Posts Tagged ‘#Respect’

Raising a Glass to a Boston Cocktail, Music & Hospitality Legend & One Cool Cat-Brother Cleve

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 09/11/2022

It was shocking to learn pre-dawn, in a tweet from MC Slim JB, that Brother Cleve passed away:

[Pic courtesy of Boston Herald.]

This is an extremely sad day for the Boston (and beyond) hospitality community. Brother Cleve was quintessential ‘Good People,’ a convivial, colorful bright light in ‘the industry’ and the world. A true, Boston cocktail legend, gentleman, and genuine “cool cat,” as someone lamented in the tributes pouring in. When you saw his customary hat and garish garb across the room, you knew you were in for a good time. I’m SO sorry to hear this tragic news. Deep condolences to Brother’s family and friends. RIP.

[This evolving blog post will serve as a compilation of respect and tribute to an icon. Feel free to add your comments, memories, and stories below, or submit pics, screenshots, links, stories, or anything you’d like me to add via email at patrick@servernotservant.com. This post will be updated frequently.]

“Many of you will know Brother Cleve as a star mixologist and Brand Ambassador for Pisco and other liquors, some of you know Brother Cleve as a world-famous DJ (he once performed on Russian TV), and of course most of you know him as a former member of ground breaking Lounge band, Combustible Edison. A few of you might also know him from his many other music endeavors such as The Del Fuegos, his work directly with Esquivel, or his Bollywood band. A few here might even know him from his membership in the Church of the Subgenius.

I know him as a friend; a fellow record collector who shared his deep knowledge in the exoticamission bulletin board before there was Google; aficionado of all kinds of vintage stuff like Railcar Diners, Necco Wafers, and Tiki Bars; early cocktail connoisseur seeking out vintage grenadine, absinthe, and chartreuse; and of course, the keyboardist and most outgoing member of Combustible Edison.

With deep sorrow, a lump in my throat, and a hole in my heart I must share with you that Brother Cleve has left us. I don’t know all the details but he passed away last night Sept 9, 2022 in his sleep from a heart attack while in a hotel in Los Angeles after appearing at Tiki by the Sea. I can take comfort knowing that he lived his life to its fullest and was happy doing what he loved right up to the end and I can only hope that I live my own life the same.” -Otto von Stroheim via Tiki Oasis on Facebook

@ROSimonson via Twitter:

Chef Youji Iwakura: He also loved Japanese subculture and old school city pops, Tatsuro Yamashita, that we sang together. Sake must have been one of his next collab projects. His sake blog writing at WR: REVIEW: Gozenshu Bodaimoto Junmai Nigori Usu Sake (washokurenaissance.com)

I can’t take this right now. Your smile made ease for everyone. RIP.

Shannon Higgins: This crushed me. I was out on my night off last night when I saw this on my feed. I didn’t have words. I just started crying (I don’t cry generally) my friend asked what was wrong and all I could muster was “the world just lost an epically remarkable human”. Cleve was there for everyone… his loss will leave an irreplaceable hole in the Boston hospitality community.

Misty Kalkofen: Meeting you changed the trajectory of my life. You bought me my first bottle of Rye Whiskey way back in the days when you couldn’t find it on every shelf. You special ordered that Old Overholt from Downtown Wine & Spirits in Davis and dubbed me your protégé as you handed it to me on one of those epic Saturnalia nights. You taught me so much in the kindest, most generous way. Your drink of the week at each Saturnalia helped me learn all of the classic cocktail recipes. Our late night Manhattan hangs perusing your library of cocktail tomes sparked a fire in me for bartending that still burns to this day.

Many years ago you weren’t able to go to Tales due to health issues. You called me in to pinch hit for you at all the events you had been scheduled to work. I took this framed photo with me every where I went that year, taking photos of “you” at all the events and with all the folks I know you would have been thrilled to see. I loved handing you the photo album of your year at Tales so that you would know how much you were loved and missed. You were definitely there in spirit and spirits. I’ve kept the photo framed all these years and I’m so glad I did.

You have left a hole that can never be filled. Thank you for the joy you brought to this world. We are all better because we had you in our lives.

 

Elijah Wald via Facebook:

Heartsick to hear that Brother Cleve has moved up to that great tiki lounge in the sky… I’ll write a proper remembrance, but meanwhile here’s a piece I did on him for the Boston Globe in 1996, when he was about to move (as it turned out, briefly) to Los Angeles. (Insider note: Cleve backed me at a few gigs, brilliantly, and the party mentioned in this piece, at which I heard him play a history of jazz piano from Albert Ammons to Sun Ra, was my birthday.) Anyway…

BROTHER CLEVE: LOUNGE WIZARD
By Elijah Wald
Boston Globe 1996
There is alternative music, and then there is alternative music. For example, this is how Brother Cleve traces the evolution of the American pop sound he loves: “The thread goes from theremin [the early synthesizer used to make weird sci-fi movie sounds] in the 1940s, to exotica, Martin Denny’s light jazz and bird calls, and crime jazz, that whole 1950s style that tied in with juvenile delinquent films and late period noire–Pete Rugolo and Lee Stevens, and Henry Mancini, of course. Then came the space age bachelor pad stuff of Esquivel, Enoch Light, into what I call ‘Mexotica,’ which would be your Herb Alpert and Baja Marimba bands, into your ‘wife-swapper jazz,’ your music to watch girls by, Les Baxter and Larry Elgart, that type of big band stuff, then the Moog [synthesizer] era and on into blaxploitation.”

Brother Cleve is a serious and accomplished musician. One of the most versatile keyboard players around, he studied at Berklee and the Boston School of Electronic Music, then became a member of roots-rocking bands including the Del Fuegos and Barrence Whitfield’s Savages. At a party, I once heard him play a chronological survey of American pianists from boogie woogie master Albert Ammons through Thelonious Monk to cosmic jazzman Sun Ra.
Given this, some people are disturbed to find him devoting his life to styles that are almost universally dismissed as trash. True, he has always been the sort of guy who would adopt the character and name of a sleazy radio evangelist, whose drink of choice is often absinthe, and whose Cambridge apartment boasts a wall of Mexican wrestling photos and souvenirs from Polynesian-motif restaurants (plus a rare bottle of Elvis Presley ‘Love Me Tender’ Moisturizing Milk Bath). Still, he used to play good music, and now he has immersed himself in easy-listening schlock. The worst of it is, he is attracting more attention and professional acclaim than ever before.

“I’m as surprised as anybody,” Cleve says, referring to the growing vogue among young listeners for music that has always represented the absolute antithesis of hip. “But, for me, this is really my roots music. I mean, I’ve listened to blues, soul, rock and jazz since I was ten years old, but my first record was ‘Malaguena, Music of Cuba,’ by Percy Faith, that I got when I was three. When I was six and seven, I was really into Neal Hefti and Henry Mancini, and then I got into Burt Bacharach when I was about 8 or 9. Film music was my first real love and, in a way, I’ve just gone back to that.”

This musical about-face is keeping Cleve very busy. Over the last year, he has toured with the lounge music revival group Combustible Edison and deejayed evenings of “loungecore,” a Euro/dance-club style that reworks 1970s blaxploitation soundtracks and “your Kojak, Columbo type of thing, with a funky beat, wah-wah guitar and big horn sections.” He has compiled and arranged “Merry Christmas from the Space Age Bachelor Pad,” a Christmas record by the Mexican easy listening legend Esquivel, recorded an Esquivel pastiche for the “Loungapalooza” album (other artists include Mel Torme, P.J. Harvey, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers), co-produced a set of crime jazz, and put together an anthology of “outer space” records from the late 1950s. Upcoming projects include a blaxploitation disc and dance remixes of records by Les Baxter, whose “Le Sacre du Sauvage” pioneered the exotica craze, and Yma Sumac, the Peruvian goddess of early hi-fi.

So, why is this music, despised for decades, catching on with a new generation of fans? One reason, Cleve readily grants, is the annoyance factor. Teens in the 1950s annoyed their swing-era parents with rock ‘n’ roll; in the 1970s, they annoyed rock-era parents with punk; now, with punk-era parents, what could be more annoying than a kid who listens to Enoch Light and the Light Brigade?

There is more to it than that, though. First off, Cleve points out, there is style. “I realized early on that one reason why this was gonna be successful was that girls like to dress up and boys like to be where girls are,” he says. In Combustible Edison, the band wears silver lame tuxedos and much of the audience is garbed with similar elegance. Smoking jackets and gowns are common, and martinis are the beverage of choice. This is not the grunge crowd, or, if it is, they are wearing their party clothes.

Then, there is the humor. Cleve is quick to make the distinction between kitsch, which is unintentionally funny, and camp, “which I relate more to pop art, in that there is humor behind it, but it is meticulously created.” He has been working in Mexico with Esquivel, and was pleased to find that the ultimate over-the-top orchestrator was “a pretty funny guy. That’s why he wanted to have things with ‘boink-boink’ sounds, and slide guitars going from one speaker to the other.”

Finally, there is the complexity of the music itself. While Cleve will trace the source of the exotica craze to World War II GI’s getting “a taste of Polynesian Archipelago cultures, and this was a nice safe version you could bring back to your suburban home,” he adds that Les Baxter was “a completely serious composer, who viewed himself in the footsteps of Ravel and Stravinsky.”

Cleve sees the humor in exotica, “but also the beauty, and the seriousness.” After years of three and four-chord R&B, he says, “this is very challenging, very technically demanding music to play and write.” It also seems to him to have a more promising future. “I’m not interested in nostalgia,” he says, somewhat surprisingly. “I’m interested in continuing along, doing something new with this music. I produce electronic music, I’m a keyboard player and computer literate, and techno [the modern ambient electronic style] bores the hell out of me because it doesn’t do anything. So I’m digging back into the culture, and I’m trying to move forward with this genre, bridging it into a future form of music.”

It may all seem strange to other people, but Cleve cites Frank Zappa, who specialized in blending warped humor and sophisticated musicianship, as an early idol, and sees no conflict between his love of pop detritus and his love for the greats of jazz, country or rock ‘n’ roll. “I find this so-called trash culture to be a lot realer than most mainstream things,” he says. “The people that did it were taking their own particular, peculiar vision and following it, whether they were successful at it or not. It’s like Ed Wood Jr. is considered the worst film maker of all time, but yet I would rather watch one of his films then some mega-Hollywood extravaganza. It just seems to have more soul in it.”
Now, it is time for Brother Cleve to follow his own peculiar vision. This winter, the boy who started his musical education with Sister Mary Magdalene at St. Rafael’s School in West Medford will pack up his theremin, tiki mugs and velvet paintings and head off to seek his fortune in Los Angeles. There are offers of music and consulting jobs in film and television, and Capitol Records needs him as a loungecore expert. After years of barroom one-nighters, Cleve may finally be on the verge of middle class security. Or maybe not. “No way I’ll settle for middle class,” he says, with a snort. “I’m either gonna be poor or I’m gonna be a rich [expletive].”

Lauren Clark: Sad and grateful. Sad because my friend, Brother Cleve left us so suddenly last week. Grateful because I got to be part of his world. This pic (below) of us is from the last event I did for my blog drinkboston(dot)com in 2011. Cleve was also at drinkboston’s launch party at Green Street in November 2006. I’ll never forget it. Misty Kalkofen, John Gertsen, and Jackson Cannon said they had recruited this legend to join them on my slate of “startenders” that night, and the next thing I knew, he was serving up Millionaire Cocktails and schmoozing with all the guests. We enjoyed many subsequent hangs. What a gift!

This is from my 2007 profile of him: “Brother Cleve will probably be the only bartender profiled on this site who doesn’t actually work in a bar. File him under Influences. Not to get all hyperbolic, but the contemporary Boston cocktail scene as we know it wouldn’t exist without him. Dylan Black and Misty Kalkofen of Green Street, Patrick Sullivan of the B-Side Lounge, Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard, John Byrd of the Alchemist, John Gertsen of No. 9 Park and a fair number of other Boston bartenders with a keen grasp of old-school mixology were directly or indirectly influenced by Cleve. “Actually, most people know this guy as a keyboardist, DJ, composer and pioneer of the international lounge scene. Unlike a lot of us, Cleve didn’t suddenly ‘discover’ lounge music in the ’90s. He played the genre in the late 1960s, ‘when it was still current,’ as a teenage keyboardist who sat in with lounge acts around Boston. Later, as a member of Combustible Edison, he toured the country seeking and preaching the Classic Cocktail and living life according to the First Manifesto of the Cocktail Nation, penned by Combustible Edison frontman The Millionaire: “‘We, the Citizens of the Cocktail Nation, do hereby declare our independence from the desiccated horde of mummified uniformity — our freedom from an existence of abject swinglessness. We pledge to revolt against the void of dictated sobriety and to cultivate not riches but richness, swankness, suaveness and strangeness, with pleasure and boldness for all.’ “‘BE FABULOUS.’”

 

The Life of Brother Cleve:

  • AKA, Robert Toomey
  • Devra First Boston Globe 9/14/22: ‘Brother Cleve was the godfather of the local cocktail scene. Connecting his love of music and mixology, he brought people together.’  From Devra’s piece: The B-Side became one of the torchbearers for classic cocktails, and the bartenders Brother Cleve befriended, mentored, and worked alongside grew into the next generation of top talent in the area’s best bars. “If there’s a cocktail family tree, Cleve is at the very, very, very top of it. In terms of making an impact, his place is undeniable,” says Sullivan, now co-owner of the Bluebird Bar in Newton. “All the young kids today, they all really looked up to Cleve. More than anything, Cleve loved to have a nice cocktail. He loved it, like in a romantic, beautiful sort of way. And he would go into their bars. He liked sharing his knowledge. He was just brilliant. He knew everything. Like the dining-car diners of New Jersey: He could tell you 50 current ones and the top 25 ones he misses that are no longer there. He was the doctor of kitsch and sentiment. He loved things that were going away.”

Force of coolness, bridge between generations, keeper of cocktail lore, OG influencer, and generous mentor, Brother Cleve helped shape Boston’s hospitality scene.

PS-Please let me know if you would like any of your public comments included in this post properly attributed, edited, or removed. Thank you-Patrick

Photo Credits:

#1-Upper right side of this blog post, ‘Server Snapshots’ Position 1: Audrey Harrer

Permalink | Posted in Human-to-Human Service | 1 Comment »


#WalkingBoston – A Marathon in every Boston Neighborhood: East Boston Part 2

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 09/5/2022

Thank you for joining the adventure. To learn more about the inspiration, mission, goals, and updates on this project, please see the #WalkingBoston launch blog post.

For information on East Boston Part 1, click on this link.

The second 13.1+ mile walk, ‘East Boston Part 2,’ is happening on Wednesday, 9/7, leaving from the Wood Island T Station on the Blue Line at 8am. All are welcome to join, even for a portion of any walk. We will meet at the Bennington Street side at the bus circle. Eastie Part 2 will head through Eagle Square to Condor Street Urban Wild and beach, explore the coast down to Nay Street, then zig zag south through the neighborhoods ending in the Eastie Shipyard. Below is the map of the area that will be covered, excluding Bremen Street Park, Eastie Memorial Park, and Logan. Those areas will be covered in the third, bonus Eastie walk.

[Please note: Post-walk pics, videos, summary and reflections can be found at the end of this blog post.] 

In preparation for Eastie Part 2, I walked 9.59 miles on Sunday, 9/4, including Section 1 of Boston’s Walking City Trail by Miles Howard. I really enjoyed the adventure, discoveries, and exercise and encourage you to research and support the great work that Miles is doing:

Miles Howard website: Miles Howard | Journalist, Author, Storyteller

Boston’s Walking City Trail: Walking City Trail (bostontrails.org)

Google Photo Album in chronologic order of my adventure.

This map and artwork on the side of an old, abandoned Orange Line trolley was one of the best finds of the day:

Please consider a donation inspired by #WalkingBoston:

#1- Make-A-Wish MA & RI is the primary beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. As most of you know, the mission of Make-A-Wish is to create life‐changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. I love the work that they do and am honored to partner with them. Thanks to Hillary Muntz for her professionalism and attention to detail. Please consider a donation inspired by #WalkingBoston by clicking on this link.

#2- Stride for Stride is also a beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. Stride for Stride is a non-profit running organization that buys race bibs for immigrant, BIPOC, and low-income runners – the goal is to make races more accessible, inclusive, and diverse for everyone. Stride for Stride founder, Tom OKeefe, aka @BostonTweet, “Our logo signifies equality. It’s simple, bold, and shows that you support running for all. Our goal is a simple concept too, but one that changes lives. Having a race to strive for keeps you focused and healthy, while crossing the finish line is pure joy and empowering in both sport and life – it proves that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Never give up!” Donations inspired by #WalkingBoston can be made to Stride for Stride by clicking here.

#3- Several folks have reached out asking how they could sponsor/support my #WalkingBoston project and expedite the publication of my Server Not Servant book. A grassroots fundraiser of small donations has been set up to keep me walking and writing. Donations can be made here.

#4- Additional, local beneficiaries may be added if they can provide a dedicated link for donations inspired by #WalkingBoston. Please email patrick@servernotservant.com for consideration.

Post ‘Eastie Part 2’ Walk Update, 9/15/22:

To map the course of the walks and confirm distance, I’m using MapMyWalk and All Trails apps. I’ve also ordered a Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch 5 as a 3rd way to verify distance and map the walks. One of my biggest concerns is losing the data of each walk and not being able to report and verify the course. Using 2 apps and having an independent (of my phone) GPS and tracking device should alleviate this concern.

For maps to verify the distance walked, please click on the highlighted links below.

MapMyWalk = 15.23 miles

AllTrails  = 16.2 miles

I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy between the 2 apps – I started them at the same time, paused and restarted them simultaneously at lunch. I’ll use the lesser of the 2 as official total distance moving forward.

Google Photo Album: I encourage you to view the 234 pics and videos in chronological order of the adventure from home (6:32am) to St. Mary’s T at the Green C Line, to Wood Island on the Blue Line as the starting point. This was a solo walk departing Wood Island at 7:29am.

Summary, observations, and reflections from Eastie 2:

  • No problem getting up at 5:30ish. I love #GameDay.
  • I had plans for my first walking companion to join me to stretch at 7:30 at Wood Island, then join me for a portion of the walk. She messaged me shortly after 6am to let me she couldn’t make it because her daughter was up all night with anxiety about her first day of school. Wishing her, and all parents and students a fulfilling school year. My niece, MaryKathryn Conceison, is a teacher and shared her thoughtful reflections on the new school year in this Medium post.
  • Cereal w/fruit consumed, and detailed checklist studied before leaving the house at 6:32am.
  • 61 degrees when I left the house-crisp, cool, perfect day.
  • Departure from Wood Island was scheduled for 8am. Because my walking companion cancelled, I started walking at 7:29.
  • Loved discovering Urban Wild, a very cool view, and great example of the importance of recommendations from residents of each neighborhood I explore.
  • Todisco Towing, ah, that’s where they take them… $$$
  • Great views of the Tobin.
  • Multi miles of multi-families…
  • Satellite dishes on the front of homes in Boston neighborhoods is something I’d like to know more about. So far, I only remember seeing them in Brighton, Allston, and Eastie.
  • ‘Band Saw Zen’ is a thing on city walks. (See the video in the Google Photo Album.)
  • LOTS of neighborhood markets deep in the residential areas.
  • Very cool, interesting, diverse, old architecture and craftsmanship.
  • Loved the “Welcome to Paradise” sign w/parrot on the fence leading to a backyard pool.
  • Very gritty area beyond the “Keep on trying, you’ll get there” sign. I don’t advise traveling there alone.
  • One of my favorite pics is from that “off road” adventure, w/boat in the foreground and Boston skyline in the distance.
  • The water is a lot cleaner in that industrial area than I would have expected.
  • I love the tiny Mom & Pop shops, like the one selling only mattresses, Lolly’s Bakery.
  • Rino’s (famous Italian restaurant) location, in the middle of a non-descript residential location, reminds me of where Sarma is situated in Somerville. Embarrassed to admit that I still haven’t been there…
  • As I have often stated, the Boston skyline views from Eastie are stunning.
  • I LOVE city murals and old buildings.
  • Note to self: Don’t walk on trash pick-up days… Rookie mistake.
  • The pizza slice and hospitality at Dirty Water were very good.
  • “A city is not an accident, but the result of coherent vision and aims.” -Leon Krier Architect and Urban Planner.
  • If you haven’t been, you must visit the Eastie Shipyard & Marina, Piers Park, and Navy Fuel Pier.

Despite the attention/’traction’ that the walks are receiving, a major challenge ahead is inspiring donations to Make-A-Wish MA & RI and Stride for Stride. I’m going to make a concerted effort to reach out to businesses to pledge minimum donations tied to the total number of miles walked. There are a lot of creative ways that walk sponsors can get involved, including matching pledges, grant money, and product & brand endorsement. I’d love to hear from everyone who wants to be part of supporting #WalkingBoston and my non-profit partners. Email: patrick@servernotservant.com.

Please subscribe to future blog posts for scheduling of upcoming walks by entering your email in the blue box on the upper left side of this post. Follow along via Twitter and IG: @PatrickMBoston

Grass-roots donations to support #WalkingBoston and keep me walking and writing can be made by clicking here.

I included a few favorite pics from the ‘East Boston Part 2’ walk at the bottom of this post.

Thanks to everyone for your support and for following the #WalkingBoston journey. I hope to see you #ontheroad.

Cheers-Patrick

Permalink | Posted in Human-to-Human Service | No Comments »


#WalkingBoston – A Marathon in every Boston Neighborhood: East Boston Part 1

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 08/12/2022

Thank you for stopping by. A great place to learn the background story and inspiration for #WalkingBoston is this blog post.

The inaugural walk is on Tuesday, 8/16 leaving from the Wood Island T stop on the Blue Line at 7am. All are welcome to join. We will meet on the Bennington Street side at the bus circle. (Stay tuned to Twitter @PatrickMBoston for rescheduling if heavy rain is expected.)

[Post-walk summary and reflections can be found at the end of this blog post.]

The first walk will cover a minimum of 13.1 miles (half marathon) covering half of Eastie from Wood Island to Suffolk Downs, and from Constitution Beach to Chelsea River. The territory on the upper right side of the black line on this map will be covered:

As you can see from the map, Eastie resembles an hourglass shape with Wood Island T stop pretty close to the middle. Please email me if you have suggestions of ‘can’t miss’ hidden gems in that area that I need to see and chronicle. The same applies to all other Boston neighborhoods. [Thank you, Peter Campbell. I’ve got you covered in Hyde Park, brother.]

The first 2 non-profit beneficiaries have been finalized:

#1- Make-A-Wish MA & RI is the primary beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. As most of you know, the mission of Make-A-Wish is to create life‐changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. I love the work that they do and am honored to partner with them. Thanks to Hillary Muntz for her professionalism and attention to detail. Please consider a donation inspired by #WalkingBoston by clicking on this link.

#2- Stride for Stride is also a beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. Stride for Stride is a non-profit running organization that buys race bibs for immigrant, BIPOC, and low-income runners – the goal is to make races more accessible, inclusive, and diverse for everyone. Stride for Stride founder, Tom OKeefe, aka @BostonTweet, “Our logo signifies equality. It’s simple, bold, and shows that you support running for all. Our goal is a simple concept too, but one that changes lives. Having a race to strive for keeps you focused and healthy, while crossing the finish line is pure joy and empowering in both sport and life – it proves that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Never give up!” Donations inspired by #WalkingBoston can be made to Stride for Stride by clicking here.

#3- Several folks have reached out asking how they could sponsor/support my #WalkingBoston project and expedite the publication of my Server Not Servant book. A grassroots fundraiser of small donations has been set up to keep me walking and writing. Donations can be made here.

#4- Additional, local beneficiaries may be added if they can provide a dedicated link for donations inspired by #WalkingBoston. Please email patrick@servernotservant.com for consideration.

CBS Boston WBZ interview 8/12/22:

BOSTON — An author is kicking off an ambitious journey to walk every neighborhood in Boston. Patrick Maguire said the walks will raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation Massachusetts and Rhode Island and Stride for Stride. 

He’s partially inspired by the pandemic to get up and outside, to learn more about the city and its iconic neighborhoods.   

“I want to rekindle relationships with everyone that I’ve promised to meet up and have a cup of coffee (I’m a tea drinker) but a cup of coffee or a drink. And walking is one of the best ways to reconnect with old friends and I hope to meet some new friends along the way in the neighborhoods of Boston. It’s getting me away from the computer and it’s a fresh start,” Maguire said. 

Thanks to everyone for your support and for following the #WalkingBoston journey. I hope to see you on the road.

Cheers-Patrick

#WalkingBoston anthem, People Have the Power by Patti Smith

 

Post ‘Eastie Part 1’ Walk Update, 8/22/22:

On Monday, 8/15, I met with personal trainer, Katie at BSC Boylston just outside of Copley Square for a free InBody Scan included in my membership. I’ll spare you the details, but will report my starting weight (197.6) as a measure of accountability, progress, and goals (185lbs). Thank you, Katie.

To map the course of the walks and confirm distance, I’m using MapMyWalk and All Trails apps. I’ve also ordered a Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch 5 as a 3rd way to verify distance and map the walks. One of my biggest concerns is losing the data of each walk and not being able to report and verify the course. Using 2 apps and having an independent (of my phone) GPS and tracking device should alleviate this concern.

Eastie 1 Maps:

Please click on the highlighted links below.

MapMyWalk  Distance = 13.88 miles

AllTrails  Distance = 14.3 miles

I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy between the 2 apps – I started them at the same time, paused and restarted them simultaneously at lunch. I’ll use the lesser of the 2 as official total distance moving forward.

Google Photo Album: I encourage you to view the 144 pics and videos in chronological order of the adventure from home (5:16am) to St. Mary’s T at the Green C Line, to Wood Island on the Blue Line as the starting point. This was a solo walk.

Summary, observations, and reflections:

  • Not much continuous sleep the night before Walk 1. Despite planning this for years, Game Day anxiety prevailed. No problem getting up at 4:30ish. Mind racing. Adrenaline coursing.
  • Cereal consumed and detailed checklist studied before leaving the house. (I’ll post pics of the checklist after converting it to a WORD doc.)
  • 66 degrees when I left the house.
  • Not a long wait at the St. Mary’s T stop near my house. Big relief based on all of the recent problems with the T.
  • Very happy to see the Dunkin’ open early with a short line at Government Center to get a cup of tea for the Blue Line ride to Wood Island.
  • Extreme times of the day have a tendency to bring out kindness and comradery in (many) humans because of a shared, unique experience. This morning at 6:02am, 2 people in line in front of me quietly gave a woman asking a dollar – I felt compelled to follow their good lead/example.
  • The woman working at Dunkin’ gets up at 4:10am every morning and she was very pleasant, but not annoyingly perky.
  • Loved catching the crossing guard and kid share a spontaneous hug while a gaggle of students crossed the street on the way to school.
  • Had a nice connection with a woman after she walked her kids to the Brooke School and kissed them goodbye. Listening to her kids ‘challenging’ her as she walked away, I said, “It’s not easy.” She replied, “No, it isn’t.” I told her my Mom had 10 and she told me her grandmother had 14!!
  • After the 3-week heat wave, it was cool to see the Zamboni ‘snow’ outside of the skating rink.
  • Warm sun on my face, sitting at the top of the lifeguard station on Constitution Beach, listening to the seagulls and planes taking off across the water at Logan reinforced one of the many reasons why I’m doing this. I never knew this existed and I love this adventure already…
  • Maybe not as many as Revere, but lots of statues and wrought iron railings in Eastie.
  • The breakfast burrito at Mi Pueblito in Orient Heights was very good and 10-year veteran server, Patricia was very hospitable. Thanks to Friends of Boston’s Hidden Restaurants for the recommendation. I’m surprised they’re open for breakfast. I was the only person there at 8:34. Looking forward to going back for dinner.
  • The planes taking off over residential Eastie are REALLY loud, but similar to trains rattling by, I suppose one gets used to it in time.
  • Pretty wild seeing huge corn stalks growing in a front yard in Orient Heights.
  • Lots on triple-deckers, as anticipated. And tchotchkes, lots of them in front yards…
  • I was very tempted by fried clams at Belle Isle Seafood, but this day was dedicated to Eastie.
  • Swan Street is a very cool, private mini neighborhood in Belle Isle.
  • Loved meeting Barbara out picking up litter. Further proof that we’ll share lots with strangers like cab drivers, often more than we will with family and friends. Barbara is #GoodPeople.
  • I was blown away by the Madonna Shrine and view from the railing. Please watch the video. It’s incredible.
  • Loved meeting Kristen, a veteran teacher at Bradley Elementary School. She was unloading her car prepping her classroom for the new year and very optimistic with less restrictions from the plague. SO many teachers use their own money for supplies. And many teachers are grossly underpaid. Hoping for a safe, productive, fun year for Kristen and all teachers and students.
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the steak & cheese for a late lunch at Sammy Carlo’s. Old school.
  • Finished the walk very much ‘alive,’ inspired, and rejuvenated. Only 1 walk in the books, and I can’t wait for #2.

Alan Miller, assignment desk manager for 7 News-WHDH emailed me on the morning of Walk #1 asking for an interview. Trung Dang met up with me on the road mid-afternoon. Great guy. Hard worker. Thanks to Alan, Trung, Kim Khazei, and Adam Williams for covering #WalkingBoston. Video here. Thanks to the T driver in the video for the cold bottle of water. It was wonderful to meet and talk with her and her daughter.

Despite the attention/’traction’ that the walk received, a major challenge ahead is inspiring donations to Make-A-Wish MA & RI and Stride for Stride. I’m going to make a concerted effort to reach out to businesses to pledge minimum donations tied to the total number of miles walked. There are a lot of creative ways that walk sponsors can get involved, including matching pledges, grant money, and product & brand endorsement. I’d love to hear from everyone who wants to be part of supporting #WalkingBoston and non-profit partners. Email: patrick@servernotservant.com.

Please subscribe to future blog posts for scheduling of upcoming walks by entering your email in the blue box on the upper left side of this post. Twitter and IG: @PatrickMBoston

Grass-roots donations to support #WalkingBoston and keep me walking and writing can be made here.

Thank you-Patrick

Here’s a glimpse of a few pics from Eastie Part 1:

 

Permalink | Posted in Human-to-Human Service | No Comments »


‘Greed is Good,’ right, John Mackey, Whole Foods CEO & Jeff Bezos, Amazon Chairman? 9+ year veteran, 72-year-old employee denied severance after Whole Foods in Brookline, MA abruptly closes. #DoTheRightThing #PayTheSeverance

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 06/25/2022

Early on Friday morning, April 29, I walked over to ‘The (St. Mary’s) Village’ to visit Whole Foods, an almost daily ritual. Immediately upon entry, a worker came over and whispered, “Hey, they just told us the store is closing.” A regional VP had gathered the staff and informed them moments before that May 6th was the last day. The landlord was informed the same day. The staff was told that even long-time, veteran employees would have to reapply for jobs at other WF stores, and more details were forthcoming from HR. Naturally, I tweeted:

The next day, everything in the store was sold at 50% off. Despite the rabid frenzy (shitshow), there was no ‘hazard pay’ for the staff. And after the store was picked clean over the weekend, they shut down for good on Monday, May 2nd, 4 days ahead of schedule…

After first hearing the news, I walked the aisles of the store on Friday–the abrupt closure was raw, still being absorbed the staff. The emotion in their eyes, and tears on the familiar faces of several people I had come to know, precipitated a very anxious and somber mood.

Whole Foods issued a statement quoted in an article in the Boston Globe on April 29 by Annie Probert:

“As we continue to position Whole Foods Market for long-term success, we regularly evaluate the performance and growth potential of each of our stores, and we have made the difficult decision to close six stores,” a statement from the company read. “We are supporting impacted team members through this transition and expect that all interested, eligible team members will find positions at our other locations.”

One of the staff members I often chatted with was Ken Scales. Ken often saw me with an elderly (sometimes feisty/demanding) neighbor he took a liking to. “How’s our girl?” he’d ask when he didn’t see her as the plague raged. Despite his cordial engagement, Ken was a quiet, shy guy, head down, and conscientious, steady worker.

According to Sean P. Murphy for the Boston Globe on June 22, Ken (part-time employee) said “he didn’t realize he would forfeit a payout by agreeing to work through June at another location.” And he did, at the Whole Foods Symphony/’Fenway’ location.

From the Globe piece:

At age 72, Scales said he still needed to work to pay the bills, so he moved to a similar position at another Whole Foods store a few miles away.

But then some friends suggested he had made a mistake. They told him he should have left his position at Whole Foods and taken the $11,000 in severance pay that he was owed after almost 10 years on the job, Scales said.

Stocking shelves pays about $20 an hour. At that rate of pay, the severance package he had been offered was the equivalent of about six months of pay. For the first time in his adult life, Scales could have enjoyed an extended period of time off without losing income.

Plus, because of the high demand for low-wage workers in today’s economy, Scales could have easily found another job for similar pay whenever he wanted, his friends said.

Persuaded he had made a mistake, Scales asked Whole Foods to let him leave his job and take the severance. At that point, Whole Foods had not yet formally eliminated Scales’ Brookline position.

But Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, one of the world’s richest corporations, said no. By accepting a part-time job at another store, Scales had forfeited his right to leave the company with severance pay. The store treated his choice as irrevocable, he said.

Scales said he has been a good, reliable worker. His manager at the Brookline store thought highly enough of him to recommend him to the Whole Foods Market Symphony store in the Fenway, where he wound up.

“I was counting on that severance payment to help me regroup, pay down some bills, and to decide what I want to do next,” he wrote in an appeal for reconsideration to Whole Foods. 

The appeal was denied. I called Whole Foods Symphony/’Fenway’ this morning and spoke to a manager (Matt) informing him that I was writing this blog post, and asked if WF had an updated statement. He referred me to corporate…

[I encourage you to read the entire Globe piece for more detail.]

Globe reporter, Sean P. Murphy adds:

Scales has worked all his life, mostly in unglamorous positions at retail stores. He gets a modest monthly Social Security check and lives in a tiny apartment in Chinatown. He’s not asking for much.

It would be nice if Whole Foods could see its way to giving this guy a break. It’s not too late.

Amen.

I was chatting with a worker a few doors down from the now-closed Whole Foods about the awful PR, negative word-of-mouth/’bad will’ being generated from this story. In addition to the adverse impact on ‘team’ morale of existing employees, he added, “And what about the impact of this story on all of the people thinking about working for Whole Foods or Amazon?!?” Yup, not optimal recruiting material, or consistent with WF stated ‘Long-Term Thinking’ …

From the Whole Foods website:

In addition, Whole Foods has years left on their Brookline, MA lease and is seeking a tenant to sub-lease the space. Their abrupt closure left a significant void in ‘The Village,’ that was already dealing with multiple vacancies on the block. The closure, without a transition plan and replacement grocer, did not sit well with neighboring businesses and residents. This story about a veteran employee has punctuated that rancor.

When I first saw the online story from the Globe on twitter via @markpothier, I responded:

Since then, I’ve reviewed the Whole Foods website and incorporated some of their “Core Values,” “Leadership Principles,” and “Declaration of Interdependence” into a Twitter appeal for Whole Foods to pay the severance for Ken Scales:

That was in response to this tweet from @blueeyedgirl:

“Us versus them.”

Final Thoughts (WF Website):

Our Declaration of Interdependence reflects the hopes and intentions of many people. We do not believe it always accurately portrays the way things currently are at Whole Foods Market so much as the way we would like things to be. It is our dissatisfaction with the current reality, when compared with what is possible, that spurs us toward excellence and toward creating a better person, company and world. When Whole Foods Market fails to measure up to its stated vision, as it inevitably will at times, we should not despair. Rather let us take up the challenge together to bring our reality closer to our vision. The future we will experience tomorrow is created one step at a time today.

John Mackey, Whole Foods and Jeff Bezos, Amazon, take up the challenge, #PayTheSeverance.

If you agree, please help spread the word to your network. Thank you.

PS-Join the battle/challenge on twitter @PatrickMBoston.

Permalink | Posted in Human-to-Human Service | No Comments »


‘Rules’ of Engagement in Civilized Society Include Restaurants by Dee Wolf-The Lobster Shanty Salem, MA

Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement

Posted: 01/19/2022

Today’s guest post by my friend, Dee Wolf, Chef/owner of The Lobster Shanty and Wolf Next Door Coffee in Salem, MA first appeared in my Server Not Servant Facebook Group where it garnered more attention than any other post in the history of the group. As of today, Dee’s post has been shared 350 times, 700 people reacted to it, and 136 humans commented on it. [The FB post cannot be shared any longer because it has been slightly edited.]

Diane is a savvy, seasoned, salty restaurant industry veteran, and clearly her poignant message has resonated with many. I’m reposting here to encourage more people to read and share her message with your networks, including media contacts for publication. The link to this blog post will make her message easier to share.

The more restaurant customers and humans who read Dee’s work, the better…

From Diane ‘Dee’ Wolf:

You don’t need to go out to eat.

You don’t need to sit at a bar and have drinks with friends.

If you want to, then there are some rules that our society needs you to follow. If you want to drink, you must be 21 years old, and we can only serve you during the hours that our liquor license allows. We require guests to be fully dressed, including shoes and a shirt. You can’t misbehave or disrupt other guests. You cannot smoke or vape inside the restaurant or on our patio. When you drive here you can’t just leave your car anywhere, you need to park it in a legal spot, or you’ll get towed or get a ticket. Don’t drive if you’re drinking alcohol. If you bring a dog, she can’t sit inside, and we need proof that she has had a rabies shot.

What I’m saying is, having rules of engagement in any society is nothing new.

We have the legal right to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all. But we are not unreasonable, and we welcome you to join us and stay. We want you to stay, we are in the hospitality business – but it is a business and there are laws, rules and societal norms that we all must follow to be part of this community. We take community building seriously.

I didn’t need to buy a restaurant.
I didn’t need to get a liquor license.

But I wanted to – so I had to do a few things; I got TiPS certified, ServSafe Certified, went to culinary school (which required me to be vaccinated for MMR, Hepatitis B, Chicken Pox, & Meningitis). I also trained with NEHA (the National Environmental Health Association) and created a HACCP (Hazzard Analysis Critical Control Point) plan to make sure my team handles food safely. I wrote a business plan, took out loans, and sold some personal items for seed money. I applied for a food permit & a liquor license. We had to have a health inspection, plumbing inspection, fire inspection, and building inspection just for our occupancy permit. Can’t just hang a sign, need to go before the Design Review Board for approval first. Want an A-frame sign? Need a special permit for that too. We must file and pay meals tax to the city and to the commonwealth, monthly. I need three or four different kinds of insurance, a payroll service, a trustworthy accountant, pest control, quality food & liquor vendors, trash, recycling, & compost removal. I must arrange for cooking oil recycling and knife sharpening. Clean that grease trap and snake the drains every quarter. Clean the exhaust hood and have the fire suppression system tested regularly. Train my crew, write a menu, buy plates & glassware, decorate the place, maybe get a couple of TVs, pay for cable or a satellite, maybe a jukebox service and an ATM. (Don’t forget to pay the four different musicians unions if you play a radio or have live music) Buy a Point of Sale system, arrange for credit card processing. Maybe secure a line of credit (or bootstrap it like we did). All of this needs to be done before we serve a single burger or pour one beer. The goal is to create a culture and an atmosphere that folks want to go to.

Yeah, you could eat at home – my job is to entice you to come join us and be part of our special community. Do you have to? No. Do I want you to? Yes.

We have done SO MUCH to get this restaurant ready for you, to make it fun, to make it safe – so you can let loose and relax for a while. The least you could do is not give my host pushback for asking you to follow the rules. Rulemaking is well above our pay grade here at our little Mom & Pop restaurant. Anyone who wants to ‘punish’ a local business for following new mandates from the city or commonwealth is shooting themselves in the foot – because all that will be left are big chains of boring food dished out by large, soulless corporations. If you want to live in a thriving, unique community; a community with heart and soul, do your fucking part. We’re tired of arguing with you, we’d just like to get back to hospitality if you don’t mind…

In the comments, Dee added, A handful of folks in cities with new vaccine mandates want to punish restaurants by boycotting them, I find this infuriating and heartless. If you want small, independent restaurants in your community, you need to support them.

Amen, Dee Wolf. Amen ♥

Dee can be reached via email at lobstershanty@gmail.com.

Subscription to these blog posts is currently free by entering your email in the blue box on the upper-left side of this post. To support the mission of the Server Not Servant blog and expedite publishing of the forthcoming book, please click on ‘Support Server Not Servant’ in the blue box on the upper-right side of this post. Venmo: @Patrick-Maguire-32. Please email me about personal or corporate book sponsorship opportunities at patrick@servernotservant.com.

And please consider sharing this post if inspired to do so.

Cheers-Patrick Maguire

#ServerNotServant

Permalink | Posted in Rules of Engagement | No Comments »