It's not Rehab's first time at the rodeo, and on Jim Weckmann's final night many jokes were made about his well-known inability to keep his thoughts to himself. But if you thought the drama of the past week--which included a lot of caterwauling, pearl clutching, emotional drunk posts, and even threats of violence over his explosive exit interview-- would lead Victoria Rose and Akasha Royale to timidly walk on eggshells, you'd be mistaken. Last night was a show by and for grown folks with thick skin.
|Photo courtesy of Anthony Oliver|
Akasha set the tone with her opening monologue, which included a not so veiled swipe at the chief instigator of the past week's angry mob, and followed that up by having some fun at my expense.
"We have an author with us tonight...and I hear he doesn't write for Vital Voice anymore."
Just John owner John Oberkramer --who'd posted his disapproval of the interview one evening and replaced it with a status reaffirming his fondness for Weckmann the following morning-- was in the house and in good spirits.
"Just John is our sister bar" Rose said. "Whenever Jim would fire Kyle, which he did a dozen or so times, I'd tell him to just go down to Just John for a while until he cools off. He won't find you there!"
The legendary Kitty Litter was a big hit, but the highlight of the evening was when an unbowed Victoria Rose brought down the house with "Not Ready to Make Nice," which she dedicated to Weckmann.
Many notables were in attendance, including St. Louis Post-Dispatch music critic Kevin C. Johnson.
During the height of the controversy there was talk of canceling the event altogether --which left me scrambling to try to mitigate some of the blowback-- but by midweek it seemed cooler heads in the community had prevailed. Angry, hyperbolic comments began to be outnumbered by thoughtful opinions like that of Mark Moore, owner of Takemorepics Photography:
"Everyone and I mean everyone in that article is damn near a gay household name now. Good, bad or indifferent, it's art. Art is meant to evoke feelings and discussions, If it doesn't, it's not a good piece."
There were also humorous rebuttals to angry commenters, including this response by Nicholas Edward:
"Oh honey no. It looks like what you need is a hug and a community college pamphlet."
Both the turbulent week and Jim's eventful years at Rehab drew to a close last night, and did so on Weckmann's terms.