R.I.P., Godfather of Soul

By PHILLIPE & JORGE  |  December 27, 2006

At the local level, editors Ian Donnis and Lou Papineau have been most patient and focused, since the dispatches at most news outlets are not submitted scrawled in crayon on “Betty Ford Clinic” cocktail napkins, with enough profanity and lewd innuendo to make Jenna Jameson blush. Peerless leader Steve Brown has always gone to bat for us in the worst of circumstances (e.g., running out of Pernod and cigars at 3 am), and bought us numerous freebies at Nick-a-Nee’s, where the Phoenix staff seems to have reserved barstools. We also thank the many good people who make up the foundation of this rag, especially the accounting and advertising units, whose work provides us with a weekly stipend, led by Anita Anderson and Bruce Allen, practically lifers at Chez Chestnut.

But perhaps our most grateful salute goes to Rhode Island’s politicians, who make this job a breeze. These clowns come up with more fodder than a herd of bison on the Great Plains. And to think we had to import Harrah’s casino corps to further up the ante. What a crew, which the Narragansett tribe — much to P&J’s dismay — cuddled up to like Britney Spears on Paris Hilton. Yecch.

Another tip of the hat goes to the media. While few realize that many of P&J’s friends work for the Urinal, we respect them highly. While we would never say they were the source for many of the tips used in this space, we will always remember Bob Kerr’s laudatory line, that this column “has more of the truth and less of the facts” than what is usually fed to the public. “Get me rewrite, Jimmy Olsen, we don’t have two sources! OK, Mr. White.” Never mind the TV world, where we love BJ, Artie, Mr. Taricani, and all the JARheads; Channel 12, led by Karen Adams, who is almost as good a golfer as our lovely Ms. Beverly B.; and Channel 6.

We wish a happy New Year to all. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug for everyone. And we mean that sincerely.

Martin for the masses
As admitted history nerds, we seriously anticipated a recent event sponsored by the Providence Athenaeum, organized by its boundlessly creative resident genius, Christina Bevilacqua (an occasional Phoenix contributor). There was to be an assortment of popular “appetizers” from the Martin Van Buren era (arrgh!) and plenty of wine to help wash it down (good idea).

The centerpiece was a talk by Van Buren biographer Ted Widmer, head ramrod of the John Carter Brown library, and Casa Diablo’s favorite historian/historically appropriate rocker. Thanks in part to a pitch-perfect Lifebleat feature that appeared in the Other Paper a few days before the event, about 150 people materialized at the Athenaeum on the Tuesday evening in question. One participant described the audience as part riff-raff, part Martin Van Buren geeks (a heretofore unknown species), and part Athenaeum regulars.

Midway into the Q&A segment, Widmer offered a rather candid opinion of the current resident of the White House. Right-wing nut bags rose from the audience and began to castigate the speaker, getting even more heated once they learned he was once a White House speechwriter for Bill Clinton, the satanic/pinko commander-in-chief. Fisticuffs did not occur, but reliable sources say, “It was pretty damn close.”

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