Valery Jean, Executive Director of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality, on FUREE's 10th Anniversary Party

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Caleb Ferguson
It's the holidays and time for nightly benefit parties. This month, we're be circling back to non-profits and art groups we've talked to through out 2011 as they gear up for their annual shindigs.

Today we're talking to Valery Jean, Executive Director of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE). FUREE (whom we've interacted with several times this year, including during our coverage of Mary Lee Ward's foreclosure) is celebrating 10 years of stirring up trouble in Brooklyn on behalf of poor and working class New Yorkers trying to hold on. We chatted with Jean (who was on Tom Robbins's "Thanksgiving Honor Roll" last year) about FUREE's origins, the challenges of development in Brooklyn, Occupy Wall Street, her take is on Governor Cuomo's recent budget, and their big bash tonight at La Vie Lounge & Restaurant.

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Ruben Diaz Celebrates A Merry XXXmas With Adults Only Party

Reverend Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., defender of Wal-Mart and namesake of a building housing a gay community center, is nothing if not a paragon of family values. So that's why we assume, when the highest holiday of his religion's year comes around, Diaz will be celebrating it with a Christmas party celebration for the whole family a Grinch-like "NO CHILDREN" allowed party.

What kind of freaky stuff will be going on at this XXXmas Diaz-fest that kids aren't allowed? Who knows. The mind can only imagine when looking at an invitation like this:

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Eve Biddle, Co-Director of the Wassaic Project, On Its Past, Its Future, and Its Fundraiser Tonight

It's the holidays and time for nightly benefit parties. This month, we'll be circling back to non-profits and art groups we've talked to through out 2011 as they gear up for their annual shindigs.

Today we're talking to Eve Biddle, the Co-Director of the Wassaic Project, which is having a silent auction benefit tonight at Invisible Dog Gallery in Brooklyn. As we wrote back in August, the Wassaic Project is part of the "Williamsburg on the Hudson" art scene emerging north of the city, in the tiny village of Wassaic. Their summer festival, which we've attended the past two years, we've found to be part Burning Man, part music festival, part camping getaway -- and a great deal of fun. Art and music are exhibited in a barn, an animal auction ring, and a tall grain elevator.

Starting this year, however, the Wassaic Project will be running year round art residences. Here's an edited transcript of our conversation with Biddle about the project, how it started, and where it's going.

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