Daily News, Sunday, December 5, 1999
By Lisa L. Colangelo, with Mary Sisson
Stunt a dung deal for mayor's critics
Once was not enough for Maria Mancini.
Twice she stuck a rubber gloved hand into a vat of "elephant dung," patted it into a ball and tossed it at a giant portrait of Mayor Giuliani.
"I made sure I took good aim and got him right in the puss," said the actress, who lives in Tribeca. "It felt good. It was better than booing him at the parade. I have been so furious at him for so long."
She joined hundreds of people who gathered in Washington Square Park yesterday for a chance to vent their frustrations and donate to charity.
For just $1, people were invited to hurl a handful of "dung" (more likely grass and dirt) at the portrait. Joey Skaggs said all proceeds would be given to Housing Works, a not-for-profit organization that provides services to homeless New Yorkers with HIV and AIDS.
The portrait was modeled after the controversial "Holy Virgin Mary" painting on display at the Brooklyn Museum. Giuliani vociferously protested the painting and unsuccessfully tried to strip the museum of its funding.
Like many of the other dung tossers, Jessica Radke, 26, and Alexis Mazon, 25, both law students at New York University, said they are angry with the mayor for his policies regarding the homeless.
It just felt so right," Mazon said, laughing, after she took aim at the portrait.
Stephen Powers, the artist who created the Giuliani portrait, held up one side, trying to dodge the flying piles of dirt.
Late last week, police raided his SoHo apartment as part of an anti-graffiti crackdown and seized videotapes, photographs, art supplies, sketches and undeveloped rolls of film.
They also seized a set of decorative brass knuckles and charged Powers with possession of a weapon. He suspects they were looking for the portrait, which was hidden elsewhere.
Powers' attorney, Ron Kuby, said he plans to fight the search in court.
"This is a new level of abusive power by the mayor." he said. "He is using the Police Department as his private art and morality police."
Cops beefed up their presence at Washington Square Park yesterday but watched the dung tossing from a distance.
"We're really happy the police allowed this to happen today; we are sort of shocked," he said. "We are leaving before the police lose their patience."