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Kicking Cop, Caught on Video, Was Always Known to Play Rough

The city's Law Department yesterday agreed to pay $150,000 to an activist who was kneed in the head by a senior police officer, assistant chief Bruce Smolka, during an antiwar rally in 2003. One reason for the eager settlement appears to be the video of the beating, available on the IWitness site; the victim planned to introduce it as evidence. As it happens, Smolka was also the subject of a 2004 profile by New York's own Janelle Nanos, then an NYU j-school student.

RIP Rudy's Gun-Control Plan, 1980–2006

One of the unpleasant side effects of the Virginia Tech tragedy is that every presidential candidate is scrambling to reiterate his stance on gun control. In Rudy Giuliani's eyes, per the ex-mayor's campaign statement, the massacre "does not alter the Second Amendment." Funny thing, though: As the Politico's Jonathan Martin notes today, with a YouTube clip to back him up, Old Rudy used to argue for federal firearm regulation. Giuliani's big idea — one he's been pushing, in his own words, "since at least 1980" — is to treat gun licenses like driver's licenses: to institute a written test and a physical test (for marksmanship?) under a federal law, with state-specific tweaks here and there. Leave it to Rudy to sidle up to the my-cold-dead-hands base at the moment when even some gun-loving Virginians are doubting their beliefs in the wake of a senseless bloodbath. Oh, Rudy: They still won't like you, and now you'll hate yourself too. Rudy No Longer Interested in Federal Mandate on Handguns [Politico]

We See London, We See France

Keilana Decker
Keilana Decker is an actress with a hint of a Madonna-esque vocal affectation and a penchant for short skirts. But she's a "practical undergarments kind of girl," so when the wind blows, you'll see she's wearing spandex men's bicycle shorts and 50-cent motorcycle boots. She says she buys everything at the thrift store, but we forgot to ask if that includes the undergarments. Find out by watching Decker in the Video Look Book. Keilana Decker [VLB]

Will Ferrell Outed as Grup

Courtesy of FunnyOrDie.com

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's new user-supplied video site, FunnyOrDie.com, made a splashy debut this week with a feature in the Hollywood Reporter and a reported 2 million streams for the site's showcase video, "The Landlord." The short consists mostly of Ferrell's sad-sack character facing off against his angry landlord. The gimmick is that the landlord is played by McKay's toddler daughter, Pearl. How funny you find it will depend on how funny you find a 3-year-old screaming, "Give me my money, bitch!"

Happy Tax Day

So it's finally tax day.* To mark the occasion, we herewith present a YouTube video of Steven Zelin, who calls himself the Singing CPA. The 31-year-old Brooklyn native is for the third consecutive year performing his accountant-themed compositions (including "Dear I.R.S." and "Stealing From the Company") to last-minute filers at the James A. Farley Post Office at Eighth Avenue and West 33rd Street. He performed Sunday at noon, and he'll be there again at 10 p.m. tonight. If you want to see him, don't be late — you can't file for an extension. Ha! —Andrew Adam Newman * And why is today tax day? Well, April 15 was a Sunday, and when that happens, the filing deadline gets pushed back to Monday, April 16. But, as it happens, April 16 is apparently Emancipation Day, which has recently become a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. Longstanding federal law says that D.C. holidays "have nationwide impact on tax issues," according to the IRS. Hence April 17. Tax Rap [YouTube]

What the Auteurs Are Wearing These Days

Video Look Book
Amy Larocca discovered NYU film student Hunter Shaw sitting on a stoop mulling over his latest screenplay. Though he couldn't seem to make the script work, he was pleased to share his fashion muse — Frank Booth from Blue Velvet — and his favorite store with us: "Trash & Vaudeville — that's where I buy all my pants." Will Shaw find creative relief from a neighbor in pink bottoms? Find out in this week's Video Look Book. Hunter Shaw [Video Look Book]

Inside a West Village Townhouse

727 Washington St.
The West Village townhouse at 727 Washington Street features three bedrooms, a gallery, and its own reflecting pool. Join New York's S. Jhoanna Robledo on a video tour of this $15.9 million home, owned by fashion designer Richard Tyler and his wife, Lisa Trafficante. The couple likes to switch locations every five years, but why abandon a retractable glass roof that almost lets the garden into the house? It's worth sticking around, even when people wander in off the street for a closer look. Watch the video. [NYM]

We Remain in Awe of John F. Burns

We've said it before, and we'll say it again. Our favorite thing about swashbuckling Times foreign correspondent John F. Burns is neither his countless tours in Baghdad for the Times nor the difficult and exemplary work he's done elsewhere around the world through three decades at the paper. No, our favorite thing about John F. Burns, as we were freshly reminded by the video offered throughout the weekend on the Times homepage, is his hair. His awesome, awesome hair. Behold. The Battle for Baghdad [NYT]

From the Mall to Midtown

Liam James
Liam James sells jewelry when he's not aspiring to be a male model. A native of the small city of Port Angeles, Washington, James was pointed toward modeling by a stranger who suggested it to him in the mall. So now James and his 26-inch waist are strolling through the city, struggling to make clothes fit by stapling H&M shirts. "I'm one of those people who likes to use bronzer to make things look alive," he says. See what other beauty aids James employs in this week's Video Look Book. Liam James [Video Look Book]

Grand Theft, Gotham Style

If you thought Spiderman 3 would be the most realistic rendering of New York to hit the gaming market this year, think again: Rockstar Games broke its silence yesterday about Grand Theft Auto IV, on sale in October, and dropped the first trailer. Set in “Liberty City,” it depicts shots of Times Square (complete with billboard for America’s Next Top Hooker), the MetLife building (now the “GetaLife” building), the Cyclone, the Chrysler and Flatiron buildings, and other landmarks, while a seemingly Eastern European man narrates over Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi score. “I killed people," he says. "Smuggled people. Sold people. Perhaps here, things will be different.” This is clearly the most minutely detailed Grand Theft Auto yet — who knows, we may even be able to see rats crawling up restaurant chairs. —Daniel Maurer

East Villager Yearns for Pre-Giuliani Quality of Life

Peggy Punch
In this week's Video Look Book, Crif Dogs manager Peggy Punch recalls the East Village of old, when the Cro-Mags thrashed the Continental and Tompkins Square Park was a thriving tent city. Ah, don't you just love the smell of someone else's urine in the morning? "I'm really actually bummed out on the East Village right now. It's not gritty," says Punch. "It's not what New York City used to be for me when I was 15 coming here and being a little bit scared." Today, Punch slings some of the city's finest hot dogs and considers single-handedly upping the neighborhood's grit factor by getting another tattoo. Watch the video. Archives [Video Look Book]

New ‘Onion’ Fake News: Actually Fake, Not So Funny

Here's the remarkable thing about the Onion News Network, the satire stalwart's first foray into video content: It's the first televisual product to literally fit the wrongheaded moniker "fake news." The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which are regularly saddled with that descriptor, don't fake the news; they fake the format. ONN — as of this writing, less a network than a Web page with four clips and a Dewar's ad — finally takes that extra step. Its news items are, indeed, mocked-up rather than simply mocked. This means that both the anchors and the subjects are played, hammily, by actors, and the "news footage" is as scripted as the banter around it. Sadly, though, it is not particularly well scripted, nor particularly amusing.

Whiskey, You're the Devil

Drinking Games
Pop quiz: Do you remember being interviewed by a New York camera crew outside of McSorley's or Bull McCabe's on Saturday night? No? We asked you how many drinks you had, if you knew who Saint Patrick was, and what "Erin Go Bragh" meant. Then you told us that you used to hate the Irish, that your knowledge of the holiday comes entirely from The Simpsons, and something else we couldn't quite catch. It was late, and you were pretty drunk. So watch the video to see what might come up at your future intervention. And remember: We're just here to help. Video: Overheard: Saint Patrick's Day [NYM]

Design Student Plays Up Exotic Foreigner Bit

Catherine Tuck
Design student Catherine Tuck told Amy Larocca that in her native Brazil, everyone wears jeans with tank tops. Americans dress the same too, she says — however Vogue tells us to. Our lemminglike fashion sense aside, Tuck prefers the city to home: "I like myself more when I'm here than when I'm in Brazil. In Brazil I'm just one more girl. Here, I'm one more Brazilian girl." Archives [Video Look Book]

They're No Hansel and Zoolander

Male Models
At Grand Central this week, New York's Amy Larocca caught up with childhood friends John Jones and Khale Unger, who grew up to be male models. The pair can break into song upon request, and they plan to be successful as models–slash–rock stars, although it is unclear if they mean literal or figurative rock stars. Dolce & Gabbana is a staple of their wardrobes, but Jones says that, to be successful, "You can't overdo it. You have to look good in whatever." Check them out in this week's Video Look Book. John Jones and Khale Unger [Video Look Book]

Speak, Models!

FASHION • Turns out models can speak — at least in Ridley Scott's new Prada movie. [Fashionista] • Bottega Veneta has designed the interior of a penthouse suite at the St. Regis. [British Vogue] • Model Paulina Porizkova has joined the cast of Dancing With the Stars. [Flypaper] • Naomi Campbell left Premier Models, where she's spent most of her career, for IMG. [All Company News]

Use the N/R, Luke, Use the N/R

Sometimes feel like you're battling intergalactic evil as you rush through the Union Square subway station? Seems there's a good reason for it: The I-Beams in the station exactly mimic the first stage of the Death Star level in the old Star Wars arcade game. This dorky observation is made cinematic at the blog Ironic Sans (to which the Morning News pointed us yesterday). There's a short film to demonstrate, complete with accompanying computer graphics. Interestingly, Leia's gold bikini seems to have been replaced by a very attractive garbage can. I See the Death Star [Ironic Sans via The Morning News]

Killers Kill, But ‘VF’ Just Hurts

As if Graydon Carter's inability to sell his latest documentary, Chicago 10 , at Sundance wasn't proof enough that the fabulously coiffed magazine editor should perhaps get out of the movie-production business, we point you to Killers Kill, Dead Men Die, a faux-noir video montage now available on VanityFair.com to promote the magazine's new Hollywood Issue. We have no idea who wrote that drivel, how much they had to pay Ben Shenkman to get him to narrate it, or whether it's intentional or accidental that it seems like Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid–style noir spoof, but, regardless of the answers, this much is clear: It's time you put down the camera, Graydon, and got back to filling people's dinner reservations. Killers Kill, Dead Men Die [VF.com]

Eye of the Storm: Backstage at Heatherette

From the outside, Heatherette may have been a total fiasco, but our Jada Yuan found that inside was nothing but love. Backstage, Richie Rich's aromatherapist was dressed like Dorothy but didn't seem to know why. A misty Lydia Hearst remembered the boys from back in the day ("I really consider them part of my family") while Omahyra favored Heatherette for the bloodlust: "This is the shit. Everybody's fighting to get in here." Watch the video.