Today's Top Five
1. City shuts down church's rock and roll
"An organ recital is a church event. This is not a church event." That's the ominous argument of Albany (N.Y.) Police Chief James Tuffey, who sent his officers to break up a concert at Trinity Methodist Church and summon pastor Maurice E. Drown to court for running "an illegal nightclub."
Tuffey says that the church's taking donations at the door for the youth rock shows (where smoking and alcohol are banned) is akin to charging admission, which makes it a nightclub.
(Actually, according to the Albany City Code, it would not be a nightclub, since the code's definitions require such establishments to sell or allow the consumption of alcohol. Now, the city might make a case that the church is violating its code by running a "nonalcoholic dance club," but if Drown's summons actually uses the word nightclub, it seems clear that he can win his case outright.)
The church has been using its stage for entertainment ministries since 1931 and has long hosted sock-hops, dances, fashion shows, and other events. The Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau even lists it as a "creative meeting space" for hosting outside events. So why the problem now? Ask neighbor Colleen Ryan: "You've got a herd of kids standing out there with spikes and studs and what look like prison tattoos," she told the paper. "We are trying to promote the city as a good place to live in and raise children in."
Let's complicate things a bit by noting that the church's youth music nights, called "New Age Cabaret," include bands like Drown Retarded Children and Clitorture (which has a lovely song called "Why Won't Jesus Die" that starts like this: "Why won't Jesus [expletive] die? Hopelessly turning the pages, ...1