Week of July 21, 2004

Hair Trigger
Worse than assassination: After seeing [the photo of] Don Perry's disheveled, ratty hair in "Street Talk" [July 14], may I suggest he use his hair-styling "skills" to morph my beloved mop-top into mirroring the monstrosity that resides upon his own noggin? To be seen like that in front of my fellow St. Louis pop-culture icons would truly be a fate worse than assassination.
Beatle Bob
St. Louis

Metro Action
The battle continues: Thanks much for "Down in the Flood" [Mike Seely, July 14]. The story was well-written and balanced, yet conveyed the personal side and the impact of Metro's actions. All I wanted was to present the story openly and honestly and fairly and hold public officials accountable -- and that is what your story did. A sincere thanks for that.
Gil Williams
President, MacroSun International
St. Louis

Cheers for Stonie
Wardell, don't ever change: Andrew Miller's "Stone Diaries" [July 14], about former major-league outfielder Jeff Stone, made me wish that there were more people in the world like Stone and more towns like Wardell. But then I realized, there probably are. Stone represents a quiet guy who just wanted a fair shake in life.
Greg Gibson
Overland, MO

Party Foul
Only himself to blame: Being a resident of the Lafayette Square neighborhood where Blake Brokaw's Chocolate Bar was located, I have to protest his comment blaming our residents for the demise of his establishment [Ben Westhoff, "Party Down," July 7]. The idea that those of us who "live in million-dollar homes" were supposed to be responsible for keeping his store afloat is simply b.s. As a group we support our neighborhood businesses, but even we are not always in the mood to go over there every day and spend $3.75 or so for a cup of cocoa.

Brokaw's statement sounds just like the employee who is chronically late or absent and does a horrible job, yet when he gets fired, he blames "office politics." Good management makes the restaurant, as our long-standing establishments Arcelia's, SqWires and Ricardo's can attest. They're within the same block as the Chocolate Bar and they're still alive.
Anne Young
St. Louis

Bittersweet experience: We, the "irate employee collective," have a response to the article addressing the Chocolate Bar and our abrupt closing. We have found some errors in your article and want to clear things up. The sad demise of the Chocolate Bar cannot be attributed to the employees' lack of dedication as was expressed in your writing, but more so due to the fact that the employees were more invested in the place than the owner.

Months of checks bouncing would have led many employees to not show up, but we (despite what Blake claims) came to work until we had nothing left to sell. We even showed up the day that we were informed of our closing, with no previous knowledge of this decision and certainly no warning that we should look for jobs, a luxury that Tangerine and Lo employees received. That day Blake called a meeting at the Chocolate Bar at 2 p.m. We all came, yet Blake never showed up. It's a shame his "authoritarian presence" wasn't there that day. All of us who worked at the Chocolate Bar enjoyed our jobs; we had fun in a great atmosphere and were dedicated to what we did. If any nonprofit lawyers would like to help our cause, feel free to lend a hand, because we do intend to seek legal action.
Claudia Odell, Francis Giesler, Jen Sharp, Peter Monterubio and Rose Bland
St. Louis

Loft life: Brokaw's bookkeeper, Jennifer Tretter, said of downtown and its closed clubs: "I don't know who they think is going to live down there. Fifty-year-old couples? The bars are the only reason to live down there." As a downtown transplant, I'm moved to make two brief points for those readers who may have been turned off of city living by Tretter's comment: First, even with the unfortunate closure of Tangerine, there are indeed bars down here to frequent (The Tap Room, The Cabin, Kitchen K, The Pepper Lounge, The Rocket Bar and Panama Red's are all walkable from the loft building I live in). And second, club or bar life needn't top someone's list of reasons to move downtown. My own list, which I doubt is unique, went something like this: A loft's interior space is unique and hard to purchase outside of downtown; it's relatively affordable compared to condos and houses acquaintances have been buying elsewhere; it feels at least a little invigorating to be part of this revitalization effort; and maybe my investment will make me some money. Neighborhood bars are just one of the perks.
Stephen Schenkenberg
St. Louis

Who's Next?
Not just about gay marriage: Thank you, Randall Roberts, for focusing on Constitutional Amendment 2, the anti-gay marriage amendment that Missourians are being asked to vote on August 3 ["Rabble Rousers," July 7]. Our aggressive door-to-door statewide campaign was launched the day after this homophobic amendment came out of Jefferson City. Voters want to talk about this issue but are really confused as to what this amendment is about. The ballot will read: "That to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman."

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