerry supporters through America Coming Together (ACT) who will go to swing states during the next two months for canvassing and phone operations. She can be reached at 212-261-4311 or -4319. The e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.