2005_08_getupgraf22.jpgU.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff will hear Marc Ecko's lawsuit against the city today at 3PM. Ecko sued NYC last week because his permit for a party where graffiti artists would decorate fake subway cars (we're talking facades of subway cars) was revoked over concerns that the party would encourage graffiti. Newsday has an interesting excahnge from Friday's court hearing:

Paula van Meter, a city attorney, argued in court that painting subway replicas is not protected speech because it "necessarily simulates a criminal act."

Rakoff responded skeptically, asking whether the city would block a sidewalk performance of the Leonard Bernstein musical "West Side Story" because it deals with gang activity.

Totally! Taggers are the Jets and Sharks of this century! Or something. The graffiti party was scheduled for this Wednesday, to celebrate Ecko's new Atari video game, Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. Ecko will be arriving at the courthouse at 500 Pearl Street at 2:15PM.

Newsday's Ray Sanchez has a column about the whole dust-up; our favorite line is this one from Mark Ecko, "This is an awakening for me. I didn't even know who Peter Vallone was."