Licensed to DJ

Does a New York DJ need a license?; Moby, Edie Falco, and Fahrenheit 9/11

Just when you thought New York nightlife couldn't get any worse, it does. JEREMY RODRIGUEZis perhaps the first person in the history of the world to get a ticket for DJ'ing. The Texas native was spinning on June 5 at Cash Checking, a new bar in Williamsburg, when police paid a visit to the venue. After spending considerable time speaking to one of the venue's employees, the police asked for the DJ's ID and then walked off with it for 40 minutes.

When they returned, they handed him back his ID—with a pink slip of paper slyly folded underneath. It was a summons for Rodriguez, who had only been spinning for a short time before the cops' arrival, to appear in court on July 22 for "Operation of Sound Reproductive Device Without a Permit." The section of the New York City noise code cited, 10.108.23, says a police spokesperson, allows a violation to be given to a person operating "any sound production device in a public area, even if it's in a bar. If music can be heard from public sidewalk," then there can be a violation. However, it seems a bit strange to cite the DJ, not the bar. The NYPD spokesperson would only say, "I don't know the circumstances."

Rodriguez, who is not the club's resident DJ, says that when he arrived on the corner of North 3rd Street and Kent Avenue and got out of his car, "I could hear the music, so it was kind of loud. The employee was there, so I thought it was OK." He said the employee had come over and turned the volume down a "significant" amount when the cops arrived. The owner, THOMAS SANDBICHLER, says, "The violation was given because we had the door open and the music spilled into the street. They thereby said we were operating amplified equipment on the street. That's not part of the license. It's a bullshit summons."

The bar's already tallied up several violations, says Sandbichler. ("They give out tickets like candy," he says.) The visits are fueled by 311 calls, which may become more frequent citywide if the mayor's plan to overhaul the noise code goes through. (According to the mayor's office, noise ranks number one in complaints to the 311 line, and averages 1,000 calls a day.) While the mayor's proposing to do away with some provisions that are too vague (such as limiting the standard of judging a noise complaint as "unreasonable to a person of normal sensitivities"), other suggested changes may turn out to be more strict (such as throwing out the noise meter and going by the "plainly audible" standard). Wait, I'm deaf—that might work wonderfully! Meanwhile, Rodriguez, who just moved back to the States after six years in Barcelona, is probably wondering why in the hell he ever returned.

People will find any excuse to hold a party, including celebrating the release of a political documentary. So MOBY joined "his twin," comedian DAVID CROSS, and actresses ROSE MCGOWANand KERRY WASHINGTONat DAMIEN LOEB's studio in Tribeca June 28 for the MoveOn house party, one of 4,600 held across the country, where patrons heard MICHAEL MOORE discuss Fahrenheit 9/11via a conference call.

At Loeb's, there were more media than celebrities—who included NELSON GEORGE, DJ SPOOKY (I was tempted to ask him about the movie, until I realized I wouldn't get a soundbite, but a dissertation, and would therefore never be able to leave the party), and EDIE FALCO with cropped blonde hair, looking for all the world like an even hotter (possible?) JOAN JETT. For Falco, who admitted to crying during the movie, the 9-11 segments were "very devastating" to watch. "It was the most personal connection," said the actress, who lives downtown. "I hope they [the Bush administration] realize this kind of aggression is not going to foster kindness in anyone. We're asking for it."

Before the Loeb party, Moby addressed a crowd at a Kerry fundraiser a few blocks away, to express his strong support for SENATOR JOHN KERRY. (Word to the wise: He actually likes John Kerry, and isn't just supporting him 'cause he's "not GEORGE BUSH.") In his talk, he reminisced about how he recently had the privilege of playing "Ring of Fire" with the "future president of the United States." We can only hope.


tromano@villagevoice.com

 
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