Scene: Your Source for Utter Filth
I just wanted to let you know how disappointed I was to see such a trashy article in Scene ["Full Swing," June 10]. I can't believe this article appeared in a publication that is available to the public. Your paper is usually a source of entertainment information for the young adult population in our area; now it is a source of utter filth. The cover alone is shocking. It is better suited to a Playboy magazine or an adult publication of that sort. Actually, Playboy would probably show more class in the way they would portray this article.

I do not see myself as a prude type of person at all, but when I saw the cover and article of the latest issue, I was appalled. In the past I have used Scene to see what is going on around the area. You can be assured that you have just lost a reader, and if my friends' reaction is any indication, you have lost a few more as well. Is this article meant to be a subject of public knowledge or just to stir emotions? If you were trying to stir emotions, you have done it. I didn't think that was what Scene was about; apparently I was wrong.

Christy Veres
via the Internet

Swinging the Flag of Freedom
I had an opportunity to read the June 10 cover story titled "The Secret Life of Swingers," and I would like to extend my appreciation to author Jacqueline Marino and the staff of Scene for providing a very unbiased and straightforward account of a subject considered almost untouchable by the larger print-media outlets.

Well-written and informative, this piece offers a candid view into a lifestyle that coexists within our own community. Perhaps the individuals described are merely a small group of holdouts from the sexual revolution of the 1960s and '70s. Despite the total admonishment of the mainstream crowd, these people are actively exercising their freedoms and rights of privacy, and as such ought to be tolerated at the very least.

I am always encouraged to see individuals who have the fortitude to challenge the established norms, and even in disagreement, I strongly support their rights to continue unimpeded. Furthermore, your publication is also to be recognized for having the guts to carry this story, which some would swiftly dismiss as little more than sexual sensationalism, but actually is an informative read. Keep up the good work!

Andrew Carson
Cleveland Heights

All Is Not Gay Among Swingers
Bravo to Jacqueline Marino for her fascinating look into the lives of swingers. But I can't help but wonder just how sexually "liberated" these kinky heteros are when their "swinging" seems limited to bisexual or bi-curious females only. That swinger events "prohibit gay and bisexual activity among men" reeks of your typical male-style homophobia, the kind that salivates over lesbian porn, yet shrieks in terror when two men hold hands or, heaven forbid, share a kiss. Excluding bisexual men from the mix is hardly a path to "sexual freedom."

And just what does "swinger" mean? For all their talk of "strong, stereotype-crushing messages" about the role of women swingers, isn't a roomful of men ogling and fondling bisexual women nothing more than a straight man's fantasy come to life? What about those women turned on by seeing their boyfriend/husband go at it with another man? Are they not considered part of the swinger lifestyle?

Furthermore, to equate swingers to the gay community is misguided and offensive. The struggle for gay civil rights has been about the right to love another human being, even if that person is of the same sex. It is not, and never has been, about the right to honk some woman's tits in public or fuck eighteen people a night. To equate promiscuity (which I'm not necessarily disparaging) with the fight for gay rights is a homophobic idiocy. But it's typical of the heterosexual guys who--here we go again--love lesbians, but get a shriveled pee-pee when the talk turns to gay men. As much as I support a person's right to sexual self-determination, I have to question the sincerity of any so-called "sexual movement" that excludes bisexual men. Swing all you want, but call yourself sexually liberated? Please.

Erik Piepenburg
Chicago, Illinois

A Word From the Swing Doctor
Jacqueline Marino's article "The Secret Life of Swingers" was well-done. She did misquote me, though. I did not say, "To our knowledge, there has never been a single case of AIDS diagnosed in the swinging community." What I did say was, "To our knowledge (referring to the NASCA International), there has never been a case of AIDS contraction due to swinging." It is an important distinction. Nonetheless, she did an excellent job of research and writing.

Robert McGinley, Ph.D.
President, North American Swing Club Association International
Buena Vista, California

A Sharp Knife Through Dull Wit
Regarding "Microbrew Mayhem" ["A Smart Person's Guide to Drinking," June 3]: As a man who takes beer drinking (or any drinking for that matter) seriously, I was deeply disturbed by the unsophisticated ignorance displayed by the Scene staff. It is apparent your reporter, Frank Kuznik, spent so much time sharpening his hopelessly dull wit that he inadvertently scraped away all taste from his tongue. Perhaps he should seek employment with Better Homes and Gardens. He obviously paid more attention to the decor in each brewpub than he did to the beers he sampled. As for the other anonymous tester: As schlock journalists, you are supposed to exploit the ignorance of the masses, not exemplify it.

Kuznik first tipped his hand when he touted Great Lakes and Crooked River as the best beers in town. If paying microbrewed prices for macrobrewed flavor is your idea of a positive drinking experience, Crooked River is your kind of brewery. Otherwise, it pales in comparison to many of the other breweries subjected to Kuznik's journalistic thuggery.

On the other hand, there is no doubt that Great Lakes beer is generally the finest in town, in the region, and in the state, but to describe Dortmunder Gold as "truly dangerous" is pure bunk. It is the most boring, least original brew offered by Great Lakes, an obvious attempt by the esteemed brewery to cater to the anesthetized taste buds of mass appeal. Hey, Frank, grab yourself a Heinie and save yourself a few bucks.

Your treatment of the Diamondback Brewery was wholly unfair. While it is certain the house beers don't stand up to the Great Lakes litmus test, they are pretty fair. Unfortunately, however, the same can't be said for the food. Finally, to call Rock Bottom's brew "piss water" is not only way too harsh, it demonstrates cliched, sophomoric journalism at its worst. If you must succumb to your frat-boy impulses, please try to be original.

Let's cut to the chase. Anybody can be Howard Stern, just like anybody can be Budweiser. Good journalism, like good beer, must be carefully crafted--a delicate combination of intellect, ability, and good taste. Frank Kuznik and his beer-swillin' buddies obviously know little about either. Please, I implore you all, go back to Natural Light and leave the good beer to those who can appreciate it.

Kevin C. Robison

Tobin Flubs on Irish Pubs
Regarding Mike Tobin's article "The Pain of Irish Pubs" [June 3]: I would like to say that Mike Tobin wouldn't know a true Irish pub if it painted itself green, white, and gold, riverdanced in front of him playing the fiddle, and shouted "I'm an Irish pub! I'm an Irish pub!" First of all, Mr. Tobin, I don't know where your infatuation with Michael Flatley stems from, but I'm sure your contention that he single-handedly made "all things Irish trendy" would only massage his already grandiose ego. The fact is, Irish pubs have been the paradigm for many drinking establishments in this country (and the world over) since before you were even a twinkle in your daddy's eye.

Secondly, your review, nay assault, on Irish pubs further shows your complete ignorance on your chosen subject matter. You blatantly neglected some of the original and true Irish pubs in Cleveland, like Parnell's Pub and O'Reilly's. Although I am sure they are grateful, considering how you badmouthed most of the others (some of which, I might add, are not very Irish). This brings me to my next point: the total distaste in your comment "The West Side needs another Irish pub like Belfast needs another car bombing." How dare you? I don't give a shite whether you were trying to be sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek, or mildly amusing. For some of us true Irish who have lived there, it rings very close to home. Just because it's not in your backyard, Mr. Tobin, doesn't make it fair target for your "satire." What if you had chosen Oklahoma or Littleton as part of your heinous analogy? What repercussions then?

Let me tell you something, Mr. Tobin: What really makes an Irish pub is the people--the customers. Of course, you cannot fully replicate it thousands of miles from "the auld sod," but at least some of us try, dammit. Your "efforts" probably consist of drinking Guinness out of a plastic cup and wearing a bright green plastic hat that says "Kiss Me--I'm Irish!" on St. Paddy's Day. Or maybe you do something "really Irish," like eat corned beef and cabbage (as a sarcasm expert, you'll probably get that one, Mike). For the rest of us who know better, Mike Tobin and the other irresponsible excuses for journalists at Scene can shove their rag-mag suas bhur thoin. As for the translation, you should be okay, Mike, you don't need to be Irish to get the gist of that one.

John McKenna
Cleveland Heights

Feeling Betrayed in Tremont
Just after I read Mark Naymik's article "Noisy Neighbors" [June 3), I received a letter from [Councilman] Joe Cimperman. We have the same problem in Tremont. I have owned Edison's Pub for ten years and not had any problem from the neighbors until last summer. We invested considerable money and took great risks in the Tremont area when nobody cared. Many people came from the suburbs to patronize new establishments and decided it was a good place to live, because it was a happening place. One of these people bought the house next door to our patio and moved in.

Last summer they called the commander of the second district so many times he came to see me about the noise. We agreed to turn the music down to a level that could not be heard unless the patio was empty, and many times never had it on because nobody knew it was there. Many of our customers complained because we had no music on the patio. Now I have a letter from the councilman because the music and talking is too loud. I live in the same neighborhood and accept the fact that I have barking dogs, sirens, shouting people, and panhandlers on my residential street.

Coming from Bay Village, I accepted this, because it was there, and I didn't expect it to stop because I moved into Tremont. It is part of the culture and effect of living in a high-density area. Your article hit on a hot subject for me. In our case, these neighbors are people we know and see every day, and not a faceless person in the large building next door. It just baffles me how these are the same people that came into my bar and made the same noise before they lived there.

Mark LaGrange
Owner, Edison's Pub


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