Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of November 2, 2017

Old P.S. 64 news: Councilmember Rosie Mendez explained to us that, as far as she knows, there are two main ways that the city can reacquire the old P.S. 64 from Gregg Singer and his partners: negotiate with him directly to get him to sell the property, or simply seize it through eminent domain and pay him fair market value. Mendez said she only heard about the mayor’s plan to announce that he wants the city to take the building back two hours before the recent District 2 town hall meeting they co-hosted. As far as the claim by Chris Flash, the editor of THE SHADOW, the local anarchist newspaper, that the city could simply “rescind” the building’s 1998 sale at auction to Singer, Mendez said, “I don’t know if that’s accurate, if that can be done, if you can rescind a sale all these years later. … What I know to be the elements of a contract, I think those have been met,” she said. If it turns out that certain “clauses” were left out of the contract, however, that could provide an opening, she noted. Meanwhile, Chino Garcia, the head of CHARAS, the group that formerly occupied the old E. Ninth St. school building as CHARAS / El Bohio (El Bohio meaning “the hut”), told us they are still waiting to meet with de Blasio administration officials to talk about details. “We’ve only been talking on the phone, but we are getting ready for the meeting,” he said.

Former District Leader Armando Perez, 51, who was killed by thugs outside his wife’s Queens public-housing complex in April 1999. Perez had confronted the men about drug dealing in the building, and they beat him to death. Perez had vowed that he would die before seeing the old P.S. 64 sold to Gregg Singer. Villager file photo

He said CHARAS and members of the Save CHARAS Committee have been meeting to talk about programming the building. Managing and operating the building shouldn’t be difficult, on the other hand, he said. “The affordability is very important,” he said of the programs that will be offered. “Our idea is to try to help people, to try to get a facility for people that cannot afford rents.” As for what kind of uses would go into the building, Mendez told us, “If we can get space for CHARAS back in there, that would be good. There are a lot of nonprofits, and we’ve lost three nursing homes between this district and [Councilmember] Margaret Chin’s. We have a need for schools. In terms of the building and the use, I don’t know what the city’s thinking. There is a community-facility deed restriction for the building.” Garcia tipped us off that Mendez and her heir apparent, Carlina Rivera, are planning a big press conference Monday at noon on City Hall’s steps. The event will celebrate the birthday of the late Armando Perez, CHARAS’s artistic director, thank the mayor for his announcement about taking back the building, and “celebrate the rich history of CHARAS.”

The flier for the Mon., Nov. 6, rally at City Hall to celebrate CHARAS and the mayor’s announcement that the city plans to reacquire the old P.S. 64, on E. Ninth St. between Avenues B and C.

Ackers flap: The two co-founders of the Acker Awards have had a major falling out and are now fighting over what direction the event will go in. They are also battling over who even retains the right, at this point, to use the very name of the late writer Kathy Acker, the awards’ namesake. Clayton Patterson, the Lower East Side documentarian, wants to take the Acker Awards “global,” enlisting others to hold parallel events in multiple cities and countries, from

Clayton Patterson, above, vows he will continue to host the Acker Awards in New York City and plans to make it a global event, as well. Villager file photo by David Godlis.

Toronto and Montreal in Canada, to Germany, Austria and Texas, among other places. Writer Alan Kaufman, meanwhile, wants the event to “stay true to its roots” and be totally noncommercial. The two co-created the awards in 2013, with Kaufman hosting an event in San Francisco and Patterson doing a version in New York City. Setting off the underground-arts storm, it seems that Patterson didn’t consult with Kaufman about his global expansion plans. But Patterson says the writer’s involvement with the Ackers has faded over the years — Kaufman admits he handed off the S.F. event to two other people to run after the first two years — and that its Web site, which Kaufman controls, is not being maintained. Kaufman, for his part, says that Kathy Acker was his friend, and he simply will not allow her name to be besmirched by Patterson, who he accuses of trying to aggrandize himself — and even profit! — through the event. He also said that Patterson never made efforts to include him in the annual New York events after he moved here from Frisco. Patterson says he photographed Acker once, but admits she was not really a friend of his.

Alan Kaufman, left — pictured with editor / writer Jim Feast — at the opening of Clayton Patterson’s “OUTSIDE In” show at the Howl! Happening gallery, at 6 E. First St., two years ago, says he plans to retain the rights to the Acker Awards name, and does not want to see the event expanded to many other cities or “commercialized.” Villager file photo by Clayton Patterson

But he bristles at Kaufman’s charges that he’s somehow cashing in on the annual affair. “Show me the money!” he declared. “I mean, c’mon!” Specifically, Kaufman accused Patterson of selling some of the boxes full of honorees’ contributions that he painstakingly collects and assembles for each year’s installment — an accusation that the documentarian fumed is completely unfounded. Patterson insists the Ackers have always been about promoting under-recognized, underground and avant-garde artists — and always will be. Kaufman, Villager readers will recall, organized the benefit concert in 2015 at Theatre 80 St. Mark’s — with Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye as headliners — to aid the victims of the Second Ave. gas explosion. “I don’t have any Patti Smith in my boxes,” Patterson scoffed, saying the Ackers have never been about promoting recognized artists. “My fame has always been about going up against it,” he added. Finding ourselves somewhat in the role of a hopeless mediator, we were in the middle of the pair’s e-mail back-and-forth earlier this week, as dozens of increasingly heated messages flew between them. Initially, Patterson agreed to drop the Ackers name and try — with the help of others — to think up an appropriate new one while continuing the event.

Anne Hanavan, the singer in Transgender Jesus — who earlier in her life risked losing it all on the streets of the Lower East Side — was one of this year’s Acker Award honorees. Like the other recipients, she received one of the coveted boxes assembled by Clayton Patterson, containing signature creative items contributed by each awardee. Photo by Clayton Patterson

But, at some point, he changed his mind and now plans to keep calling his event the Acker Awards. Kaufman said he will reach out to Kathy Acker’s estate to block his former partner from using her name. Making their e-mail war even more testy, Kaufman lived with Patterson and his wife, Elsa, for a while a few years ago in their Essex St. building, during which the two “outlaw artists” had at least one major blowup, and they still both seem sore about that less-than-successful stint as house mates. “He lived in my f—ing house two years ago. We never talked about the Ackers,” Patterson said, incredulously. Kaufman is now maintaining that he will be the one running the Acker Awards in New York City from now on. He also criticized Patterson for giving an Acker to a female boxer from the Overthrow gym on Bleecker St., saying it was just because Patterson is pals with the hipster boxers there. But Patterson counterpunched that the woman was deserving. Plus, let’s face it, while Patterson might plug a friend or two who is a non-artist each year with an award, most of the Ackers do go to deserving local creative types who have never gotten their due in the mainstream media and wider society. Well, all we can say at this point is, obviously…to be continued! We hope these two can work things out, or at least come to an amicable agreement on how to move forward. The Ackers has become a great event, and we hope it continues to thrive.

Corrections: Last week’s Scoopy’s item on word that Westside Market is coming into the former Mrs. Green’s space at Hudson and Bank Sts. incorrectly called the existing supermarket at Bethune and Greenwich Sts. Gristedes. Obviously, it’s D’Agostino. Also, while the item said that Village Independent Democrats members picked outside Mrs. Green’s, Erik Coler, V.I.D. president, clarified to us, “We never picketed Mrs. Green’s. We spoke to the manager and the union people but never picketed.”… Also, our article last week on the refloating of “Diller Island” said it would sit off of W. 15th St.; it should have read off of W. 14th St.

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