Sunday, July 29, 2007

Deadly Poet's Society

Bored with their lot in life and with the 3rd annual "Printer's Ball" in town, Chicago Police, in full SWAT regalia, stormed the event's final evening, a party of music, poetry and art, for violations of licensing requirements. That's right, licensing and permit violations led a 30-man SWAT team to storm the premises.
Nobody turned into a pumpkin at Chicago's third annual "Printer's Ball," culminating a monthlong festival celebrating the printed word.

They didn't get a chance. The party Friday night ended up being shut down by the police long before midnight in a dispute over whether the Bridgeport gallery hosting it had been inspected, had the proper city licenses and could safely accommodate a large gathering.

Oskar Friedl, director of the Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St., said "at least 30" police officers came to his gallery "in full-fledged combat gear" shortly after 10:30 p.m. and made more than 1,000 people leave.

"It felt like the Gestapo," Friedl said. "I'm not even blaming the city for what they're doing, but the way they did it was very upsetting.
Oddly enough, this police state action, resoundingly admonished by the director of the art center, was seemingly praised by Anne Halsey, spokeswoman for the Poetry Foundation, the organizer of the Printer's Ball, who said the police were "extremely pleasant and courteous."

Really, Anne? Because certain attendees don't seem to have quite the same appreciation for the actions of Chicago's SWAT team in busting up a respected literary event:
I wish I had my camera so that I could show you just how knuckle-headed these armed thugs looked barking threats at the peaceful publishers of Chicago literature.

Chicago's finest, what the hell is your problem?
Conflicting reports, to say the least. But then one would expect some mitigation of the storm trooper tactics by the Chicago Sun-Times, a Hollinger outlet that shares common interest in the ongoing project of the police state.
Sure, they stormed in wearing full battle gear. Storming a poet party can get a bit hairy, we all agree on that. But guns weren't ablazin'! How can anyone complain? This was obviously the right thing to do.

[h/t Mentarch at APOV and the excellent Larisa Alexandrovna @ at-Largely]


Blogger Mentarch said...

We've all heard "beware the power of the written word", but this is getting ridiculous, eh?


8:27 PM  

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