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Jun 19, 2012

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Billy Jones

Those things are pretty typical of how Scarpone does business. When he first bought Plum Crazys he tried the same crap only the regulars sent his boys high tailing it back to New Jersey. I don't think it's about race in-so-much as it is trying to project their tough guy, mafioso images.

Ian McDowell

Bouncers can have a degree of autonomy and get away with stuff that's pretty unprecedented in the service industry. I'm not saying I don't sympathize with the difficulties of their job, which are unique, but abuses certainly happen.

Am acquaintance of mine was cold-cocked and had his jaw broken by the bouncer at a bar that used to be where East Coast Wings now is on Tate Street. And he was actually a musician performing there (the bouncer had taken exception to where they were backing up their van to load their instruments). In that case, the owner, who was apparently involved in the subsequent brawl, allegedly shut down the bar and fled town immediately afterwards to avoid a lawsuit.

The guy who founded the martial arts school I used to attend (although not my actual teacher) used to run a team of bouncers at a place downtown. Gossip has it that he took particular delight in knocking out drunken fratboys -- he would allegedly shine a Maglite directly in their face, and when they slapped the hand holding the light away, use this as an excuse to deliver a hammer fist to the temple. He was a wiry man of average height (he looked like the actor Chris Cooper) and may have been taking such a preemptive approach because he was aware that he wasn't physically intimidating, but I remember thinking, when I was told about it at the time, that this behavior would likely get them sued some day.

(OTOH, there was guy in my class who was an exemplary bouncer, who'd originally learned grappling as a way of defending himself from his huge older career criminal brother, but he was a big guy himself and a grappler as well as a striker, so he didn't need to take such preemptive measures)

At any rate, while social network accusations of racism at this or that establishment can be overblown or even unfounded, this account seems quite credible. And yes, several African-American clubs here in town have had a "Security" staff that was outright criminal and occasionally killed people (although their victims were generally also black, as white person would have been crazy to go to those places), but that in no way justifies this kind of crap, especially from an establishment that pretends to be a lot more respectable than someplace like the defunct Atlantis ever did. It's not like this African-American kid had wandered into some biker bar or the redneck hole in the wall on Lee Street that used to proudly display a hanging lawn jockey and a Rebel flag. He wasn't hurt and I don't think there's any real basis for a lawsuit, but a little public shaming would seem to be in order.

Ian McDowell

Billy, one of the things I've heard people complain about Scarfone is that he "welcomed and encouraged" thugs and gangbangers at his places in a way that Joey did not. A friend and sometimes model of mine says she knows several people who were jumped by thugs at Scarfone-owned establishments.

Ian McDowell

Correction: I seem to recall, after further conversation with my friend, her saying that the REAL problem wasn't "actual" gangbangers, but wannabes, especially white "thugnecks" (I think she said that's who actually assaulted her friend). So, never mind.

prell

I'm a bit skeptical of any story that begins outside of a bar at 12:30 a.m. and involves communication between a bouncer and a patron - even ones penned by future Ivy Leaguers. I don't know anyone who rolls out to a bar after midnight who isn't somewhat lubricated. That's not to say there isn't an element of truth to the author's story. I just think there's more to it. It's entirely possible that there are some shady/unethical behaviors among the management and staff at that bar. It's also possible that the author was intoxicated and is angry that he got kicked out of a bar.

The internet is a great place to raise and spread awareness, but it's also a great place to ruin careers and lives - whether its justified or not. Judging from the reaction to the story over at the blog in question and from comments I've seen on FB, the jury's out and that bar is nothing more that a den of racists. It's gone viral. Business will no doubt suffer and lives will be turned upside down - at least temporarily. Because of that, I hope the story's true and more people come forward. If it's just an angry kid who couldn't handle his booze, I hope he has trouble sleeping at night.

FWIW, I was "hassled" by bouncers from time to time when I was an undergrad. It was always justified because I couldn't accept the fact that I belonged in bed, not at a bar.

SAL LEONE

I will have to side with prell, who goes out starting at 1230AM, unless you are bar hopping. I am sure that when he was escorted out that it was not going down without any words, someone grabs my arm, well it be on.

If race was the issue well that is wrong. I say hold a protest outside the place. That will hurt his business and teach him a lesson on race relations.

Thomas

For a lot of twenty-somethings, 12:30 is mid-evening.

Ian McDowell

In all fairness, I know quite a few people who "go out" after midnight, even if it's just for one or two drinks. I'm one of them, as I sometimes don't get out of the work place until after 12:00 a.m. and there's a bar on the walk home. It's certainly not unusual for people in college to work night jobs. If that's the case, midnight is the equivalent of happy hour for someone with a nine-to-five gig.

Ed Cone

One guy's story is one guy's story. This story drew a whole lot of responses that seem to support the teller's version.

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