I read Matt Snyders's piece "Skinheads at Forty" (2/20/08), and I could do little more than shake my head and smile. That was us. We knew we were unlike anything before or since. Shaved heads, sharkskin, and polished boots parting the crowds of feathered hair and stonewashed jeans. Black, white, Native, Asian—all with a common, self-imposed culture. We pushed each other into that violent crucible of youth and then pulled ourselves out, laughing and ready for more. Nineteen was going to last forever.
Mad Doggy, Baldies Class of '88 Minneapolis
Nazi skins weren't all bad
I wanted to thank you for your article "Skinheads at Forty." It brought me back to a time that I really miss and loved. I was not affiliated with the Baldies—I was more of a skate punk—but did spend time with, and am still friends with, some members of the White Knights. I knew and recognize many of the Baldies and White Knights featured in your article. I witnessed and was a part of many horrific things perpetrated by the White Knights and the Baldies. I would never condone many of the things that were done by both factions of skinheads at that time, but I felt it necessary to come to the defense of my friend, Paul. Paul moved to Atlanta back in 1991 and has not been involved in any sort of racism or skinhead activity since 1992. I was lucky enough to stand up for him as one of his best men in his wedding back in 2005 where he married a wonderful Hispanic woman named Maria. Paul did not organize the White Knights, but he did become the main guy on the Minneapolis side of the river. He was grandfathered in when they changed the drinking age from 19 to 21, so his place was the spot for us teenagers to go drink some beers, listen to hardcore and go out and raise trouble.
The trouble that was raised by most involved in the White Knights is something that I would never wish for any kid to see. Most of us who were around at that time are no longer involved in anything involving racism (although there are a few of the Bound for Glory skins still around in St. Paul). Most are fathers, husbands, and upstanding citizens, just like the members of the Baldies. My point is: We were young and looking for somewhere to belong. Many of us were misguided youth and easily influenced. If it weren't neo-Nazi skinheads, it would have been something else. I am not looking in any way for some sort of celebration of the racist skinhead movement at that time, far from it. I am just giving my side of it. More so, I would like to celebrate that generation and those who were involved in the mid- to late 1980s. It was an amazing period in history for Minneapolis, for music and for the punk/hardcore scene—a scene that will never be seen again. Thanks again for bringing me back. Oi!
Greg Anderson Minneapolis
Review music, not blowjobs
In his review of the Shondes' single "Will you still love me tomorrow" (5ingles, 2/20/08), Ray Cummings doesn't even critique the song; just writes that the Shondes are not as good as they apparently think they are and that "You probably wouldn't want frontwoman Louisa Soloman to go down on you in a theater." Where is this coming from? Is this music criticism? What does this erotic fantasy of Cummings's have to do with the song? This is the kind of sexist trash that makes the music industry so disgusting. If Ray Cummings ever actually gets head in a theater I hope she bites it off. As a side note: How can you be sick of a single from a self-released album that gets little to no air play that came out a month ago?
Steve Dillon Minneapolis
More blowback on blowjob barb
It's not surprising to find sexism in the music biz. Overt passes from bookers, snide remarks from fellow musicians, and patronizing tones from instrument salesmen are all par for the course. But it is surprising when a City Pages columnist paints female musicians into a corner. In the February 20 column "5ingles," Ray Cummings says almost nothing about Brooklyn band the Shondes' music. But he is sure to include this tired line: "One thing's for sure: You probably wouldn't want frontwoman Louisa Soloman to go down on you in a theater." One would have expected City Pages' editors to have caught this barb and reminded Mr. Cummings that sexism is only the cheapest substitute for humor.
Nina Callaway Brookyn, New York
Hate your landlord? Here's who to call...
In regard to the recent article in City Pages about the notorious UPi (Uptown Properties, Inc) and owner Spiros Zorbalas, many people have been wondering what they can do to help ("The Slumlord of South Minneapolis," 1/30/08). Whether you are a past or current UPi tenant or just want to support the organizing efforts we are doing to force UPi to shape up or ship out, please contact me at Family & Children's Service in Minneapolis where I am a tenant organizer. We have had many successes over the years in forcing problem landlords and property management groups to clean up their acts. We also work hard to hold Minneapolis city officials accountable so that there are clear ordinances in place for tenants and landlords and that those ordinances are actually enforced. Unless everyone is content with people like Zorbalas draining public resources and treating tenants unfairly, we need to come together, organize, and push for the positive changes we want to see. So, if you're interested in getting involved, please contact me right away at the phone number or email address below.
Sara Hagestad Minneapolis
612.728.2040, [email protected]