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Go West, Cary Stemle

Let me tell you about Cary Stemle.

In March or so two years ago, Cary and I met, by appointment, on a Fourth Street bench across from Highland Coffee. We talked, with Cary doing most of the listening. We talked about all sorts of subjects and ideas, and he understood that I was, for lack of any other description, some kind of analog-based space cadet. And still he took me on.

At the only other venue in town — besides The C-J — that editor had never taken me on. That editor had looked at me like a hair-shirted true believer looks contemptuously and dismissively at a heathen, hell-destined non-believer. And friends, a non-, un- and disbeliever is what I am.

That editor dismissed me forever by definition, while Cary just sat on a bench, as far as he could get from a business meeting, and induced. Dudes, I am all for induction.

Cary looked at some kind of burned-out hippie leftover sitting beside him and said yes.

Oh, Louisville, you are as churlish as you are comfortable, as provincial as you are charming. Blow this burg, Cary, and let yourself shine elsewhere.

Fairleigh Brooks, Louisville

Extreme Misunderstanding 

“Extreme Makeover” (LEO, June 4) was a good story, although I feel this note needs to go to Robert Price: I lived in the northern boundary of Shively for five years and saw the good, the bad and the ugly. Price seems to overlook the simple perception of the consuming public, much of which is made up by the have-nots and the extreme haves.

My sister is a good example of the extreme haves. She lives in Indian Hills, is married to a lawyer, and now, would not be caught dead in Shively. She went there once, gassed up at the Speedway across from the Shively City Hall, was “accosted” by a black man requesting spare change, and drove off terrified.

Her take on it: “That would never happen in the East End.” Believe me, the sentiment is shared by many like her. That, my friend, is the “perception” of Shively, not some outdated 1970s take by some “Dream Team” bureaucrat.

Want another example? My brother-in-law comes to pick me up at my apartment, and notices my neighbor selling crack on the corner, probably not a sight he sees in Indian Hills. His advice: “You need to get the hell out of here.” 

Lance Crady, Louisville

Let’s Get Confrontational

I read with great interest Ricky Jones’ column, which included comments about Dr. Martin Luther King and the controversy over his depiction as “confrontational” in a proposed sculpture intended as a monument in Washington, D.C.

As a young college student, I had the honor of participating in the Civil Rights Movement in the ’60s. I sat in at lunch counters in Durham and Chapel Hill. I was in Montgomery for the last leg of the Selma march, driving carloads of student protestors to and from the march. When in the University of Louisville Law School, I was chair of a speakers’ committee that brought Dr. King to speak on Belknap Campus. On that day, I had the unbelievable experience of spending about an hour with Dr. King and a few others in a small room while we waited for his time to speak. “Memorable” would be a gross understatement. Never before or since have I heard such an orator, and only a few people have touched my soul like he did that day in that room.

Yes, he was confrontational. He had to be. Nobody was going to do the right thing without the power of right and confrontation facing them and exposing them. Dr. King knew how to use the power of righteousness to accomplish the goal. He knew it was necessary to face down the evil, the threats, the status quo, the ignorance, the uncaring. He knew how to use the tactics of Gandhi, the revelation of Jesus and the power of our Constitution. These were the powers behind his confrontation. We still haven’t gotten there, but he brought us a long, long way from where we were. He may have patted little babies on the head along the way, but that is not what got him on the way to the prize. I remember his sternness, his confrontation, his strong bearing, his unwillingness to give in or give up. We should all remember him that way.

Thanks to Ricky Jones for all he does to remind us and teach us.

Stephen T. Porter, Louisville

To Flier Or Not To Flier

As a local musician, I’ve struggled to make a name for myself and to have the music I create heard. The best way to do this is to perform in a live setting. It’s been my experience that to make your live event a success, you have to have a relationship with local businesses, the media, the public and the fans.

Last week, I went to WFPK’s “Waterfront Wednesday” to hear Jim White perform. I passed out some handbills promoting an upcoming show that I was playing on May 31. A guy in a funny hat and WFPK T-shirt approached me and said, “You need to stop passing out those fliers in your right pocket.”

“Excuse me,” I said with shocked amazement.

“You’re promoting a non-WFPK related event. Unless you’re an underwriter or a subscribing member, then you cannot pass out those fliers,” he said. 

“Fair enough,” I said, not wanting to jeopardize a relationship that one of the members of a band on my handbill already has with WFPK.

Frustrated, I sought the advice of someone who curates a show on WFPK. I told this person my story and asked for help identifying the guy in the funny hat. He turned out to be John Grantz, who not only works at Louisville Public Media, but also is involved with Production Simple — a local company that brings national musical acts to Louisville. It became clear that my shameless promoting was competing with his company’s show at Headliners Music Hall on the same night. 

Waterfront Park is a public park, and “Waterfront Wednesday” is a free event sponsored by our local public radio station WFPK, which supposedly supports local music. Musicians create to express emotions, opinions and tell stories. Next to schoolteachers, musicians and visual artists are under-appreciated. So we must promote ourselves however possible. It seems the possibilities are becoming extinct.

Brett Holsclaw, Louisville 

WFPK responds: 

It is “Waterfront Wednesday” policy that only current supporters of either Louisville Public Media or Waterfront Development Corporation can pass out literature at these events. The clean-up crew doesn’t want fliers distributed at all, so this was the compromise we reached.   

For the record, John only approached Brett because the two individuals flanking him in the park were drinking illegally. John had noticed a number of white flyers on the ground previous to this. He then saw that Brett was the one passing them out and asked him to stop. As for Production Simple, two current underwriters were passing out authorized handbills that evening that were in direct competition with Production Simple events. Also, Production Simple was not passing out handbills for the show that occurred on the same night as Brett’s event.

In the past, when local bands or groups with a benefit or concert to promote, etc., have contacted me ahead of time, I’ve been happy to let them place fliers at the merchandise table. Brett is in the band The Glasspack. The event he wanted to promote was a show his band was doing with Bodeco. Jimmy from Bodeco contacted me appropriately some time ago to let me know about the show, and I informed my staff to mention it during our on-air concert calendar, so we had, in fact, been helping to promote Brett’s event.

Stacy Owen, WFPK, Louisville