A bloody melee erupted on Saturday when 10 vanloads of Pagans stormed into the Vanderbilt...
The Hellraiser Ball: a Hell's Angels party, held in the Vanderbilt convention center on Long Island. The Angels showed up in full effect on 23 February 2002 for a tat-2-show(sic) and motorcycle convention, which would feature at least 3 blues bands, an unspecified amount of cocaine, and one as yet unnamed porn star. Yes, it was going to be a magical night indeed, and 1,000 revelers, among them biker legend Sonny Barger, were just getting down to business when the pagans--that is, The Pagan Outlaw Motorcycle Club--crashed the party and began to turn over tables and talk shit.
When the smoke cleared, 75 had been arrested, one man lay dead, with at least 5 injured via gunshot; the police, waiting across the street all day long for any sign of trouble, got even more than they were expecting: the chaos they encountered within was unimaginable. Authorities ended up with a store of weapons including but not limited to: "500 guns, knives, bats, ax handles", "brass knuckles, batons, switchblades, daggers, a fake lipstick with a blade inside" and "other, more exotic weapons." There was a picture in the New York Times today of a brass knuckles styled after the compact boomerang-thing Batman uses, a curving blade protruding from each side. Reuters notes that there was at least one Uzi submachine gun and at least 2 shotguns recovered in the ensuing police raid.
The fray has come to be understood as a dispute over "turf"; that is, "We ride our bikes in this area,
these are our bars", etc., whatever. Fairly ludicrous, but there's a sort of fantastical charm to the idea of a turf war precipitated by tattooed, leather-clad, bushy-bearded, self-proclaimed outcast-badasses, as it comes in a context of globalization, post-modernism, the oft-claustrophobic sobriety of the new millenium. I'm all for it!
The shooter, a 38-year old Oceanside man, was apparently a member of neither of the competing clans; he was perhaps trying to make a good impression on the Hell's Angels, as he had been at the scene with the Angels long before the Pagans had arrived. Guns are pretty much faux pas among bikers, who tend to opt to settle their disputes with more creative means of violence, eschewing murder whenever possible--cool knives and knife-like things are the preferred means of biker fights, especially because they tend to leave "cool" scars. Also, guns and murder tend to attract cops, which sucks.
Sunday's leg of the Hellraiser Ball was subsequently cancelled. There is still no word on the identity, whereabouts, or well-being of the porn star.