Tuesday, May 13, 2008

community theater

Wild Community Board 3 meeting last night.

Chinatown got organized and showed up with signs, lining the hall and bursting into call and response all night until their choreographed walk-out. Got a little heavy a few times with the cops wading in and telling everyone to sit down, the protesters shouting, the folks "in charge" walking away and standing in the corner.

The whole issue is the re-zoning of the neighborhood, which is pretty much a done deal, and it looks to me like CB3 and everyone else took the best bad deal available. Most of the new buildings are capped at 8 stories, on some of the wider streets they can go up to twelve. One thing to remember is that right now there is no cap whatsoever, they can build up to 23 stories, as they have.

Problem with the plan is that it doesn't include low-income housing or community or cultural centers. It kind of pretends to, but it's just a power-grab.

We don't need "incentives" for affordable housing, we need guarantees. And we don't need "affordable" housing, whatever that's supposed to mean, we need low-income housing if we're going to preserve the integrity, character and the actual residents of the Lower East Side.

The Lower East Side is made up of working-class people (or low-income people), artists and radicals. Always has been. These people need to be included in any kind of massive re-zoning plan. We're talking about 111 blocks.

Not a typo. One hundred and eleven blocks.

Great night, though. Watching it, I wrote down this:

The face of power confronted with the people's protest is always the same, doesn't matter if it's white, black or Asian:

Tight smile, eyes shifting in growing panic, looking to the back of the room for the cops.

The use of language betrays and clarifies the respective positions:

The people chant rhythmically, shout, laugh and are inexhaustible.

The Power stutters, makes weak jokes, grows hoarse and then slips into techno-speak and statistics.

The cops talk only in physically followable commands "Sit down or we will eject you." "Sit down." "Come with me."

Lots of fun, kind of sad at the end.

But that's what I call community theater.

The answer to yesterday's MMMQ is Rock of Ages, full line-up of the disc:

Black Crowes, Hard to Handle
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sweet Home Alabama
Styx, Come Sail Away
Rush, Tom Sawyer
Rod Stewart, Maggie May
Steppenwolf, Born to Be Wild
Sublime, What I Got
38 Special, Hold on Loosely
Whitesnake (?) Here I Go Again
Kiss, Rock and Roll All Nite

No one got the answer right, so I'm rescinding all of Ann's previous winnings.

That seems fair to me. And if anyone's got a problem with that, I'll have them ejected from the meeting.

Officer? Officer?

Tonys were just announced.

I've been overlooked again.



Ann said...

Take it. Take it all. I will build again: better, stronger, smarter.
My megalomania is no match for your petty torments, friend.

Sidebar: I think we need to put out a CD called rock, Rock, ROCK. Get to work on the playlist, would you? I'm thinking we open with Rose covering "Bad Reputation"...

John said...

I call "Nationwide", the ZZ Top anthem.

And if I don't get it, I'm ejecting you all out of the recording studio.

I'm serious, now.

Ann said...

...out of curiosity, how many times have you ejected the cat from your bedroom since the meeting last night?

"Nationwide" is a GREAT call. I'm doing "Lawyers, Guns & Money".

John said...

I don't recognize "the cat" as a legitimate entity in this meeting and have been advised not to discuss the matter in a public forum.

Stupid cat.

So, so far, we've got

Rose- Bad Reputation
SJ- Nationwide
Ann- Lawyers, Guns and Money

Third track is always the killer, so that's a good one.

I can get Nan to do Suicide Commando's "Burn it Down", but that might be too obscure.

Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" or whatever that song's called?

Ann said...

That cat's gonna file a grievance, you know.

So many GREAT songs to choose from!

"Burning Down the House" - Talking Heads.

"Ring of Fire" - Johnny Cash

"Light My Fire" - Doors

"On Fire" - Van Halen

But I think my vote goes for "Fire Woman" by The Cult. Goddess Pele could *rock* that song!

Lori said...

I am crabby, tired and cannot think of anything witty to say.

Enjoy the sunshine if you get any, cuz it is storming here again.

I would like to call any and all of John Cougar's songs.

Yes, that means I get a song, candy for all if I get two.

Gotta go sell candy in the hail storm!!!

John said...

Lori Lengyel (maiden name for showbiz) covers:

Jack and Diane
Paper on Fire

and we all get candy.

Ann said...

I'm thinking you and I get liquored up and duet on "Authority Song", Lori. Or "I Need a Lover".

Sorry about the hail and general suckiness of the day. You could maybe try eating that candy instead of selling it...chocolate endorphin magic.

Chocolate Endorphin Magic would make an okay R&B band name, I think.

Rose said...

Hmm. I like the nomination. However I would much prefer to start with the epic song, "The Humpty Dance" by the digital underground, as it is one of the few songs that I know by heart. And well, I have no idea what "Bad Reputation" is.
I am that young.
Do I still get candy or has it been stolen from my lips?

Ann said...

John, you're doing "Sweet Child O' Mine" for Rose.

Rose, I love you more than my luggage, but "The Humpty Dance" does not rock.

You still get candy, though.

Wait - are you too young to remember "I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow? How about "Candy" by the great and amazing Iggy Pop?

Lori said...

Rose for you I will throw in a t-shirt.

Ann, I like the way you think!!! I would love to do a duet with you
I have a feeling that we would do some major damage together.

Put in a good two hours of work today. When customers don't want free stuff, it is time to cut your losses and go home.

John, How about a "Summer Lovin" duet with Nan? C'mon on Danny Zuko I know you still sing that song.

Free T-Shirts for all if you do it!!

Ann, I am a little worried about Rose hanging out with John. Not that John is a bad person. He's great. But I am refering to the crazy sh&^t that happens when you get near him. Ya know like going to a poetry reading and next thing you know you are on a road trip to your farm house and you build a fire and you wake up the next morning and your late for work, kinda stuff.

Sorry, it's just the mom in me. I am sure he is harmless?

Lori said...

I am appalled that you were over looked for a Tony.

What if you threw in some clowns to appeal to a broader audience?


You tried that all ready.

O.K I got nothin.

John said...

Yes to the duets, but Summer Loving has to be on the second album, Chocolate Endorphin Magic Desecrates Show Tunes.

This is Rock, Rock, ROCK!, people.

I think I've got the line-up:

Rose- Bad Reputation (or Candy, but not really rock. How about Toys in the Attic?)

SJ- Nationwide

Ann- Lawyers, Guns and Money

Lori- Jack and Diane

Nan- Fire Woman (unless she wants to sing something else)

Erez Ziv - Postitively 4th Street (not really rock, but Dylan, come on)

Lori again- Paper on Fire, so we can get candy

My nieces, Elizabeth age 9, Diana age 7 and Ellie age 5, performing as The Schwartz Family Players, singing - Mama Told Me Not to Come, with my sister Mern shouting at them in the background to hold it down, they shouldn't get the candy until they've finished laying it down or it will just never happen

Me again, massacring Sweet Child of Mine for Rose

Ann and Lori- Duet of Choice

Nate Brochin - When I Paint My Masterpiece

Elena Holy and me again (I know, but come on, it's my blog) singing Stuck in the Middle with You in homage to the many Fringe days when there were literally "clowns to the left of us and jokers to the right"

and then we wrap it up with all of us doing I Know It's Only Rock and Roll. Like a fifteen minute, endless jam kind of version.

We can play with the track order, but I think that's a pretty good line-up.

One question:

Can any of us actually sing?

Ann said...

Clancy's not at all harmless, Lori. Why, just the other day I was looking back through some journals I kept when I was Rose's age and working for the Penobscot Theater in Maine...any entry having anything to do with "drinks with John Clancy" reads like it was written by a bipolar stripper on peyote.

What? I...I used to *be* a bipolar stripper? Okay, yes. But I never had the funds for peyote!

At any rate, I think Rose will turn out just fine. Look at me. I had plenty of exposure to John's brand of Weird and I'm just...


John said...

You guys know I'm like, cyberly, right here, right? I can read this.

Lori, the poetry reading was just a scam to get you out of house and into the car. No idea who those people reading poetry were.

And Ann, you were never young. You taught me things out there in the wild woods of Maine.

I like to think that I offer the youth of America an alternative point of view, that's all.

Rose said...

Don't worry Lori, I have Nan to watch over me. Spitfire McGee is always there to make sure that I get all sorts of new bad habits and drinking problems. It's all part of growing up with the Clancys and the Howards. :D

And John, no, of course I can't sing. And I listened to Bad Reputation and Candy, and I have to say that Bad Reputation ROcks far harder.

So yeah, I'll just have to learn it for you. I think the bigger problem is, can any of play musical instruments? I mean, who will do backup? Or will we do it karaoke style?

Lori said...

Rose by the time we drink all of Clancy's whiskey, it really won't matter.

I am bringing my own mic. It has an applause button that I tend to over use.

I call the triangle!!!!

John have your people call my people.

John said...


I wanted that triangle.

So I call the shaky thing, the miramba or whatever it is.

The thing you shake, it's vaguely Central American, you pretend you're part of the percussion, you know the thing?

I call that.

I actually can half-play the guitar, maybe quarter-play it, but more importantly, I've got actual musicians I can call.

Although some kind of massive karaoke scam is probably the smart move.

Rose can do the music video and we're all YouTube stars.

Ann said...

I can't sing very well...but I can play the git-tar like a motherfuckin' RIOT.

John, if you're going to claim the marimba, you might take the extra second to call Peter Gabriel and get the spelling right.

I'm working on the rock, Rock, ROCK! graphic design...and a comeback for that whole "You were never young" thing. I was going to use "I HAVE PHOTOGRAPHS" but that might be too meta even for me.

Psyched to know you read these comments, though. I always assumed the museum intern was posing as you in the comments.

John said...

Fuck Peter Gabriel.

Been waiting years for an opportunity to write that, thanks, Ann.

And we can't even fucking afford interns around here.

Only been waiting a couple of months to write that, but feels just as good, go figure.

Rose said...

OMG. John! Aliens! You have to post about them!!!!


When the Vatican has a headline like, "Aliens Are My Brother", it's GOT to be on a tshirt!

John said...


Father Funes, which is a funnier name than I could ever make up, is a fucking trip.

You don't, honestly, want to get me started on aliens, Rose.

Honestly truly.

Just makes me look like a complete blithering acid-head idiot.

All I'll say is:

Show me the complete, logical argument against.


Maybe that's:

Cuz you ain't got one.

Look at the witness list, going back sixty years.

If I could have gathered half that many cops, air force guys, army guys and government flunkies on my side, I wouldn't have ever been charged with Criminal Mischief.

Is all I'm saying.

John said...

A late addition to the line-up, and my bad:

Kate, in deference to her surname, doing

Lord, Won't You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz.


All spare and shit.

Right in the middle of our all-out rock assault.

Brings the house down.

Just hit me, wanted to get it in under the wire.