News of President Trump’s tightened deportation plan together with the forty ICE arrests made in NYC last week and the earlier executive order restricting the entry of immigrants into the country has created an atmosphere of fear across the service industry. According to a national study by the Pew Research Center in 2009, 12% of the restaurant industry’s workforce are undocumented. The industry is notorious for paying near-poverty wages. And the increasingly hateful rhetoric surrounding immigrants, legal or not, is likely to restrict restaurant workers from fighting for better conditions.
Uniting under #adaywithoutimmigrants, businesses across the nation remained closed today in powerful defiance of Trump’s crackdown on immigration. The protesters, enraged that Immigration and Customs officials reportedly arrested 680 immigrants last week, have been urging immigrant workers to stay home from work and school, and refrain from buying anything. The idea is to highlight how integral immigrants are to the backbone of the country by stalling economic contribution for one day. Close on the heels of Washington D.C., which became the epicenter of the strike/boycott, dozens of businesses across NYC will remain closed today. Most are, fittingly, restaurants– an industry largely dependent on immigrant employees.
Residents, activists, community groups and their elected representatives gathered at the steps of City Hall yesterday afternoon with a Valentine’s Day message for Mayor de Blasio. Their request – to convert the long vacant P.S. 64 building in the East Village into a community center and disallow owner Gregg Singer from developing it into a college dorm.
“It’s not so good, huh?” laughs Kathleen Webster, president of the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition as she refers to the D- grade that the park received from New Yorkers for Parks. The near-failing grade was issued last year by the nonprofit whose research and policy recommendations help in advocating for more equitably distributed, sustainable and well-maintained parks in the city.
I can come up with a handful of half-decent excuses to not talk to a canvasser on the street, ranging from the whiny to the legit– I really am too broke to help. But to tell the truth, I also don’t want to get into a difficult conversation about the dismal state of the world. Don’t we have enough of that shoved down our social media feeds everyday? So yes, turns out I am that person that we wrote about in October, the one who brushes past Amnesty International canvassers. There’s an art to it, too: first I let my gaze turn steely, then I tighten the grip on my bag and put on an air of a person with a purpose. It works like a charm and at worst, I’m left with a slight twinge of guilt.
Thursday, January 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 10 pm: $10 suggested donation
Sinister and sultry variety show Bordello, hosted by Madame Vivien V, features a slew of out-there performers who will brighten up your night with acts of drag, dance, performance art, fire, and more. On the lineup this time is B-boy and boylesque dancer Eckszooberante and drag performer Chris of Hur, along with performer Amber Von Toxn and Heather, who appears to proudly carry the title of “The Worst.” This iteration of the show, which has been billed as “punk rock meets burlesque meets performance art,” has a psychedelic bent to it, so who knows what sensorial adventures your eyes will be asked to behold. Let the aptly-named DJ Penny Lane spin you into color-crazed oblivion, fix your eyes to the stage, and trip out.
Perhaps you thought that the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side sounded angry earlier this year when about 60 activists associated with the group gathered outside Gracie Mansion in the bitter February cold to protest the mayor’s “big scam” of a housing plan. But that demonstration was nothing compared to the one staged Thursday, when the Coalition led a large, supremely loud protest against the loss of affordable housing.
Portrait of myself as my
Continues through September 17 at BAM Fisher, 7:30 pm: $25.
Choreographer Nora Chipaumire, born in Zimbabwe and based in Brooklyn, takes the medium of traditional African dance and dresses it up in the masculine garb of a boxing ring in this piece that explores and explodes traditional notions of black masculinity through the spirit of her estranged father. He will appear in multiple forms, symbolically summoned as a “specter” through two dancers, Kaolack (also known as Senegalese dancer Pape Ibrahima Ndiaye) and the Jamaican-born Shamar Watt. The three performers will step into the ring, don their gloves, and fight it out. Or dance it out. Or maybe there’s less of a difference than we think.
Did you know this Thursday is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day? It might get a little confusing, as National Chocolate Chip (sans cookie) Day is May 15 and National Cookie Day is December 4, but rest assured there’s also a day specifically for these classic treats.
Venerated art space, punk venue, and community center ABC No Rio has filed to have its building torn down, Department of Buildings records show. And thus ends an era filled with countless art exhibitions and Saturday hardcore matinees, stretching all the way back to 1979. Unlike just about every other venue closure we’ve seen in the last few months, however, this one promises to have a happy ending, as ABC No Rio will be back in just a little while with a shiny, new building at its current location. The new space at 156 Rivington will be bigger and more modern—complete with LEED certification—and is poised to provide artists, activists, and other weirdos with a place to congregate for years to come.
Lower East Side music shop Ludlow Guitars had its last day earlier this week, ending its 17-year run on the street that gave it its name. As the shop’s owner, Kaan Howell, busily packed the place up in preparation for its decamp to Brooklyn, he took some time to get a couple final polaroids in the old shop—presumably the last before it inevitably turns into a fusion restaurant/hotel/dog therapist.
“Retail diversity” is taking on a whole new meaning in the Lower East Side. Scrappy indie publishers Badlands Unlimited, launched in 2010, recently moved from a studio in Sunset Parks’ Industry City to a real five-person office on 24 Rutgers Street (ok, maybe that’s more Chinatown than LES). Hoping to integrate with their new surroundings, they struck up a partnership with the 99-cent store beneath their office and dubbed the experience “Y.oung P.ublisher 99¢ & Up.”