We don’t glamorize all violent crime; no one holds the Son of Sam or Charles Manson in high regard. (It’s hard to imagine their descendants gathering for a celebratory dinner at a steakhouse.) So why are Al Capone, Lansky, Arnold Rothstein, Luciano, and their ilk held up as mythic figures, even heroes of a sort, not just by their families but by the general public? Why are members of the Italian mafia treated more like celebrities than unsavory criminals?
is a professor of film and animation at RISD
whose most recent work, titled Small Brains on Mass
, looks at bird behavior, particularly how they interact when flying in groups. To better understand how flying as a flock is achieved, Hlynsky filmed the birds and then stacked the images on the same frame for a set number of frames
, the results show each bird’s flight as a trail, but synchronized with the flock. The results are often pure poetry
. [more inside]
In the early eighties, Orson Welles was a fixture at L.A.’s Ma Maison, where Wolfgang Puck was the chef before he moved on to Spago. Nearing 70, and 40-plus years removed from Citizen Kane, which he made when he was just 25, Welles was fat and famously difficult, no longer a viable star but still a sort of Hollywood royalty—a very certain sort. The younger director Henry Jaglom was one of many aspiring auteurs who admired him but possibly the only one who taped their conversations. These took place in 1983 over lunch at the restaurant.
"I was never threatened covering the cops beat nor while reporting on a big Mafia trial, but I was threatened – twice – for writing negative reviews of two restaurants. Shows where the passion is, I guess
." Restaurant critics write about (and link to) their most negative reviews and discuss the measured and reasonable responses they received after their publication. [more inside]
A kind of shitily edited, but other wise lovely documentary about The Real Henry Hill
Informant, former wiseguy
Henry Hill (website
) has been made dead by illness
. He was not a schnook.
The Five Families
were established by Charlie "Lucky" Luciano
in the wake of the Castellammarese War
(1929 - September 10, 1931), a gang war in New York between partisans of Joe "The Boss" Masseria
and those of Salvatore Maranzano
. The arrangement, under the administration of The Commission
, was created to divide the city among the gangs with mutual interests, and prevent the continuous grab for more territory. Of course, the arrangement has been anything but peaceful, and the Five Families have all gone through periods of prosperity and decline. So who are they, and how are they doing now? [more inside]
Real L.A. Noir.
(Video/audio auto-plays). Los Angeles Times
reporter Paul Lieberman has been chronicling the era of the LAPD Gangster Squad, a secret division of the department that tried to combat the mobs of Jack Dragna and Mickey Cohen in the 1940s and '50s. (Keep the cast of characters straight with this handy chart
In Utah, mob mentality rules.
A gay man either kidnapped his next-door-neighbors' two children, or he took them in because they couldn't sleep during an all night party at their own house -- depending upon who you ask. The children were gone from their own home for only ten minutes.
What is certain is that a retaliatory mob broke into drag queen David Bell's house and brutally attacked him and his lover.
But no charges will be filed against the mob. [more inside]
Among industrialized nations, Japan
has a pretty low rate of violent crime, a relatively high number of police, and a virtually non-existent acquittal rate. Yet, somehow the Yakuza persists
Saved from a lynching
: Enrico Dangino, friend of Vigilante Journalist
photographs a man seized by a mob and about to be set ablaze, then, with the help of his compatriot, frees him. More
photographs and blogging from the ground in Kenya's current political crisis from Vigilante Journalist. via
The Howling Mob Society. Looking out over the burning Strip District from the safety of his office in Pittsburgh's Union Station, Thomas Alexander Scott must have been humbled. Only days before, as president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Scott famously suggested that impoverished and striking railroad workers be given “a rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread.” Now, with the local Pittsburgh militia all but mutinied and the State Militia rapidly retreating, he must have wondered if his hard-line stance had backfired… [more inside]
"The ‘Ndrangheta cannot be beheaded.”
Organized crime is Italy's biggest industry
. Most people are more familiar with the Sicilian Mafia or maybe even the Neopolitan Camorra, but it's the Calabrian 'Ndranghta
(very in-depth article) that has police around the world worried now
, especially after they were blamed for a six-person murder
in Germany this summer. [more inside]
2 July, 1958 - 13 March 2007.
The Stardust Hotel/Casino
was reduced to dust
(youtube) at 2:30 am this morning.
Initially opened in 1958 as the first low-budget property on the strip (rooms cost $6 a night), it (and the Westward Ho nearby) has been demolished to make room for a 5,300 room $4B ultra-luxury resort named Echelon
, currently the second most expensive property development in Nevada (behind Project City Center
down the road).
One of the few remaining remnants of old Vegas, it was mob-owned/operated until at least 1984 (when the gaming commission levied a $3M fine for skimming), and is probably best known as the setting for the mostly nonfiction book
Over the years, it could lay claim to having the largest casino, the longest pool, the most rooms (twice), the largest neon sign, the only drive-in theater, the largest fine ever levied by the gaming commission, and the most consecutive live performances by Wayne Newton. It was also one of the last properties on the strip to use the more expensive metal-centered gaming chips
On June 21st, 1964 civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner
disappeared in Mississippi. Here is a strange story
about how their bodies were found.
Blowing Up Gotti.
A weekly series from
The Smoking Gun featuring prison videotapes of John Gotti behind plexiglass talking to his kids and grandkids. Check out
Episode One: Grandpa Blows a Gasket (Quicktime required). Makes you think twice about your baseball career. (Via
Mobs move into 'Sims Online' power vacuum
: "An underground group known as the Sims Shadow Government has taken over the fantasy world that is 'The Sims Online,' meting out mob justice." I don't play the Sims Online
, but I'm curious: Has anyone on Mefi run into this phenomenon while playing the game?
is the frank & fritzy show
a fabulous work of fiction, or are these guys
for real? a link to these apparent real life sopranos
was posted way back in june 2001
but elicited just one comment & besides the number of episodes has since blooooomed. (requires real player or windows media player to listen in; or u can read the transcripts) ...so what do you make of these guys?
"nearly 20" kids beat man to brain death with bats, shovels and boards
Brutal stuff. One of the kids in custody is only 10 years old. The victim had "confronted them for throwing an egg at him and punched one teen in the mouth".
They went and organized a mob, and returned, according to the Milwaukee Police. What do you do with a 10 year old murderer, anyway?
Finally, a Reason to Watch Court TV?
An Olympics skating vote rigging Russian mafia fraud trial--what fun! Hope this happens, and I hope in happens in New York's Federal Southern District, because, well, what fun to bring down a stupid sport (And remove it from television); discredit the French, Russians... I want seats to this one! Or Perhaps E! will provide the coverage?
Mob kills men after traffic accident
. This story is a little disturbing; it's been on CNN etc., but here in Chicago it's the hourly top story. A van driven by two middle-aged men moving furniture jumped a curb and pinned three girls against a step. In retaliation, a crowd of a dozen or more yanked the men from their van and beat them with fists and even bricks. Both died. The police have fanned out looking for witnesses and evidence, with a few arrests, but no charges as of yet. [more inside]
UnificationChurch Under Siege in Brazil
Rev. Moon's massive land purchases lead to major search-and-seizure operation. Money laundering and other no-no activities. This cult, the Avis to Scientology's Hertz, has paid President Bush I handsome money to speak in their behalf when they began operations in Brazil. They also own the Washington Times, Insight Magazine and many many other businesses, including a university, jewelry stores nationwide, and a ballet company. Their found, Rev. Moon, a convicted felon (taxes). Rumored to get money from Japanese mob to do their conservative activities, and now want to open car plant in China. Gone the days of merely selling roses.
Hoffa Hair Found In Car, Body Still Presumably In Giants Stadium
So, the cops found a hair in a car they thought he was in before. Now, with DNA testing, they can prove Hoffa was "taking a ride" with Charles (Chuckie) O'Brien the last day he was alive. Film at 11.
The Frank & Fritzy show
The latest episode
of FBI tapes is on diet:
FRITZY: Nothin'. Nothin'. Once I come out there's nothing you could, I could buy out there other than fruit, an apple or something like that, that I'll have out there.
FRITZY: That's all.
FRITZY: That's all I'll have.
FRANK: The restaurants kill ya.
Cool little site about the real doings of the mob
in America today. I love the affected-but-oh-so-hard-boiled writing style. Updated weekly. My only gripe, a very tiny one, is that there's not enough dope on Asian mobsters. Otherwise, pretty neato.
Well, there's no Webistics, and Big Pussy hasn't turned up floating down the Fox River, but here's your modern American mob family, suburban style. Betty Loren-Maltese, longtime mayor of the Town of Cicero, which abuts Chicago's West Side, has been indicted for looting the town's health insurance system to the tune of at least $10 million. The US Attorney says it is the largest dollar amount in any single organized crime investigation. [more inside]
Don't make phone calls in Vegas. The Mob is listening.
Whores! Wiretapping! Kevin Mitnick! Men nicknamed 'Aspirins' with electric drills! And more, courtesy of The Register
. How widespread is this kind of telco infiltration? Should we trust any
phone calls, anywhere?
not funny. Man imprissoned for 30 YEARS, known to be innocent by FBI, FBI kept him there b/c if the real perp was caught, dozens of informants would have been revealed. 30 years, gone, makes me sick feeling. There will be more
news on this
soon, I hope
You've seen the movie
, maybe even read the book
. But have you experienced the website
? When the flash intro comes up, click on "You're a dead rat" for a good chuckle.