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www.michigandaily.com Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXV, No. 133 @2005 The Michigan Daily
Gay pride sticker sparks
controversy at pizzeria
By Laura Van Hyfte
Daily News Editor
Members of a local student-oriented
Catholic parish received an e-maillast week
urging them to boycott the New York Pizza
Depot on Williams Street because of a gay
pride rainbow sicker on its front door.
The sticker has upset some people,
including Andrew Shirvell, an NYPD
customer and member of St. Mary's Stu-
dent Parish, located down the street from
Shirvell, a University alumnus and for-
mer president of Students for Life said the
sticker is offensive because it endorses
homosexuality instead of simply tolerating
"I find the rainbow flag offensive because
it is a symbol of the homosexual movement
that, in my opinion, indicates a validation
of the homosexual lifestyle, as opposed to a
sign that indicates 'openness' to customers
who are of the homosexual orientation," he
Jaya Kalra, a co-chair for Stonewall
Democrats said that it was very surprising
that a parishioner reacted so strongly to the
sticker, especially because she knows that
St. Mary's has been supportive in the past.
Kalra said that the flag represents
diversity and that she is confused as to
how Shirvell can be so upset - primar-
ily because diversity is encouraged at this
"People have their own right to an opin-
ion. But I have to wonder if the flag itself
is what's making him upset," Kalra said. "I
think it's sad that they cut things down and
cover things up that they don't like without
trying to understand what they mean."
After Shirvell saw the sticker, he asked
one of the owners why it was on the door.
Shirvell said Maurice Grillo, one of the
owners at NYPD, told him that an incident
of some sort involving the gay community
"forced his hand."
Last week Shirvell sent an e-mail to
members of St. Mary's Student Social
Justice Ministry, asking them to persuade
Grillo to take the sticker down. Shirvell
wrote in the e-mail that he may not eat at
NYPD because it is "time to take a stand.
Otherwise this type of intimidation of small
business owners and their customers will
never end." Shirvell encouraged others to
call or visit NYPD's owners and ask them
to remove the sticker.
Shirvell said he was led to believe that
Grillo "had to put up the rainbow flag decal
in order to appease the homosexuals who
frequented NYPD on Friday nights" after
leaving Necto nightclub on Liberty Street.
Shirvell said Grillo told him he hoped the
sticker would come down in a few weeks,
but declined to give details about the
Grillo said in an interview that he was
never pressured to hang the sticker on his
door by anyone and that Shirvell may have
misunderstood what he told him.
"It was just a decision," Grillo said.
"There was absolutely no pressure what-
soever. I just felt like it was the right thing
to do. If we feel like taking it down - we
John Pelemaco, a manager at NYPD, said
a previous incident played a role in the post-
ing of the sticker. According to Pelemaco,
though he was not at the restaurant on the
night the alleged controversy ensued, to his
understanding there was a conflict between
a gay club-goer and someone at the res-
taurant that resulted in the former being
Pelemaco said he believed hanging the
sticker was a way for NYPD to make peace
and ensure that no members of the gay
community feel ostracized or offended. He
said it was done to show that NYPD "does
not discriminate against anyone."
Grillo said he did not know how long the
sticker will stay on the door. He said reno-
vations at NYPD could result in the sticker
being removed. But Pelemaco said the own-
ers did not intend to keep the sticker up for
more than three weeks and that it may even
be down before the end of this week.
Shirvell said he does not speak on behalf
of the St. Mary's church or parish, but that
he does think it is necessary for them to
know that this has occurred.
"I was solely acting in my capacity as
a parishioner of St. Mary's in communi-
cating to my fellow parishioners what was
going on, again, since many St. Mary's
parishioners frequent NYPD after weekend
masses," Shirvell said. "In my e-mail, I in
no way indicated that I spoke on behalf of
the parish or any of its ministries, including
the Student Social Justice group."
Timothy Wright, operations director and
pastoral associate for St. Mary's Student
Parish, said that "St. Mary's has been qui-
etly supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgendered Catholics for many years ...
despite very serious opposition from some
(members of) the Catholic Church."
Wright said that Shirvell does not have
any official status as a spokesman for the
church and that Shirvell's view on this mat-
ter is in opposition to the majority of the
See NYPD, Page 8
Top: New York Pizza Depot on Williams Street has been the focus of a
Catholic student group that is offended by the rainbow-colored gay pride
sticker. Bottom: A closer view of the sticker on the front door.
Magic for Potter fans when midnight strikes
By Jeremy Davidson
and Laura Van Hyfte
Daily News Editors
Last Friday over 500 people packed into
Borders, anxiously awaiting the stroke of
midnight to start reading the next chapter of
the Harry Potter series.
J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone" was first released in the
United States in September 1998. Since
then a sort of mania has taken the world by
storm as people of all ages indulge in the
fantasy world of Hogwarts and escape the
reality world of regular humans or "mug-
gles," as they are known in the book.
At a pre-Potter release party, Eric
Bond, manager of Borders on Liberty
Street said the store sold about 600 cop-
ies of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood
Prince," though about 2,000 had been
reserved. Since its release, the book has
sold around 250,000 copies every hour in
the United States alone.
Jayson Zeeman, the district market-
ing manager of national events for Ann
Arbor's Borders said that the store was
hosting several Potter-inspired events to
cater to the excitement and anticipation
of the fans.
Zeeman said that the Harry Potter series
has changed children's literature and that
the Potter phenomena has inspired entire
families to dress up in wizard and witch
costumes - readily displaying the ward-
robe of their favorite characters.
Zeeman said that the Harry Potter
books each have an exciting cliffhanger at
the end, which grow more tantalizing as
the series progresses - this may explain
why both children and adults are addicted
to reading about a boy wizard with glass-
es and a scar.
Matthew Slayton, a 17-year-old who
attended the book release countdown,
said that he had an almost unhealthy
obsession for Harry Potter.
LSA lecturer Carson Maynard said that
he only attended the event to purchase a
copy of the book, not to participate in the
"I was here last year," Maynard said. "I
just kind of came to grab a copy."
The books' ability to rekindle the
feeling that fairy tales just might be real
is what makes them so enjoyable, May-
See POTTER, Page 8
Borders Employee Cat Dees loads copies of the sixth installment of
Harry Potter series onto a cart to be sold after midnight on July 16.
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