The masked man of Monroe, Lazerus Caesar, from his garret speaks

The masked man of Monroe, Lazerus Caesar, from his garret speaks
village-gate new

Lazerus’ graffiti art at the Village Gate [except the one of himself by the mural off Monroe, photos provided by Lazerus]


from V for Vendetta

The following article becomes relevant following Eric Bryant’s 10/28/17 report in the Democrat and Chronicle on the apparently false arrest of Charles Campany (aka Caesar Lazarus), Unconstitutional arrest in Brighton emphasizes need for local bail reform measures.

Bryant would again write about Campany in Too many people are stuck in jail because they lack a couple of hundred dollars  (D & C, 2/10/18)

In Who is this masked man, aka Lazerus?, I told the man I saw near a mural on Monroe Avenue I would publish his manifesto or testimonial or confessional — whatever he wants to call it — without censoring or censuring.

I do not come to bury Caesar Lazerus but to praise him for speaking what is his experience. 


from Who is this masked man, aka Lazerus?

Evey: Who are you?

V: Who? Who is but the form following the function of what, and what I am is a man in a mask.

Evey: Oh, I can see that.

V: Of course you can. I’m not questioning your powers of observation, I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is.

Evey: Oh, right.

V: But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace sobriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona.

Evey: Are you like a crazy person?

V: I am quite sure they will say so. But to whom may I ask am I speaking?

— from V for Vendetta

from Lazerus Caesar:



garret 1

How does this act of being a masked man helps anybody. Well, anytime a person is pulled from their personal reality, I’d say that helps them. No matter how self conscious a person is, how much the universe revolves around their star, the man with the mask is always a comet that brightens up their night. They might not observe it for long but they take note that it’s passing in their field.


garret 2

So now that this person’s orbit has been displaced by my slight gravity, they react. I’ve had the police called on me three times since the new year. Once for walking on a Saturday night and another time for building an igloo. Officer Baca gave me a very nice lesson on how to better build my igloo. People called because they fear the unknown, space as I have represented it. A man with a face anyone can wear is a frontier one can only experience by traveling to the past of ancient cultures. As a result of the minority acting in fear, I’ve noticed an increase in police activity in the Monroe area. I hope the people feel safer with possibly more parking tickets. I feel safer knowing people notice at least a masked man and not just a manner of dress or culture of skin.

The final question of the day is: what does the mask do for me? It gives me confidence. It gives me the ability to stand aloof and proud. I know why people give me the evil eye. I know why people smile. I know why all the pretty ladies gawk at me. I can walk outside crying and no one will know. I can laugh uncontrollably and no one will find me the joker. I just walk permanently with a smile.


Lazerus’ (I assume) tattoo

But, most importantly, the mask removes discrimination. Not towards my skin. Not towards my sex or beauty. But from the age old question  — “what is your experience.”

I wear the mask to be the public figure who will do any task you ask.  For questions about anything, why not ask the book of a man who wears a cover. I wear the mask so you need not remember another name. I wear the mask to make you act when you think something is wrong.  I wear the mask so people know I’m one of the top five tattoo artist in this city, dead or alive.

Who is this masked man, aka Lazerus?


On the 22nd of October, 1844 on top of Cobb’s Hill

Love and Hope in the Rochester Subway

Local artists’ enduring message of hope for troubled youth at Pre-Trial Services

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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