Volume 74, Number 30 | December 01 - 07, 2004

From “War in the Neighborhood,” a graphic novel by Seth Tobocman

The art of squatting

The Lower East Side Squatter-Homestead Archive Project held its first event last month, “Excavation Celebration: Excerpts From the Squatter Archive,” at the Sixth Street Community Center. Featured were original artwork, fliers, posters and photographs from the squatters movement of the 1980s and ’90s. There were also screenings of rare films and videos, including a vintage television segment, “Underground in Alphabet City,” in which Ed Asner visited the squats. The star of the Asner film is a very young Rosario Dawson, discovered by the filmmakers on her stoop. Currently appearing in the movie “Alexander” and reportedly in line for the lead in the movie version of “Rent,” Dawson is shown talking about the new stairs her father was making for her loft, which she planned to customize the way she wanted it. “It’s fun,” Dawson said of squatting. “We stick together like a ball. You never know what’s going to happen next.” John Penley, whose photographs were on view, said they eventually hope to scan as much of the material as possible into a digital archive.

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