Sep 302003

The deadliest member of that child-gang The Imps.Last year, a number of people received a mysterious (perhaps even mystifying) email from Susan and I inviting them to take part in Gang-Off 2002. People had to choose from a list of gangs taken from the book version of the ’70s gangsploitation flick The Warriors, and then given instructions on how to survive this test of brutality and cunning.

The Friday evening before Hallowe’en, around 20 people rendezvoused with their unknown gang members, and played out our sick little game on the streets of the city.

They're tough and old and they'd kill you for a nickel.When the gangs met, they shared the clues that each of them had, and the game began. They had to get into the headquarters of the Amsterdam All-Stars, the tennis playing debutants running the gang-off, while avoiding being shot by other gang member’s cameras.

The Nickel Steaks, the toughest old men in the city, were shot by one of the Imps here but it just made them madder — the octogenarian hoodlums chased them by wheelchair and cane.

A Gramercy Riff gangmember ducks a shot.When the swing-kids gang The Gramercy Riffs (one pictured ducking a shot here) met at the pub, they were a little suspicious of a chatty tennis player. When he left his racquet to go to the washroom, they stole it and held it for ransom. They met at the ice cream shop later that night to exchange it for some very useful phone numbers…

A victorious Moonrunner stumbles in.An hour or two later, the gangs had gotten both key and password and were admitted to the All-Stars HQ. Then everyone warmed up with rum punch and beers and traded harrowing and hilarious stories of their Gang-Off experiences deep into the night.

I'm the crazy-looking one in the middle.We had a heck of a time, even those of us who were Amsterdam All-Stars (pictured here) and spent the game providing hints and nudges.

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