I've read Scene for about 15 years and remember when it used to be a very good source for music, and not a mouthpiece for whatever the major labels and entertainment corporations are pawning off as the latest big thing. I distinctly remember seeing pages of new-release reviews covering just about every kind of music, concert reviews (you remember what those are, don't you?), and pages of actual news.
Don't make excuses for Ocasio: In his review of Robert Ocasio's Latin Jazz Project's new CD, Algo Para Ti [Regional Beat, December 18], Franklin Soults writes, "Ocasio's baby girl makes an appearance at the end, as if to remind us why he doesn't." This is a really tasteless comment. It doesn't make you any more honest; it only exposes your inability to express yourself as anything other than a small-minded prick. Get some class already.
The '70s were good years for WMMS: I take strong issue with the opening paragraph of Steve Byrne's Andy Pratt concert preview [Nightwatch, December 11]. He writes, "Remember 'Avenging Angie,' the cult hit . . . in the summer of 1973? If you do, you are undoubtedly a native of Boston, a city that once had a really cool free-form radio station, or the kind of person who used to hang on every word written by the music scribes of Rolling Stone."
No, Steve, those of us who remember "Avenging Annie" do so because this city used to have great AOR radio stations, most notably WMMS. And in 1973, "Avenging Annie" was a staple at that station.
Or perhaps your statement was meant to yank the chains of those of us who have fond memories of the great music WMMS played in the 1970s.
Cleveland needs more theater coverage: I want to add my voice to a call for expanded coverage of the theater arts in your paper. As one who tries to see as much live theater as possible, I look forward to reading previews and reviews. As a theater writer for Northern Ohio Live, I know that no one publication can cover the range of offerings. As a playwright, I know how neglected we feel with so few papers actually reviewing our work. If you can spare the resources, I think your added coverage will pay dividends.
The gods of metal have spoken: I just wanted to say that Jason Bracelin is the biggest moron I have ever had the displeasure of reading. What is his problem with Manowar ["Clash of the Titans," December 4]? They have more than carried the torch for metal for a long time now.
I went to the Blind Guardian show with Symphony X, and it kicked total ass. Bracelin apparently has no open mind to the greatest music of all time. How can he begin to call the new Blind Guardian the lamest album of the year?
And picking on Hammerfall and Dio? Come on. What makes him so big that he can pick on our heroes like this? What is the name of Jason's big bad-ass band? Oh yeah, he doesn't have one, but he has the balls to call other bands meatballs and shit like that because of what? Jealousy of their immense talent? He must go. He is chasing away new and potential fans of bands like these with talent beyond our grasp.
Dio's the last straw: You should get rid of . . . I think his name is Jason Braceface, or something like that, because he knows nothing about music. To slag on other bands just shows his immatureness.
I read his articles about Dio, King's X, Hammerfall, Symphony X, and Blind Guardian. I went to see Blind Guardian (when I picked up Scene), and after being very satisfied with the unbelievable talent that flowed that night, I had to read his bullshit article two times to make sure I read it correctly.
What is his problem with Manowar and other bands whose talents are true and deep? Blind Guardian and Symphony X are some of the most talented musicians Cleveland has had the privilege of hearing, and assholes like him think they can cut them down.
And picking on Dio? What has RJD ever done but make the best music possible? Jason obviously doesn't appreciate musicianship, or he wouldn't be saying what he is saying. He is a fucking piece of shit and must go. Fire his sorry ass.
Pointing out the problems at MBNA: Great article ["Lerner's Legacy," December 18]. Several of us who work for MBNA have read it and agree with everything, particularly the "forced contributions." They aren't anonymous, and we have to check a box if we don't want to donate. When we don't, a manager will address the issue with us personally. The fee issues are right on, too. We know it's a scam, but there isn't anything we can do about it. If we take on these issues personally, it would spell career suicide. Keep up the good work.
Name withheld upon request
The smell of sarcasm: I wanted to take time to praise Kevin Hoffman for his bold and courageous article about Al Lerner's legacy. It's rare for a reporter to have the integrity to hint at character flaws in the still-warm body of a deceased man. All this while stopping just short of outright accusing Lerner of predatory business practices while he was alive.
It is refreshing to see someone take such an "unbiased" opinion of a man he most likely did not know personally and drag him and his legacy through the mud. It is this kind of integrity and restraint that also made The Free Times the fine publication it once was.
Never mind the time and money he gave to charities and spent on Cleveland. Never mind the fact that his family and friends are probably still grieving. Never mind all the good things Lerner may have done in his life. All Scene readers need to remember are some questionable (at worst) business practices that may have gone on at MBNA. All we need to know is that Lerner will be the scapegoat for a number of people claiming to have been wronged.
I am glad that this fine reporter was able to supply a cover story at the expense of a dead man. Way to go, Scene and Kevin Hoffman. I smell Pulitzer for you, my friend.
John M. Jelenic
Patrick Shepherd is a tireless leader: Thanks very much for the article about Patrick Shepherd's good work ["Rainbow Warrior," December 4]. He has done a tremendous job in organizing the community, and the recognition is well deserved.
Toward an end to malpractice: I wish to commend Sarah Fenske on "The Forceps Affair" [November 13] in identifying malpractice by Dr. Sogor. In times like today, where technology is excellent, there is little room for excuse in malpractice, especially in this case.
Although malpractice is hopefully always accidental, in this case it was very preventable. In fact, it is shocking that a doctor of Sogor's prestige would even consider such an archaic method for a birth. It was well identified that there are other practices that are more efficient and provide a substantially lower risk.
I would like to thank you again for identifying this specific incident and making the public aware. Sarah Fenske may have saved the health, or even life, of another innocent child by writing this article.
James Patrick Sammon