Manhattan Project

New York anarchists play rabblerousing to the hilt

April 14, 2009
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For the 3rd Annual New York City AnarchyFest, the MM blurbaturbs took the plunge with half-assed punchlines late last week: patchouli body odors, trotkyist hyuks, etc. Who woulda thunk that subterranean Leno-isms make for compelling alternative weekly listing copy?

No matter. Last Saturday, the Judson Memorial Church was teeming with spiky haired dissidents and paunchy New York University adjuncts, respectively.

At 11am, I met Christian anarchist Kenny Andrew for the culture jamming caucus. Lecturer ClarkClarke, a potbellied hipster with an un-touche straw hat, was a refugee from Republican wastelands with a hard-on for Banksy. The diff: “Graffiti is about fame and identity. But in my work, it’s about message.”

In his video presentation, ClarkClarke demonstrated how to attract the attention of mainstream media zombies (cough: Fox News, cough) by dressing up as destitute Wall Street yuppies, busking for hard cash.

By the way, taggers, garbing yerself in enough black for a Johnny Cash biopic? It’s about as douchetastic as getting a tribal tattoo.

ClarkClarke recommends milling around construction sites and swiping orange mesh MTA vests in order to pull off that look of pure officiousness.

“When I was younger, I had fake IDs for getting into bars. Now, I have fake IDs for getting into subway tunnels.”

Repeat after him, kids: the dirtier, the better.

“Don’t graffiti in black. It’s pretty obvious…you should also make small talk with subway workers (when decked out in official gear,)” he added.

For the second hour, Larkin from HollabackNYC and the MTA Service Specialists chatted about streetside sickos and subway fare hikes, respectively.

HollabackNYC is an ingenious act of patriarchy-shaming. The Web site encourages New Yorkers to snap pix of wang-twiddling subway pervs. “Catch that jerk with your video phone or do journalistic style feature on street harassment and we’ll post it!” reads the disclaimer.

“I started seeing the power of creating your own media. If you impersonate, you can gain a lot of authority,” Larkin told attendees.

Enter MTA Service Specialists. With her 1940s-inspired stewardess getup, Larkin and three other “specialists” traverse subway trains to provide straphangers with sanitary wipes and snacks.

From The New York Daily News:

The MTA has found yet another way to make riding the subways more miserable.

On top of fare hikes and service cuts, it’s now dumping on “MTA service specialists,” four women who voluntarily ride the rails to help straphangers get around quicker and happier.


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority thinks the smiling women in their 1940s-style stewardess uniforms are giving riders the idea that the MTA is actually improving service, said specialist Kiki Valentine.

MTA lawyers filed a cease-and-desist order Tuesday giving the volunteers 72 hours to remove a video and make other changes on their Web site,, which the MTA says makes unfair use of the agency’s “intellectual property.”

But back at AnarchyFest, Larkin remains undettered. “I don’t take cease and desist e-mails very seriously,” she said.

[Numero Dos of AnarchyFest coverage will come later this week.]