August 2004 Archives

I'm pleasantly surprised by the New York Magazine weblog's coverage of the RNC protests.

Here is their coverage of Reverend Billy's First Amendment protest at the PATH station at the WTC site. I wasn't there, but I found the description quite moving.

6:31 - Inside the station everything seems normal enough. Passengers walk the long cement floor toward the escalator. Some seem to drift, mumbling into cell phones, reciting the first amendment.


6:41 - Reverend Billy enters the station carrying a bullhorn, wearing a white collar, black shirt, a creme colored suit, and sporting an Eric Estrada haircut.

6:42 - The people on the phones grow louder. "Congress shall make no law..."


6:52 - A young couple walks arm-in-arm reciting the first amendment.

Count: Four reading from books, thirty speaking into cell phones.

6:58 - Synchonization:
Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion , or prohibiting the free excercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peacably to assemble; and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Their voices fill this loaded chamber.

7:03 - Circle forms. Reverend becomes clear leader of the group. Bringing the chants to a whisper, then louder, and finally, "Really enjoy it this time!"

7:10 - The choir starts above the site. "George Bush does not return to ground zero," they sing in golden robes accompanied by a woman playing a small saxophone.

7:12 - The police approach the choir, then walk away.

7:15 - The Reverend speaks. "Take the first amendment anywhere. Take it on the subway. Remember the first amendment is a prayer. Send it to our friends in Rikers. Give them strength."

Wow. We're not going to be able to afford anything but cops in NYC after this week. There are 3-6 cops per block on 9th Avenue from 14th to 23rd Streets, and at least 10 per block on 7th and 8th Avenues in the same area.

Big (and I mean that in several ways) presence of NYPD "guarding" Billy's Bakery on 9th Avenue and the Maritime Hotel. Maybe they're looking for some Upper East Side hotties.

Orange cones everywhere. The "Free Speech Zone" running north on 8th Avenue above 23rd Street is empty, and you have to get permission to even enter the sidewalks in that area. We're also seeing cops in plain clothes riding scooters around. It's hard to tell the non-badged thugs from the thugs, since they aren't showing badges.

We have less freedom of movement at the moment than we did downtown in the days after 9/11. See our photos from then for proof.

The geekiest protest sign ever


Awesome! Joy Garnett has more, including an explanation for those less geeky.


UPDATED: Our friend Michelle was marching with said protester.

Congressman Ed Schrock (R-VA) in front of a statue of Saddam Hussein at the Baghdad International Airport. Since this photo was taken, the statue has been removed.

I'm doing my happy dance! Ed Schrock (R-Va) is the second-most conservative member of the House, according to The National Journal. He has a 92% approval rating from the Christian Coalition. He opposes gays in the military, he opposes any protection from being fired for being gay, and he is a co-sponser of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

He is also a closted gay man, and after tapes were released of his personal on a gay sex line, he resigned from the House. Rock on!

BlogActive is the blog that brought this hypocrite down, and it says more are to follow. There's even an MP3 for you to listen to his recording.

After a day of watching my neighborhood under occupation (and below 23rd Street isn't on any map of "security zones"), this really cheered me up.

I just walked up Eighth Avenue. From 7th Avenue to 9th Avenue, from 14th Street to 23rd Street, is all no-parking, no-stopping and no-deliveries. There was no warning other than some fliers the police put up on Sunday night. The stores in our neighborhood are really screwed, with their delivery people having to park blocks away and use handtrucks to bring deliveries in 85+ degree heat.

There are 6-10 cops every block. Many of them are bored and talking on their cell phones, not even pretending to watch for anything. Our tax dollars at work.

[The image is from some kind of pro-war GOP House web site.]

Arrested in Iraq, Arrested in NYC

From Newsday:

Newsday photographer Moises Saman - who spent eight days in an Iraqi prison in 2003 - was taken into police custody yesterday in Times Square while covering a protest related to the Republican convention.

"I was photographing a guy getting arrested and somebody grabbed me from the back with a lot of force and made me fly backwards," said the award-wining photographer, who was at 45th Street and Seventh Avenue at about 5 p.m. when the incident occurred.

"I turned around and it was a police officer in a white shirt," Saman said. "He just said something like, 'You're arrested ... I told you to move.' But he [had] never said anything to me."

Spencer Platt, a staff photographer for Getty Images, who was on the scene, said police had started to arrest some quasi-anarchists on the street corners when officers got rough with Saman and others.

"There were about 10 photographers photographing what I think was an arrest," said Platt. "A cop just walked up, arbitrarily grabbed Moises by his shoulders and just threw him backwards. ... Moises was on the ground, dazed and shocked. We're all yelling, 'What are you doing?' and he picked him up off the street and arrested him. I've never seen anything like it."

Saman, 30, said police handcuffed him and put him in a van with about 10 protesters, took a Polaroid photograph of him, and drove him to the West Side pier, where a temporary processing center has been set up.

"By that time, they already knew about me and they took me aside from the rest of the protesters," Saman said. "They told me they were going to let me go."

Police later said several photographers were taken into custody when protesters blocking the sidewalk were arrested. After officials realized the photographers were members of the media, police said, they were released and no charges were pressed.

Saman said it took about two hours before he was released. An officer then escorted him to the West Side Highway, where he hailed a cab and returned to Times Square to continue work.

The Newsday photographer, along with Newsday reporter Matthew McAllester, was held by Saddam Hussein's security agents at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in March 2003 as U.S. trooped pressed into Baghdad.

Anti-GOP March photos


I only took one, as I was generally holding the sign which said on one side:


and on the other


James has a post and a lot more photos.

I'm listening to right now. The police have cleared the Times Square area of all pedestrians so that the delegates leaving their Broadway shows won't have to see any protesters.


We got home OK. We were near the end of the march, so we started around 11:30-12 at Christopher and 7th Ave and finished at Union Square around 5:30. Tired.

Gothamist Gazette convention blog

Gothamist Gazette has a group blog covering the invasion/convention, with the writers including our friend Jon Winkleman.

Reproductive Rights March

Here are more photos of our march across the Brooklyn Bridge today.

Here is the post James did, with a link to his gallery of photos.

For all of the arts bloggers...

who have added links to this site recently, don't worry. I will probably calm down and write about things art-ish again once the evil Republicans leave Manhattan and go back to screwing us, financially and otherwise.

The Imagine Festival is a good place to find politically-oriented cultural events during this period, as is Joy Garnett's weblog.

I'm following the progress of Critical Mass on right now -- streaming ant-RNC news all weekend.

Good background from Newsday on Critical Mass (emphasis mine):

Hundreds of bicyclists who flout traffic rules could face arrest tomorrow night when police crack down on an unauthorized ride through midtown.

The monthly ride, Critical Mass, has for years proceeded without police intervention even as thousands of riders blocked streets, ignored red lights and took up traffic lanes. Under the law, bicyclists must obey traffic laws, have a working bell and are banned from riding more than two abreast.


The ride is scheduled the last Friday of each month and is meant to encourage pollution-free transportation. It has no preset route, instead following the whim of its leaders, who are not chosen beforehand. It is slated to begin in Union Square at 7 p.m. tomorrow and end at a West Side bar.

A police spokesman would not say why officers avoided ticketing riders for the more than 10 years that Critical Mass has been holding rides. During a ride in June, 1,000 bicyclists took up both northbound lanes on Park Avenue on the way to the South Bronx, ignoring traffic signals. A few riders blocked intersections until the group passed through.

"I'm gonna kill the president"

We saw this play last night at an undisclosed location. I love a play where "moderate" is an insult. Go see it! Here is a Salon article on it.

Get Your Pommes Frites On


Restaurant Florent is having some fun during the convention:

You may have heard that the GOP is coming to town . . .

Well, instead of 4 days of gloom and doom, bitterness and outrage, don't we deserve to have a little pro-active, pro-radical, pro-family-value fun of our own?

Pop into Restaurant Florent Monday, August 30th thru Thursday, September 2nd for "Counter-Conventional," where we'll protest with performances and pommes frites. There'll be a different theme each evening, featuring our most popular Halloween and Bastille Day performers, and 10% of the dinner receipts will be given proudly to not-for-profit groups working to put our America back on track.

Featuring Mr. Murray Hill on the microphone and Lavinia Co-op To benefit the American Civil Liberties Union of New York.

Featuring the revered Reno and the secularly spiritual sounds of Dirty Martini and Tigger. To benefit Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Wednesday night: MARRY THIS!
Featuring Frank DeCaro at the altar with musical guests Ami Goodheart and Daniel Isengart. To benefit Marriage Equality.

Thursday night: NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!
Featuring Mr. Murray Hill, Church Ladies for Choice, Ami Goodheart, and the World Famous *BOB*. To benefit NARAL NY.

There'll be two (scheduled) performances each night, at 8:15 and 10:15. For reservations or more information, call 212-989-5779.

We hope to see you at Restaurant Florent, located at 69 Gansevoort, open 24/7, and, since 1985, the proud home of:

Get Your War On

New one! Click on the image for the rest.


David Rees's new book, Get Your War On II, comes out September 7th.

New Route Map for August 29


There is no rally at the end, just... who knows with a crowd of that size?

Naked ACT UP protesters at MSG


From NY1 - there's a video too.

The police waited 15 minutes before arresting them. Interesting.

A dozen AIDS activists were arrested outside Madison Square Garden Thursday afternoon after they stripped off their clothes and blocked traffic.

The men and women, members of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) said they staged the demonstration in front of the site of next week’s Republican National Convention in order to protest the Bush administration’s policies on AIDS.

“This protest is to tell the naked truth to President Bush and the Republican Party,” said ACT UP member Robert Dabney, who kept his clothes on to talk to reporters. “Our protestors are demanding number one that the president support full debt cancellation for the poorest nations in the world.”

The protestors were standing naked in the street for almost 15 minutes before police put them in handcuffs. Traffic, already slowed by sporadic closures in the area for security preparations, stood at a standstill in the meantime.

ACT UPers were also involved in the anti-Bush banner released in Grand Central last week.

Another cool protest today: a banner outside the Plaza Hotel.


I grabbed that image from the local NBC affiliate, which seems to have some good coverage of both protests.

Also, a new Quinnipiac poll says 71% of New Yorkers think protesters should be allowed to use Central Park during the convention. 68 percent approve of nonviolent civil disobedience!

Organization tips for artists

Good post on this topic (not just for artists I think -- programmers too) by Franklin Einspruch.


House Speaker Dennis Hastert at Ground Zero in '01 with Rudy Giuliani and Gov. Pataki.

Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House and chairman of the Republican National Convention, says in a new book that New York politicians were guilty of an "unseemly scramble" for cash after 9/11.

David Sirota has more.

"Nice shirt, Britney"

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Some day I'm going to get slapped by a midriff-baring Chelsea muscle queen when that pops out of my mouth as I walk down Eighth Avenue.


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Gothamist has become so damn annoying (e.g. this) that I'm hoping Sean's NYC.Metroblogging site can become the NYC-oriented site we can all rely upon.

So much good political art to see

We went to amBUSH at Van Brunt gallery last night. I expect James will have something up about that soon.

Tonight we're going to Watch What We Say at Schroeder Romero (nothing on the site), opening 6-9.

There is a lot more. I recommend watching Joy Garnett's blog for places to go. I will try to keep up with my arts calendar linked on the home page too.

Rooftop banners in Brooklyn

I love this story. I heard about it on the radio yesterday.

Bright blue tarps, painted with glaring yellow letters, are going up on dozens of rooftops in Brooklyn, under the flight paths into busy New York airports. Thousands of delegates and convention guests peering down at the city might see messages like "No more years" and "Re-defeat Bush."

"We just hope that they'll look down and ask themselves, 'Why, why do they feel so strongly? Why is it that New York feels this way?'" said Genevieve Christy, who has painted more than 80 banners since thinking of the idea a few weeks ago.

The movement is so popular in her neighborhood that Christy, a 57-year-old consultant, is putting orders on a waiting list. She even brought supplies with her on vacation so she could keep working.

The NYC police and firefighters don't have to worry about barricades, or someone telling them when and where they are allowed to protest.

From today's New York Times:

And in recent weeks, the mayor has been drawn into another protest battle, with firefighters and police officers who have trailed him at his public events, holding loud and sometimes raucous demonstrations. Last week, they even gathered outside his home at 1 a.m., clearly violating the city's noise code by yelling loudly and at length.

During at least two other protests, police officers and firefighters moved freely without barricades, at times blocking traffic in the street. A group of police officers and firefighters also swarmed the mayor outside a community meeting, forcing his detail to hustle him into his S.U.V., which was momentarily blocked before it pulled out.

No firefighters or police officers were arrested at any of these events. By contrast, during that same time, four women were arrested after trying to hang an antiwar banner from a hotel window in Midtown, and four other protesters who erected a tent near the south end of Central Park to protest Bush administration economic policies were arrested and detained for hours. The Police Department said that police officers and firefighters had not been given any special treatment.

The city has been signaling that it will deal with convention protesters forcefully, permit or no permit.

The dumbest piece of clothing...

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... from today's trip to the gym. An occasional series.


It's listed under the "fashion" baseball caps on their site.



Via one of my newest daily reads, ionarts, I just learned of a new collaborative art and culture blog called ArtsBlogging. One of the contributors is the harpist Helen Radice. I nearly spit my coffee out onto my computer when I read this on her personal weblog:

... I would like to read a good book about Wagner and the Third Reich.

Could anybody recommend one? There are so many I am rather at a loss, although the one entitled Penetrating Wagner's Ring made me laugh so hard I had to leave Borders.

Conrad Cummings: Photo-Op

I have written before about Conrad Cummings on bloggy. Now is your chance to see his brilliant political opera Photo-Op, with a libretto by James Siena.

Monday, August 30, 2004 - shows at 6:30pm and 8:30pm
Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia Street, New York, NY.
Tickets available at the door; $15 with a one drink minimum.
$5 discount for anyone who presents convention floor credentials!

You can listen to samples on Avian Music's web site.

Amazon has the CD.


I'm not kidding. That's actually the headline on the article on the official NYC visitors site.

This comes one day after Bloomberg tells us that free speech is a privilege, not a right.

"People who avail themselves of the opportunity to express themselves ... they will not abuse that privilege," he said at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "Because if we start to abuse our privileges, then we lose them, and nobody wants that."

Spiral Jetty

Todd Gibson (From the Floor) visited the Spiral Jetty recently. Here is the first post about it. Not only is it not submerged, it's currently land-locked!

Museum shows in LA

We saw some great museum shows while in LA. I really enjoyed the fact that we could see interesting modern and contemporary work in the museums, as the NYC ones haven't been great about that lately with the exception of the Whitney.

I already mentioned the (now closed) minimalism show at MOCA, which was brilliant. Other shows we saw of note:

Made in Mexico, Rob Voerman, and Tara Donovan at the UCLA Hammer. I especially liked the work by Anton Vidokle and Andrea Fraser's video. It's one of my favorite works by her that I've seen.

Beyond Geometry at LACMA. I agree with Tyler Green that the premise is a bit baffling, but I loved the show. We didn't make it to the show on race and 18th century colonial Mexican painting, but we wanted to. LACMA is free after 5PM all summer so you get a cooler mix of people at the shows than a museum might normally have. I like the open terraces between the buildings there.

If you like Tara Donovan's work, you should also check out Sharon Louden. See here and here.

Hamburgers at Peek's

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We had lunch here yesterday, on the old Route 66. It was the last day for these owners (after 30 years), having sold the place. We got some (actually rather tasteful) Route 66 t-shirts for $10 each, and she threw in some Peek's trucker hats. Be very afraid...

More photos.

Chung King Galleries

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The hotel only has dial-up in the rooms, so posting won't happen too often, or be very link-ish.

On Saturday we went to some of the Chung King galleries. Highlights:

Brad Borevitz's video titled PornoCopia: 10 Machines for Fucking Your Eyes Out and 1 Romantic Interlude, which uses wacky image manipulation, like screens which break into geometric "shards" with the original source material being hard-core gay porn. Good soundtrack too of various mixed music. At 4-F gallery.

Terence Koh at Peres Projects. You may know of his previous "incarnation", asianpunkboy.

Rosson Crow, Andrew Guenther, and LoVid at The Happy Lion.

We also went to the minimalism show at MOCA, which was very good. We spent so much time there we didn't make it to sixspace, but we did have drinks with Caryn, Sean, and their friend Mike later at the beautiful Millenium Biltmore.

After drinks we had dinner at The Standard Downtown's "coffee shop." I was surprised by how great the food was, given the over-the-top scene. They have a Calder mobile and a Jenny Holzer scrolling LED text piece in the lobby, along with a pool table and plenty of bouncers. Our waitress was like Suzanne Sommers's character on Three's Company, but maybe 10-15 years later. We loved her. At one point, when she started to pour more wine for us, we told her, "That's OK. We'll pour it." Usually, people are offended when we do that. This time, the response was, "Thank you! I appreciate that!"


Updated: Oops, left off one great show: Tapestry From An Asteroid at David Kordansky, with some of the artists we know from NYC galleries like Foxy Production, Daniel Reich, and John Connelly Presents. I especially liked the sculpture by Sterling Ruby.

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