Volume 74, Number 22 | September 29 - October 5 , 2004



Scoopy’s notebook

Kudos to Curbed: After The New York Times ran an article on Monday on the increase of porn stores in Greenwich Village, Curbed, a Web site, immediately accused the Times of “muscling in on The Villager’s West Village porn shop obsession.” Curbed, however, noted it was probably “inevitable.” It’s at least nice to know someone’s on your side.

Calvin’s butt: Calvin’s butt — not to be confused with the honorable Reverend Calvin Butts — is causing quite a stink. At Union Sq., at the end of the Critical Mass bike ride last Friday night, we bumped into Abby Wilson, Councilmember Eva Moskowitz’s press secretary. After sharing relief at not getting arrested for pedaling peacefully on bikes, Wilson noted that on a recent visit to P.S. 130 on Baxter St., Moskowitz, the City Council Education Committee chairperson, was approached by a parent indignant over the new Calvin Klein billboard on Houston St. near Lafayette St. — you know, the one showing a young woman pulling down her boyfriend’s Calvins to kiss his fully exposed right butt cheek. Although nothing may have come between Brooke Shields and her Calvins, Moskowitz is apparently ready to come between billboard and butt: Wilson said Moskowitz will probably “write a letter” to Klein and the billboard owner.

Falun flap: The Falun Gong’s visits to local community boards are becoming increasingly stressful for some board members — and at least one board employee — who feel some of the meditation group’s beliefs are homophobic, as well as intolerant of interracial people. At Community Board 2 last week, Arty Strickler, the board’s district manager, brandishing a copy of a recent Scoopy’s Notebook containing Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi’s statement that interracial children have no gods to watch over them, angrily demanded to know what the Falun Gongers had to say about it and also about Hongzhi’s statement that homosexuality is not a “standard of being human.” Coincidentally, the meditation group members who attended the meeting this time included two interracial couples; they denied the statements, one of them later telling The Villager these quotes were from “a Chinese government Web site” intended to smear the group. (The interracial quote, by the way, was reported by the Times.) However, not all board members are down on the group. Jim Smith, C.B. 2’s chairperson, previously wrote a letter to The Villager supporting the Falun Gong. “If you don’t want to buy the B.S., the exercises, which are a form of tai chi, are good for you,” Smith reiterated after last Thursday’s meeting. “I have no fear that any of us are going to be seduced into becoming mindless zombies on the corner with a cup — this is not Hare Krishna or the Moonies.”

BAMRA follies: The Bleecker Area Merchants’ and Residents’ Association met last week and as usual there was no lack for fireworks. On the agenda was the ongoing flap over Charlie Wolf’s request for reimbursement for hundreds of dollars for cab fare and meals in connection with events and local meetings he attended during his recently ended tenure as resident co-chairperson. (We hear that no previous BAMRA co-chairpersons ever had expense accounts, and one member thought that the idea at least should have been cleared by the board beforehand.) In addition, a board officer recently resigned in a huff while denying charges of anti-Semitism.

The mask of Normo: Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel is still fighting the New York State law making it illegal for three or more people in a group in public to wear masks. The five-year-old case, in which Siegel is defending the Ku Klux Klan’s right to wear hoods, is in the U.S. Supreme Court. Illustrating why he thinks masks should be allowed, Siegel offered the case of a woman, whose identity he didn’t reveal, who was at the Aug. 29 United for Peace and Justice march. Siegel said the woman was near the papier mache dragon that was burned outside Madison Sq. Garden, though claimed no connection with the incident. Siegel says police showed up to interview her roommate at 4:30 a.m. one morning and also at a new employer, where she had just started working, to ask about the woman’s political affiliations and whether she was “against the war.” “People thought I was crazy when I took this case. But I knew what could happen,” Siegel said. “I think people have a right to engage in anonymous protest.”

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