Monday, March 28, 2022

About Will Smith, Chris Rock, and a dumb joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith at the Academy Awards "Oscars"


Not to pile on too much to the Will Smith hate for his slapping of Chris Rock, but here is my take on it.

This is not meant to diminish the concerns that other people have over the incident, it is simply what concerns me that I have not seen anyone else talk about yet.

There is a barrier between he audience and the performers in any venue or type of performance. it is not necessarily a physical barrier, but a behavioral one. It states that the audience will not physically engage with the performers unless specifically invited.

This barrier is more serious than the one against heckling, as that can sometimes even increase the entertainment value of a performance. It is not meant to keep the performers from interacting with the audience, as that is, in fact, the whole purpose of theater. It is supposed to protect the performers, thus enabling the artists the freedom of expression of their art.

Now, you don't get immunity for your expression by simply declaring it art. There are some things that, while they could be handled in an artistic way, or could even actually be art, should not be done, such as killing people or starving a dog. In such cases, the appropriate authorities or action should be taken to stop such action. But short of that level of activity, the audience should not get on the stage.

If a performer says or does something objectionable, the answer is to boo, or jeer, or walk out. Write a bad review. Tell everyone not to see the show. don't hire the performer. Don't vote for them when they are up for awards. These are all perfectly acceptable actions to take against an objectionable performance.

But once you have crossed the threshold into the performance space you have broken the barrier, and physically connecting with the performer is the ultimate offense. For that you should be escorted from the theater.

IF an audience member is allowed to go on stage today, then that will embolden others to do so elsewhere. This will endanger the performer, who may feel the need to compromise their message for the sake of their safety.

Art, performing or otherwise, is an engine for shock; for change; for influencing emotions. The best artists train themselves to be very good at changing and directing people's emotions. It is the journey through emotions that we look to artists to give us. it enriches life and inspires us. It gives us new perspectives and and understanding. It helps us understand what needs to be taken seriously and what should not be taken so seriously.

And the good ones are not only good at doing that, but are good at guiding us to emotions that will better ourselves and the world around us; to improve our condition and advance our communities and humankind.

But if I have to worry that someone is going to smack me in the face for telling a joke, I may not tell that joke.

Perhaps it was not a good joke. Perhaps it is not a joke that should be told. But if the audience walks out on me, I will get that message without fearing for my life. the bad performer should fear losing their audience, not their life.

While as an actor, he played the macho man well, in the James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum film noir mode well. It was a good look for him as he walked onto the stage, slapped Chris Rock in the face, and walked off.

But this is the real world. not a film noir potboiler. Actions have consequences. To his credit (and not to take anything away from how much he should not have made that joke) Chris Rock knew when to stop, reset, say something that probably was the best joke to make at the time, and move on.

Will Smith was allowed to stick around and get his award. Had he left, either without doing anything or after the incident, he would not have been able to go on stage and pick up that statue and say his words, make his apology, make his statement, and then go party. He might have felt that Chris Rock and his dumb joke won.

But would the world really have thought that? The academy award winner for Best Actor would have walked out of the awards show because the host was a jerk! This would have put Chris Rock in the situation of having to apologize to Smith, the Academy, and the audience for having done something that upset the FREAKIN' BEST ACTOR!

And lets not ignore the fact that this is only a few years after the uproar of the lack of non-white faces in the running. Not a good look on you, Chris.

This all just seems like one of those Chappelle Show sketches, "When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong."

And the meta-irony of it all is that it was a display of the kind of American Married Life Power Dynamics illustrated by Chris Rock's previous joke, the one about how the husband could not win an Oscar if the wife did not.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Gladiators NYC Polearm Duel at Arnold Sports Festival knight fight armor...

Here is the next in the series of videos of Gladiators NYC at the Arnold Sports Classic. This shows Luke Reich in a polearm duel with Chase James of the Detroit Fight Club.

Longsword was the previous post, Melees are in the next post.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Gladiators NYC Longsword Duels at Arnold Sports Festival 2022 medieval f...

Last Weekend I went with Gladiators NYC to the Arnold Sports Festival. I will give you all the deets later, but for now, enjoy the longsword duels of Luke Reich.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Captain Zorikh's Subway Slashing Part 2: Removal of stitches!

Here is the video of my thoughts as I left Woodhull Hospital after getting the 15+ stiches removed from my face as a result of the slashing on the subway.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Catching up with the Court Cases: The Decision in the HP Case and Where it Went From There.

 Well, the victory in the Illegal lockout case was very heartening, but it was not the end. It was not even the beginning of the end. It may have been past the end of the beginning, but I don't think it is quite the middle yet.

While the Illegal Lockout case was still being tried, Judge Weisberg released his decision in the HP case (I will post it here when I get it loaded to YouTube). It was brief, and said that because my vacated room is an illegal Single Room Occupancy dwelling, he could not order it to be re-occupied, so it would be futile to order the safety condition (lack of a fire escape or other means of egress) repaired, so the entire case, including the building violations and harassment, was dismissed (without prejudice, so I could seek relief elsewhere, just not in housing court) However, my neighbor's case, which involved the same building violations and harassment complaints, was moved to another part of housing Court for trial under one Judge Capell..

I felt this ruling to be not quite right. How could one person's harassment complaint be worthy of consideration in housing court but another's is  not when both cases involved the same actions of the same building manager in the same building to tenants of that building? Also, there had been no consideration made of the possibility that the illegal room could become part of a larger, legal apartment if combined with other rooms? Would a rent-stabilized tenant have the right to move into that new apartment that contains his old room?

So I filed what is known as a Motion to Reconsider. Unlike an appeal, which goes to a higher court and requires copies of the transcript and every document filed in the original court in quadruplicate, and Motion to Reconsider merely requires an affidavit (Extra exhibits for evidence is a plus).

Before I was ready to file that Motion, though, Judge Capell held her first conference in the matter of my neighbor's case against the management and owners of 182 Graham Avenue.

Because she was actually a co-petitioner of mine in the HP action, the papers that came through setting the date and time of this conference had my name as the petitioner of this case. I thought this meant that only the "repair and return" position of my case was dismissed and the building violations and harassment were still in play after all. But when we logged on and dialed in to the Teams meeting that is what "being in court" means these days, we were informed that no, my entire case WAS dismissed after all. I was, however, allowed to be an observer of the case, "in the audience" if you will.

The defense attorney, Charles Marino, of course, led with a bunch of creative interpretations of the history of the case and the building. He repeatedly said "rent controlled" when the accurate term would have been "rent stabilized. He talked about the difficult position the owners were in due to all the violations and that the tenants had "chopped up" the apartments to make SROs. And then he got to the point where he said that they had to make each floor one apartment to conform to the Certificate of Occupancy and that meant they would have to evict all but one of the tenants from each floor.. That's when I couldn't hold it in anymore and raised my hand.

Judge Capell pointed out that there were two tenants present, myself and my neighbor , and asked what our thought were on the matter of each floor being one apartment. We both stated that we did not object in principle to being co-tenants of one apartment.

Since I had lived in the building for 27 years and Marino had obviously never set foot in the building. Judge Capell allowed me to answer questions and speak in regard to the history and condition of the building. I pointed out that where Marino said "controlled" he should have said "stabilized" (which Judge Capell noted changed things), that there were plenty of empty rooms int he building and that it is possible that all the vacated tenants could be moved into them.

There was a little back-and-forth between myself, Judge Capell, Marino, and my neighbor. Being very conscious of my non-participant status in this trial, I was on ,my best behavior and made sure to raise my hand and only speak when invited to.

In the end, Judge Capell said that the tenants and the owners and management should get together and figure out a way for all the tenants, vacated an d otherwise, to like in a safe, legal building, and once that is done, she would hear and try the harassment complaints. And every month that was not the case, civil penalties would be assessed against the owners.

She also complimented me on being so well behaved and respectful.

So the judge adjourned the case for a month in the hopes that when we returned, we would have a deal.

It didn't quite happen that way.

NEXT: Decision! Reconsideration! Contempt!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

January 6, 2021, Part 1

 Just a reminder: On January 6th of this year, a joint session of Congress was convened to count the certified votes from all 50 states for the office of President of the United States of America.

On the same day, a rally was organized to protest the results of that vote, claiming that the results were false, tainted by voter fraud.

After firey speeches by a congressman in a wheelchair, a guy who tried to claim that there were more votes than voters in one state by listing towns in a different state and that he had hacked into a Dominion voting device that was not connected to the Internet, and Rudolph Giuliani (who said, among other things, "let's have trial by combat!"), president Donald Trump claimed the election was " they've never rigged an election before") urged his supporters to fight. "We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

He said he would be with them as he urged them to march on the Capitol Building and somehow convince the vice president, Mike Pence, to change the results of the election. He was not.

Thousands of people left the spot of the rally and walked, en mass, down the road to the Capitol Building, where there were already groups of people from organizations like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers pressing at the barriers, in some cases actually rushing the barriers and pushing past police who, somehow, were not expecting and not prepared for this.

The Capitol Building is huge, with many entrances. at some, for some reason, the police whose job it is to protect the people inside the building let protesters walk in, at others, however, they shut the doors and held them back as long as they could.

As the crowd around the Capitol Building got bigger and bigger, blows were thrown. The metal barricades that will only stop people who are polite enough to not jump over them or move them aside were jumped over and moved aside. Police retreated in stages. When the crowds got too big at one point, they retreated to others.

Some among the crowd tried to discourage destruction of property, smashing of windows, etc. But some actively reveled in the destruction of property and smashing of windows. Soon crowds were streaming through windows and doors that had been broken through.

All this time, certain Republicans were contesting the counting of votes. A call was made for a commission, liek the one in 1878, to investigate the election, voter fraud, etc, supposedly to find out who really won the election, as if 50 states' certificated results, three score court cases with four score judges, could possibly be wrong.

And then they stopped.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Reading the decision of the New Illegal Lockout Case

 Here is the decision by the Honorable Judge Jack Stoller in my second Illegal Lockout case (the one about the front door of 182 Graham Avenue,. Brooklyn, NY)