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Last month we decided to run a spoof of The Real World, given the rumors that it was going to be filmed in Williamsburg.

It is not going to be filmed here and our joke was just that, a joke.

We seem to have upset a few people while generating a good laugh for many. To those of you that didn't like the joke, you are not alone. We seem to have pissed off MTV as well:

Please contact me with the information referenced below concerning information on your website.

Thank you.
Selene H. Costello
MTV Networks Counsel,
Law and Business Affairs Intellectual Property & Litigation

Regardless, most of our feedback was positive as people seemed overall to appreciate our sick sense of humor.

In case you missed the joke, here it is again:

The Real World

And Here's Your Reponses to Our Gag Below

get out of town! your pathetic portrait of so called "real Williamsburg" is going to raise the rent. we are already fighting to keep our loft. long battle with Rudy's office. why you people need to do this?

Except for Gary, where did you find these bunch of artsy-fartsy assholes? They should all go back to Ohio or whatever the hell little shit town they came from. Do you really think these people represent Williamsburg? You guys at mtv have no clue. I think I'm going to throw up.

Name Withheld
Painter Williamsburg, Brooklyn



Name Withheld

this is really sick.

I mean, really REALLY sick. you should be kicked out of the neighborhood for this.

Name Withheld

Well, it (the Real World article) does overshadow it - and knocks all the credebility out of your site. Unfortunately, your circulating the story days after April Fool's day brings your hoax more validity - which I'm sure was the point. But you're also making the Burg and the people who live here literally look more "wannabe" in the process - especially when it circulates to major publications, as it just did with myself and the magazine I write for.

If you made it completely absurd (as in actually funny) that'd be another story. But you intentionally write the page's content as a fabrication to mislead people. There wasn't anything so ridiculous (or at all humorous) that you could spot it as a joke. We almost believed this, because Vanity Fair actually does have 2-page piece on Williamsburg in their current issue. April Fools was over two days ago, so you might consider taking the page off your site - or else calling it for what it is - and avoid making us all look like moronic wannabes in Williamsburg.

Most Burgies aren't low-lifes and are actually proud of the place. So this hoax was more a let-down than funny. However, you did get the rumor circulating and momentarily picked up the attention of mainstream publications. Maybe now one of them will print a story about the sociopaths in the Burg. Nice going. Really. Sticking to BillBurg.com,

Name Withheld

What type of show are you doing? or is this some home made doct-drama thing. I thought from the sound of this that it was for MTV or VH1. With network or studio backing. How many people are in the cast? Is there a way I can get more details about what this is all about.

Name Withheld

The Hipster Handbook - see the article here

No 'hipster' I know (at least the ones in Manhattan, you know, the REAL New York) goes to SUBurban Outfitters. Maybe you Billyburgers haven't caught that trend yet. It really is so very 1995.

- Marisa

In case you missed the joke, The Hipster Handbook was SATIRE! Perhaps in the "Real" New York, humor is no longer fashionable.

-Free Williamsburg

Do we look like we have a budget?

your selections of restaurants are very limited. it's true because I live in that neighborhood. consider also having minority restaurants on your list along with your trendy selections. and if you reply that you list those most preferred restaurants... well, that's completely bias because only a specific social class makes those choices. i have dined in restaurants on the northside and southside and i conclude that you missed alot. be versatile, openminded and diverse in making your list because our community is comprised of many classes.

A fellow neighbor, C.Rios

Editor: Our reviews are based on proximity. Most of us live in the Northside. Please send us submissions and we will run them!

Dan Kil-ian's fan

The review of Le Tigre's record that appeared on your website (http://www.freewilliamsburg.com/still_fresh/november/letigre.html) is quite possibly one of the worst I've ever read. Consider this: I'm a record junkie myself, have subscriptions to 4 different music magazines that give me the opportunity to read over 200 reviews every month between them, yet I've never felt compelled to write a letter about how awful one was. The writer (who has conveniently failed to leave his/her name...not that I blame him/her considering what an embarrassment it is).

The reviewer liked the record. Great, good for them. But if they didn't know who Bikini Kill was, they should have just reviewed it as a stand alone...contrary to the tongue in cheek essay that followed the song-by-song explication, it was quite obvious they knew nothing about Le Tigre's ancestry. A little thoughtfulness in analyzing lyrics would serve the reviewer well, too. When Kathleen sings, "Now here's alright" she isn't introducing a character named "Alright"...how little attention do you have to be paying to not realize that within the context of the song, she's saying that this place ("here") is now safe ("alright"). And, as if the context wasn't enough, the last line varies the sentiment when she sings "Nowhere's alright", which should provide even the most thickheaded person with a clue as to what the hell she means.

Most egregious is the blissful ignorance and accompanying offense in the closing essay. If the reviewer doesn't know what Riot Grrl is/was, then just leave it out. It adds nothing to the piece for the writer to say, offhand, "(What ever happened to Riot Grrrls? Was that a grunge thing? Have they transformed into Brawl Wmmmn or Uprising Ladyyys?)", is insulting at best. Especially when one considers the multitude of web resources available to give one a brief history of this movement, which, no, had nothing to do with grunge, and which transcended the music. Don't let this person write for you anymore. It just makes your site look trashy and dumb. Especially when they make the false statement at the end, "Know one will care. It's a record review," and they misspell "no one."

Washington DC

Dan's Rebuttal:

Ian, you read too many reviews. Most reviewers, like you, are pretentious know-it-alls who won't betray any weakness. My tongue-in-cheek postscript admits that I don't know everything about this band, that there's more to the story, and throws in a few cheap shots. You don't get the joke.

I do know the difference between "Here's alright" and "Alright is here" and I understand how a song can move from the geographic to the personal, especially within as abstruse a bunch of lyrics as "Phanta". For all the wisdom your 200 reviews a month gives you, you're stuck in a horribly literal geography, in an outdated time with all your grungy riot grrrlfreinds and your record collection.

You've got me on the typo, but at least my name isn't Ian. What a horrible name. That's a cheap shot, Ian. Don't get upset.

- Dan Kilian (What a wonderful pun my name is!)

Note from editor - typos on the above mentioned review have since been fixed. Is this the Ian we think it is?

Leave Russ Alone

Reading each of the articles separately (The "new" New York | Giuliani Suck My Dick | Meatheads ) I can relate to the points that you are trying to make. Reading both articles together I think you are just a hypocrite.

So you hate the gentrification, I couldn't agree more. I miss the Ludlow Street with the heroine addicts. I have no use for the Ludlow Street with the French restaurants and the 50 year old couples strolling down it hand in hand. But, I'm not about to tell them to leave. You hate the Gestapo style crime fighting, well I hate it, too. I hate it because it doesn't encourage people to be responsible for their own behavior. Who cares if you walk down the street with an open container as long as you aren't injuring anyone or somehow depriving someone of their rights.

All things change. To resist change is futile. It's what Jesse Helms does, it's what Strom Thurmond does, it's what good old Newt Gingrich does. It's called conservatism and it is the socio-political equivalent of dragging your feet.

You and I and everyone else are individuals and we should be treated as such. We should be able to do whatever we want to do up to the point that our actions deprive another individual of his right to do the same. That includes the "meatheads" "invading" your neighborhood bar or a standing a scantily clad girl in the doorway if a bar to boost traffic. You don't like it? Don't look at it, don't read it, don't watch it or go somewhere else. I'm sure that's what you would like to tell me about my opinion of your opinions. I think you would be right to do so. Just don't be a hypocrite, it's a much worse thing than conservatism.

I don't buy it about you keeping your pride either. It must be an awfully small pride since you concealed it so well when confronted by the police. Prideful people don't play act for the cop and compromise their integrity to get out of a ticket. Is it against the law? Yes. Is the law fair? No. If you break an unfair law do you still get due process? Yes, but sometimes due process means paying the unfair fine but turning on the tears and proclaiming a guilty conscience is definitely NOT keeping your pride. Standing up in court and fighting for your rights is. I guess you are too busy, though, to spend another day in court to honor your convictions. You're right, they didn't take your pride from you, you gave it up freely and immediately. Pride is also not muttering your distaste under your breath. Coward.

Oh, and one last thing: it's called Tompkins Square Park not Thompson's.

David Magliaro
Brooklyn, NY

Russ' Rebuttal:

Dude, I don't get you. First I think we're on the same side, then you go off about me losing my pride and being a coward. I think that's funny, coming from someone who doesn't know me, sitting there safely behind his computer. Big man you are.

Secondly, manipulating the cops, going over the top for them and having them believe me, where no one else would, is not cowardice. It is proving a point, how stupid they are. And I did stand up for myself in court. But I was not about to go through that hell again simply to save twenty bucks. Maybe you would. Maybe you have nothing to do or are a glutton for punishment.

Finally, my column is meant as entertainment, and, possibly, to enlighten. No one has ever taken it as seriously as you have. Maybe you should just chill out a little. I found your comments, in fact, to be quite amusing. I am laughing now. Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha. Go to hell.

Russ Josephs
Author, Sex in the Sub-City


I saw a flyer for this website at the 14th St station while waiting for the L train... i was astounded at the photo used in the ad, and thought i'd write in. The photo is of a group of people in hawaiian garb, sitting around a round table. All the people sitting at the table are white and the all the waiters are asian males. You at freewilliamsburg.com should think about what your ad says to people of color. i'm asian american -- why would I want to join your party when you've made it clear what my job would be at your party? Come on freewilliamgburg, join the year 2000.

i'd love to hear what you have to say.


It was not our intention to offend, but perhaps you are taking things a little too seriously. The poster was obviously kitsch.

Perhaps, I could see your point if the photo was current, but it was taken during the 1950's when Tiki lounge culture was trendy. Should all questionable art from prior decades that fails to conform to today's PC standards be discarded?

Regardless, it was not our intention to be offensive. Our staff is a mixed bag, representing a wide array of cultural backgrounds (including asian) and no one has voiced any opposition to any of our promotional art.

Robert Lanham

You're right, it was obviously kitsch. I'm glad to hear that your staff is a mixed bag and that you didn't intend to be offensive.

I just thought I'd let you know that several of us out here find it offensive. I noticed that that it was kitsch, but just because the image is from a certain era doesn't mean it is harmless. Images are very powerful -- they can help or hurt. Asian Americans and people of color are in art and ads infrequently enough that when I see a brother, I don't want him to be wearing that same old servant's suit.

Williamsburg Resident
Name Withheld

Let us know what you think. Click Here.


Thank you so much for providing Williamsburg with such a helpful site. I love the listings and all the artwork. This is the coolest site in the coolest neighborhood in New York.

Amanda Sanders

Disclaimer from the Editor:
Opinions addressed in Free Williamsburg are not necessarily our own, godammit!.