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April 30th, 2008


by D. Clark MacPherson

William C. Thompson Jr.

The rumors about Bill Thompson‘s interest in running for Mayor in 2009 were certainly not denied, but when we spoke he was more interested in talking about his current job. And what he is particularly proud of is his role in helping the City’s disadvantaged through improvement of health care and education. Through the powers of his office, he has conducted audits of several City agencies (including the Department of Education and the Human Resource Administration) in order to uncover waste, mismanagement and fraud. He has also helped to save programs such as Meals-on-Wheels for the elderly and protected the City’s recycling program through the efforts of the Comptroller’s Office.

Among the issues that he has championed in disadvantaged communities are health care, housing and banking. He has also addressed the problems facing non-English speaking New Yorkers who have had difficulty utilizing the health care system. As a result of his Community Action Center, Bill Thompson has also assisted nearly 50,000 people in New York City who have had problems with pensions, City services, housing and health care.

With the power of $100 billion in City Pension funds, Thompson’s office has also been a major force in investments affecting affordable housing.

Bill Thompson is the son of a teacher and a judge; as a life-long resident of Brooklyn, he is committed to New York City. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | News | Politics

April 30th, 2008


by Delbert Grady

Well, Mr. Boomer, you’ve always gotten your way from the moment you were born. And there were so many of you that everyone else had to suffer your collective arrogance, from flower power to McMansions. Since you’ve never had a serious financial reversal (until now), you fully expected to sell your monstrously over-sized house with the Kohler Pharaoh’s sinks and granite countertops to retire with a millionaire’s lifestyle on a golf course somewhere, in some brave new world free of the long-term realities of economics, entitlements and what is now just an over-the-hill population group soon to be no longer able to create wealth for itself. Welcome to the machine. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | Politics

April 30th, 2008

WILLIAM CALHOUN’S BLACK HOLES @ PS 122: 5/1/8 – 5/4/8.

by John Coakley

Two-time Grammy Award winner Will Calhoun presents Black Holes, a world music concert/multi-media event that is part of PS 122’s Best of the Boroughs festival. Perhaps best known as the virtuosic drummer for Living Colour, William Calhoun has treated that band’s success as a springboard to travel the world and discover new rhythms. In Black Holes, he will bring those rhythms to life via electronic percussion loops, drums and flutes. Collaborators such as poet Louis Reyes Rivera, a nightly guest vocalist, and a dancer performing African dance and ballet will help flesh things out. Images and film from Calhoun’s music research expeditions in Africa, Central and South America will work with the sounds in synchronizes time. This promises to be fresh, vital stuff – an excellent introduction to world music for people who might otherwise think of it as the sonic equivalent of eating food with too many legs while on vacation. Go.

Black Holes: a new work by Bronx-based musician Will Calhoun
Sponsored by Harlem Stage
Performance Space 122
150 1st Ave. (@ E. 9th St.)
New York, NY 10009
General Info: (212) 477-5288
Get tickets here.

May 1 – May 4
Thursday at 7pm
Friday at 10 pm
Sunday at 7 pm
(no show Saturday, May 3)

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 29th, 2008


by D. Clark MacPherson

350 West Broadway. Shoring up just one more leaning building in SoHo.

“Crime does not pay….as well as politics.”
Alfred E. Newman

Prince Street Pedestrian Mall.
After much gnashing of teeth, Community Board #2 recommended denial of a plan to turn Prince Street into a weekend pedestrian mall. The thought of consecrating the vendor problem by now allowing tourists and additional street paraphernalia to overwhelm the ability of residents trying to enter or leave their apartments was apparently too much. The majority of businesses objected to the plan as well. While supporters contended that the mall concept would actually reduce vendors, residents didn’t buy it. Sean Sweeney and the SoHo Alliance came out in force against while Ian Dutton and the bicyclist’s interests were in favor of the plan. Margaret Forgione, D.O.T. Commissioner, convinced Henry Buhl of the SoHo Partnership that it would be a good move but she neglected to take the pulse of a broad spectrum of residents and businesses that were not consulted. Many felt that this was an idea that was generated and pushed by those who are not from SoHo but who had fantasies about what SoHo should become. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Community | New York | News | Politics

April 29th, 2008


by John Coakley

Harry Caul is a troubled, guilt-ridden loner and surveillance expert who listens in on other people’s conversations for the right price. Harry is known as one of the best there is in the insular world of freelance surveillance, but even in that tight circle of peers he is isolated and ill at ease, especially when a particular conversation pushes too forcefully into his personal life.

Based on Francis Ford Coppola’s film of the same name, “The Conversation” debuted – with Coppola’s blessing – in Chicago three years ago. The 29th Street Rep is a fitting New York home for Kate Harris’ tense, insightful adaptation; they’re known for putting on productions of challenging work by the likes of Shepard and Bukowski. The show ends soon, so get seats while you can.

Order now (and save 5 bucks) by mentioning code CONVE3 when calling SmartTix at 212-868-4444 or online here.

The 29th Street Rep
212 W. 29th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.
Through Sunday, May 4th @ 8pm

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 28th, 2008


by John Coakley

Untitled, Summer 2006 (detail).

Gregory Crewdson’s photographs tend to make the mundane seem inexplicably heightened – sometimes dreamlike, somtimes spiritual. Another way to think of the impossibly precise clarity that he acheives is that it brings to mind those moments when, through either heightened awareness or an unusually intense feeling, everything around you seems brighter, more defined. That’s a helpful sensation to replicate for others through one’s art. Thanks, Gregory.

Gregory Crewdson
Apr 5 – May 3, 2008
Luhring Augustine
531 West 24th Street
New York, NY
Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 24th, 2008


by John Coakley


Erin Morrison is a young artist who had originally planned to be a medical illustrator, a sensible decision for someone with her talent. Fortunately, she took the fine art path instead and has a solo show in SoHo at the ripe old age of 23. Don’t hate – her work is creative and intriguing, capable of stoking one’s imagination. Definitely worth a look.

William Bennett Gallery
presents Erin Morrison
Saturday April 26
6pm – 9pm
65 Greene Street
SoHo, NY

Please RSVP to Julia Massaro via email at
or via telephone at 212-965-8707

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 23rd, 2008


by John Coakley

Max Von Sydow, finally realizing his full potential after spinning his wheels with that Ingmar Bergman person.

Mike Hodges’ Flash Gordon is quite possibly the most fun you will ever have while watching a science fiction film. It’s a loud, brash, colorful extravaganza of over the top acting, eye-burning sets and costumes, and the highest of camp. The special effects are often cheesy and impossibly gorgeous at the same time, and the soundtrack is by Queen. Yep, every bit of music is by one of the best rock groups to ever enter the studio. Better recognize. Look for Timothy Dalton as a kind of uptight Robin Hood character, Richard O’Brien of Rocky Horror fame in a small role, Fiddler on the Roof’s Topol as Dr. Hans Zarkov, and of course Max Von Sydow as Ming the Merciless. Bring the kids – the younger ones will be enthralled and the cynical teens will have a lot to laugh at. You, as the wise adult, will be able to appreciate the film on both levels.

Symphony Space
2537 Broadway @ 95th St.
New York, NY
(212) 864-5400
April 26 @ 11:00am + 2:00pm

Get tickets here.

Watch the preview here.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 23rd, 2008


by John Coakley

From It Only Takes a Second, the best insurance instructional video ever.

Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher began collecting discarded and donated videotapes seventeen years ago after stumbling across a training video entitled, “Inside and Outside Custodial Duties” in a McDonald’s break room. Since then, they have compiled an impressive collection of home movies (picnic fires) late night infomercials (E-Z Catch Chicken Harvester) and best of all, life insurance instructional videos (too many wonderfully inane things to mention). Pickett and Preuher will be on hand to introduce the clips and put them in the proper sociopolitical contexts. This is what America’s Funniest Home Videos should have been but could never possibly be.

Click here for a preview of the live show.

Found Film Festival @
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 505-5181
April 25 @ 7:00P
April 25 @ 9:00P
April 26 @ 7:00P
April 26 @ 9:00P

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 22nd, 2008


by John Coakley

Aoife Collins interprets Robert Smith of the Cure.

Aoife (say Ee-fa) Collins is an Irish artist who will be presenting her multidisciplinary sculptural and two dimensional pieces, most of which explore sentimentality and melancholy in one way or another. For a far more detailed and hifalutin’ analysis of her work, click here.

Aoife Collins—Wet Eye
Opens Thursday, April 24th, 6 – 8pm
Runs April 25 – June 14, 2008
Tuesday-Saturday 12 noon to 6 pm
Location One
26 Greene Street (Grand/Canal)

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 22nd, 2008


by John Coakley

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has approved a regulation requiring that, as of January 1, 2009, all black car vehicles coming into service must achieve a minimum city mileage rating of 25 miles per gallon. By January 1, 2010, all new black car vehicles must have a minimum city driving rating of 30 mpg. The iconic New York City black car, Lincoln Town Car, currently has a rating of 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.

This is an excellent first step, and when one considers the abuse these cars take on a daily basis, it probably won’t be too many years until all of the old town cars have been replaced by more efficient vehicles. Happy Earth Day.

For more details, click here.

Filed Under: Community | New York

April 21st, 2008


by John Coakley

Jack DeJohnette at work.

Don’t ask Bobby McFerrin to sing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” or else he’ll put a foot up your ass. Okay, probably not. Bobby’s a gentleman, by all accounts. But he is sick of that song, and rightly so – his talents run deeper than that catchy-like-a-disease pop song of days gone by. He can make astoundingly odd sounds and put them to work in unexpected ways, and he’ll be performing with Chick Corea, the mind-bending pianist behind Weather Report and countless solo albums.

The third name here – one that should definitely be on the marquee along with the other two – is Jack DeJohnette, a drummer of uncommon invention and grace. He’s played with everyone from McCoy Tyner to Hiles Davis to Herbie Hancock, and he had an entire line of cymbals invented just for him because nothing else sounded quite right. This will be a good night of improvisational music well worth leaving the house for; you can always Tivo American Idol, where, if you’re lucky, someone may very well sing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” just for you.

Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea
Wednesday, 4/23/8, 8PM
Carnegie Hall
154 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10106
Get tickets here.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York | Take Action

April 20th, 2008


by John Coakley


Spring Awakening: These kids did not get any sexual education at school. If you’ve seen the play, you already know that they really should have.

Our fair city has some of the highest teen pregnancy and STD rates in the nation. Yet NY’s schools are not required to provide any kind of sex education for their students. So if you’re a teenager whose parents are too cowardly to tell you the facts of life, you might get lucky and go to a school whose principal has decided to work Sex Ed (hopefully not abstinence only) into the curriculum. Or you might not, in which case you may get your information from your equally misinformed peers or internet porn. Not good.

Fortunately, the good folks at Planned Parenthood have put together a petition asking NYC Chancellor Joel Klein to change this sorry state of affairs. You have until May 1st to sign this petition, and as incentive, a pair of tickets to the sadly prescient Spring Awakening will be given away each week between now and then. So get to it. Our kids deserve better than ignorance.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | Events | New York | Take Action

April 19th, 2008

SUPHALA @ DROM: 4/22/8 @ 8PM.

by John Coakley


Suphala is an Indian-American tabla player who has worked with Sean Lennon, Perry Ferrell, Timbaland, Lady Ms. Kier, and Yoko Ono, to name only a few. Or, in some cases, they have worked with her – Norah Jones sang on 2005’s The Now. She clearly has the respect of the musical world for mixing traditional Indian music with modern, western grooves. Her current album, Blueprint, includes collaborations with Vernon Reid and Edie Brickell and is perfect background music. That’s not at all insult; it simply means you can tune the music out if you wnat to read or hold a conversation but you’ll be amply rewarded whenever you tune back in. When you see her live you won’t want to tune out at all, though you may want to indulge in Drom’s very promising menu of international bar food. Go.

85 Avenue A between 5th and 6th Streets
Tuesday, 4/22/8
$15 – click here for tickets

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 18th, 2008


by John Coakley

From Frank Miller’s Big Fat Kill, 1994.

The East Side gets the Pope this weekend. The West Side gets New York Comic Con 2008. Winner: The West Side.

You can meet the creators (Frank Miller, Kyle Baker, Jessica Abel, etc.) as well as the actors who are connected with comic-related fims or animation (Selma Blair, Kal Penn, James Urbaniak, etc.) and you can blow your whole paycheck on that Near Mint copy of X Men #136, to say nothing of all of the other comics, books, movies, toys, and paraphenalia you’ll discover on the way to that cherished totem of childhood lost.

So join the throngs struggling for a peek of the white truck with the sexually repressive old man inside if you must. To each their own. But you’ll probably have more fun at the Javits Center.

‘Nuff said.

New York Comic Con 2008
Jacob K. Javits Center
655 West 34th Street

8 AM – 8 PM: April 18
8 AM – 7 PM: April 19
8 AM – 5 PM: April 20
Weekend passes are $65, Friday passes are $40, Saturday passes are $45, and Sunday passes are $40.
Children 12 and under are admitted for free on Kids Day — Sunday, April 20.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | Events | New York

April 17th, 2008

THINGS TO DO WITH THE KIDS: 4/17/8 + 4/19/8.

by John Coakley


Opening at Chelsea Dia today is Wrestling With the Blob Beast, Ezra Johnson‘s collection of painterly screensavers that range from the soothing (Fly shows a tiny plane working it’s way across a vast blue sky.) to the thought-provokingly funny, such as the piece in which hands morph into paint strokes and then a dog’s face and then back into paint. A nice way to get the kids thinking creatively.

Wrestling With the Blob Beast by Artist Ezra Johnson
Opening Reception Thursday, April 17, 2008 from 6pm to 8pm
Dia Art Foundation
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10011
212 989 5566


Celebrate Earth Day a couple days early by taking the kids to the Scholastic store to learn about ways to help the environment – they’ll also have a chance to plant some trees, though how they’ll pull that off in the store, I don’t know. You’ll just have to go to find out.

Earth Day
Sat. 4/19, 3pm; Ages 5+; Free.
The Scholastic Store
557 Broadway (bet. Prince & Spring)

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | Events | New York

April 16th, 2008


by John Coakley

Anis Animatus L, H and D, 2006

Animatuseum is Hyungkoo Lee‘s first solo exhibition in the United States; it was also shown at the Korean Pavilion of the 2007 Venice Biennale. Lee’s resin and steel sculptures are an anatomically accurate take on popular cartoon characters, like Donald Duck’s nephews above. The scientific titles convey the seriousness of the work put into these pieces; they also keep the artist from being sued by Disney. This show ends Saturday, so get a move on.

Hyungkoo Lee
Through April 19, 2008
Arario Gallery
521 W 25th St

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 15th, 2008


by John Coakley

Jeff Muhs is a Southampton based artist who creates large canvases of amorphous, colorful shapes bleeding into one another. That kind of Frankenthalerism can fail pretty miserably sometimes, but Muhs’ work provides a certain emotional impact, even if one can’t quite define it. Worth a look.

Cheryl Hazan Gallery
35 North Moore Street
New York, NY 10013

Opening Reception
4/16/8, 6-8pm

April 16 – May 14, 2008

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York | the Hamptons

April 14th, 2008


by You the Reader

Tune in.

Thanks to 9/11 Environmental Action for the heads up.

“Why is the ‘War on Cancer’ Being Fought with the Wrong Weapons, the Wrong Leaders, and in All the Wrong Places?” airs today on WBAI-FM (99.5 FM in NYC) and at 1:30 pm EDT. Devra Davis, MD, author of “The Secret History of the War on Cancer,” will explain her devastating critique of how and why the cancer establishment – under the leadership of big industry, big medicine and big science – has failed.

Davis, who is director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, will discuss the alarming findings of her latest book and how the leaders of the ‘War on Cancer’ have responded to them. The program airs on April 14 on WBAI 99.5 FM. It is simultaneously webcast at The 30-minute segment on is the second half of the 1:00 pm weekly “Health Action” radio program. The program will be available here for 90 days. Look for the “Health Action” on 4/14.

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | Politics | Take Action

April 13th, 2008


by You the Reader


A message from Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation about the future of St. Vincent’s and the neighborhood it is meant to serve.

Please come to the critically important Continued Landmarks Preservation Commission Public Hearing on the proposed Rudin and St. Vincent’s demolitions and luxury condo & hospital development

This may be the last opportunity to testify before the LPC before they make a decision on this application. ANYONE who did not speak or have their testimony read at the last public hearing can and should testify on Tuesday. Even if you cannot testify, we need you there to let the Commission know HOW STRONGLY the public feels about this precedent-setting proposal.

Please go here for sample testimony
you can use on the 15th OR for a sample letter to send to the LPC if
you have not already written to them.

Go here for more information on the
Rudin/St. Vincent’s proposal.

Tuesday, April 15
9:30 am
at NYU’s Kimmel Center
60 Washington Square South, 10th floor
Bring Photo ID to enter; sign up as early as 9 am to speak.

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | Take Action

April 12th, 2008

GET YOUR GISH ON @ FILM FORUM: 4/13/8 + 4/14/8.

by John Coakley

The other hand says ‘HATE;’ not the turn-the-other-cheek kind of preacher.

Film Forum is celebrating United Artists’ 90th anniversary with a retrospective of some its most notable films. Night of the Hunter is among them, and if you haven’t seen this film you really need to cancel whatever plans you have for Sunday or Monday and go. Robert Mitchum plays the archetypal charming religious fanatic with all of the suave menace he can muster – and no one mustered menace like Mitchum. Say that ten times fast. Hunter is also the only film to have been directed by Charles Laughton, an accomplished actor perhaps best known for his portrayal of Quasimodo in 1939’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He mixes film noir, the Brothers Grimm and German Expressionism with amazing skill, and all in the service of telling one hell of a gripping suspense tale. Stellar performances are also given by Shelley winters and Lillian Gish.

It’s silent, so you won’t hear a horrible impersonation of an Asian accent, a la Mickey Rooney in Breakfast of Tiffany’s.

Gish is the star of Broken Blossoms, also on this double bill. This 1919 DW Griffith melodrama – I know, who thought he directed anything but epics – takes place in London, where Gish’s waif, the victim of her father’s physical abuse, is befriended by Richard Barthelmess’ Chinese outsider. Is it racist? Well, yes. But not in the same vitriolic way as Birth of a Nation. This actually may be the first example of the minority-as-virtuous-defender-of-white-person stereotype, and there is much to be learned from seeing where these cinematic patterns originated. Live piano accompaniment helps make it seem less like homework and more like a swell day at the pictures. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 11th, 2008

9/11 ILLNESS MEETING @ BMCC: 4/13/8 @ 3PM.

by You the Reader

Some of you are still trying to get this out of your lungs. Let’s do something about that.

Thanks to 9/11 Environmental Action for the heads up.

* Learn about WTC illnesses and available treatment at the WTC Environmental Health Center (Bellevue, Gouverneur, and Elmhurst Hospitals).

* Call on our government officials for full recognition of the WTC health fallout and federally-funded, comprehensive 9/11 health care that responds to ALL our needs.

* Speak out about our evolving health problems and needs directly to elected officials.

Sunday, April 13, 2008, 2pm
Borough of Manhattan
Community College (BMCC)
199 Chambers St., NY, NY 10007
Trains: 1/2/3/A/C to Chambers

For more information and to register, contact:

Beyond Ground Zero Network, (212)358-0295
or 9/11 Environmental Action, (917)647-7074 Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | Politics | Take Action

April 11th, 2008


by You the Reader


On Saturday, April 12th, the New York Civic Participation Project (NYCPP) and the Long Island Civic Participation Project (LICPP) will be launching their Votes and Voices political education training series. Topics that will be covered include how to build and transform political power, the electoral system and concrete skills building for electoral campaign work. The Votes and Voices training series will be held on three Saturdays: April 12th, April 26th and May 31st.

Votes & Voices New York City:
101 Avenue of the Americas
4/12/8, 10am-4pm

Please contact Zahida Pirani, or (212) 388-3664 if you or your organizations’ members would be interested in participating.

Votes & Voices Long Island:
SEIU Local 32 BJ Long Island office
2545 Hempstead Turnpike, Suite 300;
East Meadow NY 11554.
4/12/8, 4/12/8, 2pm-5pm

For more information, contact Domenico Romero, LICPP Director at (347) 387-2841 or

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | Politics | Take Action | the Hamptons

April 10th, 2008


by John Coakley


Join Gotham Girls Roller Derby for their annual rookie induction ceremony where 12 new skaters (aka “Fresh Meat”) will be christened with their official derby names. The theme this year is “Dames of Derby – a Film Noir Dance Party.” Mingle with femme fatales, innocent heroines and hard-boiled detectives as the results of the draft are unveiled.

The 2008 Derby-Taunt Ball is made possible with support from Shmaltz Brewing and Coney Island Lager (CHEAP DRINKS!) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (FREE FOOD!). Also expect goodies like door prizes, raffle fun and more.

Festive film noir attire is strongly encouraged so break out your best Bogart trench coat and don your best Veronica Lake hairdo for a night of intrigue, secrets and surprises.

Sunday, April 13th
125 5th Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Doors at 7:30, Fresh Meat Induction Ceremony at 9:30
Tickets: $14 Advance online or $18 at the door. Click here for tickets.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

April 8th, 2008


by John Coakley


Nick Lowe has been making music for about 40 years now, and unlike some of his peers, he has aged quite gracefully; click here for proof. Remember “Cruel to Be Kind”? That was him. Elvis Costello and the Attractions? He was there for that too. His live reputation is sound, so don’t worry about getting a Dylanesque mumblefest. And don’t miss the opening act. Robyn Hitchcock has also been making smart, melodic pop for ages (remember “Balloon Man”?) and is further evidence of British superiority in all things lyrical. Just sayin’.

Click here for tickets.

Nick Lowe w/ Robyn Hitchcock
Wednesday, 4/9/8 @ 7pm
Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom
311 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York





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