I started listening to their music a few months ago and it really just fuckin touches you and makes you feel what they are feeling. 

Week of July 13, 2006

Feature, June 29, 2006

More Blood on the Tracks Feel the noise: I love the Maddhouse Clique, Mistah Creepy, Nuttin Nyce, Hellsent and the Wet Grimlinz. I started listening to their music a few months ago and it really just fuckin' touches you and makes you feel what they are feeling. I help promote their music as one of their Street Sweepers.

I wouldn't want to be trying to get people to listen to anyone's music but theirs, because I love them guys and because they are going places and are gonna make it. And hopefully Ben Westhoff's "Bloodsuckahz" will help them make it there. Thanks for that.
Courtney Hudson, St. Louis



Kind of sad: So this guy is 24, pretends to be a vampire and still lives with his mother? That's not scary. That's just kind of sad.
Nina Hayward, University City



Who you callin' goth? As a DJ and a lover of music, I can appreciate the constant naming of new genres. However, seeing as how I have associated myself with the goth and industrial scenes for the past decade, I always feel inclined to step up and say something any time the RFT uses the term "goth." (Will we ever get decent representation?)

While "goth" means a lot of different things to different people, it seems to be used freely by the uninitiated to label anything that is "dark," and quite often any medium that portrays sadomasochism and violence of the horror/shock-rock nature. Over the years and many places I have been, the overall tone of gothic counterculture has been more of dark romanticism and mysticism than shock or horror. That's not to say it doesn't exist, but it barely strikes a percentage and probably owes to the existence of Marilyn Manson's usage of gothic imagery mixed with shock rock (which he borrowed from Skinny Puppy and Alice Cooper, both not traditionally "goth" bands, I might add).

The phrase that strikes me as an oxymoron is "goth rap," because most goths I know hate rap. Gothic music tends to be a blend of style and substance born from avant-garde post-punk and new wave, while its lyrics are often introspective and sociopolitical. These guys sample "creepy" organ music and put on some fangs and make-up, but deep down they are still rapping about, as a friend put it, "the same old thug misogyny and amoral braggadocio." You can dress up a turd in a box, but it's still a turd...in a box.

This article makes me wince.
Joel Lovins, St. Louis



News Real, June 15, 2006

Ready for a Ruckus RFT unfair to Wallace: In regard to Randall Roberts' "Ruckus on Cherokee," the Gravois Park neighborhood resents the lies concerning one of our most respected members, Shirley Wallace. If the reporter had done his homework, he would know that Lyndsey Scott had no permits. Minerva Lopez had a contract with LRA to install and remove an art project. The Hispanic Business Owners Association asked Shirley to get involved because they were having a problem stopping Ms. Scott from messing with their festival. One of the requirements for the project was a separate insurance policy and signed agreements which Ms. Scott did not acquire. When the Cinco de Mayo Festival organizers could not make her pay for insurance, they made her buy an event permit to make sure the people on the LRA lot would be under their insurance for one day.

When Ms. Scott talked about her project, she agreed it would be temporary. When she glued it to a building, it became graffiti. Gravois Park works very hard to stay ahead of its problem residents and business owners that try to ignore the rules that make it possible for all of us to live together.

The city denied a permit for a bus station on Cherokee; not Shirley. Gravois Park has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally for its efforts, and as commercial property owners in the district we will continue to monitor the activities in the area.

The Board of Aldermen had to pass a new law to be able to remove graffiti, which is done for free, from buildings like National Rent-to-Own that refuse permission. Last year the rental center refused to allow Operation Brightside to remove a phrase about burning other people's buildings down. When the law was changed to allow Operation Brightside to go on private property and remove the offending graffiti and bill the owners, National removed the offending graffiti.

Miss Mari said she got permission to keep painting the fire hydrant. I am sure she did, because it is once again the legal color required by the fire department. I asked Ms. Wallace what meeting she refused to go to, because in the seven years I have known her she has never missed one yet. She was not invited to such a meeting. Lies are so much more interesting that truth.

The RFT usually creates the problems Galen Gondolfi finds himself in. No one accused him of selling drugs. Galen gets so much free publicity from your newspaper for all the venues he opens without permits that he spends a lot of time having to explain his activities at city hall. It's not surprising that so few people would talk to you because they understand you prefer made-up news to actual facts.
Rita Ford, president, Gravois Park Block Link Neighborhood Association



Troublemaker: Randall Roberts' piece was an honest look at the south city neighborhood's biggest troublemaker. I am a volunteer at and supporter of CAMP, the Cherokee Street-based community center that houses SWEAT (a free bicycle workshop), alternative media such as Confluence and the St. Louis Independent Media Center and the Gateway Green Alliance. After we open, CAMP will offer a computer center, various classes taught by people in the community, a homework club and other free services.

Wallace made it her job to throw every bureaucratic obstacle in the way to prevent our opening and operating effectively. During mediation sessions designed to work out problems with getting CAMP's occupancy permit, Wallace worked with Alderman Craig Schmid to sabotage our project. She told us she wanted a maximum occupancy of 30 people for our 2,000-square-foot community space, no use of our backyard after 6 p.m. and wanted to limit the hours we operate — despite the fact that we are a noncommercial, volunteer-driven center that pledges to be drug- and alcohol-free. She even accused members of CAMP of committing petty acts of vandalism in the neighborhood, offering no evidence.

Apparently Wallace has taken it upon herself to block any enterprise or activity that does not fit in with her own narrow-minded vision for the district. Cherokee Street is home to a diversity of cultures, people, artists and visions for what the community is and should be. Shirley Wallace is a troublemaker, an obfuscator and clearly out of place in this community.
Daniel Romano, St. Louis



Bakers' doesn'ts: While we are excited to be opening the doors of our new bakery on Cherokee, Shirley Wallace has not welcomed us warmly. During our occupancy permit process, she threatened to disallow us from baking for our farmers' markets, restaurants and other wholesale clients when we moved our bakery to Cherokee unless we dropped the "education use" from our application. These clients represented the majority of our business until our 50-seat café opens later this summer.

We wanted the education use in order to have baking and educational classes in the café. We dropped it so that our business would not be cut off at its knees. Wallace has a history of stirring up trouble, as evidenced by her opposition to the Latino tour buses last year (see RFT's "Not on Our Street" in last year's issue of June 8). She revealed her true colors in that article, when she made the ignorant comment aimed toward Latino tour bus operators: "[W]hy wouldn't you try it our way?"

Soon-to-be-irrelevant Wallace is digging her own grave. It seems to me that Wallace is paving the way for the gentrification of the neighborhood spearheaded by speculators, property flippers and condo developers. These developers want property values to skyrocket to rid Cherokee of its indigenous diverse population. We know what has happened for over 500 years to the namesake of the street; this racist process of removal continues with the current initiators of displacement targeting the vibrant fabric of Cherokee.
Mark Bohnert, Black Bear Bakery, St. Louis



Three cheers for Lyndsey Scott! I am a resident of the City of St. Louis and have seen what Lyndsey Scott does. She works hard to make the city a better place to live. We need more people like her to be involved. She is a very talented young woman who spends a lot of time working with kids. I was recently at a friend's business on Cherokee Street and was pulled over as I was leaving. The police wanted to know why I was there. After telling them, I was harassed and told not to go back there.

The problem with the neighborhood is people like Shirley Wallace who take over the neighborhood and think they own it. The neighborhoods in the city are changing, young people want to settle there and make it a better place to live. People like Shirley Wallace are fixed on making life difficult for those who are trying to improve city living. Why would she tear down someone's art? Try to stop renovation and curb appeal?

Two thumbs up for giving Ms. Scott the mention she deserves and for exposing us to the true Shirley Wallace. Thank you!
Chrisi Cummings, St. Louis



One deadly sin: East Cherokee has been relatively static for years. I believe there are fewer businesses today than ten years ago. West Cherokee is more vibrant now than it has been in decades. It has a clear upward momentum. Is Shirley Wallace jealous? What a jerk. This is supposed to be the land of the free, and here is some busybody who feels it her business to go blocks from her property to destroy someone else's.

Who decided that a two-bit tinhorn flea market association gets to rule the neighborhood like thugs from an old gangster movie? If she thought she had a case for removal, she should still be required to go through due process. If she gets away with this, what will she do next?
Tom Burnham, St. Louis



Feature, June 1, 2006

Go to Town Recycling in New Town: As a New Town resident, I enjoyed "Brave New Town," Chad Garrison's article about our development. However, I was very disappointed that he chose to quote Paul Hurley's misinformed query, "If we're such a 'green community,' why don't we recycle?"

Paul was a new resident at that time, and he had not received his recycling bin from the city yet. New Town not only recycles, but we have the best recycling program I have seen in the St. Louis area. The recycling in New Town picks up pretty much everything: all plastics, all glass, all papers, even junk mail. I have lived in various parts of St. Louis, including University City, and they all had restrictions on what papers and plastics they would accept.

While he did not state anything patently untrue and because you were simply quoting, I find that choice to be extremely misleading. Anyone uninformed who reads that will interpret it to mean that New Town doesn't recycle! The green nature of New Town was one of its draws for me, so I find something that misleads readers about the environmental aspects of New Town to be extremely frustrating.
Kelly Steinmann, St. Charles



What makes a community? I have mixed feelings about New Town, which I think the article played out very well. We have friends that recently moved there and love it. Out of curiosity we drove out there. After having a great deal of trouble finding it, we were not that impressed. There is no diversity or much creativity. The fact remains that there are places in St. Louis that could have incorporated the already existing developments. This is true in Ferguson, where there is already diversity and character.

As new business owners of a coffee shop in Ferguson, my husband and I are excited about the direction of the city and the ways it is fostering a community. We have a farmers' market, local churches, parades, a downtown district and more. It is possible. But in New Town we see the perfect example of people creating the community they want, where they can do it their way and not foster diversity and creativity.

Good luck to them, but too bad for the dying communities we already have.
Margaret Zamudio, Ferguson



Clarification "Twice Is Nice," Rose Martelli's June 29 review of Mike Johnson's new twin restaurants, Mira and Roxane, stated that Johnson owns Cyrano's in Webster Groves. Johnson has an 8 percent stake in the restaurant, which is co-owned by Charlie and Carolyn Downs. Carolyn Downs, pastry chef at Cyrano's, provides desserts for Mira and Roxane and has an ownership stake in those restaurants.

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