Feedback: Casey Anthony, Cafe Bohemia and more

You wrote it, we printed it.

Feedback’s been on hiatus for a while (something to do with the editor running off and getting married), but in the meantime, the comments sections of cltampa.com have been roiling. A cover story on Casey Anthony will do that, of course, but hackles were raised by less high-profile stories, too, like the decision by the new owner of Cafe Bohemia to stop hosting the St. Pete for Peace film series and Mark Leib’s review of Tampa Repertory Theater’s A Streetcar Named Desire. And Joe Bardi’s review of Magic Mike provoked one woman to lament the dearth of male strip clubs (!).

Re: “Casey Anthony: She Didn’t Do It,” by Peter Golenbock, July 12: The majority of commenters were no fans of Casey Anthony, Peter Golenbock or the book he co-authored with Anthony’s defense attorney, Jose Baez, Presumed Guilty. Janet Mathers was among those who wasn’t buying the argument that Anthony was innocent: “I followed the case from start to finish, read nearly every published discovery document, watched the pre-trial hearings, the trial itself and I can only describe what Golenbock presents here as a blatant distortion of reality, a trip down the rabbit hole.” More than one reader echoed call.me.a.skeptic’s observations that Anthony’s “description of the molestation is straight out of a South Park episode … research it. Not the least bit original.” And Katy was among those who objected to the story’s overall tone (and perhaps the tone of some of the commenters) when she said, “I’m open-minded about the Casey Anthony case, but could you really not think of another word to use than ‘haters’ in describing the people who believe she’s guilty?”

But there were several defenders of the story, too, like Thinkingwoman, who wrote, “Amazing article. Why isn’t this in every newspaper and magazine. I know the answer to that but it boggles my mind how just plain dumb and sick in the head people can be especially the ‘haters.’ It also amazes me that people who watched the trial and proudly proclaimed to, still think she is guilty or that they had enough to convict. The majority of Americans aren’t functionally retarded, they’re functionally braindead. Pull the plug God. Oh and please dislike my comment as much as possible. I want it to be the most disliked comment on here. That way I will know I’m right.” She didn’t get her wish; the winner of most dislikes (42) was NotStupid’s “I appreciate the effort of Jose Baez and Peter Gollenbrock have given to this side of what could have happened. The truth is sadly, nobody knows exactly what happened, nobody but certain family members. I do not believe Casey Anthony harmed or killed her daughter. I do not believe her daughter drowned either. Something happened and the truth was buried for a way to make desperate blood money. Mr. Baez has a right to say what he feels, although a lot of the information is misrepresented, neverless, I believe him and I believe Casey.”

But the bottom line was expressed by just me: “In the end, the state could not prove its case. Period.”

Re: “Emilia Sargent stands out,” by Mark E. Leib: CL’s theater critic thought Sargent’s portrayal of Blanche DuBois was the best thing about Tampa Rep’s Streetcar, and he had objections to the barebones set. But a number of readers, including members of the cast and crew, offered their own assessments. Set designer Ned gave a long, thoughtful explanation of the reasoning behind the set, including this correction to the notion that its simplicity was a reflection of budget considerations: “The goal was not to save money — it would have been far cheaper and easier to have decked out the stage in borrowed furniture that suited Kasa Kowalski… Except for the chairs, every stick of furniture was custom-built for the show, all in irregular shapes, and all painted in variegated greys, as was the floor…” And Jonathan Cho (a roommate of a cast member) had this to say: “This particular review opens with ‘It’s Blanche but it’s not Stanley. And it’s not really Stella either.’ That’s all I really needed to see to know that this was going to be one of THOSE reviews. It was Blanche. Also, it was Stanley and Stella. Perhaps just not the Stanley and Stella that the reviewer had in mind.”

Re: “Un-Bohemian Rhapsody,” by Arielle Stevenson, July 12: The news that Cafe Bohemia would no longer host the St. Pete for Peace film series (the new owner objected to the series’ screening of a “vulgar” and “inappropriate” Bill Hicks documentary) provoked some angry responses online, like this one from Mike O: “My heart aches for this travesty.” But Loving St. Pete responded: “Do you people really think that if a business sells and/or closes its doors the new owners have an obligation to keep it the same????? Hello!!!! Free Enterprise!!!!! America!!!! If you are sad that Cafe Bohemia is gone, mourn and get over it!” Loving St. Pete also correctly pointed out that we misspelled the new owner’s name: It is Lou Albano, not Aldano. But whatever one’s opinion of Cafe Bohemia’s new incarnation, St. Pete for Peace’s film series will live on at The L Train at 900 Central, as Arielle Stevenson reported on The Daily Loaf July 18. That decision stirred up some comments, too, including a reference to The L Train as a “dive bar.” The L Train Bar responded, “Since opening the doors of L Train, I have embraced everyone...Straight/Gay, Dem/Rep, Short/Tall, Informed/Apathetic, Hip/Nerdy … If that makes me a dive bar, I wear it with pride!”

Re: “Moves like Channing,” by Joe Bardi, June 28: Joe Bardi’s review of Magic Mike suggested that the film’s Tampa Bay scenery might get some viewers interested in moving here. Rachel28 thought he was talking about a different kind of scenery: “They will consider moving here and for what? Not for a male strip club. Those are seemingly extinct in Tampa. Which sucks for the females who come here even maybe just on vacation thinking they might get something like in the movie above.”