Week of July 21, 2004

Jul 21, 2004 at 4:00 am
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."

As a gay man in a long-term relationship, I want people to be clear on this issue. A "no" vote on Constitutional Amendment 2 isn't a vote for gay marriage. We already have a law that bans gay marriage. A "no" vote simply says that Missouri's Constitution must never be a vehicle for discrimination. It is meant to provide rights, access and opportunities for people, not to isolate a group to be targeted. A "no" vote says that discrimination is wrong every time and in every form. If something like this passed, then who is next year's target group? I urge everyone to vote "no" on 2 August 3.
Scott Emanuel
Constitution Defense League

Jesus Rocks
The Lord's going mainstream: Anne and Matt Koth commented that "Jesus rock is not mainstream...if you want proof, go out to your car and scan through the stations" [Letters, July 7]. Well, if you scanned through St. Louis' FM stations anytime over the past few months, you would've heard the following "Jesus rock" artists on various mainstream outlets, ranging from Z107-7 to the Point to KSHE: Switchfoot, Stacie Orrico, P.O.D., Big Dismal, MercyMe, Skillet, Jars of Clay, 12 Stones, Wilshire, Sixpence None the Richer and Sanctus Real.

And that's not even counting bands with subtle ties to Christianity such as Lifehouse, Creed and the Calling. Many of these artists have also appeared on shows ranging from Late Night with David Letterman and the Tonight Show to Last Call with Carson Daly, and their music has been featured on shows ranging from yesteryear's Miami Vice to today's numerous WB primetime dramas. It would seem evident that "Jesus rock" is not just "popular only in its weird subculture." Listen closely and you'll discover that many "Jesus rock" artists are providing quality music that's as good as anything available in the music industry. And yes, they are receiving mainstream airplay.
Stel Pontikes, host
The Answer Radio Show
St. Louis

Credibility Gap
Defending Michael Moore: I would like to respond to Zach Lorton's letter in the July 7 RFT. Mr. Lorton was unhappy that the RFT gave a positive review to the movie Fahrenheit 9/11. Yes, the movie does point out that the Bush administration acted in a way some people thought it shouldn't have. Well Zach, I wouldn't call it "some people." I would say "most of the world" would be a more accurate phrase to describe the number of people who disagree with the Bush administration's actions. Mr. Lorton then tried to dismiss Fahrenheit's credibility by stating the number of Web sites that distort the truth in Bowling for Columbine. He listed none of the Web sites he was referring to and didn't state even one of the so-called "flat-out lies." Now back to the subject he was supposed to be discussing: Fahrenheit 9/11. As with most negative letters that are written by overly conservative "human beings," he called Michael Moore a fraud, proclaimed the movie to be an unfair attack on the Bush administration and called the movie "fictitious." However, these letters never list a single, specific lie or untruth from Fahrenheit 9/11. I truly believe it would greatly increase people's ability to judge the film if they would actually take the time to go see it. "Bring 'em on!"
Michael Szerzinski
St. Louis

Food Explorer
In with the new: I loved Rose Martelli's review of Everest Café, the new Nepalese restaurant in St. Louis [June 30]. I am a new transplant to St. Louis from Chicago. Something that I enjoyed greatly in Chicago was the constant reviewing of new restaurants that were opening every week in the metro area. I've been an avid reader of RFT since I moved here last summer, and so far only your article and a handful of others have showcased a new (six months old or less) restaurant. So I would like to say thank you, and right on! Continue the good work that you're doing. Most St. Louisans have been to Hodak's and other such places, so there's no need to write about these restaurants on a regular basis. Instead, new restaurants should be showcased -- and I know there are plenty of them in the city. Good job, and keep up the good work of being a food critic and food explorer!
Dianne M. Carty
St. Louis

Strange Realm
From Hank's mouth: As a Christian, I find the antics of the Realm a bit ridiculous [Ben Westhoff, "Jesus for Juniors," June 23]. It's one thing to have a healthy youth group take trips to water parks and quite another to build an MTV palace made for tricking kids with two-second attention spans into a relationship with Christ. I think Hank from King of the Hill put it best when Bobby was dabbling in [following a] rock 'n' roll, teenage Jesus: "I don't want God to be a phase." What happens when these kids segue into a normal church service? They will be bored and leave. Being a Christian isn't about being entertained -- it's about a life of service, love and sacrifice. We, as the church, have to find a balance between catering to the age and exploiting it.
Ryan Oakes
St. Louis

Clubs Editor
The Riverfront Times is looking for a part-time (25-30 hours per week) clubs editor to contribute to our music section. Must be knowledgeable about -- and fascinated by -- the local nightclub scene and possess a desire to put that knowledge to work in building the RFT's clubs coverage. Please send résumé and writing samples to:
Jordan Harper, music editor
Riverfront Times
6358 Delmar Blvd., Ste. 200
St. Louis, MO 63130