Thursday, December 31, 2009

Have a Dangerous and Angry New Year, Y'all !

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Perils of Being on the Radar

When Americans think of animation, they usually think of Disney Studios. Modern Disney has been cranking out stale homogenized formulaic crap for awhile now. The new Disney cartoon, The Princess and The Frog, looks to be more of the same. This cartoon features their first "black" princess, however, so it's time for the PC Nazis to sharpen their knives.
The story takes place in New Orleans in the 1920s. The lead character was to be a maid named Maddy (Madeleine). No Good. I have always liked that name & I have never disrespected a maid. Unfortunately the PC Nazis thought Maddy sounded too much like Mammy. whatever Tiana is a Russkie name that is acceptable, I guess, since the Obamas used Russkie names for their kids it's ok. being a maid was no good because black girls in the 20s NEVER worked as maids. Still, don't. There is a firefly narrator type who is a light hearted semi-toothed fella with a heavy accent & small vocabulary. this is, of course, racist because no such person exists.
I'm into Delta Blues. Sorry, these guys exist to this day.
Since Disney is obsessed with magic, it's gotta come from somewhere. In this movie it comes in the form of Vodou. More racism. More stereotyping. Vodou is, of course (overly simplifying stuff here), a mish mash of similar beliefs of the sub-Saharan societies from which the European/American slave traders got their slaves. There is a nationalistic side introduced by seminal Haitian revolutionary Boukman, too, but we won't go into that here. I mean we're talking about The Wonderfully Superficial World of Disney here. Anyway, this has pissed off Vodousaints, neo-Pagans AND Christians. Did these folks have these same complaints about Disney's other wizards ?
Well, probably.
One of the greatest bits of crap from the PC Nazis is that the Prince the chick falls for isn't black. Not exactly whit either. He has a kind of Indian sounding name, but people are griping about him not being black. Do people gripe about Michele Obama not hooking up with a black guy?
I can't believe I have referenced the first family twice in an article about a cartoon. But, that's just it. It's a modern commercial cartoon adaptation of an old fairy tale & people are going off on it like crazy folk. Would they complain as much if the toon came out of france, Poland, Japan or Korea? As far as Disney goes, they should be more concerned with Disney merchandise sold at their stores in upscale malls across the US. Much of the apparel is produced in Haiti under near slave-like conditions. Haitians rioted earlier in the year to boost their minimum wage to $5/day.
I guess it is more important to have perfect uniform ticky tacky fictional characters flickering on the screen than to be concerned with real folks you can't see.
Like Dr McDreamy said, "Perception is Reality".

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Like My Women Bloody

Minase Yashiro

This holiday season's viewing began with Barbie in A Christmas Carol. It was up to the usual standards of a Barbie movie retelling a classic story interjecting Barbie into a lead role as sh tells Kelly the story as if it is original.
Anyway, that was followed by The Machine Girl. The Machine Girl is a Japanese movie (with an English dubbing available) about a teenage girl who seeks to avenge the murder of her brother & winds up getting her arm hacked off by a Yakuza family (who else ?) & then hooking up with the parents of her brother's friend, who was also murdered. The parents are a couple of garage mechanics & the wife used to run with the gangs & was quite the street-fighter in her day. They rig prosthetic chain saws & gatling guns to stick onto Ami's stump. What follows is an insane gore/violence-romp. A perfectly enjoyable film. Afterward I looked up some of the actresses on IMDB & found they all came out of the AV world.
I ask: what is preferable?
A submissive, coquettish, nymph stoned on morphine ?

Or a teenage cyborg amputee psycho-killer (with a heart of gold) ?

Now if the chick was rolling around in bed fighting for her life with a three headed Martian zombie, sheets covered in bright red blood & bright green alien gut slime - that would be cool! You could even keep the insipid music.
I am wondering when Barbie will tell Kelly the story of Dracula, Frankenbstein or Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. Rapunzel had some action towards the end - maybe someday she could tell the story, "Queen of the Black Coast" or take on the role of a female Nayland Smith or even a redemptive Fah Lo Suee ?
Or consider the possibilities of a Machine Girl Barbie with gazillions of prosthetic weaponry. You can keep your Barbie porn, I want Cyborg Warrior Barbie !
With bunches of little squirty blood packets....

Friday, December 25, 2009

In case anybody was wondering what the guy does after delivering all the presents....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Midnight Mass

Midnight Mass by ET Hurley 1911. This image came across my light table one day & I immediately fell in love with it. I had no info on it. Figured it was in Europe somewhere. Mr Ross over at Cincinnati Revisited shed some light on it & pointed out it is actually Mt Adams right here in Porktown.
I love this image & this just seems like a good day to post it. :-)
Have yourself a gloomy, gloomy Christmas....

UPDATE: The Cincinnati Art Museum sells prints of this work.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Police & Fire to Face Layoffs

The layoffs could affect between 6 & 10 employees between the two departments.
Jason Croker, president of the Urbana Firefighters Local 1823, said police and firefighters are the only city employees facing layoffs. He said it's the first time he can remember that firefighters were threatened with layoffs.

Sound familiar, Porktowners? Bear in mind, this is Urbana, OH, we are talking about which has roughly the population of Cincinnati's Northside neighborhood. A 10% cut is fewer people but probably more acute than in Cincinnati. The population is more likely to know the names of the city employees, too.
Gangs tend to like smaller owns like Urbana & Hamilton because the police don't have the resources to deal with them, even in good times. Urbana also has an older housing stock, similar, probably, to Northside as well.
Union reps, same as in Cincinnati say they have never been the target of reductions. Union reps, same as in Cincinnati vow to fight any layoffs.
From what I have read, municipalities are not expected to see any relief form the current economic meltdown til, at least, 2011/12. With cities required to have balanced budgets from year to year there is no way to operate in the red the way a private company might do & there is no near end to the problems we are facing. Cincinnati just approved a budget that raided it's capital fund to the tune of about 30%. We can't do that again & like I said, predictions for better municipal revenue aren't slated for 2010.
FWIW, swimming pools and recreation centers are considered crime prevention tools - not perks.
This is not just a local issue. It is not an attempt to bust up unions by the cities, but, from the myopic attitudes of the unions, I am thinking, more and more, that that might not be a bad idea.

Noose Son story here.
Never a Dull Moment

Tremont City's controversial mayor is accused of beating his daughter. His defense? I don't know, man, I was wasted. Sid Vicious tried it....
meanwhile, mom is vying for the next Tammy Wynette award.
oh, and the whole de-annexing of his property thing? That was just a test.

Noose Son story here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Death of a Ghost Sign

The Old Timber Inn

This has been gone for a month or two now. I can't believe I missed it since I go by it almost daily. Guess that's why I missed it.....
Sadly, even the people in the windows have been painted over, too.
To this day I don't know what a fish log is and I don't want to know. The Old Timber did get a City Beat Best of in the category in 2000, tho.
The building has been on Spring Grove Avenue at Crawford since 1900. In olden days it served people using rail transportation. There was a streetcar that ran out to Spring Grove Cemetery & there was a train that went north from Spring Grove up Crawford to strange and wonderful places. I believe there was actually a station across the street where the truck store is nowadays.
They used to have plate lunches at The Old Timber that made Comet burritos look like egg rolls. They used to be a U-Haul outlet, too.
Hi, I want to rent a truck. Can I get a couple boilermakers, too ?

I haven't been in the Old Timber in years. That might have to change. I am not getting a daggone half fish log, tho. Frankly I am surprised there are not a few family style restaurants (with hooch) in the area to serve grieving visitors of Spring Grove Cemetery. Whoever came up with the idea of having the funeral attendees hang out at the widow's house & messing the place up after a funeral was a sadist and a half. But that's another post.....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

South Fountain Preservation
Springfield, Ohio

Visited The Champion City the other day. Besides chowing down bigtime on local favorites, I visited Memorial Hall & The South Fountain Historic District. I was in the area around the old Springfield High School & snapped a few pics. What's been done in this area is pretty amazing. It has taken some time but it looks a heckuva lot better than when I was living up there.

Later, stopped at Memorial Hall. While out front, a bum walked up & remarked on what a great old building it was. He wnt on to tell us he had lived in one of the upper floors for a couple years before the building was secured. He had tried sleeping in the entranceway but the police had rousted him. He identified himself as a homeless veteran. It seemed kinda weird that a veteran couldn't live in an abandoned Veteran's Memorial building. When I told him the guilding was slated to be demolished & replaced with a skating rink, the quiet little man let out a hearty laugh. The world had just gotten a little weirder for the social outcast.

Springfield Preservation Alliance

A special thanks to Photobucket for inexplicably rotating my images and allowing me to waste time attempting to de-rotate them
UPDATE: I guess Photobucket does de-rotate, but with the blinding speed of a Quadra 950 !

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Auburnairs 1982

or maybe it's Dec 11, 1982
or Dec 10 1983
Dunno, it's silly having an Auburnaires ticket anyway, since I saw 'em about a million times over the years. They played in the Corryville bars around Bogart's a lot, Dollar Bill's, Sudsy Mallone's, Daniel's & a couple places whose names I forget. None of them are around anymore. Without The Auburnaires, they just couldn't stay in business! They played a pretty straightforward R&B Rock n Roll. The lead guitarist, a Frogtowner, had been in another local band, The Customs. The Auburnaires were pretty fun even when he didn't show up. They released a few albums & finally dissolved. The bass player handled their graphics which graced the utility poles of Cincinnati for several years.
A show they played that was pretty cool was a double date with The Raisins at some bar out east of town. It was video taped. If anybody has a copy, feel free to send it.
Most of the band appeared in the movie, Fresh Horses (don't blink).
The Auburnaires will be playing New Years Eve at The Comet.
Design by Pete Alexander

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Budget Nonsense

In the county, the Sheriff doesn't want his budget cut. The Coroner, the Prosecutor & the Judges don't want their budgets cut.
In the city the Police & Fire don't want their budgets cut. The Health department & Recreation departments don't want their budgets cut.
Now we are looking at fees for waste collection. How much time and energy is it going to take to monitor the amount of each person's waste & charge them accordingly ?
How about the people from these various departments and elected county officials put their names on the line and try promoting some tax levies to cover their operations ?
It's easy to tell the city council & the county BOC to commit political suicide. Put your own reputation on the line and ask thee taxpayers for more cash.
I watched about 40 minutes of the Pleasant Ridge budget hearing the other night. Only one woman suggested higher user fees. The rest seemed to think their cause was willed by the lord & that it was just a matter of gathering a few dollars more as they rained from heaven.
-end of rant.....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

North Side Bank & Trust Robbed

Click to enlarge

Cincinnati Police Department is looking for this man, described as white and in his early or late 30s. He is 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall and 200 pounds.

Fishwrap story here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Memorial Hall Site to be Home for New Skating Rink

The site of Springfield's Veterans Memorial Hall (b. 1915) will be the future home of an ice rink. The building will be demolished, there are plans to save and reuse the façade. Another site, The Metallic Casket Building, was rejected because a new building (big soulless box) was preferable to refitting an existing building.

Noose Son story here.

Interior shots of the facility today via Springfield Preservation Alliance on Flicker.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Outta the Gate Swinging

Somehow mixed metaphors just sound right when dealing with Chas Winburn.
Miss Jane reports in the Fishwrap that one of Councilman Windbag's ideas for reigning in the budget is to cut recycling pickup to once a month. This seems to be going in the wrong direction as Councilwoman Qualls has stated we are better of recycling more & using the landfill less. She has proposed the city buy everybody a newer bigger recycling bin with RFID chips. I have never really understood why I buy my own trash can but the city buys my recycling bin. OK, I do know why - It's to help promote recycling. So, maybe a current solution might be a mish mash of Councilmember's suggestions.
Instead of treating everybody to a new recycling bin, let people buy their own, with or without RFID chips & then cut garbage pickup to once a month while leaving recycling alone. That is - Instead of making recycling easier, make throwing away garbage harder. Toss in some composting promotion & we can cut government costs & put less of a bootprint on the planet's face at the same time.

Qualls' Proposal Page

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm no sports fan so I gotta ask, Why would a school want a coach who would ditch his team before a season was over? It reminds me of adulterers who imagine their married lovers will be faithful to them.

Johnny Winter 1987

JW has had a checkered past involving drugs & alcohol. A brilliant electric guitarist, Winter could blow a show pretty easy. I had talked the guy up big time with Bunny Lamé, we went to a show & JW was a major let down. When this show came around it was the classic, c'mon, baby, it won't be like last time. I promise.....
She finally submitted to me and it was good.
Winter tore up at this show. He really really tore up. He kicked ass. Lamé finally understood why I evangelized the dude.
Me? I still don't understand the appeal of Lonnie Mack.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jason & The Scorchers 1986

Went to this with Bunny Lamé. J&TS were a country, blues, rock, boogie band. They were popular with the college/MTV crowd. they were ok. They were fun.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

George Thorogood - Gilly's 1980?
Tickets with pictures!

Tom drove to this show. For some reason I had no car. I had to ride my bike to Tom's house (which has been torn down for the Springfield Medical Center thingie) in the rain, so I took a change of clothes so as not to have to sit around in wet clothes all night. bah
Thorogood wasn't a household name & nobody expected that, with his twangy blues rock slide guitar, to become a household name. He was playing the bar circuit. Peach expected this would probably be our only chance to ever see the guy & I agreed. hence the bike ride on a rainy December evening.
Gilly's was a jazz bar. Maybe dancing occurred but not in front of the stage. They had tables set up all the way to the stage. This made for some awkwardness as Thorogood commenced to rockin' & the crowd started gettin off their duffs & shakin' their booties. Al & I were up front. The stage was only about knee high. After awhile we were made aware that some "too cool to move" biker lookin' guy was threatening to kill us if we didn't get out of his way. His old lady pleaded with us, telling us we really needed to think about our safety. We sat down on the edge of the stage. George Thorogood actually talked to us! He told us to get the hell off his stage. :D
Since he had christened us earlier (he held the head of his guitar to the heads of the folks in the front row) we figured we better do as he said. The mean man didn't bother us again because he was out cold by this time. When we left his old lady was desperately trying to wake him up.
When we got back to Tom's it had stopped raining - it was just cold. I didn't care, it had been a great show & I was still grooving on it, riding through the cold, dark, empty town to a solid boogie beat.
I Have No Life and I Must Go Out

yeah, I know it's dumb. Thought of it on the stairway. Ellison can sue me...

Friday Dec. 11
Holidays on Ludlow
Clifton Gaslight District
Telford Street and Ludlow Avenue
Carolers, giveaways, refreshments, Fairview Clifton German School Choir, free carriage rides and Santa Claus

Etchings and Screenprints by Chelsey Hughes
4577 Hamilton Avenue
medical anomalies, human oddities and a fascination with the strange

Raymond Holiday
Thunder-Sky, Inc.
4573 Hamilton Avenue
Unique holiday gifts - limited-edition prints, original artwork, holiday cards, bumper stickers & T-shirts

Saturday December 12
Patterns, Patterns, Patterns Wrapping Paper
Happen inc.
4201 Hamilton Avenue
Learn about repetition, and make your own holiday wrapping paper

Northside Arts Holiday Art Sale
11AM - 5PM
Off the Avenue Studios
1546 Knowlton
Local artists selling paintings, pottery, photographs, ceramics, glass, jewelry

Brass Choir Concert
Robert J. Werner Recital Hall - UC

Made in Cincinnati
4012 Hamilton Avenue
Collaboration between Fabricate and UC DAAP Fashion Design Student Association

Christmas with the Cincinnati Boychoir
First United Church of Christ
5808 Glenview Avenue

Sunday December 13th
Chili Taste-Off
Northside Tavern
4163 Hamilton Avenue
15 chilis, voting, happy hour pricing, Bengals vs. Vikings on big screen, games and giveaways and music by Brad Lark. Benefits Faces Without Places

Christmas at Vocal Arts Ensemble
St Boniface Church
1750 Chase Avenue
City Leadership

Watching the budget hearings/debates of the Cincinnati City Council and reading reports about such in the Enquirer, I am finding something missing.
At the last public hearing, some hot soccer mom chick was pointing out that by cutting a few jobs in the parks & recreation department, the city would lose many more volunteers (70?) who impact approximately 40,000 young residents a year. On the same issue, an old bat pointed out that volunteers are created from the people who engaged in the programs in their youth.
Kevin Flynn, who ran for council this past November, challenged people on council, city employees and citizens to not just argue for programs but to suggest ways to pay for them. He's right. But there's more.
The Fishwrap reported that the Police Department spent about $90,000 on replacing patches on police uniforms to make them look more professional (that price did not pay for the patches). I always thought they looked pretty professional, anyway.
Here's the thing, money is in a crunch. We can't just expect things to be normal when we are in the midst of a global economic downturn. Contrary o the belief of many commenters, this recession is not the fault of Cincinnati City Council or the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.
Look around and you will find any number of fund raisers for this and that. Several neighborhoods have Citizens on Patrol groups. Seems like a sewing bee of volunteers could have replaced the police officers patches for free. Did anybody from the Cinti Police administration or the City Council try to organize such a thing? Could the park board try to organize more volunteers to administer their nature education programs or will they just dump the programs because they can't afford the administrators?
I am not asking citizens to spearhead these efforts. I sure don't lead the way in this regard, but how about the people we elect and appoint as leaders try cooking up ways for people to volunteer time and talent? The economy has resulted in people being out of jobs. They have time to volunteer. They don't have cash to pay for increased fees. It's not business as usual People are getting divided over their civic wishlists. Our "leaders" need to pick up the ball & bring us together in a community effort to move the city forward. A better connection between city government and the citizenry will really pay off when the economy gets better.
Dayton Airport Gets Cheaper

While Cincinnatians have been using the Dayton Airport for years because of it's proximity & it's fares being incredibly lower than the Kentucky Airport, they just reduced boarding fees by a dollar.
Meanwhile, Delta has cut prices and service at the Kentucky Airport, but Dayton still beats KY's prices.
Is the relative convenience worth it? The only advantage for me is the bus fare to KY v the cab fare to Dayton.

News Son story here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Who 1975

This was a good show. The band was still intact with Moon on drums, Townshend's guitar playing was better (that had good & bad aspects) & Entwistle & Daltrey were solid. They were touring The Who by Numbers which was full of songs about weakness, self doubt & aging. criminy, they were only about 30. oh, wait, that was old back then.
Townshend had abandoned his trademark SGs & had a seemingly endless supply of gold Les Pauls with big numbers on them. Guitar smashing had become a special event.

photo by Mike Pinson

The opening act was a band called Law who were, essentially, a bar band (& not in a good way). Then Toots & the Maytals took the stage. ok, this was 1975. The American Who audience was and still is a pretty conservative lot. Why in hell a reggae act was put on the bill is a complete mystery. A few years later it would have made a lot more sense. I remember them doing a version of John Denver's Country Roads. They were not received well.

Cliff Radel's review

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tammy Wynette & George Jones

In all the craziness of punk & the total music snobbery of both punk & what is now called "Classic Rock", there was no room for country music. I kept my love of Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams & Tammy Wynette a closely guarded secret. In one blistering moment, on a lazy summer afternoon on Kenny's front porch, worlds collided as Pat the Punk, Al & I all confessed that we liked country music.
Al & I went to see Tammy Wynette & George Jones at Columbus Vet's Memorial Hall. The place was about half full. The audience was older, sober and dressed in denim & polyester. There were leisure suits, piped shirts, cowboy hats & red necks. We were terribly out of place. At one point a fat young guy, fresh off the farm, came over to talk to us. His date maintained her distance but watched the whole time. I wasn't interested in the kid. Al bullshitted with him. He would bullshit with anybody. Sometimes he even told the truth. The kid spouted some weird spastic drivel. On his departure, he told us not to let our meat loaf. I felt like I was the guy in the leather jacket in some 50s biker movie.
We waited. The show was late. Finally a guy came out on stage and told us George "no show" Jones was MIA. As the audience let out a disappointed moan, I started giggling hysterically.
Jones & Wynette had worked as a duo successfully for some time but due to his heavy drinking & failure to show up or to show up too drunk to perform, they parted company. Jones had just won 3 awards for his dopey, "He Stopped Loving Her Today" song, had been voted Singer of the year by 2 organizations & he had teamed up with Tammy again. Things were looking up for the guy. Somehow, I think I am happy he stiffed me. Tammy did a good show. She knew her audience & worked them well.
hey George! You owe me a song!

Deep Purple 1972

4th row in front of Ritchie Blackmore & the $%@! PA. yeesh
Not to mention a trip to Dayton in a Gremlin.
The band was touring Machine Head, the album that gave us Smoke on the Water. To think I had the opportunity to put an end to the madness before it began.....

Deep Purple in Copenhagen

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Gruß von Krampus !

Trust those wild and crazy Austrians to come up with a super cool Xmas holiday tradition like Krampus. Krampus, is, of course, Saint Nick's sidekick demon who dealt with the kids on the list who fell into the "naughty" category.

Nick died on the 6th of December so it is only logical that on Dec 5 we beckon his demon pal & scare the shit out of kiddies by telling them this is their last chance to be good or the zombie Nick won't give 'em treats but his bud, Krampus, will haul their asses of & beat the crap out of 'em.

What? Me worry?

I am guessing this little celebration was cooked up by Austrian matriarchs who wanted a bit of peace from the rugrats in the run-up to Xmas. That the celebration would leave the kids to their nightmares & leave the adults to revel in Bacchanalian festivities for the rest of the night was probably added by the patriarchs. Anyway, the cards used to celebrate the holiday just make it that much loonier.

Go on, boy, do what you want - but next time you see me coming, man....

Krampus Nacht is celebrated in Austria & some U.S. cities like San Francisco & somewhere in Florida. Why it isn't celebrated in Cincinnati is both obvious & odd (Christianity is so weird).

Typical Krampus Nacht celebration

The Who, Richfield Coliseum 1979

This was the closest I ever came to Phish, Grateful Dead type fanaticism. The Who twice in one week. I drove the Grey Ghost up to Richfield in the rain. Prior to the trip, I did not realize there was a hole in the floor over by the brake pedal. ugh - wet gym shoe in northern Ohio in December.... We got a motel room. I forget who all went. Dan was there. After what had happened at the Cincinnati Who concert a couple days before, I told my mates not to tell the motel folks that we were going to the concert. As we checked in, the old lady at the desk sized us up & told us to have fun at the concert & to stay safe.
Daltrey later stated that the night after the Cincinnati stop, they played a good show in Indy(?). He said the tragedy of the event really sunk in the next day & their show in Richfield was kinda lame. He was right. It was good & professional but just not very inspired.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Sun-Maid Girl Goes 3D !

The Sun Maid was created around 1915 & has graced the boxes of raisins that were in kids lunch boxes for generations. The Sun Maid, the Land-o-Lakes indian butter chick & the Chiquita lady were all early crushes. Betty Crocker & Aunt Jemima never quite did it for me. Mrs. Butterworth never even made it into our household. Peter Pansy? nevermind....
Anyway, all these characters are updated over the years, Chiquita has even used real women (ugh..) for their trademark. Sun Maid has decided to go the 3D animation route to promote the healthiness of old dried up grapes. The company has enlisted Synthespians for the animation chores. The new Sun Maid animations look a lot like Mainstram's -er- Rainmaker's Barbie movies.
It appears the new 3D chick is for TV advertising only as she is not on the box, so I don't think this thing is a "replacement". However people are in an uproar. Feminazis are up in arms because her breasts are more pronounced. I'll worry about that when Lara Croft starts hawkin' prunes.
As long as she keeps wearing the goofy red hat, she's ok by me.
You can see the :15 ad here.
Why the Sun-Maid clowns don't want this thing spread virally is beyond me.

PS: For cheap animated holiday viewing, don't miss Barbie in A Christmas Carol. (Hope the Sun Maid will start doing feature films!)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Grateful Dead - Cincinnati Gardens 1973

Jeff drove us down to Cincinnati in his stripped to the bone, unheated, windowless van. It was kinda strange climbing into a cold metal box in one town and getting out in another. My old brother-in-law said that was how he got to Viet Nam (although his stripped to the bone, unheated, windowless metal box actually flew).
For some reason the show started late. A crowd of hippies shuffled about for a couple hours. I bought a hit of acid from a crazed looking red headed hippie. Finally the Dead hit the stage. They played probably the shortest Dead set ever & upon exiting the stage, Bob Weir told us we would have to talk to management if we wanted more music. The lights went up and somebody told us to leave. Folks were not happy. Outside the building people were getting kinda ornery. We weren't sure what to expect from the Cincinnati crowd. We piled back into the cold metal box & sat in icy darkness for an hour or so.
When I got home, I walked into the downstairs hallway my dad & I had just wallpapered. The pattern was pink ribbon cascading vertically between vertical blue stripes. I was horrified to find the pattern sliding down the wall and onto the floor. I went to bed expecting to find plain beige wallpaper in the hallway the next morning and I had no idea how we were going to get the damn pattern back on.
Somehow, things worked out just fine.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Who, Riverfront Coliseum 1979

This is hard to write because thinking about it always makes me mad.
Quadrophenia had hit the theaters. the Who had managed to maintain the loyalty of the old rockers and credibility with the new wave punk crowd. This was a really rally good concert.
Festival seating basically meant no seating. It cut costs & let the promoter make a little extra cash. It was ok. People would go to the concert venue early to get through the doors as soon as they opened & get the bestest seat in the house. Of course the bestest seats were already taken by friends of the management, promoters & radio station folks. Invariably, however there was always a crush just before the doors opened. I heard stories of people gliding through doors as they were swept off their feet and carried in by the force of people in front & behind them. This never happened to me because I was too tall at 6'2" but it happened to people as short as 6'.
Anyway, my friends & I went in several cars. Some folks had no tickets. I went with Al in his van with no heat. On the way down we listened to a tape of Who songs. When we parked we did a few shots & listened to The Who's cover of the Rolling Stones, "The Last Time". ooooohh, dramatic foreshadowing...
Police were stationed at the entries to the plaza & checked folks for their tickets. It was cold & windy up on the plaza. Folks were sitting around shivering & doing shots & getting high. We walked around & finally took our place in the line/cluster.
As the sun set, more and more people showed up. People started getting excited & the crowd started to compact near the doors. This is where it got weird. After awhile a real crush was going on. A crush like what one would normally get right before the doors opened - only we were still pretty far off from when the doors were supposed to open. As we looked at the time and thought about the crush getting worse, Al & I bailed. It wasn't easy going the opposite direction of everybody else but we eventually got out of the crush. We walked round a bit and marveled at all the doors available & how only a few were actually used. It was like the architect got it but the people in charge were operating as cheap as possible. Kinda kept with the strategy of not offering chairs.....
The doors opened, we got up towards the back of the cluster of people going in & were immediately met with a ton more people behind us and we found ourselves in another mad crush. People call it a stampede but we were shuffling in little baby steps going very slowly.
Once in the lobby we had to get thru a few turnstile that further bottlenecked the whole operation. Again, I marveled at all the turnstiles & how only a few were open. At one point a cop on the other side of the turnstiles volunteered to open another turnstile & take tickets. The manager type usher dude told him everything was fine and his help was not needed. I saw a kid lying on a table.
There was this short very pregnant girl in front of us. She had made a fake ticket with colored pencils. She asked us if we would hand the ticket taker her ticket with ours so he might not notice her lame-ass forgery. We declined. She handed the guy her ticket at the turnstile. A huge solid block of humanity was bearing down behind us. The usher examined her ticket for a minute and informed her it was not real. He told her to turn around and leave. Al shoved her through the turnstile and told her to run. He tore his ticket in half & shoved a half into the guy's chest. I followed in suit.
We entered the arena & as we headed down to the floor I heard someone say, "Man, there's, like, people dying to get in here, man"
Entering the floor, we encountered a couple guys talking to an usher. One of the guys was blue. They were asking the usher for help. No help was afforded. Al told the guy to take his friend to the bathroom and induce vomiting. Seemed reasonable to me.
The show was great. Apparently the band wasn't notified that 11 people had died trying to get in. I don't recall seeing anything out of the ordinary outside. Al & I got in the van & since our ears were shot we played no music nor listened to the radio. When I got home, there was a LARGE message by the phone saying to call SistahT IMMEDIATELY. The phone rang & scared the shit out of me. SistahT told me what had happened. I remembered the guy lying on the table. I told her the crush getting in had been worse than normal. My parents and sisters told me they were not worried about me. They assumed I had the common sense to recognize and get out of a bad scene. If I had been with someone besides Al, I dunno.
The next day I started hearing the news. On TV they played clips of the concert. Figures people have to die to get some concert footage on the tube.
CityKin has scans of the Fishwrap's coverage, here and here.
I used to feel sorry for the parents of the kids who died that night. I knew they missed their kids. When I got older I realised they were missing much more - the families & grandchildren they might have had.
Why did this happen? The building was designed right. Some motherfucker just wanted to save a little money. I don't know who was responsible, the building manager was busted for stealing water a few years later. typical, cheap, bullshit
People blamed drugs, booze, youth & RocknRoll but the next summer 7 people died trying to see the pope in Brazil.
There's a double disk bootleg of the concert called "Stampede". It is very poor quality. The kids recording it were oblivious to what had happened in the entryway. They talk a lot & get high (that part is kind of funny). They are excited and jiggle the hell out of the tape recorder, though.
The Fishwrap has a bunch of posts here from people remembering the show.