Hey, It's Been Good Ta Know Ya
June 4, 2012 9:56 PM   Subscribe

God's Favorite Beefcake perform during Shmootzi the Clod's Birthday Party (2011) at Seattle's Cafe Racer, home of the Original Bad Art Museum of Art (the OBAMA Room). Drew "Shmootzi the Clod" Keriakedes (vocals, guitar) and "Meshuga Joe" Vito Albanese (bass), who also performed with the former Circus Contraption, were shot and killed inside Cafe Racer at 11 am on May 30. Three more people were killed before the gunman shot himself and later died.
posted by Ardiril (43 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Vigil outside Cafe Racer. Feel free to add more links.
posted by Ardiril at 9:57 PM on June 4, 2012

posted by gurple at 9:58 PM on June 4, 2012


Thanks for posting this. Wednesday was such a terrible day.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:04 PM on June 4, 2012

The killer grew up not far from where I live. :(.

posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:16 PM on June 4, 2012

I saw the show in the Circus Contraption link -- coulda been that very performance. Thanks for posting that. It helped me feel a little more connected to all this terrible stuff, and not just in shock.
posted by gurple at 10:18 PM on June 4, 2012

posted by b1tr0t at 10:24 PM on June 4, 2012

Thanks for the post. I have had some great times at Cafe Racer all because of great people. Wednesday was horrible and touched multiple circles of friends who had Cafe Racer in common even though I had no idea of that fact--it's that kind of place.

Here's a warbly little 2min video I shot with my phone at Cafe Racer on election eve 2008 when the cafe emptied out and we all danced in the street. A favorite moment.
posted by donovan at 10:33 PM on June 4, 2012 [3 favorites]

The circus/carny community in Seattle is pretty tightly knit. This was a huge tear in that fabric.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:39 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Who would think that Seattle has, not one, but *three* different schools of trapeze? Also, the vaudeville vibe here has caused me to reappraise my musical future.
posted by Ardiril at 10:45 PM on June 4, 2012

A couple nights ago I was at a bar that was having a wake for these murdered souls; the bar was filled mainly by circus/carny folks. They were playing God's Favorite Beefcake through the speakers and people were talking about the ones they knew who were murdered. I talked with a woman who makes a living by driving nails up her nose. She was upset by the deaths.

It's weird isn't it, when someone who drives nails up her nose thinks that this particular thing is too weird?
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:58 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I learned the nail trick when I was 12, but it makes me sneeze for hours.
posted by Ardiril at 11:08 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I live about seven blocks away from Cafe Racer, right next to a firehouse. I'm used to them going out with the siren on.

But that day... I think everything in the firehouse tore off north, followed shortly by several police cars. Choppers hovered overhead; it was clear that Something Was Up.

The Racer's not my usual cafe - I'm closer to a couple others. But I go there every now and then when I want some variety. It's gonna feel weird going by there again.
posted by egypturnash at 11:20 PM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

This has been a particularly hard tragedy for a lot of people I know who were very close to the people we've lost. I've been greatly impressed by the outpouring of love, sympathy, and compassion that I've been able to be a part of. The parade during Honk Fest and the many tributes have been heartwarming and touching.

Thursday we get to deal with a Westboro Baptist protest at a funeral and I suspect it will be full of the love and compassion for the family of the deceased and the snarkiest mockery the Westboro folks have ever encountered.
posted by Revvy at 11:24 PM on June 4, 2012

Thursday we get to deal with a Westboro Baptist protest at a funeral

What??? Are they going to protest at the funeral? I haven't heard about that. Are they really going to do that?
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:31 PM on June 4, 2012

Yeah. There's a counter-protest being organized on that other blue site.
posted by Revvy at 11:33 PM on June 4, 2012


St. Demetrios Church in Seattle, WA June 7, 2012 10:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Westboro Baptist Church will picket the funeral of Gloria Koch Leonidas. God sent the shooter to the coffee shop and executed HIS judgment. God hates fags. God hates fag enablers. God hates fag marriage. When Washington State put their hand to pass fag marriage into law, they flipped off God and put a target on the backs of their people.

Westboro will help you connect the dots from your deliberate disobedience to the promised Wrath of God that abides upon YOU, the children of disobedience.

Praise God, fear and obey him and give the glory of this horrible and wonderful event, TO HIM!
... but why her? She wasn't even in Cafe Racer but was carjacked by Stawicki later.

"Just before Ian Stawicki shot Gloria Koch Leonidas, he was standing over her, straddling her. He pulled out a black gun, leaned down and extended his arm. He fired one shot into her head."
posted by Ardiril at 11:38 PM on June 4, 2012

Out of what was an unexplainable crime, there was this unexplainable moment: After Stawicki abandoned the Mercedes he stole in West Seattle, he bought a blueberry plant that he left on the doorstep of a favorite teacher.
posted by dw at 11:40 PM on June 4, 2012

Expecting reason from tragedy, let alone religious zealots taking advantage, is fraught with disappointment.

There's a great deal of unresolved sadness to work through.
posted by Revvy at 11:45 PM on June 4, 2012

Westboro Baptist Church will picket the funeral of Gloria Koch Leonidas. God sent the shooter to the coffee shop and executed HIS judgment. God hates fags. God hates fag enablers

Stawicki's family was very apologetic afterwards. "We saw it coming," they said. "We should have done more to get him help for his mental illness."

Watch out for Westboro! They're even crazier.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:45 PM on June 4, 2012

There's a counter-protest being organized on that other blue site.

Do you have a real link for that?
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:05 AM on June 5, 2012

An open letter from the Cafe Racer Staff, on the Slog.

Last week was a terrible one in Seattle. My buddy in Detroit texted me "Hey, Seattle's starting to look a lot like Detroit!" Ha ha.

Seattle is such a small town, these events touched everyone. We're not a big enough town to say, oh, that's just some fucked up shit that happened over there in the bad part of town. Turns out the dad that got shot driving by stray bullets while he was driving his kids and parents home from the airport was a friend of a friend. I spent 30 minutes talking to a patient of mine who was really shaken up having witnessed the shooting in front of the Space Needle at Folk Life. This thing at Cafe Racer is all kinds of senseless fucked up. Cafe Racer is in a very quiet neighborhood walking distance from my house and the lady who was shot while being car jacked by the Cafe Racer shooter lost her life at an intersection I'd passed through 2 hours earlier.

Fuck handguns. Fuck everyone who doesn't think society has a compelling interest in funding mental health for the uninsured. I don't even know what to say about it. My decision to move to Seattle was based on a probably naive belief that humans could exist in close concentration without resorting to racism, paranoia, and fear. Last week upset the shit out of me.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:26 AM on June 5, 2012 [8 favorites]

Infinite sadness. One of my Seattle friends was friends with these folks and has been posting about this senseless, awful tragedy. He posted a beautiful picture of the vigil in front of Cafe racer - I don't think it's available for public viewing, but it's similar to this.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:37 AM on June 5, 2012

posted by litlnemo at 12:47 AM on June 5, 2012

Actually, make that
posted by litlnemo at 12:48 AM on June 5, 2012

All of this is just completely unreal. I didn't know Joe at all, and I'd said all of maybe five words to Drew, ever, but both of them were near and dear to people who are near and dear to me. And goddamn do I know their music.

I'm not sure whether it's empathy for my friends, or anger at the loss of such talented, vibrant souls from the world, or shock at the stupid, senseless horror of the whole thing, but Wednesday's events have been hitting me surprisingly hard. I've been on the verge of tears every day since it happened.

I'll put a . in the thread for Gloria, for Don, and for Kim, but I won't for Joe and Drew. Instead, I'll give them this:


Which represents a moment of noise. By all accounts, that's what what they would have preferred.

posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:17 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

That's right. We here at Metafilter do the twenty-one dot salute for anyone we respect that we don't know, but a stupid dot is a piss-poor way to send off a friend, or a friend of a friend.

You were more than a dot to me, my friend. I'm sad to see you go.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:34 AM on June 5, 2012

Of course Westboro Baptist is planning to picket the Leonidas funeral. The carnies' people would give Phelps & co. as good as they got, and then some. Phelps doesn't want that. The Leonidas family, on the other hand, has been very clear about wanting to grieve quietly and on their own, without a lot of press and drama. Naturally, that's who he's going after. Vocal counter-protesters, however good-hearted, will contribute exactly the kind of noise and chaos that the family is trying to avoid. Phelps's actions in this have be calculated to maximize his target's misery.

Fuck Fred Phelps. Fuck that scheming, predatory bastard.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:37 AM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]

Fuck Fred Phelps. Fuck that scheming, predatory bastard.

I will never stop finding it odd that what Phelps et al do appears to be actually legal. Just yesterday there was a big FPP about how almost all of the major terrorism arrests have actually been total FBI-invented and -led stings. If even 1/100th of the money that was wasted arresting mentally ill people for fake bomb plots had been spent looking at the Phelps group for conspiracy and intimidation, say (or fuck, even an FBI-created bomb plot, maybe with one more we can get a discount) we would be the better for it.
posted by Forktine at 6:02 AM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by schyler523 at 6:37 AM on June 5, 2012

posted by schyler523 at 6:38 AM on June 5, 2012

I wouldn't have known about this, but for Metafilter. I have no connection to any of it, other than once having a place like that I called my own; where my people were, ya know? I'm so sorry for everyone who is impacted.
posted by dejah420 at 6:56 AM on June 5, 2012

Town Hall's memorial for Gloria Leonidas.

Town Hall, Executive Director Wier Harman says the memorial is intended "shine our light—metaphorically and literally—in commemoration of Ms. Leonidas' life... A light directed outward from our building also symbolizes our gaze, and our witness last Wednesday. It seems especially fitting since one of Ms. Leonidas' contributions to our community is the light she left behind, both literally, in her work, and in the many lives she touched.”

Town Hall will host an event called Public Safety: A Community Conversation on June 18th.
posted by soupy at 7:43 AM on June 5, 2012

I live in the neighborhood here, about 11 blocks south or so. I haven't been here long, so I'd only been to Cafe Racer once - I really wanted to go again, because the sense of fellowship was strong there, even on a night where there weren't a lot of people around. As someone who feels a lot of pride for this neighborhood, Wednesday was a hard day, though obviously much harder for others than for me.

If you know people who are mentally ill, for God's sake, get them help.
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:44 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

My band was scheduled to play Cafe Racer the Friday after. Drew and Joe were friends, comrades of the streets. For the vaudeville/circus/burlesque/busker community here, this was a pocket 9/11.

I'm inclined to become exceedingly militant about something as soon as I figure out what. This is the last straw.
posted by tspae at 10:44 AM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

The first week my wife and I lived in Seattle we got taken to a party by a friend. We were standing in the living room talking to people when suddenly these crazy looking people starting howling. Then they broke into song.

That was the moment my wife and I knew we had made the right choice.

That was Moonpenny Opera an earlier Drew and Joe joint. I only talked to them a few times after that, but they were unfailingly friendly and cool. The world is poorer without them.

posted by lumpenprole at 1:16 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just figured out what "that other blue site" was (duh), so here's a link to the Westboro counter-protest. It's being billed as an attempt to shield the family from Westboro, rather than an all out counter-protest.

Westboro is doing a tour of Washington State to protest the recent legalization of gay marriage and they seem to have opportunistically included the funeral in their picketing schedule. They're heading to King County Administration Building afterwards, which isn't that far away, so they might actually show up in the funeral.

I'm going to make sure the carnies know about this, if they don't already, and let them decide if they want to do anything about it.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:32 PM on June 5, 2012

About a month ago I did a "coffee and writing" tour of Seattle with an old friend who lives in the Roosevelt neighborhood. The vibe in Seattle is so great, so open, so creative. As a resident of North Carolinastan I expect crazy, gun related violence over here. But Seattle?

And as for the Westboro Baptist folks, it's only a matter or time till someone martyrs one of them. I'm amazed that they got out alive after picketing some of the military funerals. Jesus Christ would piss on those evil fucks.
posted by skepticbill at 3:01 PM on June 5, 2012

We're starting to get a consensus that the best course of action for Westboro on Thursday is to erect mobile walls made from sheets on poles. We'll surround them and just block them from view. If they move we'll move with them. We need two people per sheet.

Here's a map of the location. They plan to be there between 10:15 AM and 10:45 AM on Thursday, June 7. If you've got a spare sheet and a couple poles please help.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:32 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thanks for bringing word about the anti-Westboro action, twoleftfeet.

When are counter-protesters planning to arrive? The earlier we start, the more real estate near the church we can occupy, and the further away Westboro's horrid little hate orgy will have to be.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 3:54 PM on June 5, 2012

An important thing to remember about the Westboro fuckheads is that they are professional trolls. They have only one goal: to stay, barely, on the right side of the law while getting someone to hit them. Once someone hits one of them, they file a civil suit and it's payday for the whole Phelps clan!

This is literally how they make their living. By hoping they can be horrible enough to grieving people to make them temporarily descend to violence. Protect the mourners from them, but don't engage, because they're not worth your righteous anger.

And thank you, everyone who comes out to help with that; unfortunately I have two small children and no available child care, and I don't want to expose my children to that filth, so I'm staying home.
posted by KathrynT at 11:03 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you know that somebody is going to do something crazy, and you have a way to stop it, you should try to stop it.

Westboro is planning to do something crazy by picketing the funeral of a woman who was murdered. It's disrespectful.

They've picketed other funerals before. They like to target the funerals of soldiers, for example. It's difficult to understand where they're coming from, but let me try. The people from Westboro are most likely arriving, or have already arrived, by plane from Kansas. Maybe they can afford plane tickets for a half dozen folks. Their reason to come to Washington State is to protest gay marriage, which was recently legalized in Washington State. Perhaps they believe that it is important to travel into the "heart of the beast" to deliver a contrary message. Perhaps they think that mass murder is God's way of responding to homosexuality. According to their website, they believe that God sent the shooter to the coffee shop and executed HIS judgment. God hates fags. God hates fag enablers. According to their picketing schedule, they plan to go back to Kansas the next day.

It's difficult for me personally to sympathize with their point of view, but legal objections to what they are doing haven't worked, because they do have a right to free speech, no matter how crazy I think that speech might be. They do have a right to hold up signs that say "God Hates Fags", and so on. Often counter protests have their own silly signs (I like God Hates Figs) but these can amplify the message when in this case, we just want to be quiet and respectful. This funeral is a solemn occasion.

We hope to see a simpler blocking strategy on Thursday. We have a similar legal right to hold up our own signs, even if they take the form of large sheets held up in front of their signs. If we have enough people we can gently stand around them, making it difficult for them to run around with their signs. Our big blank sheet signs might keep them from getting any direct media coverage. I think that would bum them out.

We can't engage them physically, but we can block them.

It's a respectful thing to do.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:26 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Leonidas family is now on record saying that they don't want a counter-protest against Westboro Baptist. See here for details. The best thing we can do for them, I think, is to stay at home and let Phelps and his miserable thralls wave their signs at an empty street.

It breaks my heart that any family should have to go through this.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:37 PM on June 6, 2012

« Older Don't Eat Fortune's Cookie   |   Ed Quillen: another dead columnist. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments