Leave it to Bob Kirsop, for 23 years a copy editor and headline writer for the Cleveland Press, to bring us back down to basics. Last weekend, Kirsop sent me a letter about the paper’s proclivity to incorrectly identify too many infamous local icons as being from Bedford.
First, he stated, a recent blog post identified county commissioner Jimmy Dimora as a former mayor of Bedford. “Jimmy Dimora was never mayor of Bedford — it was Bedford Heights,” wrote Kirsop. “We don’t want him either!”
After wondering aloud whether Bedford Heights would now change the name of its Dimora Recreation Center, Kirsop then pointed out “in the interest of accuracy” that Scene’s regular listing for Crazy Horse Men’s Club on Miles Road is also in Bedford Heights and not Bedford, as stated in the listing.
Our apologies to Bedford, to Crazy Horse, and to the Elder Statesmen of Journalism. Believe us: At least our hearts are in the right place. — Dan Harkins
From former Scene editor Mark Holan: “I met Brian Chalmers (B.C., as most of his friends called him) at the first Scene Christmas party I attended (when I was delivering the mag on Thursdays) back in ’77-78. We got inebriated together and immediately bonded as kindred spirits embracing life, rock 'n' roll and good times. He was manic, impetuous, hilarious, creative, in short everything about the ’70s rock scene that made it so exciting. He had been schooled to be Scene's art director by Tom ‘Cowboy’ Schmidt, a country rock fanatic (Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson — way before alt-country) and followed Tom as Scene's art director around 1979 (which is when I started full-time as Scene's assistant editor).
“Those were the golden days of Scene (in my humble opinion). We were putting new and old bands on the cover, designed by Brian. He spent a lot of extra time on those covers. He wanted them to be perfect because he put his ‘B.C.’ on them.
“The basement offices of the Scene (1314 Huron Rd.) at Playhouse Square underneath Publix Bookstore were like a bunker of rock 'n' roll rebellion. We were too established (having been around since 1970) to be cool for the burgeoning underground music scene but too "rock 'n' roll" for big advertisers. We worked well with the Belkins, the record companies and the House of LaRose (Budweiser distributors), and that was enough to survive.
“Brian used to have to fight for raises. He'd call a liar a liar, and one time he and the late Jim Girard actually had to be physically separated because Brian claimed Jim had lied to him about something. Brian had wrestled in high school (North Royalton) and loved to get physical if need be.
“One of Brian's favorite bands was Humble Pie, and he loved Steve Marriott above all rockers. He even drew a storyboard based on the Small Faces' rock 'n' roll fairy tale from Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake. One of the characters was "Happiness Stan," and when the latter-day Pie played the old Cleveland Agora (on East 24th Street), one of Brian's greatest joys was to present Marriott with his drawings. For Brian, it was like meeting a Beatle. There are photos (taken by Bob Ferrell) of Brian looking very proud at the meeting.
“After Brian was unceremoniously fired (for not coming back from a vacation on the appointed day), he was welcomed into the arms of the Almighty Buzzard. David Helton, the creator of the Buzzard, had always been a good friend of Brian's, and he got him the job as his assistant, putting the Buzzard everywhere (Blossom, Nelson Ledges, Stadium, etc.) rock 'n' roll fans went. It was good gig for Brian, and he made a lot of friends at ’MMS. He survived while others went to the chopping block.
Signs abound that Greater Cleveland still retains at least a modicum of cool. On Friday, MTV.com twice referenced Our Fare City (yeah, we spelled that right) in a bit of the punk light — first for what it called “one of the greatest subliminal pranks of all time” and then for … apparently being really gracious as the butt of everyone’s joke.
At least one graduating senior at Shaker Heights High “gets,” as they say, “it” — but the school isn’t saying who he is. He might still get pimples all over his forehead and a boner when the wind blows, but he had the wherewithal to not only be selected to create his graduating class’ yearbook cover, but he also managed to slip in a clearly visible “FUCK ALL Y’ALL” when you turn the book upside-down. School officials have offered to exchange or cover the statement, and we believe they should just SHUT THE FUCK UP AND RESPECT THIS KID’S CAJONES AND CREATIVE VISION.
It was ingenious enough to inspire MTV News staffers to create a list of (in)famously subliminal messages in rock songs and this apology from the boy/man: “I cannot begin to explain the miserable feeling I brought upon myself, when I betrayed the trust of all of you. I apologize for offending anyone and everyone. It is unfortunate that I did not recognize the big responsibility and honor given to me when asked to design the cover of the Shaker Heights yearbook. I offer my sincere apologies.”
Scene offers its final grade of A to the student and to administrators, who seem to just have said, “Good one,” about the whole thing.
Leave it to Fox News to marvel from afar at the plight of “the gays” and then to break it down helpfully for you there trying not to look like the lowest common denominator.
On Friday, the station could have reported about an Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) volunteer being in county Common Pleas Court on charges that he tampered with voting records and registered to vote under nine aliases, ending up getting caught the second time he tried to vote for Obama. But they went with the Brüno moment instead:
In telling the judge he's really a woman at heart, we know that Darnell Nash the transvestite was just trying to get the judge to put him in as gay as cell as possible. But Fox is all aghast at much an alternative lifestyle. Look at him being all feminine and stuff! And that hair!
Prosecutors say ACORN helped Nash register fraudulently, an allegation that ACORN vehemently denies. That could have been what they dug into, but who'd snicker at that? — Dan Harkins
Today, Harper releases the paperback edition of All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House, the well-received memoir from Akron's David Giffels, the Difficult frontman, former Beacon Journal columnist, Beavis and Butthead writer, and co-author of a Devo book. Giffels' third book tells the exacting tale of buying, restoring, and living in a collapsing Rubber City mansion. It's like The Money Pit, but more poignant, and with more musical references. The paperback edition has extra pictures that weren't in the hardback.
"I really like being part of a community of younger people who openly and unironically embrace Akron as our hometown, and who don't need anyone to explain to them why this is an excellent place to be and to be from," Giffels told Scene when the book was first released. "But I'm constantly running up against people who do need that to be explained to them, so I'm willing to do it. There's an inexpensive quality of life here that is worth bragging about."
To commemorate the paperback release, Giffels has — in his words — "succumbed to the Digital Industrial Complex" and launched his own website. — D.X. Ferris
Washington Post foreign correspondent/NPR commentator TR Reid had an opportunity to get a first-hand look at how other countries, such as the U.K. and Japan, handle health care when he and his family lived overseas. He used his experiences in his 2008 PBS Frontline documentary Sick Around the World, which explored how five other wealthy nations handle providing health care to their citizens. However, there was controversy surrounding its follow-up, Sick Around America, which aired in March. Reid asked to be removed from the show when PBS apparently decided that his conclusion — that profit-making was incompatible with providing basic health-care needs — didn’t blend smoothly with Yanni specials and Antiques Roadshow. Instead, the show — with Reid absent — became a platform to promote the idea of requiring people to buy private insurance, expressed by people like mouthpiece Karen Ignagni of insurance company trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans. Reid’s got a book coming out in August, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Health Care. You can get a preview of what he’ll cover in the book (and maybe even ask him for details about his dust-up with PBS) at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 20, when he speaks at Trinity Cathedral (2230 Euclid Ave.) His appearance is sponsored by Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio) as a fundraiser. Tickets are $10; there’s also a 5:30 reception with Reid for $50. Go to ohioconsumersforhealth.org for tickets and info. — Anastasia Pantsios
With health-care reform being hotly debated in Congress, both Democratic candidates vying for the Senate seat that George Voinovich will vacate after next year’s elections released statements outlining their thoughts on what needs to be done to give people access to health care that won’t break their budgets. The plans supported by Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher were similar: Both support a strong, affordable public option — as do 76 percent of Americans, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released this week.
Said Fisher in an open letter to U.S. Senators Max Baucus, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi, the key leaders in writing the health-reform plan, “A public health insurance option should be one of the choices available, and should compete alongside private insurers, holding them accountable, providing families more choices and helping them hold down overall health care costs.”
“All Americans must have access to quality, cost-effective health care, and this should be the guiding principle of any federal legislation,” said Brunner. “Let Americans keep the health insurance they have if they like it, but let’s use the public option as a way to make health care available to all Americans while making it easier to account for how health care money is spent.”
Meanwhile, Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman has failed to follow up his admission of a few weeks ago that the Republicans have no plan — with an actual plan. But his dismal 12 percent rating from the American Public Health Association on his votes during his 1993-2005 tenure in Congress is probably a good indication of how much we should expect from him. — Anastasia Pantsios