Letters to the Editor

Letters published May 7, 2003

Lost in La Mancha Narrated by Jeff Bridges
When you're Right, you're right:

Pete Kotz's column ["That Dog Don't Hunt," April 9] reminded me of a scene on The Simpsons where the consummately square Principal Skinner is searching the town for a truant Bart Simpson. He reasons he will find him at the Museum of Natural History because, if he were a kid cutting class, that's where he'd go. Of course, he's flabbergasted to find no children at the museum. "Am I so out of touch that I don't know what kids like?" he asks himself. "No, it's the children who are wrong!"

Kotz assumes that the correctness of the Left's message is a given and that it's simply a matter of this glorious message not being properly articulated to all the soccer moms and people in Blue America.

Look, we've heard your message over and over, from campus radicals, The New York Times, and every aggrieved activist group from the various cults of political correctness and identity politics. The reason the Left keeps getting its ass kicked is because the Left is consistently wrong! And when it comes to war in Iraq, it has proved blindingly, incontrovertibly, spectacularly wrong. Wrong about the "hundreds of thousands" of Iraqis to die, wrong about a Vietnam-like quagmire, wrong about the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure, wrong about Iraqis hating the U.S., wrong about the teeming masses of Iraqi refugees that were supposed to be flooding into other countries.

I agree with you that angry hippies, self-styled Che Guevara groupies, and pierced clerks from secondhand CD shops are not the most credible spokespeople. But they are not the Left's only mouthpieces. For example, Susan Sarandon is as beautiful and articulate as they come. I still think she's full of shit.

Al Struck
North Olmsted

The empire struck back:

How dare Pete Kotz ridicule the determination of hundreds of youth in Cleveland to stop this unjust war? The March 28 protest took place while bombs were slaughtering Iraqi people. Many of us feel we cannot sit by and allow these atrocities to be carried out in our names. Yes, we will block traffic to show that this war isn't liberating anyone in Iraq; it's extending the U.S. empire. We will not allow business as usual when the U.S. looks more like Nazi Germany every day.

The protest took lots of courage in the face of dozens of riot cops, undercovers filming protesters, and threats of tear gas. The police did not just stand around bored; they attacked protesters and arrested five people, and then put trumped-up felony charges on three protesters. How dare Kotz ridicule people facing prison time for protesting the war?

The police are not "working stiffs." They are the armed enforcers of the U.S. empire. Just ask anyone who's had their loved ones gunned down by police simply for being black, Latino, or poor.

Our protests have been winning the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world. Many bystanders joined the March 28 protest. Yes, we are angry, but we also have truth on our side. And if Kotz had bothered to interview any of the youth out there, he would have found high school students capable of giving compelling arguments against the war. They certainly have far more to say than the "good Germans" blindly following "our President" by waving flags and yelling "get a job."

R.J. "Orange Hair" Schinner
Cleveland Heights

No business, no bucks:

Well, it sounds like we found our mobsters [First Punch, April 16]. Jane Garson Reed, The Kevin Reed Band, Bill Miller, and Alan Greene seem to fit the bill just fine. I'm not writing this to badmouth anyone, just to clarify exactly what happened with these acts. I do not have a "three-pronged" business model, as Scene wrote. But I do live by four simple rules:

1. I do not book bands so I can watch them by myself. I need bands with followings. I'm not sure what happened to Greene and Stress, but they used to have a great following. Every time they played my club, Station Street Café, no one came to see them. What a shame, because they're definitely a couple of great blues players.

2. I do not book bands to put up with the bullshit from the parents of band members. This one is dedicated to Jane Garson Reed, the mother of Kevin Reed and the manager of The Kevin Reed Band. When the band played at Station Street, she single-handedly ruined the night.

3. I do not book bands to run off my customers. Any good musician will tell you that the key to a good performance is keeping people there. If people start leaving while you're playing, then apparently you're not good enough to keep a crowd. In that case, it's time for the band to go.

4. I do not skip out on payment with anyone. Jane Garson Reed demanded $400, when the bar made $500 for the night. If I paid every band exactly what they felt they deserved, I would have been out of business last month. Everyone knows that your entertainment budget is based on a percentage of your drawer, and I believe I am being very generous when I give a band with no following one-third of my drawer at the end of the night. When you have a club this size, you cannot afford a night when you only make a few hundred dollars.

The moral of this story: Make sure you print both sides. There are a lot of bands that do very well here. Ask Ted Riser, the Shagadelics, Runt, Second Hand Smoke, and many others how their experiences were here.

As far as the Kevin Reed Band goes, they were great, and I did not throw them out. I asked their manipulating, out-of-control mother to leave. I put up with her bullshit five times before I finally just asked her to leave. Even her own son agreed she was getting a little crazy and disrespecting me.

Becky Boyd was one of those acts Scene portrayed as disliking the club. She apologized and said she told Scene that not only does she like us, but she loves playing at our club. For some reason, Scene failed to print any of the good things the lovely Becky had to say.

The bottom line: Clubs and bands have to work together to promote the night. The clubs have to advertise bands (which I do, even in a paper that badmouths me), and the band has to do what it can to create a following. If you don't want to do your part, then stay away from my club. It's pretty sad when a five-piece band cannot bring even 50 people through the door. If that's the case, go back to dishwashing.

Tommy Snider, manager
Station Street Café


Bad business, no band:

Thanks for your First Punch story on the ugly treatment musicians have been getting at the Station Street Café. My bandmates and I (Papa Moto) are among those who learned the lesson the hard way. We're trying to help spread the word to other musicians, and we're encouraging pretty much anyone who will listen to steer clear of the joint.

The amazing part is that these guys just don't seem to get it -- that courting and nurturing a reputation for slippery behavior tends to be kind of bad for business.

Greg Markell

UH did the math -- then it did the obvious:

You make a stink about University Hospitals closing Kindercare [First Punch, April 16], instead of presenting the fact that UH has thousands of employees, yet the day care served only 45 children -- for a whopping annual cost of $150,000. You make it sound as though they were kicked out on the street overnight, when the parents were actually given a few months' notice to make different arrangements.

So what does this have to do with the excellent care given to children at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital? Yes, it would be nice if employees could have endless benefits, but in a world of cutbacks, this only makes good sense. As an employee, I'm glad that UHC is being proactive and making sound decisions in a time of financial havoc for most hospitals.

By the way, does Scene provide day care for its employees' children?

Erna Hammer
Cleveland Heights

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