Friday, September 28, 2018

American Dresser: A new film about the passion of two wheels

Pacific Northwest, USA (September 28, 2018) BSB — Carmine Cangialosi didn't set out to make a motorcycle film when he began writing the script for American Dresser. The actor-turned-screenwriter/director and lifelong motorcyclist said he set out to make a, "modern western," and chose to incorporate his familiarity with the motorcycling lifestyle into the project.

Poster of the new film called American Dresser staring Tom Berenger

"You can't write a western movie about the horses," he said.

The film's story line focuses on lead actor Tom Berenger's character, John Moore, as he embarks on a cross-country motorcycle trip to cope with the recent death of his wife, as well as confront a decades-old family secret.

Official Movie Trailer of American Dresser

Cangialosi hopes his first film project featuring motorcycles will resonate with riders and non-riders, alike. His father is a veteran and a motorcycle rider, much like the main character in the film. While he rode dirt bikes in his youth, the younger Cangialosi's acting schedule did not allow him to have much time to ride.

He chose to diversify his film career by branching into writing and directing. After his first film project was released in 2002, Cangialosi began writing the script for American Dresser. It was his first time featuring motorcycles in a film.

He used motorcycles to attract motorcycling's "built-in audience." He said motorcycles spearhead a multi-billion dollar industry, and he hopes using them in the film will help make it more attractive to audiences.

"Motorcycles are very iconic," Cangialosi said. "People either ride or want to ride."

While he has a lot of respect for other motorcycle-themed moviesAmerican Dresser, Cangialosi said he drew more influence from western films like Dances with Wolves, The Unforgiven and There Will Be Blood. He was also grateful for the major contributions that actors Berenger and Keith David made to the film.

Some of the stars talking about the making of American Dresser

"I was beyond fortunate to get them onboard this project." Cangialosi said.

One of the challenges he faced was teaching the film's two main stars how to ride.

"Tom [Berenger]'s wife rides, and Tom rode dirt bikes as a kid," Cangialosi said. He said David did not have previous riding experience. David's busy schedule forced Cangialosi to give David a crash course on how to ride a motorcycle shortly before filming began.

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle ridden in the film by Berenger's character is owned by Cangialosi's father. Cangialosi also wanted to get an Indian motorcycle into the film, so that is what David's character, Charlie Wylde, rides. "I did not want to make a brand movie," he said. "I wanted to make the film as timeless as possible."

Cangialosi said he doesn't have plans to make another film featuring motorcycles, but would not rule out using them again. "Making this film was the hardest thing I have ever done," he said. "Whatever I do next, I will let [the project] come together organically …. Like a comedian, I don't want to become too topical."

American Dresser was released on video on demand Sept. 21 and received a limited theatrical release Sept. 23. More information about the film can be found on its website at: 

SOURCE: Biker News Online

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Future of Republic of Texas Biker Rally in question

Austin, Texas (September 24, 2018) BSB — The future of the largest motorcycle rally in Texas is up in the air after some of the terms under discussion for a new contract with the Travis County Exposition Center, where the event is typically held each year, have organizers unhappy. A major sticking point, Republic of Texas Biker Rally President Jerry Bragg said, is that it’s possible the event won’t have access to the Expo Center’s banquet hall next summer.

Travis County commissioners on Tuesday postponed a vote until next week on whether to lease the banquet hall for the Travis Central Appraisal District to host meetings instead. The $150,420 lease would be from May to August, making the banquet hall unavailable for the Republic of Texas Biker Rally, which is scheduled for June. The lease also would overlap with the Heat Wave car show, which would be in July.

Thousands of bikers enjoy the ROT Biker Rally every year.

Bragg said that not having access to the banquet hall could be a deal-breaker. “If you had an aerial view of our event, you’d see there’s absolutely no room,” Bragg said. “We can’t eliminate any of the buildings and still put on a reasonable event. ... We’re squeezed for space as it is.” County Judge Sarah Eckhardt made it clear Tuesday at the Commissioners Court meeting that she does not think the biker rally and Heat Wave deserve preferential treatment.

"I don't think it's the business of county government to make sure that things like the ROT rally's pole dancing contest and the Heat Wave's bikini contest get a better deal than anyone else who's going to rent the Exposition Center," she said. Travis County spokesman Hector Nieto said he could not talk about the status of the county’s negotiations with Heat Wave, but he said negotiations with the biker rally have stalled because organizers no longer want to work with the county staff and are now only communicating with county commissioners.

“In order for us to negotiate a contract with them, we need them at the table. ... We still have options available to them,” Nieto said.

A staff-written summary of the commissioners’ agenda item says that they have not heard from the rally organizers since they got the proposed license agreement, because “ROT did not like the rates.” County officials proposed that the rally pay about $50,000 to rent the Expo Center next year. The contract previously had been just under $30,000 a year.

“The proposal they sent was ridiculous,” Bragg said, adding that Expo Center officials are now charging them as much for setup days as they do for event days, which leads to a substantial price increase. However, Bragg said he would dedicate the rest of the week to pursuing a solution. Heat Wave owner David MacDonald also said he would "find a way to make it work," though he said Monday that Heat Wave organizers have considered moving the show to Circuit of the Americas as an alternative to the Expo Center.

Randle Jackson, the Expo Center's division manager, said the venue did offer the biker rally a reduced price because it is a longtime customer that has held its event there for multiple years. "If we charged the ROT rally as we would a normal event, it would be well over $100,000," Jackson said.

Rates have gone up to reflect the market, Nieto said. “Like everything else in Travis County, market value is going up, and we have a responsibility to the taxpayers to operate the facility in the black,” Nieto said. The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated in 2011 that the annual biker rally brings an estimated $36 million into the Austin economy.

"There are a lot of people that enjoy the ROT, and I know the city enjoys them," Commissioner Gerald Daugherty said Tuesday. "We've benefited from them because it's one of the largest events we get revenue out of." Bragg said the rally organizers don't have time to find another location to host their event next year.

SOURCE: My Statesman

Monday, September 24, 2018

Leader of Bandidos MC faces life in prison

San Antonio, Texas (September 24, 2018) BSB — The Bandidos Motorcycle Club’s former second in command, a San Antonio man who directed the biker group’s violent racketeering enterprise, including drug dealing, extortion, beatings and murder, is expected to be sentenced Monday to life in prison.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra is scheduled to sentence John Xavier Portillo, the national vice president of the Bandidos, at a morning hearing. Portillo, 58, served as second in command for national president Jeffrey Fay Pike, 62, of Conroe, who led the club for more than a decade.

Vest showing the Bandidos Motorcycle Club back patch 

Both were convicted after a three-month federal trial in San Antonio of ordering and sanctioning a racketeering conspiracy that aimed at keeping the biker club's stronghold on its home turf of Texas. The trial showed that the Bandidos, once the second-largest biker gang in the world behind the Hell’s Angels, split off from its international chapters in Europe and Australia because of turmoil in the ranks.

By the time Pike became president in 2005, law officers estimated the Bandidos had 5,000 members in 210 chapters, located in 22 countries. But by 2016 — six years after Pike first sought to break away from most of the international chapters — the Bandidos had dropped to 100-plus chapters and more than 1,000 members mostly in the United States and parts of Latin America.

Despite its smaller numbers, the Bandidos still exerted clout. Texas’ deadliest biker shootout occurred while Portillo and Pike were at the helm. Neither Pike nor Portillo were at the May 17, 2015, shootout at Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco that involved other Bandidos, members of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club, some of their support clubs, and police. That incident resulted in nine bikers being killed, 20 injured and nearly 200 being arrested on state charges of engaging in organized crime in prosecutions that have yet to result in any convictions.

None of the charges against Pike and Portillo were for the Twin Peaks shootout, and during the federal trial, the two Bandidos leaders challenged the government’s contention that they were the bosses of what the feds called “the mafia on two wheels.” The pair denied ordering, authorizing or sanctioning the criminal activity of their fellow Bandidos, and Pike claimed local Bandidos chapters were autonomous and didn’t act on orders of national leaders. But federal witnesses that included ex-Bandidos and wiretaps of Portillo’s phone, along with body-wire recordings worn by cooperating witnesses, helped sway jurors to agree with prosecutors.

The federal jury convicted Pike and Portillo of conspiracy to murder and assault of members and associates of the Cossacks. Government witnesses testified that Portillo, with Pike’s approval, declared in 2013 or 2014 — before the Waco incident — that the Bandidos were “at war” with the Cossacks. According to that testimony, a number of violent acts — before and after the Waco gunfight — were committed by Bandidos around Texas in furtherance of this “war,” including in Fort Worth, Gordon, Odessa, Port Aransas and Crystal City.

Among the murders the jury heard about were that of Geoffrey Brady, a supporter of the Cossacks shot by Bandidos members in December 2014 at a Fort Worth bar; street gang member Robert Lara, who was shot by Bandidos in Atascosa County on Jan. 31, 2002; and Anthony Benesh, a purported Hell’s Angels member who was shot outside an Austin restaurant by other Bandidos on March 18, 2006.

John Xavier Portillo, former National Vice President of the Bandidos MC 

The clashes cited in the federal trial were over the Cossacks wearing patches on their biker vests that said “Texas,” which is considered the territory, and home base, of the Bandidos. Defense evidence showed Pike, at one point, had approved of Cossacks wearing the Texas “bottom rocker,” or patch, but at least one government witness testified that relations soured: Some Bandidos were angry that permission was granted for Cossacks to wear the patch, and because the Cossacks’ Texas patch was larger than the one Bandidos wear.

Pike was national president of the Bandidos from mid-2005 until he stepped down in January 2016 after his arrest. Pike picked Portillo as his national vice president in 2013. Portillo had been in that position until he was arrested, also in January 2016. Pike is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ezra on Wednesday, and also faces life in prison. Both men are appealing.

News Article written by: Guillermo Contreras
NEWS SOURCE: My San Antonio

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Hundreds of bikers fulfill veteran's dying wish

Wahoo, Neb (September 23, 2018) BSB — A Nebraska man shared a dying wish with his nephew that involved hundreds of motorcycles.

Bob Money expected to see 20 motorcycles ride by his assisted living home, not the 200 that showed up on Sunday.

"He always wanted people to visit him in Wahoo. I asked some friends to get bikers together. It exploded into an enormous amount of participation from all kinds of bikers. It's totally amazing," said Richard and Linda Money. Richard is Bob's nephew.

Bob Money of Wahoo, Nebraska greets hundreds of bikers

 They had just six days to plan the 40 minute bike ride from Omaha to Wahoo to see Uncle Bob.

Most of the riders were total strangers.

"Supporting our veterans is very important. Especially our Vietnam vets who were treated so poorly at first," said Kevin Dubbs of North Bend.

Bob, 77, waited out side of his nursing expectantly. He understands the timing.

"We were informed his heart is running at 15 to 20 percent, and they're not sure how long he's got. A couple of months," Richard said.

As the motorcycle parade crawled by the Liberty House, Bob took it all in.

"I should be crying already, but I held back," said an overwhelmed Bob.

Every rider shook his hand and offered words of gratitude for serving his country.

"The real goal for us was to give him a send-off. To maybe help ease the way as he's passing and that the memory will be front and center in his mind," Linda said.

As the bikers left Wahoo, Bob led the way... at six-miles-per-hour in his wheelchair.

Some of the bikers who attended the Sunday ride traveled from as far as South Dakota.


Saturday, September 22, 2018

Mongols MC: The club talks about being in Fort Worth

Fort Worth, Texas (September 22, 2018) BSB — On Saturday night, members of the Mongols motorcycle club stood outside a bar in the Fort Worth Stockyards, talking with bar employees and passersby.

A woman across the street appeared to take a picture of the four men, who were all wearing black leather vests with patches saying “Mongols” and “Lifetime member.”

Two of them, one of whom introduced himself as Blade, yelled across the street.

“Wait, take another one!” he said, posing with his arm around another member and smiling broadly.
The woman put her phone down and walked away.

Some establishments at the Stockyards had signs on their doors stating, “NO club affiliated attire of any kind allowed inside our establishment.”

The Mongols have been called the “most violent and dangerous” outlaw motorcycle club in the nation by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, according to the Department of Justice website.

On Friday and Saturday, local police beefed up their presence in the Fort Worth Stockyards after ATF warned the Mongols were planing a rally there. An ATF intelligence note warned the Mongols were planning a “run” in the Stockyards Friday or Saturday. The notice, copies of which were sent to the Star-Telegram, stated the club members were expected to start arriving late Thursday and there could be anywhere from 300 to 700 bikers.

The four Mongols members outside White Elephant bar on Saturday night said all of this is all misconception.

None of the men wanted to provide their names. Only one, who had on a backwards hat and others described as their “boss” provided a nickname; Blade.

“We like to go places and hang out with our brothers and spend money in local shops,” he said.

He said he was not allowed to say how many members were at the Stockyards, but pulled up a picture of the group from the night before on his phone. About forty men, most wearing black leather, stood on a stage at a Stockyards bar. He pointed at signs on nearby doors that banned “club affiliated attire of any kind.” He said those signs kept the Mongols out of most shops and bars in the Stockyards.

“I went into a shop to buy a Fort Worth t-shirt for my daughter and wife, and they wouldn’t let me in. I’m fine with it, but my wife is gonna be like, ‘where’s my souvenir?’” Blade said. The only place that let them in, he said, was the White Elephant Saloon and the Love Shack.

The saloon and Love Shack Manager Bill Chmielewski said the Mongols have been great customers.

“They’re very respectful, they’re been very kind to my employees. That’s the kind of customers we want,” he said. Another Mongols member, whose vest said “Florida” on the back, said the stigma against them is created by the media and shows like Sons of Anarchy, which portray motorcycle clubs as lawless and violent.

“We like to spend a ton of money and to have a good time,” he said. “We’re just like any other organization.”

Another member, who was wearing a black and white hat and sunglasses on his neck, chimed in.

“We’re not bullies, we’re not disrespectful. We tip and we tip well,” he said. “We’re a brotherhood. We are family.” In their note, ATF wrote one of their concerns was possible violence between the Mongols and their rival, the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. “Although only operating in Texas for a short period of time, violence has already transpired between the two adversaries in Houston, Fort Worth, and Dallas,” the ATF stated in its note.

Officer Brad Perez, a Fort Worth police spokesman, said in a previous interview Fort Worth police were not expecting any issues between the two groups at this weekend’s rally.

“Several representatives of the Fort Worth Police Department have spoken to the local Mongols chapter president and he assured us that the local Bandidos chapter has been made aware of this gathering and that they do not expect any issues,” Perez said in an email. “The concern with this particular gathering is the number anticipated to participate.” However, the four members said law enforcement was overreacting to the Mongols’ presence.

“More police officers showed up here than Mongols,” the man with the Florida vest said.

Fort Worth police issued a statement on social media on Friday about the motorcycle rally.

“We have not issued any advisories to avoid the Stockyards this weekend due to motorcycle club rallies. We will have additional officers working the Stockyards this weekend,” the post stated.

In June, 21 members and associates of a Tennessee chapter of the Mongols were indicted by a federal grand jury with various alleged crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery and large-scale drug trafficking.

Earlier in the year, the same chapter had 19 members and associates indicted on charges of racketeering conspiracy, murder, drug trafficking and other related crimes.

As of 8 p.m. Saturday, there were no violent crimes reported in the Fort Worth Stockyards related to the Mongols.

Story By: Kaley Johnson