Movies Podcast: Here's Why We Love Chris Rock's Top Five

Categories: Film and TV

Paramount PIctures
Chris Rock in Top Five
We begin this week's Voice Film Club podcast with a Thomas Pynchon story, before hosts Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice, and Amy Nicholson of LA Weekly, move on to Paul Thomas Anderson's movie adaption of Pynchon's Inherent Vice. It's "in some ways a godawful mess, indulgent in a way a less-respected director would never be able to get away with. And it's two and a half hours long not because it needs to be, but because it can be," writes Stephanie Zacharek in her review. The middle movie this week is Chris Rock's Top Five, a film that we love. Skip to 21:20 to hear that segment. The show wraps up with Exodus, starring Christian Bale. "The only way Bale's Moses could be the humblest man alive is if the rest of the planet were killed," writes Nicholson in her review. Do Alan and Stephanie agree?

Royal Couple Greeted by More Protests as They Take in Nets Game at Barclays Center

Categories: Protests

Katie Toth
Protesters entering the Barclays Center subway station are held back by police.

Hundreds of protesters surrounded the entrance to the Barclays Center on December 8 while Prince William and Kate Middleton were heading in to watch the Brooklyn Nets take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The royal couple, currently on their first official trip to New York City, were visiting the game to highlight a "partnership" between the NBA and the Royal Foundation.

A car took the couple straight to a freight elevator inside the arena. But basketball fans trying to get in to see the game had to wade through throngs of protesters to get to the doors. The protesters were staging another demonstration in reaction to the December 3 announcement that a grand jury would not indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.

"I have to go through them?" said one frazzled Nets fan to a police officer patrolling the area packed with protesters. "But I'm with you! I'm on your side!"

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Ho, Ho, Bro: How SantaCon Went From Joyful Performance Art to Reviled Bar Crawl

Categories: Longform

Photo by Paul Quitoriano
For John Law, December 19, 1998, was the night that saved Christmas.

The young San Franciscan strapped on a fake white beard, donned a $12 red suit, and led 200 Santas as they went caroling up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. During their joyful march uptown, throngs of bustling New Yorkers and tourists paused to gawk at the sea of red felt and velour. A police officer yelled, "Hey, Santa! Can you get me a date with Cindy Crawford?" A starry-eyed couple asked Law to pose for a photo with their baby.

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At Eric Garner Protests, Some White Activists Are Being Called Out for Their Behavior

C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice
They were trying to get into Target.

The crowd pushed its way through Atlantic Terminal Mall in Brooklyn on December 8, banging on windows and ignoring the hapless security guards. Hundreds of people streamed up the escalators and stopped in front of the giant discount store, whose employees were trying to close its doors to avoid a confrontation.

But that didn't satisfy the protesters who were trying to get in. They'd been demonstrating in retail spaces all across the city over the past week, after all: Toys "R" Us, Macy's, Forever 21 -- they'd lie down for their "die-in," say their piece, make folks uncomfortable, then move on.

As some tried to push their way into the store, Michelina Ferrara and Cherrell Brown talked them down. "White people, check your privilege!" Brown shouted into a megaphone. "We don't need you to provoke stuff right now."

See Also: Royal Couple Greeted by More Protests as They Take in Nets Game at Barclays Center

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Governor Cuomo Is Weighing AG Request to Investigate Cop Abuse Claims

Categories: NYPD

C.S. Muncy
A police officer faces the crowd during protests against police abuse on December 3, 2014.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says he wants Governor Cuomo to let him investigate and prosecute claims of NYPD violence against New York City civilians.

The claims are currently prosecuted by the city's district attorneys and police officers, with local D.A.s often working together to prepare a well-researched case that will stand up to trial. But in a letter to the governor, Schneiderman argues that such an arrangement can be perceived as a conflict of interest.

"It is unfair to charge a local District Attorney with the task of investigating and prosecuting those officers when they are accused of a serious crime committed in the course of their duties," Schneiderman says.

In a press release, he argues that "the overwhelming majority of my fellow prosecutors are...conscientious about [their] ethical duty to see that justice is done in every case." But, he adds, "the question is whether there is public confidence that justice has been served."

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De Blasio Repeatedly Ducks Questions About Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision

Categories: NYPD

Screenshot from
De Blasio on ABC
Mayor Bill de Blasio was on ABC's This Week yesterday, repeatedly -- and sort of uncomfortably -- ducking George Stephanopoulos's questions about Eric Garner.

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De Blasio Wears 'No Blood No Foul' T-Shirt to Gym in Worst Wardrobe Decision Ever

Jack Buehrer
Straight outta high school?
As he sometimes does, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spent the afternoon of December 7 working out at the Prospect Park YMCA in Park Slope. He and his wife, Chirlane McCray, alternated between the weight room, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines over the course of the hour or so they were there. McCray was decked out in fashionable contemporary gym clothes. We can only guess de Blasio's dirty-laundry hamper is overflowing, given the T-shirt he was rocking, which had the contextually unfortunate streetball slogan "No Blood No Foul" emblazoned on the back.

See Also: NYPD Cops Rip Bratton Online for Going to Hospital Before Garner Decision Announcement

Despite being NYC's tallest-ever mayor, the 6-5 de Blasio's not exactly known as a tough customer on the hardwood. Back in his City Council days, his nickname is said to have been "The Cactus" -- a reference to how he always "had his arms at 90 degrees at his sides, watching people running around him."

De Blasio's security detail was abundant. His stylist and his PR team, on the other hand, must take Sundays off.

NYPD Cops Rip Bratton Online for Bailing Before Garner Decision: 'Dehydration Happens When You Wet Yourself'

Categories: NYPD

Photo credit: Policy Exchange via Flickr
NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton

Officers of the New York Police Department have taken to the internet to rip Commissioner Bill Bratton for his decision to go to the hospital for dehydration just before a Staten Island grand jury announced that Daniel Pantaleo would not be indicted for killing Eric Garner.

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The NYPD's Moment of Restraint Is Over: 200+ Arrested

Stacy Lanyon
Police douse protesters in pepper spray at 14th Street and Eighth Avenue. See all the photos from last night's protests.
No sooner had the NYPD received praise for respecting peaceful protests than the force doubled back and reminded everyone that while officers might have let people on a couple bridges this week, they're still very adept with a bottle of pepper spray.

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Memorial for Akai Gurley, Unarmed Man Shot by NYPD, Set for Today

Categories: NYPD

Akai Gurley
A memorial for Akai Gurley, the unarmed 28-year-old black man shot by a rookie cop in the dark stairwell of a New York City Housing Authority building, is set to take place this evening in Brooklyn.

The NYPD, for one, appears to be expecting a large turnout. By Thursday night, the department had already dropped off a large stack of metal barricades at the corner of Washington and Gates.

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Partial Testimony From Garner Grand Jury Is Released, Tells Us Nothing

Categories: Courts, NYPD

Photos by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice See More
Large-scale demonstrations began within hours of the grand jury's announcement.
The grand jury investigating the death of Eric Garner heard from 50 witnesses, 22 of them civilians, as it considered whether to charge NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo with a range of crimes including manslaughter.

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As New Yorkers Protest Eric Garner Decision, NYPD Appears to Show Restraint

Categories: Eric Garner, NYPD

After a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the white police officer who placed 43-year-old African American Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in July, protests erupted throughout New York City against what many consider a culture of unaccountability, brutality, and racism in the New York Police Department.

After the announcement on December 3 that the grand jury would not indict Pantaleo, New Yorkers took to the streets for a long night of angry -- but largely peaceful -- protests and marches. They were the latest in a string of demonstrations against police impunity that have been held almost daily since November 24, after a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, announced that former police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, would not face charges for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African American.

But despite 25 local arrests in the wake of the Ferguson announcement and more than 80 during the protests that followed the Staten Island grand-jury decision, some observers say they're noticing one striking fact about law enforcement at these events: The NYPD has become more tolerant and less physical with demonstrators under Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton than it had been under previous mayoral administrations.

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Student Activism in U.S. on Rise; CUNY History Prof Creates Google Map to Prove It

Categories: Education

Photo by Jesse Myerson via Twitter @JAMyerson, used with permission
A mass walkout on December 1: Just one facet of what CUNY historian Angus Johnston calls an "extraordinary autumn for student activists"

A historian at the City University of New York who specializes in student activism has created a nifty Google map that charts 50 student protests, walkouts, and demonstrations that have transpired nationwide over the past four months -- and the landscape is illuminating.

"We are in a moment of an uptick of student organizing," Angus Johnston tells the Voice. Johnston created the map in order to provide a visual sense of the magnitude of the movement. "A lot of these protests fly beneath everybody's radar, never make it into the national news, and never get to people [who are] plugged into stuff on the national level."

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Protesters Sweep Manhattan After Eric Garner Decision

Categories: NYPD

C.S. Muncy

Protesters blocked traffic on the West Side Highway, in midtown, and on the Brooklyn and Queensboro bridges as part of a massive protest of a grand jury's decision not to indict New York Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.

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Eric Garner Protests Will Disrupt Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree-Lighting

Categories: NYPD, Protests

Photo credit: joeypedras via Compfight cc
The Rockefeller Center Tree

A host of protest plans throughout Manhattan have cropped up as word spreads that a grand jury did not indict New York Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was captured on video in July using an apparent chokehold that killed 43-year-old Eric Garner on Staten Island.

One of the protests involves marching to midtown to interrupt the iconic annual lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center:

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No Indictment From the Grand Jury Convened in Eric Garner Chokehold Case

Categories: Eric Garner


Update, 2:34 a.m. Thursday, December 4: Protesters Sweep Manhattan After Eric Garner Decision
A grand jury convened to determine whether to bring criminal charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer who killed Staten Island man Eric Garner, has returned no indictment, multiple outlets are reporting.

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Ex-Prisoners Are Committing Fewer Crimes That Land Them Back in Jail, Authorities Say

Categories: Crime, NYPD

Courtesy of RAPP Campaign
Speaker at a RAPP Campaign event this spring at Columbia University
Fewer inmates than ever are landing back in prison for new crimes, according to the most recent data from state correctional authorities.

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Film Podcast: Star Wars! The Return of Droids and the Millennium Falcon

Categories: Film and TV

Wake up, Force!
If we're honest with ourselves, the teaser-trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens looks better than the original Star Wars movies. That's how this week's Voice Film Club podcast opens, with your hosts Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice and Amy Nicholson of LA Weekly. Talk then turns to Reese Witherspoon's excellent performance in Wild, and then to director Jennifer Kent's spectacular, terrifying new film The Babadook. The group wraps by recommending a few underrated or under-seen films: Zero Motivation, Concerning Violence, and Life Partners. Amy closes the show with a recap of her interview with Garfield creator Jim Davis, who finally settles it: Does Jon ever actually hear Garfield, or is Jon just talking to himself?

Bratton Blood Splatter Artist Posts Bail, Could Face Significant Jail Time

Categories: NYPD

C.S. Muncy
Ibanez was cuffed for allegedly splattering Bill Bratton with fake blood, ruining the police commissioner's suit.

The activist charged with assault for throwing fake blood on Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and his security detail last week has posted bail.

Diego Ibanez was released on November 26 after spending two nights in jail, according to his lawyer, Eliza Orlins. She added that she was unsure who put up the money; shortly after Ibanez's arraignment, fellow activists took to Twitter to raise money for the $20,000 in cash or $30,000 bond he would need in order to get out. According to one tweet from OWS Bail Fund, which raises money for legal expenses for activists in New York, the group managed to raise "about half" of Ibanez's bail money.

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City Could Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages as Soon as May 2016

Thumbnail image for malone-tyson-pull-passenger.jpg
Jesse Dittmar for the Voice
New details are leaking out about the rumored bill to ban carriage horses in Central Park. According to an advocate who has communicated with the mayor's administration throughout the drafting process, the bill will be introduced as soon as Monday by City Councilmember Daniel Dromm. It will propose sunsetting horse-drawn carriages by May 31, 2016, when the last of the carriage operator licenses are set to expire. (A spokeswoman for the councilman confirmed the report to the Voice.)

See Also: Bill de Blasio's Pledge to Abolish Horse-Drawn Carriages is Running Away From Him

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