Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of Oct. 1, 2015

Aspen Matis, left, and Lux Sommers.   Photo by Scoopy
Aspen Matis, left, and Lux Sommers. Photo by Scoopy

Write on! No, these aren’t some supermodels during Fashion Week, but upcoming writer Aspen Matis and her copywriter/guitarist pal Lux Sommers. The venue was New School writing professor Susan Shapiro’s W. Eighth St. home last Friday night, which, as usual, was the local literary hot spot. The occasion was a party for Matis’s new adventure memoir, “Girl in the Woods” (William Morrow), which is being hailed as the female “Into the Wild.” Look for more in The Villager in a few weeks about Matis and her journey to publication… . Also making the scene at the soiree were the likes of N.Y.U. journalism prof Jessica Seigel, Westbeth writer Kate Walter, Washington Square sax busker/writer David Sobel and playwright Mark Williams, who said he loved Yannic Rack’s review of his play about a dysfunctional Thanksgiving, “Straight Faced Lies.” “It’s on the wall of my Facebook page,” he said. Time Out had given Williams a terrible review, so the positive article in The Villager was a big lift, he said.

Bernie Sanders, left, and Arthur Schwartz at the Town Hall on Sept. 18.
Bernie Sanders, left, and Arthur Schwartz at the Town Hall on Sept. 18.

Bernie mania! Climbing in the polls against Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders was in New York  on Fri., Sept. 18, for a fundraising event at Town Hall, on W. 43rd St., before going on the “Tonight Show.” “Amazing,” said local Bernie booster Arthur Schwartz. “He spoke for around an hour, after a half-hour ‘VIP’ meet-and-greet, which I got invited to. He went through his whole platform: ‘No one else is speaking about the continued growth of the wealth of the top 10th of 1 percent and the impoverishment of so many others. We are the only advanced industrial country in the world that does not provide healthcare for all. And the only country that does not provide, by law, for paid sick leave, paid family leave and paid vacations. We are the only country in the world which does not have a system of free public universities.’ He talked about how quickly things change. He said that four years ago no one even came close to calling for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, but now it is being passed in multiple cities and is being demanded by fast-food workers across the U.S. ‘No other candidate is talking about banning Super PACs and reversing Citizens United,’ he said. The event sold out — tickets were a minimum $50 — in 48 hours.”

Praising Day: Pope Francis namedropped Dorothy Day during his address to Congress, which, as the Daily News put it, looked like he was “measuring her for a halo.” “In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the servant of God Dorothy Day,” Francis told the representatives. “Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith and the example of the saints.” In 1933, Day founded The Catholic Worker newspaper. She also opened “hospitality houses,” including Maryhouse, on E. Third St., and St. Joseph House, on E. First St., in the East Village, where people can find a room, a meal and a spiritually nurturing environment.

Corey does desnudas: Never one to shy away from tackling the tough issues, City Councilmember Corey Johnson is part of the task force that has been trying to figure out what exactly to do with the Times Square desnudas — plus Elmo, Oscar, Spider-Man and the other costumed quality-of-life-cramping cuckoos. Johnson, Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Dan Garodnick have been proposing to “redefine the plazas as public space,” and create what would be called the Times Square Commons, which would stretch from 42nd St. to 47th St. Within the pedestrian areas of this commons, the city would create three zones — basically, boxes or strips — “that protect the diversity of people and activities.” “General civic zones” would have tables and chairs, arts programming and occasional events. “Designated activity zones” would allow any activity involving the immediate exchange of money for goods, services or entertainment. “Flow zones” would be dedicated exclusively to the flow of pedestrian traffic without physical obstacles of any kind. Eric Bottcher, Johnson’s chief of staff, said the plan would keep the plazas under city Department of Transportation control, but the agency would receive greater authority regarding activity on them. In a recent “Good Day New York” interview, Johnson explained that he has nothing against the “painted ladies” or the Naked Cowboy. “It’s really the costumed characters, who have been grabbing kids and harassing people,” Johnson said. “Times Square should be a harassment-free place, but still creative and quirky where people can make money.” Civil rights attorneys are reportedly questioning the constitutionality of the Commons scheme, but Johnson’s office said they feel it is legal. One thing that is certain is that the task force is supporting the idea of more than doubling the number of officers assigned to the area, to slightly more than 100. These officers would be permanently designated to the “desnudas / Batman” beat. Crime could go up in in other parts of the city, but Times Square would presumably be “safe” from aggressive characters, whether they be furry or semi-naked.