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Letters Column 

Week of June 1, 2006

Beat Happenings, May 11, 2006

Punk, As in Junk
Apeshit: Over the past few music editors, your music section has grown more and more out of touch with the local rock/punk community. Seeing Bonobos written up as an event to go to completes my alienation from the RFT music section. The Bonobos are one of the worst, most artistically bankrupt (electric saxophone?!) bands to grace our town. Telling a crappy president to fuck off does not make you a good, political punk band. It is an insult to all our city's hard-working punk bands when this crap gets written up in the RFT. Not only are there plenty of great local punk bands that get no media notice, but when people go out and see a crappy band the RFT has recommended, they think this is the best the scene has to offer. That hurts all musicians in this town.

It takes a lot more effort than reading e-mail, surfing MySpace or walking the couple of blocks from the RFT office to Vintage Vinyl to cover our city's rock/punk scene. Do the scene a big favor and start doing your fucking jobs.
Glenn Burleigh, St. Louis

News Real, April 27, 2006

No Mercy
Eye for eye:
Regarding Malcolm Gay's lethal-injection article, "How Does It Feel?": Who cares how it feels? They are convicted murderers. What did their victims feel when they killed them? So Emmitt Foster suffered for half an hour. How long did his victim, Travis Walker, suffer? As far as old cases go, if they have DNA, test it. If they have the right man (or woman), execute them. They deserve it. An eye for an eye.

I'm not skeptical about anything. Why do we need to waste more taxpayers' money on housing these criminals and hiring anesthesiologists to monitor their vital signs at an execution? Their victims never had that convenience. Let these convicted murderers die a horrible death. Their victims probably did.
Jacqui Cox, St. Louis

Unreal, April 13, 2006

Is Nothing Sacred?
Defending David Sedaris:
It is rare I pick up your paper (thank God). When I saw a tease for a David Sedaris interview, I could not resist. I made the ridiculous assumption that you would be conducting an interview with Mr. Sedaris. Unreal's "Talk Pretty" is a slap in the face for the many aficionados of this talented man's work.

I have had the honor of meeting David Sedaris via a book signing at a genuine bookstore. You must be unfamiliar with such establishments. If you have any clue of David's scheduled appearances, you must know the numbers of people that flock to meet or hear him. You had the nerve to ignorantly call this "drollery." Did you consult a dictionary for that word? What is more, you had the gall to compare yourself to Mr. Sedaris: "chatty, urbane, and well-read." Come on. Riverfront Times devotes most pages to strip clubs, classifieds and dull provincial locals.

Considering the examples of prose you call writing, your article was beyond laughable. You would only be so fortunate to have conducted this interview. Of course, envy often handicaps average people. You are a perfect example.
Angela RouLaine, Aviston, Illinois

News Real, April 13, 2006

Re-Raising the Bar
Like putting your MVP on waivers:
I realize this letter may be somewhat late in response to "Last Call," Chad Garrison's article about Mark Pollman, but having worked with the legendary barkeep 32 years ago for the same company, and remaining a close (but long-distance) friend for all these years, I thought I'd take the opportunity to weigh in on his termination.

Though I certainly have a palpable bias, what Danny Apted did was cowardly and indicative of a manager who has all but ruined a substantial restaurant, hotel and sports-entertainment dynasty. I knew Steve Apted well and remember Danny vividly as a pudgy, arrogant and privileged teenager. Even then one could see personality flaws that could have warned of his erratic and misguided managerial behavior to come.

I compare Mark's firing to a baseball manager putting his MVP on waivers because the guy selling peanuts didn't like him. Here's a legitimate St. Louis institution, who not only put dollars in the register at Fox & Hounds Tavern but fannies in the Cheshire Hotel, that was and is stuck in a time warp. How many traveling professionals stay in a non-brand-name, non-business-center, non-high-speed-Internet, non-breakfast-provided hotel in this day and age? Many longtime customers of the Cheshire have put up with its lack of amenities just so they could be centrally located. But more likely they did it so as to be able to retire to Mark's theater of the absurd for a little relaxation and fun.

Even though Mark is nearing the end of his illustrious reign as one of the premier bartenders in the country, he has many exciting options on his plate. Not only will he survive, but he'll thrive. On the other hand, look for the Cheshire to go the route of most hotel dinosaurs by either being sold at a drastically discounted price or finding itself in Chapter 11.
Jack Weiss, Wilmington, North Carolina

Wake up and smell the SnakeBite: When Mark Pollman called me with the news of his departure from our beloved Fox & Hounds, I looked at my calendar to see if it was April 1. I felt gut-shot. As a frequent traveler to my former hometown, I've always stayed at the Cheshire. And at times without telling my family I was in town, to avoid the guilt trip associated with not staying with them. The main reason for this: the vibe at the Cheshire. The welcoming, albeit somewhat garish décor, the smell of polished wood and brass — and of course Mark. He's as much a part of that property as the Jungle Suite. But that's a story for another time. I knew Steve Apted as well. I miss him all the more now. Oh, Danny Boy: Wake up and smell the coffee. Or should I say one of Mark's famous SnakeBites.

I truly love the Cheshire and even once considered a long-term stay. As one who must frequent all too many white dry-walled, sterile hotels, I always looked forward to a stay at the Cheshire. It felt like home. A big part of that was the good-natured abuse that was sure to meet me as I entered the Fox & Hounds. My memory holds many, many nights of telling great stories, meeting interesting people and learning some of the best dirty jokes in the world. But I, and you may rest assured many others, will not darken the doorstep of that once-fine establishment until Mark has been reinstated as the heart and soul of the Fox & Hounds.
Tim Wright, Cincinnati, Ohio

Restaurants 2006

Chow Time
Eat the document:
King of the Hill, a Depression-era film that was shot in St. Louis a few years ago, had a scene in which its young protagonist, poor and hungry, drooled over and ate color photos of food he cut out of a magazine. Your splendid 72-page special advertising feature made me recall that moment in the film. The color work, ad layouts, and moreover, the commentary about so many fine local dining spots, made me hungry.

Great work!
Robert Beck, Webster Groves

Last week's Summer Guide stated incorrect operating hours for the Clayton Market. The farmer's market is open Saturdays from 8 to 11 a.m.

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