Banksy Arrested? Calm Down, It’s Art!

Rumors swirled yesterday that bluechip street artist Banksy had been pinched by the po-po, based on this October 23 message on the artist’s website:

But today, a new work surfaced on the Hustler building, the 24th piece in Banksy’s month-long NYC residency “Better Out Than In” which has featured a piece a new piece of art a day. The Gothamist reports:

NYPD spokesman tells us that no one was arrested for anything involving graffiti in the 79th [precinct], and specifically stated that Banksy was not arrested.

Consider Banksy’s message a piece of performance art.

Last week NYC’s billionaire mayor  Buzzkill Bloomberg, a heavy donor to  New York art institutions,  was upset over Banksy’s cheekily using the city as his canvas.

Nobody’s a bigger supporter of the arts than I am. I just think there are some places for art and some places where – no art. You running up to somebody’s property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted. And I think that’s exactly what the law says.

Actually Bloomberg’s definition of art and his understanding of New York City’s graffiti laws are both a little off.  According to retired NYPD officer Steve Mona who worked with on city’s Vandal Squad:

Unless he’s done something on city property or one of the owners files a complaint, then there hasn’t been a crime committed. Because graffiti is an art form, what makes it a crime is whether the person had permission to do it to the property that they did it to. So if I walk up to your house and break your window because you said to me, ‘Hey Steve, break my window,’ I can’t be arrested for criminal mischief because you gave me permission to break your window, it’s the same with graffiti it’s no different. As long as no owner complains or  Banksy does [something to] a city property, which the mayor does have direct control over, then there’s no crime.

And you can bet  Bloomberg’s all RAAAAAAGE! that he didn’t score an original signed Banksy for $60 in Central Park a couple weeks ago.

Meanwhile Los Angeles–which recently passed a new murals ordinance which makes street art legal if you pay for a permit, get permission from the location, and publicly post your intentions–is anticipating a Banksy visit in December. Somehow I  don’t think he’ll be paying much attention to the new mural rules. Especially since the Banksylax website is

 registered by Julien’s Auctions, not Banksy, and is an attempt to hype the planned December auction of a work that Banksy stenciled in Los Angeles that was chiseled off the wall and will be sold to the highest bidder.




Trayvon Martin: Monday Night Protests

Protests and rallies continue in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles, southeast of LAX. About 15o people have shut  down Crenshaw Blvd around Slauson, walking north along the busy artery. There is another protest/prayer vigil/rally at Leimert Park where about a more  people are gather.

8:15  Police are staying away form the crow for the most part, until the a few people rush a building and try to jump on stores’ iron security  gates and banging on parked cars, when the police then form a skirmish line.

8:21 A police helicopter is illuminating the group walking up Crenshaw pack to the park. They have taken the northbound lane, and police cars are blocking the streets to allow the walkers to pass.  The crowd is moving more slowly now, and the police are walking along.

8:24  Someone who was lying on the sidewalk is getting punched at Slauson and Crenshaw.  Others tried to break up it, and the crowd moved on. The LAPD airship is still overhead. (at 8:40 paramedics are on site to attend to the person)

8:36 A minvan is swarmed by about 15 protestors who have run ahead of the crowd. The woman driver gets out for a minute and the group jumps off the car, then once she is back in, jump back on, before continuing to march. The minivan drives off..

8:40: Lt Andy Neiman from LAPD says the group is out of control and the LAPD will make arrests (so far one has been made). No confirmed damaged, but reports of damaged vehicles and property. Primary focus is is to get crowd on sidewalk  and back to the park, and if necessary arrest those who are breaking the law. As they see individuals violating the law, teams will go in an extract the violators and arrest them. He says it unfortunate that a First Amendment event and what should be a solemn event being ruin by a few troublemakers. The LAPD doesn’t want this to become a confrontation.

When you start breaking the law the message gets lost and that’s what we are seeing now.

As a side note, LA’s newly elected mayor, Eric Garcetti, who was out of town on vacation, visiting friends In Philadephia before business meetings later this week in DC, has cut his trip short and is back in LA. Because really a vacation and out of town trip two weeks after election is so responsible.

8:50. Fireworks are being set off.  The marchers reached the park and rally and have kept marching, heading to Martin Lusther King Blv. They set off some fireworks. There are no skirmish lines. The police are letting them keep marching in th estreet, though the southbound lanes are open on Crenshaw.

8:54 The marches are at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall, trying to get into the WalMart. (Last night the marchers entered the W Hotel and did some damage). WalMart appears to be locked down, protestors threw some shopping carts at the doors, and security came out. The vandals ran off. (The marchers will walk for a period of time, then some  of group will run ahead, making it hard for the police to stage in front of them or maintain constant supervision).

8:59, And Stocker and Crenshaw, there is some smoke on the street. The Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall is emptying of customers, and police are there. There may vandalism/theft at the mall. The LAPD is setting up a mobile field force and securing the mall.

9:08 Police formed a skirmish line at mall parking lot entrances blocking the further marchers from entering. The crowd is moving further north.

Now there is other news stuff. Blah blah blah. Charlie Brown sounds.

9:20 LAPD Chief Beck tweets:

9:23 The group is now returned to the park and shut down an intersection. Two LAPD airships are overhead, police trying to get in place. Cars are being swarmed. People from the Leimert Park rally are standing in the park watching the chaos, some trying to reason with crowds.

9:25. A group of seven or eight  is running, more follow. There is a fire in a trash can. The crowd slowly follows the runners.  A fire truck is heading to the trash can fire. The police have now set up a skirmish line south of the park, around 43rd to move the people back to the official rally. There is another skirmish line at the park, so the splinter group is between two sets of LAPD at either end of the block. They dash through a parking lot to dodge the police. The cops do not follow.  More from the prayer vigil rally at the park are coming out to speak with group in the street to invite them to join in.

9:37 LAPD is now on full tactical alert and massing at the Pollo Loco at Vernon and Crenshaw. A crowd is scampering into the park for the corner, running into the park. Lt. Neiman says he wants to get a message out to the community that people should text or call their kids if they are out on the streets and ask them to come home because a mob mentality is starting to take over. He hopes the community steps up so the police don’t have to. The majority of the crowd in the streets are younger.  A car stopped in the street and two guys got in; the car drove off. Was it their mom?

Riot police in the park.

Lt. Neiman says  at some point the LAPD will declare unlawful assembly and there may be arrests. There are children and juveniles in the crowd, and he would prefer not to make arrests.

9:52 LAPD declaring unlawful arrest as I type this. There are resources in place to make arrests. The crowd is being given a time frame to disperse, and the dispersal will be controlled so they don’t mob in another location. They are usually given 5-10 minutes to leave. Lt. Neiman is urging people to text and call their friends and family if they are out there and tell them to leave. Community members are coming into the crowd and telling them to go home.

9:59 Crowd is moving.  Sort of. They moved a block. LAPD skirmish lines are in place. Still just one arrest, though that may change. Groups of ones and twos can pass by the police and head home. It looks like about 75 people left.

10:02 About 5 people started running away from the main group, dashing across Crenshaw, while  other groups are slowly walking on the sidewalks, presumably to their homes. No official report on damages yet. At the mall, police are declaring unlawful assembly, and people are leaving. Police are marching with green guns (rubber bullets). They may start to surround the crowd if the crowd doesn’t disperse.

10:06 I can hear the dispersal orders under the news reports. The area has pretty much cleared out, but there are still clots of people on corners. A group is at 11th Ave and Vernon, which is more residential, but officers are a block away, and the airship is overhead. The crowd is just standing in the corner, crossing back and forth through the intersection.

10:10 Crowd is running on 11th Ave. Garcetti tweets

10:12 Police squaring off with a few protestors. Now rerun of a portion of Zimmerman jury member’s interview with Anderson Cooper.

10:14 Many police at Pollo Loco, but no confirmed arrests made yet. More local news, large fire in Riverside County, over 1000 acres, threatening an animal rescue, and possibly Ronald McDonald Children’s Camp. And the major freeway closure could be over soon–the connector between the north 2 and north 5 was damaged in a major fire, clogging local streets with detoured drivers. It may be partially open by tomorrow morning. Add one to two hours to your commute.

10:24  KCAL helicopter shows arrests being made, about a dozen people arrested at 11th Ave and Vernon, more at 8th and Vernon. Other people just ran.

10:28 more taken into custody. LAPD airship has spotted group hiding in alley. The arrests group is being taken into paddy wagon for processing at the Pollo Loco which is now the local command center (only in LA!). The arrestees  may not go to jail, though, per the KCAL reporter (I suppose it depends on age, if they have warrants, etc). LAPD is working through neighborhood to pick up stragglers.

Oh no, sports news…zzzzz.

11:00 Switched to KABC. Things have calmed down, Crenshaw Blvd is open. KABC is running tape and  things look more violent than KCAL’s footage did, including shots of protestors throwing things at cop cars.  KABC reporting KCAL’s news crew and van were attacked (weirdly KCAL said nothing about that) and were attended to by ambulances.

Over to KCBS, KCAL’s sister station, hoping to learn more about news crew:

11:08 Mayor is speaking. 350 officers, 13 arrests. Mayor is at Pollo Loco command post praising the peaceful demonstrators for honoring Trayvon and the Martin family. The city will allow peaceful protests that respect the community and the rights of all people. The Martin family didn’t ask people to take little kids scooters, break windows and commit other acts of violence. He thanks those community members who peacefully assembled and will continue to support First Amendment rights. He concludes:

We are a great city, a better city than the one we saw tonight.

Next up Police Chief Beck. He says  First Amendment rights are supported, but not acts of violence. Tonight the rights of the many were abused by the few. LAPD wants to facilitate First Amendment rights to speak up peacefully, but  cannot allow people to infringe on the rights of the community.  There are important voices that need to be heard. Asks parents not to send your children to protest in and around Crenshaw. LAPD wants to keep everybody safe. He also said they were going to be more of a presence and will take a tougher stance tomorrow.

County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas  recalls the Rodney King riots 21 years ago when he was the district’s council member. He says non-violence is the best way to communicate how to address injustice, saying we should honor tradition of Martin Luther King. He asks  that everyone please obey the police. Violence does not further the cause. There will be a day of dialogue in the city.

City councilman/former LA  police chief Bernard Parks commends the police department. We should be thinking of Trayvon’s family. Urges parents to tell their children to obey the law, they cannot  jump on cars, beat on people, disobey the police. He starts to talk about how he saw two riots in this area in his life (Watts and Rodney King), at which point the fade him down the newscaster begins to summarize what we have just seen, emphasizing that parents should talk tot their kids and that the police will be less lenient tomorrow.

I watched for two hours and will say the LAPD was very mellow, no rubber bullets, no bean bags. I hope though that the ALCU and legal observers are there tomorrow, and that troublemakers are not.

That’s all.





State’s Rights POTUS Obama Arrives In Los Angeles: Clooney’s Pals Show Him the Money, But Will LGBT?

Gridlock will greet homebound Angelenos as BarackSame sex couples should be able to get married…but I support the concept of states deciding the issue on their ownObama makes his way to one of George Clooney’s palatial homes for a celebrity and high-donor filled event. The Los Angeless Police Department to residents of Fryman Canyon to stay home all day or make other plans, and whole business areas have “no parking” signs. The traffic situation is so bad it’s been dubbed Starmageddon, but hey, it’s expected to raise $15 million for Obama.

Obummer’s  calculated personal decision to support marriage equality (the day after North Carolina voted against it) is also expected to raise money. Oscar winning writer Dustin Lance Black, who previously was so angered by the President’s lack of action on LGBT issues that he spoke about sitting out this election (bad idea, everyone should go to the polls and vote for their local ticket!), is thinking about holding an all-star LGBT fundraiser for Obama and  said

I am moving from a position of little enthusiasm to a position of strong support, and that means you will see me contributing financially and repeating my efforts of 2008 by knocking on doors in states where he wants me to knock on doors. When you ask for something big and you get it, you have to show your gratitude.

Obama is the first Democratic president since Harry Truman to assert state’s rights. Dustin, please research what that phrase actually means. Because it kinda sucks. Massively.

photo 1 and 2: screen shots “Falling Down

photo 3: screen shot: “Hollyscoop”

photo 4:

Occupy LA One Week Anniversary: Festival Against the Machine



Saturday marked the one week anniversary of Occupy LA, to celebrate festive live music and cake. People made screened tee shirts, painted, talked, danced and wandered about the Occupy LA encampment, dropped off donated goods, shared fruit from their trees. Bands played all day and special guest Tom Morello delivered a spirited set and stayed to chat with Occupiers.

There were over 2,000 people strolling through the park as well as close to 400 campers. The 9-11 Truthers, LaRouchettes, Revolutionary Communist Party,  Ron Paul-bots, and End the Feds joined in, passing out their information, while the bacon wrapped hot dogs sizzled on the sidewalks outside the park.

Also present, the Oath Keepers, a group of men and women–retired and current law enforcement, military and other peace officers who feel their duty is to the people and the constitution, and that the rights of the citizens come before orders from their commanding officer. As one told me

If your given the order to crack heads on a peaceful assembly, you don’t. We are sworn to uphold the Constitution, not to blindly follow orders.


Photos 1, 2 and video: Tyler Wysocki

Occupy LA Day 2: Dudes Abide in Peace

Well, things are going pretty smoothly at Occupy LA. A mini-tent city which now holds about 300 people most in their 20s and 30s, though there some in their 40s and upwards, and an array of Anonymous. Drum circles, a massage table, dogs and a crystal healing area make it a mini-fest, while the bacon wrapped hotdogs lend a truly Angeleno flavor (they are a revolution in food!).

There were groups doing signing making and others holding meetings about media training, outreach and other matters.Names are placed in a “stack” (the list/queue), you state your point and people wave “spirit fingers” (peace symbol) for yes, wave hands for applause/enough, cross arms if they disagree. During a hot button issue,  it can look like a St Vitus dance in time to the  “Hokey-Pokey.” But it works.

A table  for volunteers is up. American Sign Language interpreters are needed, and they would also like fluent Spanish speakers, as well as those fluent in Armenian, Mandarin, Vietnamese, etc.

It’s pretty funny to see signs saying

The revolution will not be televised

since Occupy LA has been covered since it started, due in part to the major media noticing what was going on in NY. It doesn’t hurt that this a mega-media savvy city (the porta-potties were rented from Sir Reel, which supplies film shoots; I passed a slew of them parked for a shoot on Sunset Blvd as I was driving to downtown). The media tent is up and running, there are cameras and citizen journalists everywhere and Occupy LA has been in the Los Angeles Times, and on local news channels, though the KTLA story was a little histrionic. The trial of Dr. Conrad Murry in the death of Michael Jackson, just two blocks away with worldwide coverage and lots of satellite TV cameras, resumes Monday.

It has been almost 90 degrees this weekend, and rain is expected Wednesday, with cooler temperatures all week.

They have lots of food donations. One guy on his cellphone excited exclaimed

I have a tent now!

A man and woman dropped off half a dozen brand new blankets (no smallpox!) which were taken to the first aid tent. The couple happily said:

These are made in America!

A group of occupiers staged an action today where they went to the Metro and rode LA’s subways wearing bandanas decoracted with


gagging their mouths. Difficulty arose when a portion of the group expressed their dislike of the policeto the police’s face and attempted to instigate a conflict. I was the the campground while there was a meeting and listened while people expressed upset over

police brutality

though the LAPD have been pretty much ignoring the City Hall campers, even when a few overstayed on the lawn pass the deadline of 10:30pm. LAPD headquarters is across the street (as is the LA Times).

There have been no arrests, so police brutality is not an issue for Occupy LA  yet, as more than one speaker pointed out. And it be an issue won’t be unless agitators try to provoke things. Granted there are people at Occupy LA who have experienced police brutality in other communities and in other circumstance, but trying to provoke the police to get that specific point across is simply short-sighted and selfish. It puts the entire Occupy LA at risk, and creates fissures in the group’s cohesive ideals and integrity. Seriously, please find an “affinity group” elsewhere.

“Hey, the cops are being cool!”                                  This man discussed the French Revolution

Monday night at  5pm, Occupy LA, or at least those so inclined, will march in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street to protest the mass arrests this weekend and last weekend’s macings and arrests. Hopefully the those dislike the LAPD will find it in their consciences to look at the bigger picture, stay on the sidewalks and cross on the green lights.

Looks like the City Council is behind the occupation, at least in the short term. Blogger/filmmaker Clay Claiborne shared this letter with me from LA City Councilman Richard Alarcon which kinda spells out how it’s gonna be, unless people start making trouble.:

A lone, and empty police car is parked at LAPD’s headquarters, Parker Center, across from City Hall.

The dudes abide. In peace!

Late Night: Obama Says-Drugs Aren’t a Health Issue, They’re a Legal Matter

While President Obama told Law Enforcement Against Prohibition member MacKenzie Allen, a retired deputy sheriff during an interview with the organization:

We have to think more about drugs as a public health problem

his comments on the new federal drug new budget show things in a different light.

But Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has a different view towards Ecstasy. They printed up a flier for distribution at raves which gave

tips such as “aim low” in both dose and frequency of the hallucinogen and to take regular breaks to let the body rest…

And ignored the legality. The fliers state that effects of Ecstasy

may include elevated mood and energy, enhanced sensations and a sense of emotional connectedness,” but also warn that it can lead to depression, anxiety and irritability.

It also says repeated Ecstasy use should be avoided. It’s a pretty wimpy attempt to tell people

Hey this stuff is BAD for you and you could go to jail!

The fliers were developed by county health officials and paid for by rave promoters after over 100 people were hospitalized at a series of huge raves at publicly owned facilities such as the Coliseum and L.A. Sports Arena which are rented by the gianormous party promoters.

L.A. city and county officials did not ban the raves, even after a 15 year-old girl died of an Ecstasy overdose in July, and the flier is the result of a task force convened to study the matter.

County Supervisor Mike Antonovich raised a ruckus and Public Health officials said they would immediately  revise the card

to further and more emphatically state that illegal drug use is dangerous.

I hope they didn’t print up a forest worth of these useless fliers.

Pot isn’t Ecstasy, and yet LA County at least recognizes the health issues of drug use. Drug use is health issue–pot and be very helpful for people who are ill, while drug addiction is a public health issue which should be addressed with treatment and harm reduction, rather than imprisonment.

Getty Divorce Trial: Drugs In, Affairs Out

Los Angeles County Courthouse (photo: LAC Arts Commission)

Today in Los Angeles Superior Court, Division 22, Judge David Cunningham III–who has a really nice mustache and is super nice and warm and wants to make sure that First Amendment rights are protected–ruled that references to (Gordon) Peter Getty’s extra-marital affair(s) and his reading of sexually explicit e-mails from women he knows as related to his extra-marital affair(s) are inadmissible evidence. They really have no bearing on the domestic violence case before him and events leading up to Jacqui Getty’s broken arm or on the financial settlements in the pending divorce. (California is a no-fault divorce state.) Jacqui Getty seeks a divorce and a restraining order.

However the judge may allow, if foundations are laid, for the hole in Peter Getty’s septum to be discussed by his health care practitioner. The judge will allow personal observation in layperson terms about what was seen–for example, Peter’s bloody nose, white powder and tissues. And he may allow, if an appropriate foundation is laid, the introduction of Peter’s viewing of sexually explicit material online. Jacqui’s attorney makes the point that viewing such material and masturbating while locked in a room–as Jacqui claims Peter did–is one aspect of cocaine use, and indicates out-of-control behavior.

Jacqui Getty’s attorney has offered into evidence the photo of Peter with blood caked around his nose that we described. A ruling on that may come later.

Peter’s attorney is upset that the media have managed to report on Jacqui’s declarations and depositions, but the judge is firm that this will be an open hearing with full First Amendment rights. (TMZ is there–Hi Elizabeth! Cute shirt, btw.)

Before the judge came into the courtroom, Peter Getty appeared to be in a deep meditative state, his eyes closed and his head resting on his rather ugly pea-green striped necktie. He had way too much product in his hair, but he was well shaven. He had no one there supporting him, but his estranged wife had several girlfriends there–including Pamela Levy, co-founder/designer of Juicy Couture, and Eleanor Coppola, wife of Francis Ford Coppola, and the grandmother of Jacqui’s daughter. They were excluded from the court, along with Jacqui’s daughter Gia Coppola, because they may be called as witnesses.

Today will be a full trial day with opening statements and testimony from a Mr. Blumenthal. The trial will resume May 27 and 28.

We’ve got parts of the deposition up online in the sidebar, and I’ll be tweeting as is viable. The only Internet access is in the 9th floor cafeteria–and the food here is not very good.