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News briefs 9.24.03


Marshall James

by Dan Bindert

I was saddened to hear the news last weekend of Nightstalkers singer Marshall James' passing. I remember the first time I heard him sing. It was at the Runway Lounge by the airport, back in the late '80s. He had the type of voice that sliced through the cigarette smoke and the chatter of the crowd. It was the perfect voice for tough, bar-band blues.

            Marshall James won't be the focus of any PBS documentaries on the blues, but in Rochester blues circles, he was no less than a star. What sticks out in my mind is Marshall's personality. It came out onstage in his between-song banter. Sometimes it was a humorous aside. Other times it was something strange that left you scratching your head.

            I'm sure Marshall's many friends and collaborators have better stories to share, but here's mine: One night at around 3 a.m., while hosting the all-night blues program on WXXI-AM, I got a call from Marshall. He wanted to know if he could borrow $5. I had gotten some strange calls at that hour, but no one had ever asked to borrow money, let alone exactly $5. But that's what he wanted. So I played a long song, ran down the stairs, and gave him the $5. It was such a small amount I didn't care if I saw it again.

            About three years later, out of the blue, Marshall walks up to me between sets during a Nightstalkers gig and whips out $5, telling me he hadn't forgotten about "the loan."

            About two hours later, I think I ended up loaning him $2.

            Dan Bindert is a former City Newspaper music writer now living in Chicago.

Sex at the beach

The county is vowing to clean up its act regarding the content of movies shown at its popular "Movies at the Beach" program.

            Movies are shown once a week throughout the summer at Ontario Beach Park. The county has a similar "Movies in the Bowl" program at Highland Park Bowl.

            County Legislator Fred Amato thinks the county should approve the "Beach" movie list prior to showing, citing "frequent" complaints from beach-goers about inappropriate content in what is meant to be a family event.

            Amato's proposal will be heard by the Lej's Recreation and Education committee on October 1.

            County Parks Director Frank Allkofer admits that some R-rated movies were shown. Since bringing partners in to help run the program, the county has had less input into the selections, Allkofer says.

            "Go anywhere on the beach, you'd hear the same kinds of things," he says. "But we are County Parks, and I think we should exhibit model behavior."

            Allkofer will work with the Lej, he says, to fix the problem.

Big mouth

WHAM 1180 AM host Bob Lonsberry has been suspended for making racially charged remarks on the air recently, apparently calling Mayor Bill Johnson an orangutan.

            "Orangutan escapes from zoo, runs for county executive," Lonsberry said, while discussing a story about an orangutan that had escaped from Seneca Park Zoo.

            Lonsberry was given a five-day suspension and apologized to listeners.

            "I mean neither the mayor nor anyone else any personal harm or insult, and I would certainly apologize for any interpretation of my words which would appear to be racist. I am not a racist," he said in a written statement.

            WHAM station manager Jeff Howlett also apologized, calling Lonsberry's comments "offensive" and "inappropriate."

            Monroe County Legislators Chris Wilmot and Ronnie Thomas, both Democrats, have urged WHAM to fire Lonsberry.

            Lonsberry's comments, incidentally, came right around the 40th anniversary of the historic March on Washington.

Correcting ourselves

In last week's cover story on Rob Brown ("Learning curve," September 17-23), we erroneously stated that Brown's law firm --- Boylan, Brown, Code, Vigdor & Wilson, LLP --- specializes in tax law. It is a general practice firm that concentrates on business matters and estate planning.

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