Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Say Cheese! Behind The Scenes; Part 1

At the F.M.I.A. (Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association) meeting last Monday night, (6/20) I asked Chuck Perkins about the hours intended for the new Cafe Istanbul. He responded by shouting at me, into his microphone, from the stage, in front of the 100 or so in attendance, that I am a criminal. He refused to answer my question. "You run an illegal club & I've been there late at night, sipping beer!" he cried. "You've lived outside the law for THREE YEARS!" I won't qualify this hysteria here, but perhaps will address it in a later post. In reviewing my taxes, state & federal, for the last three years, I must admit, if I'm a criminal, I'm doing a pretty shitty job of it, as I'm barely making a living, and still paying Uncle Sam & Pinocchio Jindal a small ransom every year. Whatever.... I tried to accept Mr Perkins rather juvenile tirade as a case of nerves, poor public speaking skills and a fear of answering questions he doesn't really know the answers to. While that may be unfortunate, its a little bit understandable, considering the scope of the project involved. Of course, it's also text book slander & defamation of character, but then, much worse has been said about me... ( I meant to call you, darlin. Really, I did.) The next couple of days brought things in to a New Light. Sources have brought to my attention the news that Pres Kabacoff has circulated pictures of me, behind my own bar, having fun, taken in my own living room, without my knowledge or consent, to at least one magazine publisher, in hopes of 'outing' me as some sort of ongoing criminal enterprise. To my knowledge, having a bar in your house is not a crime. Neither, I am told, is the open gallery event held every Second Saturday by the St Claude Art District, of which I am still a member. Let me say here that I have abated these shows at Skull Club, to meet absolute compliance with city permitting. Any other events here were & will be private parties, and are nobody's business unless they have been specifically invited by me. To my knowledge, Chuck Perkins has never been one of those people. It's also true that drinks were served. Both money & alcohol were shared in both directions across the bar, much like a group of friends tossing money in a hat to keep a party going. Were drinks given away next to a donation tip jar illegal, every gallery on Royal Street would be raided during every Dirty Linen Night, every year. In the end, I gave away more drinks & money than I ever received. Foolish, but true. As this, too, came into a questionable light, the Skull Club was closed as anything but my living room. It has remained such since around the first of the year, when shows were not scheduled, and after the Eris Parade Debacle, never reopened. At present, I'm rather enjoying the life of a hermit artist & musician. A series of screen printed poetry, a book, & a record of original music are all coming along splendidly. There's lots of time for my obsessions with cooking & horror movies. If you know me personally, ring me up, and join me. It's fun. Anyway, I'm really disappointed that Pres Kabacoff would smile his Crypt Keeper Smile at a town meeting, all the while attempting to force me into silence, or worse, by privately circulating these photographs, an obvious invasion of privacy and act of the lowest smear campaign. I'm especially concerned about how my hair looked. In closing, I offer this picture of me at the bar in my living room, which used to be the Skull Club, a Bastion of Free Art & Expression, where creative people came together, outside of the tethers of rigid society, to speak their minds and let their souls fly free. Post this picture on your wall, Mister Kabacoff. Let it be a reminder that Art & Creativity cannot be forced into compliance with your regime or any other. It is my sincerest wish that you will come to terms with this, and my honest hope that you will embrace the surrounding community, rather than continuing in your efforts to enforce your will upon it, especially with such underhanded methods. LD "I beg you to accept that there are no people on earth who would not prefer their own 'bad' government to the 'good' government of an invading alien power." - Gandhi

Friday, June 17, 2011

St. Claude Neighbors Wary of Healing Center Plans; by Richard Webster, City Business

St. Claude Neighbors Wary of Healing Center Plans
Some fear developer Pres Kabacoff is running an
end-around to open a  neighborhood bar.

POSTED: 10:13 AM Friday, June 17, 2011
BY: Richard A. Webster, Staff Writer @ City Business

NEW ORLEANS -- When developer Pres Kabacoff announced plans
in 2008 to create  the Healing Center at 2372 St. Claude Ave.,
the community cautiously hailed it as an important step in
the revitalization of the long depressed corridor.

 Lord David, a local artist and musician, was one of the
first on board, writing  blogs in support of the project
that combines businesses, nonprofits and social services.
 Now, as it moves closer towards completion, David said he
was duped, that the Healing Center was "predicated on a lie."

 Its true mission is not healing the neighborhood;
it's opening a 4,200-square-foot nightclub called Café Istanbul,
David said.
 Standing on a porch off his second story apartment,
overlooking the Healing Center, David points down to a
55-car parking lot.
"Have you ever gone to see Kermit (Ruffins) at Vaughan's
on a Thursday? Imagine that but 20 times bigger, 60 cars
worth of drunk tourists pouring out of this parking lot
into a residential neighborhood at four in the morning,
every Friday  and Saturday night, forever. The only thing
they're healing is their own pocket books."

 David and others in the community aren't necessarily
opposed to someone opening a live music club in the area.
What bothers them is the feeling that Kabacoff and his
partners concealed the true nature of Café Istanbul to
sail through the  city permitting process.

It was initially billed as an intimate theater for musicals
and plays, that wouldn't stay open past 10 p.m., David said.
But a post on the Healing Center website described it as a
club where musicians would jam into the "late night hours."
An additional post, later removed, described roll-up doors
that would  allow expansion into the parking lot.

 The final straw for some came in January when a flier was
posted in the window of the Healing Center announcing that
the owners applied for a liquor license, something that
wasn't included in the project's original plans, said Paul May,
director of the city's Department of Safety and Permits.

 Café Istanbul will be owned by Chuck Perkins, a local poet,
and Suleyman Aydin,  who used to own Café Istanbul on
Frenchmen Street, now the Blue Nile, and Mona Lisa
restaurant in the French Quarter.
 Peter Horjus, who lives 100 feet from the center, said Perkins
and Aydin told him they intend to sell alcohol during
non-performance hours.

 Café Istanbul is in the process of changing zoning for the
property from a theater of performing arts to an amusement
place, which identifies it as a venue for adult entertainment.
Under both designations, the sale of alcohol is only allowed
as a concession during performances, said Nicole Webre,
legislative director for District C Councilwoman Kristin
Gisleson Palmer.
 Selling alcohol at any other time would qualify it as a cocktail
 Horjus fully supports the Healing Center and is not opposed
to a nightclub concept, or even a bar. But he said he wishes
the developers had been up front about their intentions.

  "A lot of what they've done makes them look fishy and if
they want to have the support it seems like they should be
bending over backwards to solve these  problems,"
Horjus said.
"It makes me worry when people say they're opening a
theater when in fact what it's going to be is a full time
music venue slash bar."

 Perkins recoils at the accusation that he is opening a
bar or a nightclub. A prospective third partner wanted to do
just that and was turned down, Perkins said. His goal is to
open a space that will accommodate all of the performing
arts including theater, dance, poetry and music. It will also
be used to show documentary films, hold fashion shows
and present guest lecturers.

 The second floor, which consists of a wrap around balcony,
will be reserved as  a gallery for the visual arts.

 Kabacoff insists that plans for the Healing Center, including
Café Istanbul, were presented to and approved by all affected
neighborhood associations. But as of three weeks ago, the
presidents of Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association
and the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association said
they had never heard of Café Istanbul.

 Perkins, who admits they could have done a better job
explaining their project and intentions, later made a full
presentation to the FMIA board and reached out to FSRIA
President Reggie Lawson, who said he will support the
project as long as it obtains the proper approval.

 Jason Patterson, owner of Snug Harbor and a member
of the FMIA board, called the board's response to Perkins'
presentation positive overall.

 "There are rowdy clubs that stay open late in the Marigny,
so it's no surprise  some neighbors may be concerned. But
I have complete faith in Chuck Perkins,"  Patterson said.
"If they do what they say they are going to do, it shouldn't
be any problem. It should be a great benefit to that area."

 John Hartsock, owner of the Hi Ho Lounge directly across
the street from the  Healing Center, said the new club will
cement St. Claude Avenue's growing reputation as a place
to see live music. In addition to the Hi Ho, the area already
includes the AllWays Lounge and Siberia.

But if Kabacoff sails through the permitting process and
secures a liquor license, despite being within a few hundred
feet of Colton School and a church, it will raise troubling
questions, Hartsock said.

 "It will make me wonder how much the buddy-buddy thing
has gone away from city business and politics," he said.    

City law prevents a bar opening within 300 feet of a church,
school or playground unless, after public hearings, the City
Planning Commission, City Council and mayor award a
conditional use permit.

 Kabacoff describes Café Istanbul as one of the most
important pieces of the Healing Center because it is the
only one likely to turn a profit.  

"None of those other things make money. What makes
money is the entertainment part of it, and in order to
operate it you need that music piece, what we're
known culturally around the world for," Kabacoff said.
"The intention is not to run a neighborhood bar.
The intention is to have cultural performances in all
aspects of the arts.
But let me just say, if you can make a dollar, you don't
want the place sitting  empty."


Please Note: When the 'Healing Center' project was
first declared, I was told there was opposition to it,
because it was alleged that Kabacoff & Glassman,
who run the place, would turn away from their proclaimed
mission of 'healing' & uniting the neighborhood in terms
of leasing retail space and doing "whatever it takes to
make money." Yet, today, they are doing exactly that.

Foolishly, I took Ms Glassman at her word that these
things would never happen, and that every measure
would be taken to include the immediate neighborhood
in changes to this program.
This, to date, has never happened either.

In fact, many others, living within sight of this building,
have never been contacted, have been told false and/or
misleading information, and all of us have been told that
we "should pay attention to the Healing Center Website
if we want to know what's going on in our neighborhood."

I am not alone, by any means, in finding it offensive
& ridiculous that these people would place themselves
in such a position of authority, while in truth, they are
unelected, uninvited and have little or no interest or clue
as to what the needs, wants & opinions of those around
them may be.
Further more, in my very first meeting with Pres Kabacoff,
after trying to intimidate me by walking up and stopping no
more than 4 or 6 inches from my face, he began to demand
to know who my landlord was, how long I'd lived there,
and how much rent I paid.
I openly asked him if he intended to run me off.
His reply was; "I certainly do have the might."

No clearer threat could have been made.

I am, however, totally opposed to liars, threats, big business
disguised as 'healing', and those with large amount of both
money and contacts, side-stepping the laws that the rest
of us must obey.

While the Blue Nile Bust and other attacks on the art
community cost many local artists their Mardi Gras
income under our current administration, and, in fact,
many local artists still struggle with the permit maze of City Hall,
ask yourself this;
Is it truly an end to corruption in our local government when
Pres Kabacoff, developer under the Nagin Administration,
can side step the entire process that has held these others
back, simply because of his connections & cash flow?

I, for one, call foul.
My answer would be a simple, 'Not on your life'.

Lord David
Skull Club in Exile
New Orleans

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This Is How You Fix Congress

Ms Lolet Boutte openly posted this on Face Book, with a request to forward it. I am doing so here, not as a knee jerk reaction to current events, or some desire to hobble those in power, but to bring into keen view the widening abyss between what we, The American People, must deal with in our every day lives, and how those who we graciously honor with serving as our representatives live a life as minor career royalty, offering themselves far more than they will ever see passed on to us, their employers. I believe it's time for a change. I'm sure there will be denials, arguments, red faces and clenched teeth. In the end, we ask only that they live, as we, their electors, do. The worse they take it, the more they knew it was wrong to begin with. Please read, and perhaps forward, this timely request. Congressional Reform Act of 2011 1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office. 2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose. 3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do. 4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%. 5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. 6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people. 7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work. If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people, it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Letter from Damien; Eris Parader to be Arraigned

Dear Friends; The following is a letter from Damien, one of the Eris Paraders to be arraigned as a criminal, having been tased multiple times & finally arrested, for taking part in the Eris Parade Debacle of 2011. While there was certainly bad behavior on the part of some Eris Paraders, it is my belief that Damien is being singled out to face a ONE YEAR MINIMUM PRISON TERM, largely because he has spoken out about being tased by the NOPD, for no real reason, even while in restraints. For whatever reason, this particular yoke has landed on his shoulders, at least in part. The fact that he faces such severe penalties and the NOPD officers involved have not even been cited, as yet, is a travesty that needs to be dragged in to the light and looked at hard. Thanks to Damien for allowing me to share this with those I beleive will support these efforts, and by doing so, support the efforts of a free creative society, here in New Orleans, & beyond. I sincerely hope that his arraignment is short, and heads swiftly in the direction of Real Justice, where he may receive a small fine, and the officers so bent on creating more violence, & directed malfeasance, collect their own due rewards. Please take a moment to read the following letter, posted here unedited & in it's entirety; " Hey folks so I am to be ARRAIGNED on Thursday, June 16... at 9 am in Section J. I am facing some charges that (were I to go to trial and be found guilty) carry minimum prison time beginning at a year and ranging well upwards. Like most things that end up shaping or controlling the course of one's life, the charges against me are, on the face of themselves ridiculous. But like most ridiculous things, they are also quite serious. These new additional and unexpectedly stiff felony charges levied against me amount to an allegation that, while parading in Eris, I forcefully interfered with the NOPD's brutalization of a fellow parader. These charges are false; why I have been singled out for such extraordinary legalism is still unclear. It may be that because I was so thoroughly Tazed-- for indeed I was Tazed at great length, multiple times, including while restrained-- the NOPD are concerned with justifying the taxpayer voltage expended on my person. After all, we are in an energy crisis. But now is not time for idle speculation: now begins the horizonlessly dull aftermath inside the gloomy Factory of the Law. Down along the grey corridors trod & tenanted by the ministers and under-ministers of the Law lies the great high-ceilinged laboratory of the Law, the courtroom, lair of the Law itself, the courtroom wherein the gnashing mechanical teeth of the Law will process me into whatever shape of kibble the Masters of the Law choose. Come, won't you? Come watch the Masters bicker over the settings and levers of the Law that is processing me. The piper-- or at least the lawyers-- must be paid.* You would so lighten the burden that lies upon my heart if you showed up with every other person you could drag from bed on Thursday, June 16th, at the courthouse, at Tulane & Broad, in a prompt manner-- perhaps 8:30 am. Come sit in the gallery for the Arraignment, brief overture to this unamusing farce. Whatever the outcome, witnessing the performance of one of these burlesques is always instructive. - SEE the magical Judge in his magic robe. - FEEL the other-century solemnity of the heavy-curtained courtroom. - HEAR the inane side-conversations of the DAs and lawyers on whose arbitrary actions & words my freedom depends. - REFLECT on these institutions & systems given so much power over our individual fates. - WONDER whether my whiteness & glibness will serve to carry me through this latest little tangle as they have carried me through so much in my life... all these experiences-- this storied & absurd existential theater of "law"-- playing out before your very eyes... free admission! and friends, when the (again probably very brief) ceremony of my arraignment is over, how bright the sunshine will seem to you! How moist the outdoors air! Come into the dungeons of the LAW with me, one morning. Flatten the sheaves of your wet hair, straighten the unfamiliar cotton collar: this is the closest most of us ever get to church. <3 <3 <3 *although my own lawyers are barely paid at all, a circumstance you can remedy via donation at:" Thanks for reading this. I hope to see some of you there. LD -- Lord David Skull Club New Orleans

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ronal Serpas reveals he's Batman; Is This Really Happening? (Part 37)

This just in.

It needs no introduction, except perhaps a shot of something strong before you see the bill.

"New Orleans Police Department’s Office of Public Information

NOPD Proudly Presents Custom-Made DWI Bat Mobile

(June 2, 2011) - Tomorrow afternoon, the NOPD will unveil its newest tool to take drunk drivers off the road. The NOPD DWI Bat Mobile has been a long time coming—plans to secure such a vehicle have been in the works since 2008. The Bat Mobile was purchased this year through a grant provided by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. Sticker price: $350,000.00.

Officers Michael Eskine and Melvin Howard basically created the blueprint for a vehicle that best suits NOPD officers’ needs at DWI check points around New Orleans. The vehicle is 38 feet long and 12 feet wide. Two officers can test a drivers’ sobriety in the rear of the vehicle, while as many as 4 other drivers can wait to be tested in the front of the vehicle.

Officers Eskine and Howard will walk the media through the vehicle and demonstrate how the equipment works after the press conference.

Who: Louisiana Highway Safety Commission officials, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas

What: Unveiling of the NOPD DWI Bat Mobile

Where: Special Operations Division Warehouse, 1899 Tchoupitoulas St.

When: Friday, June 3, 2011, 2pm (CST)"