Gross Opportunism

[This is part of the Release the Kraken! series.]

August 27, 2013

I was walking home from work yesterday (Aug. 28) when a headline caught my eye (the way they’re meant to): “East Village raises $18,000 for florist hurt by drag racer”.

Instead of leading the story with something like “Lack of affordable health insurance leaves people vulnerable”, they write a self-congratulatory story about a fund-raiser for the injured person:

Among the many who gave funds to the campaign for Ali was Veselka restaurant, which made one of the biggest contributions at $500. The biggest donor, though, was a tattoo shop, which went only by the tag “STI,” which gave $1,000. … Bob Holman of the Bowery Poetry Club also contributed, with the encouraging message posted on the GiveForward site, “Strength.” Activist and journalist Bill Weinberg, who leads tours for the new MoRUS museum on Avenue C, donated. Also giving was State Democratic Committeewoman Rachel Lavine, who lives in the West Village. … Katharine Wolpe, a leading member of Village Independent Democrats, pitched in $200. Fourth Arts Block also gave. The list goes on and on.

“I was kind of the catalyst for this thing,” [Chad] Marlow [a member of Community Board 3] said. “But I was one of 290 who gave. At the end of the day, a bit of the money is from me, just a bit. [Marlow gave $100.] I’m very grateful for having this opportunity to help. It’s been a bit of a healing experience for me. I walked past [the site of the crash], and it was all I could think about. I was really gratified that I could play a role. But it was really the East Village that did this.

This is sickening. Do they have no shame?

The article says that the injured person’s insurance was paying his hospital bills, but I seriously doubt that’s true. This is a guy whose job was “doing everything from making fresh-squeezed juices and salads to manning the flower stand.” There’s no question that the East Village Farm Deli didn’t pay for his insurance, which means he either paid for it himself, or had none. But The Villager has nothing to say about that.

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Promoting Ukrainian Fascism – Part 2

I hope this doesn’t have to become a regular series.

Here’s a quick look at some headlines from the past week from sources outside of the “East Village”:

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dreamdeferred.org.uk

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The Daily Beast

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Time Magazine

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Counterpunch

So, how is this being presented in the “East Village” you ask?:

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EV Grieve

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The Villager

ukraine2-dnainfo0227
ukraine2-bob-holman-antisocialist2
La Mama, via DNA Info

To their credit, The Lo-Down and Bowery Boogie have not been propagating this. It waits to be seen if The Shadow will write anything in their next issue.†

* * *

A musical about current events is not necessarily a bad thing. The San Francisco Mime Troupe had a musical called Steeltown, about the rise and fall of steel-worker jobs in this country. And while searching other blogs for this piece, I came across something The Lo-Down wrote last January about The Living Theater’s performance of “Here We Are” (from their promotional material):

    In the show, the international (and multi-generational) company “visits the Anarchist collectives of France, Spain and Ukraine [Emphasis mine–Q] for the 19th and 20th centuries, and finds (them)selves transported to an immersive and participatory underground outdoor/indoor crossroads of our present moment. The ensemble and the audience work together to manufacture and perform the potential creative possibilities for a post revolutionary world of beauty and non violence.”

Of course, that’s not what this performance is about.

ukraine2-lamama

Headlines like:

ukraine2-nytimes-0226

And then! In a flash of total-recall, I totally recalled this, from an EV Grieve piece written last January:

[Bob]
ukraine2-bob-holman-antisocialist

Socialist post-modernism? It’s fine to dislike Avalon buildings, but to throw in “socialist”, when socialism had absolutely nothing to do with the topic (1st meeting of the No 7-Eleven group), makes his position then, and now, all the more suspect. Interestingly enough, this was written at the same time of the performance of “Here We Are”.

=-=-=-=-=

† After a ten-year (?) hiatus, The Shadow recently published a new issue. I meant to write something about it but I haven’t got around to it yet. I even paid a dollar for the paper! I don’t remember ever having to pay for The Shadow before.

Howl, and How A Quilas Piece Comes To Be

I was walking home tonight from work, along Tompkins Square Park, surrounded by signs announcing the Howl Festival taking place there this weekend. I entered the park, and just then I heard amplified voices from the south side, so I walked over to see what was going on. (I go that way, anyway.) A group of people were on the stage, being directed by Bob Holman: “even on one side, odd on the other, there’s too many people over on this side, this is not the time to be marking your lines,” etc. I watched them for about five minutes. It seemed longer, but I’m sure that’s about how long it was. Finally they started reading.

    I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness…

Hmmm. I didn’t have it in me to listen to the entire thing — it’s hard enough to hear in my own voice! — so I left. For me, the preparation was the event. I could easily have watched that for another five minutes.

Anyway…

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. I’ve been busy lately, but I have been working on a new piece.

This is how it works: I have an idea, and I start writing. I add more to it, the notes accumulate and the piece gets too long and goes off-topic. I save a copy to use for a future piece. I come home tired and don’t feel like working on it, so I agonize about it instead. I lie in bed rewriting it in my head, unwilling to get up and stare into the light of the computer monitor, and I forget my phrasing by morning. Eventually, I come back to it and start hacking away at it, cutting whole sections. Then I start revising it, reading it from the beginning each time I make even the slightest change, and finally I publish it. Immediately, I feel a great relief, like a weight has been lifted off of me. Then the process begins again. The relief is only momentary.

I’m writing this now to avoid writing what I should be.

But it’s late. Off to bed!

Unmasked

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of Quilas that I’ve been wary of No 7‑Eleven NYC from the beginning, but it’s starting to spread to those who may have been followers until now. On February 28, EV Grieve wrote:

evg-bowery-poetry-story

One of the comments to the above-mentioned post:

evg-comment-re-bob-holman-0301

Bob Holman is one of the founders, if not the founder, of No 7‑Eleven NYC.

A search for Bowery Alliance of Neighbors yields:

invite200res.55174433_std

There’s no question that this area has an important history, but there isn’t a single aspect of that history left. Nothing of the past is being preserved, nor would any of them want to preserve it. In fact, they’re not preserving anything, as you’ll soon see. What they’re doing is creating the Bowery Theme Park.

[T]his project will enable the Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side,
and now, the Bowery communities to develop a comprehensive approach
to community planning, centered around history, culture, and
economic development.

Take a look at what National Register designation confers:

Eligibility of property owners (and in certain cases lessees) for federal tax credits on qualifying rehabilitation of historic buildings within the historic district. Owners of depreciable, certified historic properties may take a 20 percent federal income tax credit for the costs of substantial rehabilitation as provided for under the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Any contributing, income-producing building would be eligible for the federal investment tax credit.

Owners of contributing buildings within distressed census tracts are eligible for additional New York State tax credits. Distressed census tracts are those identified as being at or below 100% of the state median family income ($51,691) in the most recent census. On the Bowery, this includes properties on the east side of the street south of East 3rd Street and on the west side south of East Houston Street. …

Private property owners of contributing buildings are eligible for grants and loans administered by New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and other sources

Municipal and not-for-profit owners of listed historic properties may apply for matching state historic preservation grants

Registered properties and properties determined eligible for the Register receive a measure of protection from the effects of federal and/or state agency sponsored, licensed or assisted projects through a notice, review, and consultation process.

What it doesn’t provide is any real protection:

National Register status is an honorific designation. Unlike New York City Landmarks designation, which is not being sought as a part of this effort, there are no restrictions placed on private owners of registered properties in a National Register Historic District. Private property owners may sell, alter or dispose of their property as they wish, although an owner who demolishes a certified registered property may not deduct the costs of demolition from his/her federal income tax.

So that’s what they’ll be gathering to celebrate on the 20th: a host of tax credits and deductions for building- and land-owners.

Democratic control over neighborhoods is not an impossibility. The residents of this area could band together as well. Of course, they wouldn’t have the backing of the city government, or celebrities, or the banks lining up to fund this “preservation”, but they can provide a necessary counter-balance to the gentrification effort.

By way of example, the Clinton Special District Coalition was formed to protect the people who lived in the Clinton Special District (located on the West Side between 41st and 59th Street, from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River). The CSDC fights for social and economic justice, for the rights of poor, low-income and working individuals and families, with a primary focus on strengthening and preserving affordable housing.

The organizers of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors would run screaming if such an initiative were proposed!