Friday, September 19, 2008

Did the Donut Social cause a headache for HOWL?

Scoopy's Notebook in The Villager this week has more on the fallout from the Donut Social on Sept. 5:

The L.E.S. Slacktivists’ sound-permit flap spilled over to the recent HOWL! Festival, causing some howls of frustration from festival organizers. After John Penley, Jerry “The Peddler” Wade and Bill Cashman, Leftover Crack’s manager, argued in federal court that the local crust-core band’s planned concert outside the Ninth Police Precinct on Sept. 5 was being held to unfairly low decibel levels, police apparently felt they had to make a better show of monitoring HOWL! sound levels. Artist James Romberger, whose wife, Marguerite Van Cook, ran this year’s festival, as she did last year, said that “The Death to the Police Rally,” as he called it, caused a headache for HOWL! “We were enforced,” Romberger said. “They stood there all day with whatever those were…sound guns, or whatever.” Actually, Romberger said he’s more concerned about the whole “death” trend of late by local singer/activists, from Leftover Crack’s Sturgeon singing “Kill cops” to David Peel leading choruses of “Die yuppie scum!” “Anyone who’s against the death penalty cannot be behind calling for death,” Romberger stated. “Throwing donuts and pies is O.K., funny, ha ha. But calling for death is anti-reasonable and uncivilized.” Speaking of throwing donuts, we hear that the harassment charge against Sturgeon for trying to pelt police with the pastries on Sept. 5 was dropped but that he was asked to perform 200 hours of community service, which he refused.

Previously Donut Social coverage on EV Grieve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The problem is the selective enforcement of an arbitrary and illegal sound limit (70 decibels at 100 feet from the stage) by the NYPD that has not been codified, against groups and/or events the NYPD does not like.

Until August 3, limiting volume for musical events in Tompkins Square Park was never an issue. That is, until the headlining band playing on August 3 was Left Over Crack, a group known for its anti-fascist, anti-authoritarian and anti-NYPD politics and lyrics.

As a result of the recent negative publicity and neighborhood outrage over the NYPD's picking and choosing against whom they will enforce a sound limit, the NYPD has felt compelled to appear to apply their unreasonable sound limit to other events in the park.

They did not limit sound for a group of Christian rockers playing the park a few days later, nor for the Theater For The New City, which played the park a week after August 3.

Legal research has revealed that a sound limit for public venue performances is not specific; that it is up to the determination of the Parks Dep't., not police.

The activists protesting the illegal NYPD enforcement of a sound limit that renders concerts practically inaudible are not trying to have the absurd 70db limit imposed on other groups and events; they only want a fair level to be applied to all who spend the tremendous amount of time, money and energy putting on shows for the benefit of the public.

Happily, the head of the Parks Dep't., present for the TSP show on September 27, agreed with concert organizers. Hopefully, this will negate the need to take legal action against the NYPD. (In such case, there is already a precedent regarding concerts at the Central Park bandshell that would be used on behalf of the TSP activists.)

For more on this story, go to the SHADOW's web site at: