Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Barber of Seville—er, I mean Bellevue


I never thought I’d say this, but I hope we get some booze in my neighborhood soon.

I’ve been a resident of Bellevue since 1995, and I can still remember the first thing my prospective landlady asked me when I visited here to inquire about an apartment—“do you have any pets?”  Okay, the second thing she asked—“Douglas, are you aware this is a dry town?”

I had no idea what that even meant;  when she explained to me that alcohol was prohibited here, I wasn’t just fine with that, I was overjoyed.   Besides the fact I’m not a drinker (I think my last glass of wine was in 2001), at the time I was living in another little apartment in Sharpsburg, home to thirteen bars up & down it’s main avenue—and on Saturday nights I felt like I was living in the Wild West.  (Let’s just say the air was filled with saloon music, shouting and the occasional shoot-em-up.)   So I told Mrs. Salkeld (now my new landlady) it sounded great & I happily moved right in.

And I’ve enjoyed living here ever since; but I’ve noted with dismay that things aren’t what they used to be.  In fifteen years I’ve seen several businesses close—and they’ve either shut down for good, or been reopened as a ‘Rent-A-Center’ or one of those godawful dollar stores.   (Choke!  That second dollar store used to be the local movie theater!)   In fact, on Main Street I only see a few local businesses that are thriving—a bakery, a couple pizzerias, the Lincoln Barber Shop.  

I’ve been a regular customer of that barber shop for a couple years now--it’s a friendly place to visit (half the men in the neighborhood hang out there) and is well run by my friend Aaron & his 2 ‘aunts’ (I put that in quotes as they’re all the same age).   The shop is outfitted as a ‘men’s lounge’ with Al Pacino on the walls, ‘Rat Pack’ memorabilia and sixties rock music.  And free beer.  Free beer?  


Aaron has a ‘Free Beer’ sign outside the shop, his protest against the “Dry Laws” here prohibiting the sale of alcohol


Aaron isn’t trying to bring bars into the neighborhood; he just knows the value of allowing restaurants to serve beer or wine.  Plus he’s hoping to convert the local Methodist Church (another ‘closed business’) into a small theater for plays & independent films, with a wine bar for the patrons.  Geez, wouldn’t that be nice?

Bellevue Methodist Church, closed since 2007 when the local Catholics chased all the Methodists outta town—I’m kidding

The poor guy has been fighting an uphill battle with the Town Council for the last couple years, and he’s finally got a referendum on the table, that will be voted on this Tuesday.

I have to admit that I never thought I’d be voting in support of something involving alcohol, but I have a very good (and pretty persuasive) barber.

Anyway, Aaron recently made a short film that says all of this better than I can.  I just wanted to share it here (click on video below).   Good luck man, and like I said to you this morning--if it passes, please don’t give up your day job.  Smile

SPECIAL NOTE:  Well, it’s May 17 & the votes are in; It looks like Bellevue is staying dry for another 4 years.     Yes – 761    No - 849

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