Autumn 1991

An Interview with Jack Waters, Peter Cramer and Lou Acierno
May 1991

by Kathrin Wildner
Tanslated from the German by the writer

Studying anthropology, I focus on complex urban societies. During a couple of visits in New York I developed an interest in the special situation of the Lower East Side. In this, by city politics declared as a socially and infrastructurally run-down area, there still does exist a diversity of forms and strategies how people create their everyday lives.

In November, 1990 the ABC No Rio collective organized an exhibition in Hamburg, where I met some of the artists and got a first idea of their work.

In Spring, 1991 I stayed for three months in the Lower East Side and tried to concretize my ideas of the special situation of the Lower East Side and the role the arts play in it.

I investigated ABC No Rio as an institution, which puts the arts into a context of the social forms of living. Mostly I was interested in the different concepts of the artists, their ideals, self-definitions, and boundaries to other groups.

The first part of this paper reflects the theoretical and methodical background I got from Hamburg University and the practical realization in the field. I experienced that to me the most important methods were participant observation and informal interviews at ABC No Rio and with people living in the Lower East Side. I also used different kinds of expressions of art (i.e., posters) as material/texts.

The second part gives a description of the Lower East Side, its history, the role of gentrification and the exploding art scene of the early eighties.

Based on that, Ill give a resume of the chronological story of ABC No Rio, the process of creating the space, concepts and ideals of the people working there in the last ten years.


In the late eighties, early nineties, there is a wide-spread discourse about culture, especially in western, post-industrial metropoles.

Culture is seen as a synonym for lifestyle, leisure time activities, and collective identity. In one sense this identity is mainly represented by the wealthy class of society. The virtual community with its common culture serves as an instrument of political dominance and its justification.

Another aspect of the new culture concept are the flexible/permeable boundaries between high culture, mass culture, and everyday culture. Faster and faster alternative and subcultural artistic expressions are transformed into commercial mainstream trends (e.g., punk, graffitti, hiphop).

In opposition to this institutionalized concept of culture there grows an art scene criticizing the official representation of art and culture; claiming alternative information structures and more multiplicity.

Alternative arts as a political and aesthetic critique of mainstream art and economic and social conditions, an expression iherent to all social spheres.

The new strategies, representing socio-cultural needs with a critical art, do not follow the established forms of mediating art in museums and universities, but express them through activities in everyday life (such as housing, collective working or poster pasting, invisible theater...)

ABC No Rio is part of the development of these strategies in the alternative art scene of New York.

Here, art is seen and performed within a specific social context. One of the main goals is forming broad independent communication networks.

The organizers and the public audience at ABC No Rio are part of the dominant white middle class, but at the same time they are marginalized by their own values and systems of meanings. This contradictive position explains the special function of ABC No Rio and reflects the wide-ranging consequences of social, political and cultural problems of the Lower East Side.

People of the alternative scene invented a style of expression which describes the difficult living conditions of the Lower East Side. The aesthetic manifestations are provocative and powerful. Through music, visual art and performance people protest against the desolate situation and at the same time alternative forms of living are created: Transform rubble into creation.

Slogans and everyday situations are transformed into provocative art objects and by using mass media they try to reach as many people as possible.

For the people at ABC No Rio it is only possible to change society if new forms of culture will be developed: Change culture to change society.

The concepts were often limited by possibilities of realization. Internal contradictions, confrontations with the local reality and economic conditions keep ABC No Rio always on the edge of established existence or non-existence.

The aim of working together with the hispanic neighborhood, of being an open space for everybody, is not officially rejected. In the last decade ABC NO Rio organizers were confronted again and again with the decision whether to be art-ambitioned socialworkers or socially-engaged artists. Today ABC No Rio primarily promotes aesthetic events. They do not and cannot give solutions for the basic problems of capitalist and racist society.

Despite all these conflicts, problems and permanent de-establishments, ABC No Rio now exists for over eleven years. It is concept and practice at the same time. It accomplishes the needs of a political artscene and its function as a freiraum, even if it is only for a special group of people.

The institution ABC NO Rio is a microcosm in which the dialectic conditions of a western metropole are reflected.

I tried to record the different self-definitions of the artists, their relations to the surrounding community, and the function the space and project fulfills as a network-center in the alternative scene of the Lower East Side.

Staying in the Lower East Side for three months as an outsider, I could get just a first impression of the dynamic process. This paper reflects the situation of ABC NO Rio in the Spring of 1991 and experiences of my first fieldwork.

Conversation with Jack Waters, Peter Cramer, and Lou Acierno
May 5, 1991

KATHRIN: I would like to talk with you about ABC No Rio. What were your ideas when you started it?

JACK: You mean, when it very first started?

KATHRIN: Yeah, or maybe when you were involved in it. Who was the first director?

JACK: Peter, maybe you can give us a little background.

PETER: We didnt come into ABC NO Rio until 1983 and that was with the Seven Days of Creation show. That was kind of a multi-disciplinary approach. Each day had a different focus. There was an exhibition of our works, there were films and videos and performances. That happened over the course of a week. Basically, it was with the old directors. They just wanted to know what we wanted to do and how much money we wanted. They wanted to know what we wanted from them. They thought we were coming down to ask for money, in order to put the show on and do it for ourselves and for our friends.

JACK: Before that ABC No Rio had already been in existence for three years. That had been started by artists that were an off-shoot of the Colab Project. They were artists who were just beginning to confront issues in the art market. And they were doing a lot of socio-political work, focusing their work on politics and art. It seems to me that one concern was just their frustration with not being able to break into the art world. So they were using No Rio as an alternative to the art world. And in that sense using issues like politics, like issues of gentrification and real estate speculation and plugging that directly into their work. In retrospect what it seems like they were doing was creating a basis for their own insertion into the art world. I said, in retrospect, because now a lot of the people associated with Colab are very successful artists, you know.

LOU: But look at the language which is used in the earlier stuff by Colab. The issue of gentrification is with the issue of artist housing which at that time was quite big. You dont hear artist housing being discussed that way anymore. But the issue of artists having a place to live and work, like big lofts, was actually a big fight in New York City at that time. New York had just been rezoned, and within the zoning these lines had been drawn, and...

JACK: And this was the time of the New York fiscal crisis, this whole...

LOU: It was the very beginning of the Koch administration, January, 1979. The whole issue with Koch is this economic issue. There were big struggles going on with these groups. There was a lot of cleavage in that time. But also what Jack was saying, these groups were...

JACK (laughing): Cleavage?

LOU (laughing): Yeah, cleavage, thats the word. Also, the issue of being an alternative to the art market, the mainstream art market, and what is now known as the East Village, the Lower East Side scene. Now they knock on it which was pretty obvious at that time, but people seemed to be kind of naive. Now its quite clear. That was a very self-conscious creation of an alternative to be corrupted. The same thing happened in Soho.

JACK: Two things. What Lou said about artist housing, this was a very involved issue. There was this concern that artists should have a place to live and a place to work. And there were all these empty buildings, the result of New York defaulting. The city itself jumped on the issue of artist housing. HPD [Department of Housing Preservation and Development] had a commissioner, Janet Langsam, who was an artist herself; she was the Deputy Commissioner in charge of artist housing. In a way it was kind of a decoy tactic. It set up artists as a social elite, as if artists were not poor people themselves, which many artists are. Or as if they really were such a thing like artist housing. In one sense it is obviously necessary, but in another sense it effectively created a division between community residents and artists. There were a lot of fights.

LOU: They created the image that the artists were the first wave in gentrification. The first thing that happens is that artists take over the building and rebuild it and then get kicked out. And thats in fact true, but the thing was, thats placing the blame on the artist, making the artist the enemy of the rest of the community. Its interesting that toatally contrary people towards this real estate issue were involved within this.

JACK: It made a whole social division. You had all kinds of people, like people who run El Bohio, a hispanic organization, nuyorican poets, latino artists. They were all involved in the debate. And it wasnt so much a formal debate as a whole atmosphere of debate. There were these different factions and divisions. One of the things that attracted us to No Rio was its very specific ideology of uniting with the local residents, the black residents, the hispanic residents, in formulating a situation which would be cultural and political. The group Peter and I came in with is the second generation of No Rio administration. We had an aesthetic of art not being separated from other areas of life. A lot of us had conflicts about whether we wanted to identify as artists. We were attracted to No Rio because they were doing shows like The Real Estate Show and the Suburbia Show.

PETER: Wouldnt you say something about these artists basically identified as white gentrifiers. It has to do with money and power. The white artist kind of like making it...

LOU: Fuzzy.

PETER: Yeah, they were making it fuzzy. They were coming in, spending all their time, fixing it up, making it livable for themselves, and once that happens a more middle class buys their way into the whole scene, which is what happened in the East Village.

JACK: Our term sort of coincided with the East Village art boom. There were friends and associates who were involved. We thought it was a really exciting time. There were small storefront galleries opening up. We had an affinity with them in a way, but eventually we got a lot of criticism and we were kind of isolated. We had a political dogma and they did not. They didnt want to look at the over-all picture of where they really stand in the whole gentrification issue. And time really showed, it came out to be true. People like Walter Robinson who was a writer for ART IN AMERICA and an artist in the Metro Pictures stable, and Carlo McCormick generated this whole publicity, a real press campaign, which started with an article in ART IN AMERICA about the East Village art boom. It ignored issues of real estate and politics. At the same time, it used them to advantage in liberating a position in the art market. I think if you read that article and [the article in] OCTOBER magazine it presents the whole thing very well. Its a very early kind of sociological brainwork.

KATHRIN: How did you start to get the whole community involved, not just the East Village artists?

JACK: In one way we had this very strong feeling about politics. But in another way, we felt that rather than forcing political issues wed kind of let happen whatever would happen. Sort of a more anarchistic approach to things, instead of forcing our political ideology on things. We had an open booking situation. That was like the atmosphere of apathy in the beginning of the Reagan administration. We booked art shows but at the same time had a very open ear to things that were directly political. Wed book seminars. But the contribution we had in fulfilling our ideals was to get very strongly involved in the educational system. The very first show we did here we involved the public school. Part of the Seven Days show was devoted to the Anna Silver school, an elementary school. We went there and worked with the students, we brought their artwork and exhibited it. Later, Fred Kahl, the musician the Great Fredini, set up a nucleus education program. He went to the school across the street, a Junior High School, I think, and got four or six students. It was part of a career education program. And we set up a situation where they would come to No Rio and work with an artist. Wed send them out to work in whatever area they were interested in. We did videotapes with them to document this whole education program. Peter organized an artist-in-residency situation with the New York Foundation for the Arts. We were able to hire a filmmaker and a photographer to teach in their school. We did a fashion show with the kids; they designed and painted their own outfits. Kind of had this whole educational program buzzing.

KATHRIN: Did that draw other people? Like their friends and their families?

PETER: Not too many. That was the problem. As much as we wanted to get involved with the community, there wasnt really much of the community involved with the space. They just saw English-speaking outsiders, since the neighborhood was and is predominantly hispanic.The cultural differences were...what they wanted to see was basically things on television...it didnt have that kind of polish, or that kind of...

JACK: Poor people want to up-grade themselves. They see people at No Rio acting like real bohemians, against the whole...That was one problem with getting involved. The people just looked at us like weirdo alternative bohemians. The racial thing...

PETER: This space was so rough, it wasnt a nice clean place. It wasnt any improvement over their own life. They didnt understand the criticism, the point of view, acting and living like this.

JACK: Which is what attracts people coming from a middle class background to No Rio. The rawness attracts them, but for people coming from working class backgrounds, its something that opposes them. I see justifiable reasons for both, but as far as being an atmosphere for sympathizing, its difficult. There are other cultural situations. People are working. Theyre not really involved with their childrens education or anything else that doesnt really involve putting food money and rent money in their pockets. Its extra. Its not like people in suburban communities. They can get involved in their childrens education. But here its not a priority; its not a life or death situation...So between that and just fighting to maintain the building itself our whole educational program just dissolved.

PETER: And there was a lot of resistence on the part of the artists, too. They werent equipped to deal with the community. They didnt understand it. They just saw themselves as artists coming in to do an art show. That was all they wanted to do. They didnt really see themselves as getting involved.

JACK: ...at one point this building became a stronghold for a drug and prostitution ring, and the students wouldnt come here. And wed feel uncomfortable bring the students here. A lot of the stuff we did was outside of No Rio, to museums and other peoples studios. But the whole atmosphere of a degenerating situation in the building also contributed to that whole thing not really working.

LOU: And the gallery doesnt have set hours during the day which is when students would be here. It wasnt really open during the day. Well, sometimes...

JACK: Well, Lou, when we were doing this it was, and a lot of that had to do with Fred. He was here during the day and he would work with them during school hours. And when we had the New York Foundation for the Arts project we were getting money and could pay people. Peter basically single-handedly managed that whole NYFA project. And he wasnt able to sustain himself as administrator, like applying for the grant and just keep this running...

PETER: But the money was just for the artists involved, not for other... JACK: and not for administering stuff. So thats why the situation got to the point Lous talking about. Were not open during the day because a lot of the work that we do is extra-curicula. People have to earn their living. LOU: We dont have the usual conventions of a gallery. We dont have walk-in traffic... JACK: And there are no sales. We dont subsist like a gallery. We dont sell artwork. Theres not that kind of income coming in that supports our being open... LOU: This is not a very travelled street to begin with. You dont get people walking in to see the show, except for drug addicts. Were usually open at night.

JACK: The directors [before us] were pretty quickly engaging themselves into the art scene. They werent really that interested in...they were kind of burnt out. So they were going...At one point, I think, someone made the statement, they had to decide whether they wanted to be artists or politicians. They decided to be artists and are now persuing their careers. And that more or less brings it up to the point where Lou came in. I dont know what his perspective on things is. He sort of constitutes the third generation.

LOU: Yeah, but now theres a fourth generation.

JACK: We keep cloning ourselves.

KATHRIN: How do you think about identifying yourself as an artist now? Do you identify yourself as an artist?

JACK: Yes and no. I feel that western culture is the only culture that separates art. That even has a word [for it]. When we were in Hamburg we were talking to Turkish girls, we asked what the Turkish word for art was and they didnt know. This is the only culture that has this sort of separation. And I view myself as a creative person. Its very difficult for me to function in a nine to five kind of business. I can, because I do have certain skills that come out of survival. But my basic inclination is creative and so thats what I would like to do. I would like to subsist on the films, the artwork, the performances, the dialogue that comes out of my aesthetic. In a way I would like to identify as a cultural worker, something like an aesthetic...proletarian...Not really proletarian...As an artist its difficult because art is sort of outside the class system; it is either the lowest of scum or the highest of elite. You cant really think of an artist as being upper class, working class, lower class. They are outside and they...

LOU: The whole process is outside.

JACK: Yeah, its all outside in a way, but in another way it really functions much more for a cultural elite. So the identity I prefer to address in the process and dialogue, rather than saying I am an artist, well, sometimes I do say I am an artist, when its effective in certain situations. If there is a grant Im applying for and I want the money and they ask so are you an artist and I say, Yeah, Im an artist...but as far as presenting myself to the world at large I have some difficulty saying...

LOU (low, strong voice): I AM AN ARTIST.

JACK (low, self-conscious voice): I am an artist.

LOU: Your voice is even different when you say that.

JACK: Yeah, if I say I am an artist, I AM AN ARTIST.

KATHRIN: Lou, what was your intention?

LOU: My intention to start with this?


LOU: Well, I really, badly needed a place to live.

JACK: That is funny. Thats like all our situations. That was our situation as well...

LOU: But besides that, I was doing other things that parallelled how No Rio was run and what No Rios intentions seemed to be at the time. I was working with this video group, Rehab. We are an anrchistically structured group. We dont have any predetermined roles. And I saw that happening here. I like the immediacy from theory and praxis that No Rio seemed to offer, without a long complicated sequence from proposal to execution. I like that things happened fast here. I had many of the same concerns and very similar aesthetic to what I saw this place as having. I got involved. I saw it as an extension of what I was already doing. I like the fact that there was an existing framework, a network, to tap into. I saw that as an expansionist thing for myself. I thought it was a very mutual situation they offered. I could do things and help No Rio, No Rio the place and No Rio the concept. And I thought they could do the same for me. I could help myself and the place at the same time.

JACK: Its funny. I alway see No Rio as a microcosmos of this capitalistic society, for all the wrong and the good and the bad that it presents. When Lou came here he had some definite, basic needs. When Peter and I came we didnt have a place to live and that was one of the things offered to us...

LOU: Its the same with Steven [Englander]...

JACK: No Rio had this very immediate essential relationship...No Rio was fulfilling some basic needs.

LOU: Thats not so bad. But were so marginalized that No Rio cant offer a salary in line with the amount of work that needs to be done...

JACK: Im not saying...

LOU: At least you can get an apartment if you make 23,000 dollars a year...

JACK: ...Im not saying thats bad, but Ive had a lot of personal gain from my association with No Rio because No Rio had an international reputation. From the beginning it had a very strong mythology. Ive been able to use the place for film shoots. Ive been able to get credibility in the world as director of No Rio, as an artist. And I continue to do that and get credibility through No Rio, which is a result of other peoples groundwork, but its also a result of the work that we are doing. So when I say for better and worse, I think of that. Peter and I had this kind of joke when we were doing No Rio, we were saying ABC-NO-RIO-CAREER-ARTIST-STEPPING-STONE...You know, people would come to do shows here because they knew they could get some recognition. Even if people wouldnt come see it you could write it in your resume, people would take you seriously. So I dont really examine myself on that, so thats why I say for better or worse. Its definitely a stepping-stone for my careerist impulses, and if I wouldnt recognize it that would be bad.

LOU (laughing): Youd be a bald-faced liar.

JACK (laughing): Yeah, Id be a fucking liar.

PETER: For me the initial attraction of the whole aesthetic was the collectivist attitude. And when I became the administrator I didnt really feel that. I felt like Im in charge and that people were waiting for me to tell them what to do. That attitude shifted and changed for me a lot. And once the criticism of the whole East Village scene drew the black and white differences between us down here and our focus and what they were doing up there, a lot of people made their choices, they moved away from what No Rio was.

KATHRIN: Lou, what you said last Sunday about the Global network..?

LOU: The difference between the local community and the global..? I think we were talking about the earlier groups, and the ones that remained on the Board until a year ago, had an announced concern for the immediate local community to be integrated with the goings-on at No Rio. Hearing it and reading it I felt it to be a very paternal view. The word embraces they used quite often. Its kind of disgusting, really...its...embracing, like something your parents would do, or something like that...the community I see is homeless junkies in the street all day, laying in front of No Rio, sleeping on our steps...

JACK: Yes, but this is also...

LOU: But this is the street community, isnt it? Thats the one most visible to us. Right in front of the building, sleeping on the steps, taking drugs on the steps. Im just also trying to define local communities. Then you have the businesses that are here, and the people who live here, and their families. Jack was saying theyre trying to integrate into mainstream culture and the majority of the artists here are trying to remove themselves from that...Theres already a contradiction in trying to merge the two. I think there are ways to do it, but its a lot of work and its not a thing where you just open the door and say, local community, come on in.

JACK and PETER: ...come in...no...

LOU: You see, thats not an open event. Matthew used to call his event the Open Mike and he said it was open to anyone who came in. But if someone came in from the neighborhood there is a good chance theyre not going to understand a word thats being said. So I dont know how thats an open event...coming to a room full of seventy-five people all speaking English, and you cant understand a single word. I dont know why thats an open event.

PETER: But theres the culture...they wouldnt understand the whole cultural situation...

LOU: Yeah, the cultural context of whats going on. This whole issue of embracing the community and working for it, for myself its much more interesting to see the community as something on a global scale, an international scale...

JACK: Thats what we felt too, thats why we tried with Maggie Smith to come in and do things that were interesting to the black and hispanic community. I felt a strong commitment to bringing something to No Rio thats not white eurocentric.

LOU: The way to do that is to get that input on a planning stage, and to have people whose interests are already in those areas.

PETER: But its different if you have actual people or youre dealing with particular issues, like the so-called others, than to have them dealing with it and do it the way they want to. Its different than to have a bunch of white artists address the issues and take care of it.

JACK: Right. My feeling is what Lou was saying, you cant just take the surface elements and say, see...you cant just bring hispanic people here and black people here and just say: do this. Its a much deeper situation that needs to be dealt with and I think in one sense that we are all...

LOU: In fact, at the benefit there was this guy who was with the band and when we went upstairs I was asked to watch him because they thought he wandered in from the street...Did you ask me that?

PETER: Yeah, I thought hed come from nowhere.

LOU: Oh, I didnt know. Im sorry...I heard this differently.

PETER: Yeah, I asked people to watch him. He came in and didnt say hello to anybody. I thought he was someone from the street coming in looking around seeing what equipment there is to come back later...

LOU: Well, Im sorry. But by the time I reached downstairs Id been asked three times to keep my eye on this guy and I didnt even know who I was watching. It was like what that guy...

JACK: Were all products of eurocentric western culture. Even myself, as an african-american. We all have these impulses that are essentially racist. It takes a real strong effort to deal with that and I think it happens on a level of consciousness...

LOU: I think its really impossible, its nearly impossible. It comes through the media. Even something as simple as language. If you look at how the media describes a situation involving blacks and how it describes the same situation involving whites, the language is completely different. With this wilding thing, the language used in the case of the rape in Central Park, they were always described as animals, in animal terms. At a similar event that took place in Bensonhurst there was more compassion for the people and they were actual murderers. They murdered someone, shot someone, and were described with a lot of compassion, but in the Central Park case they were animals, beasts...

JACK: I think its important to make an effort to bring diverse cultural ekements to ABC No Rio. It is something like an island. The neighborhood is changing very quickly but its still an island of predominantly white people in a hispanic and black neighborhood. Its weird. It would be nice to see a scene going on here, at least for a couple of days, that would not be white. I know that Steve is against having a club situation, and thats one of the things I want to talk to him about. I think thats very important. You know we have a music scene going on here which is predominantly white, the hardcore matinee. And if those guys like Paul do something that would bring other people in...There is something to be said for that kind of direct action. There are two ways, and I...

PETER: ...thats the identity of No Rio even if its formulated by white artists...its still something, at least this counter-cultural kind of awareness that leads to multi-cultural...I dont like that word...we are still aware of the situation, were politically aware, socially aware of what the situation is...aware enough to make make an effort to confront those things that are central to the culture at large.

LOU: I think that the divisions between the races and sexes in New York is very...New York is very segregated, it is extremely south. Malcolm X said once when talking about the difference between racism and segregation in the south and in the north, Malcolm X said: as long as you are south of the Canadian border you are south.

KATHRIN: Yeah, I heard that...

LOU: I remember what I wanted to say about the hardcore matinee. Someone else called up to do an event and they said how it was different from the hardcore matinee, as if we were given two proposals, one that was largely white and one that was largely not white...The hardcore show represents the deep divisions between the races in New York City. And their scene is segregated as much as any. They came to us with a worked-out concept to run shows. This other guy said, Oh, I want to have DJs and I wanna have these parties for the indigenous inhabitants of the region, like an anthropologist. The hardcore guys had a clearly worked-out thing.

JACK: Was there already a train of communication? You knew these guys?

LOU: Matthew knew them through ACT UP.

JACK: I mean the hardcore guys.

LOU: Through ACT UP. Thats where they came from.

JACK: Oh yeah? This whole hardcore matinee? Thats funny.

LOU: It is funny. Its ironic because it wouldnt take place now, the guy who started it is out of it. Hes the one writing the nasty letters. All the earliest literature said no racist, no sexist, or homophobic bands. The new crew thats in wanted to block that from their literature. Not because they disagreed with it, but they said it doesnt have to be announced anymore. I thought it was great that it was announced, because it isnt something you can assume.

KATHRIN: Especially with concerts.

PETER: ...but they didnt want to face criticism, even if they continue to identify...with that type of statement.

JACK: They probably werent sensitive to the whole thing...Thats the thing about a directorship, no matter how unformulated it is, one can always impose ones sensibility, very subtly. You know, when Im saying we want you to do this, we think you should do this...

LOU: Or you have to refuse it. Thats one of the horrible things. Theres this whole philosophy here that you cant say no to anything at all. One event I did was the open mike, because people were attacking each other on stage, were destroying each others artwork, there was vandalism during shows, they were spray-painting on other peoples artwork. There was this real aggressive outpouring of peoples emotions. Its probably a good thing to get in touch with these things, but I thought it was horrible at times. People were screaming, its free expression. I saw a woman who was verbally attacked and people were applauding. And that was one of the open events everybody speaks so ideally of now. But coming back to what we were saying, as a director, although people dont like it, you definitely have to say no. I got complaints that saying no in this scene would be a fascist act. But I think its good sometimes, sometimes you have to...

PETER: Yeah, whats that slogan, Just Say No?

JACK: You have to ignore them and they go away. Thats the other tactic.

LOU: Hopefully, thats what we did with this guy who wanted to do the music thing here, we ignored him. And now hes really angry, that we ignored him so much.

KATHRIN: Is that the guy you talked about, Jack?

LOU: No, thats someone else. This guy keeps knocking, he keeps changing what hes doing. I know its the same thing, its a party. The first time he called up we said we dont want to have a party here, so he called up and expressed it differently, and I said this is the party you talk about and he said no, its got kids in it. And now hes called up and said were an organization protesting the death a year ago of four teen-age children in Queens and were gonna involve the local kids in a party...a party...

JACK: This is another thing that always comes up here, the difference between art and entertainment, fun and work. That always has to be considered.

LOU: Art and entertainment?

JACK: Whats the difference between a party and a...

KATHRIN: and a hardcore show.

JACK: Or the difference between a party or an art performance and a show.

LOU: Its the intention. If its your intention to just have a cheap place to have a party then we should say no, but if its your intention to have a party where youve already been, its a different thing. But to just call up and say how much to have a party?...no.

JACK: You could always charge them a lot of bucks when you want to get rid of them. Just charge them an enormous sum.

LOU: Its the same with the open mike. We should charge $20 each. They have cars, they have limos out here and go to the open mike.

JACK: But I dont like to do something...

LOU: We should charge $500 for the nights...

JACK: Yeah, and pay the rent or whatever...

LOU: Thats what the Gas Station charges. $1000 a night.

JACK: You can always distance yourself by calling it a rental. Its not really produced by ABC No Rio, its away from No Rio. I dont know, its really complex.

LOU: No answers, only more confusion.

KATHRIN: I got a lot of answers...

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ABC No Rio: The Culture of Opposition Since 1980