PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!


CP: Writing about dancers is a little like photographing them: they’re most interesting when you catch them in the air. Bruce Walsh’s cover on Jumatatu Poe catches him and his dancers in the air, on the floor and on film, focusing on the piece Flatland. Walsh tries to figure out both Poe’s style and his method of working. Is he a filmmaker or a choreographer? Dancer or dramatist?

“I think specialization in one technique is less important for [dancers] now. I like to try to figure out what takes to do everything,” says Poe. “And, yeah, there’s something really arrogant about that. All of these styles require rigorous attention to detail. But that’s what I’m after, that shift from one to the next — a total gravity shift.”

That means a lot of homework for Flatland ‘s 11 performers. Recordings of almost every rehearsal are uploaded onto, where dancers can meticulously review their own movements.

“I had no idea what I was getting into,” says dancer Gabrielle Revlock. “The first thing we did was the opening sequence, which was pretty abstract. It was absolutely pure dance. Everything had to do with these complex counts. No one else was on my same count, so I used the video a lot to get my specific thing down.”

Poe is constantly incorporating video into every aspect of the process. He often videotapes himself giving notes. He even set up a “confession camera” during rehearsals, so dancers could purge their innermost frustrations, a la MTV’s The Real World.

Revlock wasn’t having it: “That was not gonna happen. No way. If have something I want to say about the process, I’ll say it to his face. But he kept pushing it! ‘There’s a confession camera over there!’ I mean, what am I supposed to say?”

I say you do it up “Real World”-style: drunk, crying, mascara running down your face. Then you convert to Mormonism and come out the closet. That’s how it goes, right?

PW: Tara Murtha goes in deep to investigate police in Kensington and their pervasive and, it has to be said, unjust efforts to catch the possible serial killer terrorizing that neighborhood. The headline states: “What the police will do to catch the Strangler.” More like, what WON’T they do?

A police artist assembled the sketch based on eyewitness accounts from survivors who escaped after being similarly choked and surveillance camera footage taken near the crime scenes. It’s the face of a, light-skinned African-American or Latino male with side burns, maybe a goatee, maybe a birthmark, with white ear bud wires dangling out of a dark hoodie.

There’s one problem with the sketch.

“Everybody out here fits that description,” says Enrique “Chino” Sanchez, a 23-year-old Kensington resident. Sanchez is of Puerto Rican descent and sports thin sideburns and a four-inch goatee.

Amid the mounting pressure to catch the Strangler—including from angry residents, some of who insist that he would have been caught by now had he struck a more affluent area of the city—stories of young men on the street who fit the description being stopped by police and forced to submit to random DNA swabs whirl through the neighborhood.

On Dec. 21, Sanchez was walking up Cumberland Avenue toward his parked car. He was on his way to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. But before he got to Kensington Avenue, Sanchez encountered a patrol car blocking the street.

Sanchez says an officer—hand on gun—approached him and said, “Put your hands on the wall.”

When Sanchez asked what was going on, he says, the cop told him not to worry, that he’d let him know “in a little bit.”

Dude knew his rights, though: He works with Crime Victim Services/Youth At Risk Program, a volunteer activist group that works to reduce crime and assist victims in the East division, and Greg Bucceroni, coordinator for the group, pointed him in the right direction: Internal Affairs at police HQ. This all points to a worrisome proposition: if the police catch the Strangler, and his DNA is obtained this way — through illegal search and seizure, without a warrant — he would land back on the streets. It’s exceedingly troubling, and Kensington residents now have even more reason to be on their guard.


CP: Cracking down on the “the hate industry.” Eatin’ harsh browns (it’s the new “sippin’ the haterade”): “An actual McMuffin might have been better.” “How to Get Started”: a Black Eyed Peas/John Cage collab? Endangered musical species: Women with the voices of little girls.

PW: Mexican joint underseasoned: Maybe more like Dos Jalapeños? Uno y medio? Snitches: Sorry, not golden ones, Harry Potter fans. Do I even have to tell you to steer clear of the Spunk Guzzler? Yo! PW raps — and so does this gal Michelle P. Wilson!

WINNER: PW has got the Kensington beat on lock, and they make it two in a row to start the New Year.

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