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AT THE BROOKLYN LYCEUM

Brooklyn's medieval town-square  with markets one day, fairs the next followed by everything from professional wrestling to public hangings.  

Currently trying to avoid our own public hanging. 

A YEAR OF HELL

  Just like the Star Trek Voyager episode A Year of Hell, looks like we have to watch the system lay waste to the Lyceum for a protracted period of time whilst we work in the background to unwind some unwarranted (and unfair and illegal) meddling.  We believe we are right on the facts and the law and will pursue both till the issues are actually addressed and not just artfully avoided.

  With regards to booking we are plotting to hit the ground running when the A Year of Hell is over and the timeline is reset.  So keep those booking requests and co-production inquiries coming.

And so the censorship begins...
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Brooklyn Paper - Brooklynpaper.com

 

Article that spawned reasoned debate hidden from normal view by Brooklyn Paper.

You can no longer get this article through the normal website as the Brooklyn paper has removed ALL articles from February 20th from regular view.

http://brooklynpaper.com/stories/38/9/dtg-lyceum-update-2015-02-20-bk_38_9.html

If you go to brooklynpaper.com and hit the previous issue you will find no article from February 20, 2015.  Not even the article about Cuomo calling for a special election.  Odd.

 

From some comments...

--Federal Judge says you get 7 days to respond from date of entry of an order and then calculates from the date of signing the order leaving you only 6 days? Yup.

--how about posting links to the actual pleadings, motions, and court decision, rather than trading in unsubstantiated innuendo? Its public record, come on BP, try being a cub reporter at least. sheeesh.

--If the court violated statutory process, the appeal should be allowed to move forward. Why the judge was so quick to not afford an extra day is puzzling. Appeals happen.

 

Some questions posed to the Brooklyn Lyceum

1. Why do you feel this a legal battle worth pursuing? 

 

This battle is one worth pursuing because the cause is just and the facts and law are on the side of the Lyceum.  The way things have gone down with the sale of the building just deepens my resolve. 

 

The Federal Court and State Court have, as far as I can tell, violated their own legal procedures, and/or the law, resulting in rendering decisions against the Lyceum.  I am trying to set this right, through existing and additional appeals and motions, and have the cases handled and decided according to the law.

2. When did the lock go onto the front gate?

The front gate has always been locked when building is not in use.  What you are seeing now is that the cafe that was there, off and on, for 15 years, is on hiatus due to what we believe are some inappropriate procedures.  The appropriateness of those procedures is winding its way through the courts.

3. I read that the building had been vacant since the 1970s when you purchased it in 1994. Describe what kind of shape it was in at the time of your buy.

It was, as far as I can tell, used as a chop shop, warehouse and, based on Daily News and a few accounts by locals, a theater and minor event space.  It was a barely functional shell.  Some utilities were in non-working order.  I removed mountains of debris (approximately 20 twenty yard dumpsters) and inherited the results of 20+ years of a declining neighborhood that added to the state of the building in 1994.

4. What made you decide to buy the Lyceum back then?

 I bought the building (in 1994) because I was enchanted with the changes I saw happening that were noticeable even back in 1988, the year of my entry into Brooklyn. At that point no one was building new but a few people were refurbishing the old.  Most old theaters were far too large and costly to maintain as theaters and thus became used as churches or drug stores or furniture stores.  Something the size of the Lyceum seemed to be the right size for a 200-300 seat theater.  That was and has always been my goal for its use.

In addition, no one was interested in 4th avenue save for car shops.  There were the gangs, the stabbings in the subway,  the token clerks who got hazard pay, the capture of the bombers who were planning to blow up the Atlantic/Pacific stop and so much illegal dumping by those renovating apartments between 4th and 6th Avenues that we had to post guards at the corners Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm-6pm.

Clearly, a very rough neighborhood with little public interest.  But I always saw the possibility of a cultural hub, on the edge of Gowanus and Park Slope, atop a widely used subway station.

5. Do you ever regret you made that purchase?

I do not regret for a moment buying the Lyceum and taking on the challenge.   It is not over and done, the current press notwithstanding.

6. What events that you have staged at the Lyceum are dearest to your heart?

The ones that come to mind immediately are:

--the work of a Broadway Dancer/Choreographer, Josh Walden's All is Full of Love, 
--a workshop for the Broadway show, Rocky: The Musical 
--another musical project: ground control by Matthew Beisner
--a combined production of Nicolai Gogol's "The Nose" and "The Overcoat"
--any of hundreds of jazz, singer songwriter or music nights
--A Charlie Brown Christmas
--Cyro Bapista's Beat The Donkey
--the many pro wrestling nights
--any of Dhira Rauch's productions (the Little Prinsinn, Fallings)
--the sometimes epic craft markets
--of course, the annual winter ritual of Police Athletic League batting cage practices.
--annual Mutt Show.

I am sure I missed many, but this is a list indicative of the range of activities that have made the effort worthwhile.

7. Did you sink your life savings into the Lyceum? 

 

Pretty much.  Not only my savings, but my sweat equity and endless time.  Income through the arts is always limited- either substantially supported by grants and private donors or fed directly by alcohol sales.  I always chose to steer clear from either, in hopes of having the widest community access.

8. Would it be apt to say you are not at liberty to comment on the issues in the appeals?

I have commented vocally trying to bring some blatant abuses of due process to the public's attention.  No press entity has taken up the charge.   The basics, without delving into the tedious specifics, are as follows:

--State Court Judge granted what was asked for without notice.
--State Court Judge rendered a decision in an abandoned case without notice.
--State Court Judge rendered a decision on a motion filed by a non-party to the action without notice.
--State Court Judge double down modifying a decision incorporating evidence not on the record.
--State Court Judge sat on signed motion until it after the time other parties were to be served, thereby skirting documented allegation of fraud.
--Federal Judge only gave 6 days to respond to a motion when 7 days was required.
--Federal Judge doubled down finding that 6=7.
--Federal Judge only gave 13 days notice when 24 days was required.
--Federal Judge doubled down finding that less than statutory notice was "sufficient."
--Federal Judge only gave 14 days notice when 21 days was required.
--Federal Judge regularly ignored timely filed papers.
--Federal Judge regularly ignored cases and arguments that contradict and flat out disprove findings.
--Federal Judge used a case for one proposition several years ago and uses the same case now for exactly the opposite proposition.
--Federal Judge ignored 5 cases cited by Lyceum that clearly show judge was wrong but judge does not address the cases and their impact.
--Federal Judge, upon motion for reconsideration where we say, hey, what about those 5 cases, acknowledged the existence of 5 cases without actually addressing the cases.

There are more, but these are the straightforward ones.

Suffice it to say a number of attorneys consulted on both state and federal law have told me to stay the course, these issues are fatal.

It feels as if I am running the same gauntlet the original architect (Raymond Francis Almirall) ran when was threatened by the District Attorney with jail time if he didn't stop pursuing the grand jury investigation he presided over. That situation resulted in 6 months of front page New York Times coverage. In the end the district attorney's career was over but Almiralll, architect of the Emigrant Savings Bank, Public Bath #7, Seaview Hospital, and the Pacific/Prospect/Eastern Parkway/Bushwick Public Libraries lost his career when he pursued the investigation.  They even tore down the half-built Grand Army Plaza Library he designed.  The only job he ever really got after that was as the Lead Architect at  the Palace at Versailles where he was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal.  If he was willing to take the hit, so am I.

9 THE QUESTION YOU DIDN'T ASK : Why fight?

I have sunk my heart and soul into this project, running it at a loss each year for two decades in order to keep a cultural pulse alive while I fought the legal battles and did incremental improvements.

As income was limited due to the ongoing legal battles, our best use was as a platform for emerging artists.

While art alone won't win the day,  addressing the current appeals and motions maintains the possibility of continuing to support the arts and cultural programming in one of the most unique landmarked buildings in this city.

So, in the end, the community will have a richer more dynamic cultural fabric in the area if the grievances of this lawsuit are addressed and the Lyceum remains a theater and event space or allow it to become an uninspired anonymous condo eyesore that supports one business as opposed to an entire community.

 

Eric Richmond

Brooklyn Lyceum

Movies, Theater, Dance, Comedy, Sports, Food, Debate

The Brooklyn Lyceum
    FUTURE ACTIVITIES

    BOOKING(GENERAL)

    To inquire about booking email us .  

    Music, Theater, Dance, Comedy, Wedding, Party, Convention (Small-ish), etc.

    BOOKING (CHILDREN'S THEATER)

    We are plotting a regular children's theater, learning and music program for when this all plays out.

    If you are interested in participating (set design, directing or even bringing your own group to the Lyceum) email us  for info about upcoming organizational meeting.

    SWAMPKING

    A ten minute play festival for the ages where the swamp meets the slope.

    Email us () a 10 minute or less play you would like to see on a Lyceum Stage.

    THEATER

    The Lyceum is Brooklyn's biggest theatrical stage.  Looking for productions that can fit into our schedule.  Interested in staging your work in a glorious relic?

    Email us .

    MARKETS, FESTIVALS AND CONVENTIONS

    5,000-12,000 square feet of space for markets. Lyceum has hosted Comicons, Craft Markets, Mutt Shows and Festivals.

    Talk to us .

    MUSIC

    We are breathing some life into our old series (Live at The Lyceum).  To start we will be putting on an occasional night of music.  If you or your group want to submit you act email us a link to your work .