Week of February 2, 2005

Bobbing to the Surface
The Beatle Bob mating ritual: For some reason Beatle Bob has decided to rationalize his own poor behavior by making up things about other concertgoers [Letters, January 19]. Even ones he has never met.

In his most recent rant he attacks Robin Hirsch, one of his critics, saying, "[I]t is very rude and inconsiderate of concertgoers like yourself who push their way to the front of a packed stage floor for the headliner after sitting or standing in the back for the opening acts." He couldn't be more off base. I've seen hundreds of concerts with Ms. Hirsch and she doesn't have to "push her way to the front." She shows up early and camps out like any good fan would. What she does do, that Bob seems incapable of, is be respectful of her fellow concertgoers.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I note here that Ms. Hirsch is my sister, and while I may not agree with her on everything in life, she's right on the money about Bastard Bob. (Bob will, of course, try to use our familial relationship to dismiss or somehow invalidate my fair criticism, but facts are facts and all the pseudo-hipster-poseur-speak in the world won't change them.)

To be frank, one of the saddest things I've ever seen at a concert was the poor girl who was happily dancing by herself next to Bob at the Los Lobos promo show at Mississippi Nights a few years back. Bob diverted from his traditional Tourette's tantrum long enough to perform what I will generously refer to as "the Beatle Bob mating ritual," which consisted of putting his hands together like a swimming sperm and repeatedly jabbing them toward her crotch from six inches away while he loomed over her, trying to look down her blouse. It was tasteless and crude and she was clearly not comfortable with his behavior and did what she could to dance on her own and still be near the stage. Bob, of course, was still firing away despite all obvious signals that his advances were unwanted.

I have to agree with Dana Plonka, Robin Hirsch, Sheldon Margulis and all of the other folks who have the guts to call Bob out for what he is, a class-A jerk. The guy is just plain creepy. Saddest of all is that Bob is the best this town has for local color right now. Chicago's "Ronnie Woo-Woo" or Berkeley's "Larry Rare Bear" both put him to shame. Now those are real characters.

I have no doubt Bob will take his personal shots at me. And like his previous ravings, I expect them to be filled with the same weak rationalizations and outright lies. As to his last point about better use of the letters page, well, here are a couple of local acts RFT readers might want to check out:

First is Auset (formerly the DBA Project) who play at the Brentwood Borders on February 12; another is Salt of the Earth, who had their CD release party January 29 at the Focal Point. Both are amazing local acts with real integrity and great songwriting. See you at the show! I'll be the one not screaming during the ballads.
Jeff Hirsch

Tattoo Me
Cave's in: Randall Roberts not only does a fine job on an article on Brad Fink but names it after a Birthday Party song ["King Ink," January 12]. Cheers to Mr. Roberts -- and maybe he should write an article on the opening of spring training and keep the theme going with "Release the Bats."
Bryan Pollard

Bar None
Ode to Pat's: First let me say that I could love any woman who could write: "I have wanted to investigate Pat's Bar and Grill for some time -- for personal booze-hounding as much as professional restaurant-reviewing reasons." Having said that, I want to thank Rose Martelli for her review of Pat's Bar and Grill ["Homegrown History," January 12]. Back in the dark days before there was McDonald's, Pat's was the only restaurant that I was ever allowed to frequent with my parents.

Pat's was a convenient watering hole for my father, who was the head stagehand at the Henry W. Kiel Auditorium, to meet his friend George, who was the box-office manager. They would meet on those rare occasions when their work would let them out of the "big house" before last call. On Friday nights, then as now, Pat's would serve up a fillet of sole dinner that could not be beat. As Dad was on a short dinner break, he would call Mom to pack me up and meet him there. Mom and I would eat the fish and Dad would have an open-face beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and a wedge of lettuce. That and a couple of cold Stag beers would get him in the mood for a long night's work back at the auditorium.

Fridays would no doubt have been wrestling night. An evening with Dick the Bruiser or Gorgeous George. The only honest sport, as Dad called it. To this day when I go there with my friends, I get grief for ordering the fillet of sole and a cold Stag (very often not in stock). Everyone knows you go to Pat's for the fried chicken!
Robert L. Mark
Beaumont, Texas

Down with the Ayatollah!
Critical of the Fatwa: While I have never before written a letter to the editor, I felt the need to after I read "Critical Fatwa" by the Ayatollah of Rock [B-Sides, January 12]. The brief, supposedly humorous article manages to offend in a variety of ways: 1) The drawing by Mike Gorman reinforces the all-too-common American conception of Muslims as rabid, "towel-headed," violencemongers. 2) It trivializes fatwas, which have caused the deaths of many, and are (to some, from some) respected religious opinions. 3) The use of stylized Hindi (rather than, say, Arabic) script in the title, which only serves to buoy outdated and ignorant Orientalist conceptions of Eastern countries.

As an agnostic who doesn't much care for Eric Clapton, I don't have some hidden ax to grind here -- I was just upset that a paper that I respected for being anti-racist and anti-profiling (racial, religious or otherwise) turns out to support those values only when they are popular.
Alexandra Bannister
Maryland Heights

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