Oscars: Here's How Not to Be Like Sean Penn

Categories: Film and TV

Screen shot from a video posted to the Academy's Facebook page

Can I talk directly to my people for a moment?

Hi, white folks! Glad you're doing well! Or, I should say, I'm glad we're doing well, since I'm totally one of you. The Oscars last night was kind of a wash for those of us who think of us as an "us": Neil Patrick Harris couldn't save his pitiable jokes, American Sniper got shut out of the major awards, and Common and John Legend proclaimed with power and urgency truths that many of us spend our lives avoiding — truths that make the dumbest of our ilk freak the hell out:

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City Tenants'-Rights Plan Gets Praise, but Questions About Development Remain

Nick Lucchesi, Village Voice
"As with 300 Nassau [shown], we see tenant harassment take the form of neglecting and destroying buildings," says Adam Meyers, a tenants'-rights lawyer.
Efforts by New York mayor Bill de Blasio to curb the strong-arm and harassment tactics used by landlords and residential property owners are receiving mixed reviews from tenants'-rights advocates across the city.

De Blasio and state attorney general Eric Schneiderman spent much of February 19 trumpeting their new tenant-harassment task force, which, they say, will foster greater communication between the city and state in prosecuting bad landlords. But some housing advocates say the mayor is sending mixed messages, as the city is also currently in the process of rezoning neighborhoods with large swaths of affordable housing and allowing developers to build more luxury residences.

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Film Pod: Kevin Costner Eases White America Into the Present With McFarland, USA

Categories: Film and TV

Ron Phillips/© Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Disney's McFarland, USA
Kevin Costner eases white America into the now with McFarland, USA, we hear about the Berlin Film Festival's highs (Queen of Earth) and lows (Knight of Cups) and dip into the lukewarm waters of a second Hot Tub Time Machine movie, and there's much praise for teen comedy The DUFF and Wild Tales, a film filled with stories of humans acting badly. We also hear about the plight of Fluffy, the cat owned by director Alex Ross Perry. Your hosts (Amy Nicholson, Alan Scherstuhl, and Stephanie Zacharek) are joined by film critic Jordan Hoffman for this week's feature-length pod. As always, send barbs, jabs, claims, or jokes to filmpod@villagevoice.com and follow us on the Twitter at @voicefilmclub. Read all of our movie reviews, interviews, and news over at villagevoice.com/movies.

Here Are the Eight New York Bars Where You Can Still Have a Smoke

Categories: Health

Forecasts of doom and gloom followed New York City's 2003 smoking ban.

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Filmmaker Takes to Crowdfunding to Save His Cancer-Stricken Cat

Categories: Pets

Thumbnail image for 3060562_1421687983.1381_funddescription.jpg
Courtesy of Alex Ross Perry
Fluffy the Cat has celebrity friends as renowned as Jason Schwartzman and Elisabeth Moss.
Brooklyn filmmaker Alex Ross Perry has made four feature films which have been shown at nearly 50 film festivals. He's worked with actors you've heard of. He's even won an award for his work, and been nominated for several others.

But it's important to him that you know he's far from a Hollywood millionaire, especially since he wants your money to help save his pet's life. After learning that his beloved cat, Fluffy, had been diagnosed with cancer, Perry decided to turn to crowdfunding to help pay for the feline's fight to live.

"I don't think anyone with any inside-baseball knowledge of independent film would think just because I've had films at Sundance, that means I have any money," says Perry, whose indie movies Listen Up Philip and Queen of Earth have been well-received by critics. "The amount of money we are raising for Fluffy, $11,000, is more than I made, total, for Listen Up Philip. Which I made for two years. And it was a full-time job."

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Young Mexican Designer Achieves Dream of Showcasing Works at New York Fashion Week

Courtesy of Ryan Smith, The Art Institutes
Yalary Fuentes

Yalary Fuentes's life as a fashion designer started at age six in her native Mexico. She wasn't necessarily making clothes from scratch, but she became quite adept at acting out dressmaking scenes from Disney cartoons by draping blankets on her grandmother.

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84-Year-Old Cobbler Shop Wins Lease Battle to Halt Duane Reade Expansion, Stay in Business

Categories: Real Estate

Katie Toth, Village Voice
Wesley Oliviera, 30, buffs a high-heeled boot at the newly-not-evicted Jim's Shoe Repair.
On February 17, beloved East Side cobbler's den Jim's Shoe Repair was celebrating with colorful helium balloons and a banner that read "Here to stay!"

The 84-year-old shop has already scored legions of celebrity and civilian fans alike, from Kim Cattrall to Ed Sullivan. Now, after two years of negotiations, it's notched a victory for Old New York by striking a deal with landlord SL Green to avoid eviction and halt a planned expansion of a neighboring Duane Reade.

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Why Female My Little Pony Fans Are Exalted Among 'Bronies'

Katie Toth, Village Voice
"I told my mom I was going to watch My Little Pony and she said, 'Only weird guys watch that,' " says Brittany Anderson, a female "brony." "That's not true!"
When Savannah O'Connor goes to Star Trek conventions, she braces herself for the inevitable barrage of quizzes from skeptical male fans testing her authenticity.

They're usually shot down quickly: O'Connor, 29, isn't the type to stumble over the difference between Romulans and Vulcans. "Thankfully," she says, "I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek."

But at conventions for the animated television series My Little Pony, the tables turn.

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Love (and Methane) in the Air at Valentine's Day Tour of Wastewater Treatment Plant

Pranay and Erin Reddy
Like most successful romantic endeavors, the Valentine's Day tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant began with a release form.

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New Jersey Boater Who Faked Own Death Surrenders After 7 Months on the Lam

Categories: Crime, New Jersey

Source: Screenshot, CBS Philly
Andrew Biddle, as seen in a news report after his fake drowning
On July 20 of 2014, the Great Egg Coast Guard station in Longport, New Jersey, received a distress call after a boat struck an offshore buoy, knocking the two men on board into the sea. The call was received just before midnight, and soon emergency responders began canvassing a 60-square-mile patch of ocean just off Longport, which is near Atlantic City.

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Couple Slides Into Marriage at Bronx White Castle

Categories: Love, Weddings

Photo by Alexandra Levine
Mariana Publiese (left) and Jasmine Dimovski got married Friday at a White Castle in the Bronx.
Jasmine and Mariana didn't have bridesmaids or groomsmen at their wedding. Jasmine didn't wear a white dress, and Mariana didn't don a bridal veil. There was no limo to escort them to and from the ceremony — just a beat-up Dodge.

But they couldn't have been happier: The couple had White Castle, their favorite burger joint, all to themselves as they tied the knot.

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Longtime Bed-Stuy Residents Have Had It With Hipster Bars Invading Their Neighborhood

As she described the gourmet menu drafted for her new bar on DeKalb Avenue, Bob's Standard co-founder Hilary Krishnan faced a tough crowd. "Gourmet pickle plates, curry sandwiches, chorizo dogs," she said cheerfully. "Are you getting hungry yet?"

The attendees at the February 9 meeting of Bed-Stuy's Community Board 3, whom Krishnan was asking for support, stared back in silence. Leaning back in her chair, 55-year-old Brooklynite Juanita Lewis had a one-word answer to Krishnan's question.


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Cold, Snap! De Blasio Warns New Yorkers: 'Stay Indoors'

Categories: Politics, Weather

Katie Toth, Village Voice
Staying in with a hot beverage is an important component of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Stay-Warm Plan for the holiday weekend.
During a February 12 press conference at City Hall, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio had a simple demand for residents over Presidents' Day weekend: "Stay indoors."

That's because, he said, the temperature in New York is expected to hit "near-record lows and remain dangerous through the weekend."

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Philly Wins the DNC Convention Sweepstakes, but de Blasio Remains 'Pro-Cheesesteak'

Categories: Politics

Katie Toth, Village Voice
De Blasio drinks from his famous mug as Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams mourns Brooklyn's loss of the Democratic National Convention to Philly for 2016.
Hours after being informed that Brooklyn had lost out on hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Mayor Bill de Blasio offered the winning city, Philadelphia, a hearty congratulations before expressing his own disappointment — and disagreement — with the decision.

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NYPD Deserves Props for Dog Rescue Ops

Categories: Crime, Dogs

Photo courtesy of the ASPCA
Who rescued this sweet puppy from certain death? The NYPD, that's who.
When the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced its partnership with the New York Police Department in January of 2014, locals were, understandably, skeptical.

A year into the experiment, the Voice checked in with the ASPCA to find out how things are going.

Not bad, as it turns out.

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NYPD Officers Charged With Tackling Woman Over What Turned Out to Be a Lollipop

Categories: NYPD

Not crack. (Pictured: An Original Gourmet–brand blueberries-and-cream lollipop, the same flavor found on Henry.)
Jernale Henry says she was going out to buy some ingredients for a family dinner when she saw two "goons" in the hallway, looking menacing.

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Beloved East Village Hawks Forced Into Flight

Thumbnail image for christo-dora-credit-laura-goggin.jpg
Photo by Laura Goggin
The hawk's nest
Bird-watchers in the East Village are dismayed over a condo owner's repeated attempts to remove a red-tailed hawk's nest from the building the birds have called home for more than a year.

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Protesting Assisted Suicide, Activists Crash NYC Assemblywoman's Office...In Albany

Categories: Health, Politics

Courtesy Stephanie Woodward
Activists streamed into New York State assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal's Albany office to protest her stance on assisted suicide.
A swarm of disability rights activists — many in wheelchairs — funneled into New York State assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal's Albany office on February 11. There, they demanded a meeting with the Manhattan Democrat so they could denounce her bill to legalize assisted suicide.

"People with disabilities are told every day they'd be better off dead," says Stephanie Woodward, a 26-year-old disability rights lawyer who was at the protest in her wheelchair. "Instead of giving suicide prevention or help, [these bills] open the doors for us to off ourselves."

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Four Things the Movies Have Never Gotten Right About Spider-Man

This image cropped from the cover of Spider-Verse Part 5
That rejoicing you heard this week? That's fans celebrating the fact that Sony Pictures has finally agreed to share its Spider-Man with Marvel Studios. Despite the creative success of Spider-Man 2, it has long been evident that Sony has little to no idea what to do with the character — there's rumors it even considered developing an Aunt May film. The problems are not limited to trivial matters like whether his webshooters are organic or the spiders genetically engineered. Instead, it's the fundamental way the character has been presented. Can the studios prove that together they understand the core concepts that have made the character Marvel Comics' flagship creation for 50 years? Here is a list of four key things that the movies have never gotten right about Spider-Man:

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This Media Scare Book From 1988 Warns Scooby-Doo Leads to Gang Life

Categories: Studies in Crap

Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

Horror and Violence: The Deadly Duo in the Media

Authors: Phil Phillips and Joan Hake Robie
Date: 1988
Publisher: Starburst Inc.

Discovered At: Sunnyside Thrift Store, Queens

The Back Cover Asks: "Who are the 'killer dillers' and 'plasmic perverts' " targeting your kids?

Representative Quotes:

The movie She-Ra: Princess of Power contained 59 violent acts per hour, including whipping people, flame throwing, gassing the enemy, kidnapping, knocking people out, slavery, using magic to control people's minds, paralyzing rays, attempts at mass destruction, and 33 attempted murders. (page 147)
The level of violence that MTV finds acceptable is extreme, as is shown by the Car's [sic] music video "You Might Think." (page 210)

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