Bragalia on James Randi -- the skeptical side of sleaze
James Randi, the man who bills himself as the "Amazing Randi," is one nasty little piece of work. Randi was investigated by law enforcement for harboring an illegal alien in his FL mansion. Randi, allegedly a homosexual, was playing “Daddy” to a teenager of Latin descent who was using a stolen identity.
On September 8th, 2011, Federal Agents working for the US State Department, knocked on James Randi's door, not particularly looking for Randi, but for Randi's live-in-lover, a person who calls himself "Jose Luis Alvarez," a name stolen years ago, say the Feds, from a New York man. In their newspaper article, "Celebrated South Florida artist Jose Alvarez accused of identity theft"the Broward County Sun Sentinel says:
"Celebrated Plantation artist Jose Luis Alvarez has earned an international reputation with colorful, modernist paintings that have been showcased in South Florida museums and galleries.
He's always dabbled in abstract concepts involving personal and artistic identity, an exploration that began as a young man when he teamed with famed magician James "The Amazing" Randi on the world stage.
Now, there are deeper questions surrounding Alvarez and who he actually is — a mystery about the man himself, beyond his creative persona.
To federal authorities the 43-year-old Alvarez is a cipher, a man truly without any identity. They refer to him as "FNU LNU" — law enforcement acronyms for first and last names unknown.
Alvarez is now in federal custody, accused of stealing the identity of a New York man and misusing it for more than 20 years. Goateed and scholarly looking in hip eyeglasses, Alvarez — if that indeed is his name — had his first appearance Friday morning in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.
"We don't know who this person is," Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertha Mitrani told a magistrate, while explaining that authorities would seek to hold Alvarez without bail at a hearing next week.
Alvarez first began performing to international audiences in the late 1980s as "Carlos," channeling the spirit of an ancient seer in contact with other worlds.
It was an elaborate hoax carried out as performance art.
Alvarez's transformation into "Carlos" was part of Randi's crusade to expose mystics and psychics around the world as frauds. The two men, who live together in Randi's Plantation home, met when Alvarez was ateen, and they put on the "Carlos" performances for 15 years.
More recently, the artist's paintings were featured this spring at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, and have graced Art Basel in Miami and galleries in New York and San Francisco.
Alvarez's alleged alternate reality came apart Thursday morning, with the arrival at his door of an investigator from the U.S. State Department who specializes in fraudulent passports, visas and other travel documents. Alvarez initially said he was born in Venezuela, then said New York, according to court records. He was arrested on a charge of supplying false information to obtain a passport, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The charge filed against Alvarez alleges he stole a New York man's date of birth and Social Security number, which he used to obtain a U.S. passport in 1987. He has since renewed the passport twice."
"Alvarez is not just an artist, but an ardent backer of Randi's philosophy of using science to debunk the assertions of people who fraudulently claim to possess paranormal abilities, Dmitrovsky said...
...A lecture he gave at the University of California in Berkeley earlier this year about his artistic pursuits was described thus: "Jose Alvarez will guide us through his own personal journey of investigation into the realms of consciousness, mysticism, spirituality, magic, shamanism, space exploration, and paranormal phenomena. Utilizing the concept in theoretical astrophysics of parallel universes and space as a continuum membrane with no beginning or end, Alvarez will place his cast of characters as a stand-in for the strong human desire for knowledge and transformation and his continued visual inquiry into the realms of the fantastic and the philosophical."
State Department investigators got onto his trail last August, when a New Yorker named Jose Luis Alvarez applied for a passport to attend his sister's wedding in Jamaica. His application was flagged as potentially fraudulent, because a passport had already been issued in his name.
"He's had my identity for 20 years," the New York Alvarez said Friday, when reached by telephone by the Sun Sentinel. "Why is he stealing my identity? Is he illegal?”