Keith has a fan club: Will you make an apology in your next issue ["What's Missing from This Picture?" by Keith Plocek, August 2]? To the happy people who live in a building? To the organizations that you threw mud on? To the managers of the building you were so rude to? I know people who live there — why would you publish such a terrible, untrue, full-of-holes, going-nowhere article? Is this what the Houston Press does? I have read your paper, but now I don't think I can trust your journalism. Screwing up your credibility is one thing; dragging down an entire building and its supporters' reputations for a story that made no sense? If you could actually get to the end of it, my God! What were you all thinking?
You disgust me and my friends — good job at becoming the most hated journalist in Houston.
President of the I Hate Keith Plocek Club 2007
Elder Street Artist Lofts
Slander-fest: As a concerned resident of Elder Street Artist Lofts, I not only find your article incredibly biased but insulting to those who call this place home. I'm extremely disappointed that you would write such a one-sided story. Had you done your proper research, you would have found that the majority of information given to you by these "residents" is false and/or inaccurate.
I live in Cecelia Johnson's former apartment, and moved in shortly after she left. I have lived here for a year and four months and have never had a $300 light bill. I live very comfortably in my apartment. The shaft that she was referring to was sealed off shortly after I moved in, and I have never had a problem with noise coming from it. Any maintenance issues in my place have been dealt with appropriately. What you seem to have done is interviewed a disgruntled, spiteful group of individuals who have turned your article into a slander-fest! Had you interviewed the proper majority of residents rather than these "scandal-seekers" — some being nonresidents — this article would have had a completely different perspective.
Elder Street Artist Lofts has been the best place I've ever lived. Its unique architecture and history have drawn us all here, and I find it hard to believe that any artist would not be inspired here. I feel that the majority of the residents are part of a huge family, which you would not see in a normal apartment complex. Suzie and Aaron have been nothing but excellent as building managers. Many times they have used money out of their own pockets to sponsor building activities. There are always the "select few" who never seem to show, and by that, their actions speak louder than words.
Disturbed: I am more than slightly disturbed regarding the article that was written concerning the Elder Street Artist Lofts. How is it that a headlining article can be written solely based on the opinions of two disgruntled ex-tenants (whose stories were highly exaggerated)? I assure you, the fact that no current tenants were quoted did not go unnoticed...at least, none who have the balls to give their names. If you dig deep enough, you will always find a few disgruntled ex-tenants.
I have lived in this building since the doors first opened. My house in Montrose burned to the ground in 2005 (the house at the corner of Montrose and West Gray), and all of my paintings were destroyed, along with my inspiration to paint. When I heard that the old Jeff Davis Hospital had been renovated as artist lofts, I jumped at the chance to live here, having adored this building for years, like so many others. I walked in off the street, knowing no one, and moved into my fabulous dream loft one month later.
Since my arrival, this building has met my expectations in every way, including renewing my inspiration to paint again. There are many very talented artists within this building who are proud to call the Elder Street Artist Lofts their home. If you are skeptical, why don't you stop by during the annual Houston ArtCrawl, or when there's a huge art opening in one of the galleries here, or when the mayor is here for the dedication of the new public sculpture which is soon to be erected on our back lot, near a community garden, by a resident artist with the help of a Houston Arts Alliance grant? Isn't that enough art for you?
P.S. Just because a person may not paint or sculpt, does not mean that they aren't an artist.
The online response:
Evicted: As for the housekeeping bit, I was the tenant who was evicted for that. I assure you, there were no housekeeping issues. As a matter of fact, I had an actual housekeeper who would come in and clean my house once a week. After I went to Europe for a two-week stint, I was given notice to move out due to uncleanliness.
The place had unfinished work on the cabinets. My cat actually got trapped, and I had to remove part of the kitchen cabinets to get her out. Electricity was out the roof. They say they installed energy-efficient windows and appliances, but my bill was still sky-high. The elevator also hardly ever worked. I think it worked two weeks out of the six months I was there. And during the two weeks it did work, the elevator smelled like urine, as did many of the stairwells.
Several times they came into my apartment without leaving notice or even knocking. One time I was actually asleep on the couch.
The people who did speak up are telling the truth. Alpha Barnes does try to intimidate its tenants. I was very excited when I first moved in. By the time I left, I was almost happy that they gave me notice to vacate.
Comment by anonymous, August 1
Throw it out: This article has about as much worth as that "Fantastic Foreskin" article that keeps coming up next to it. Just throw this article out with that foreskin. Trash!
Comment by Disturbed, August 3
Cutting-edge journalism? — Did you tell your readers that the building has been home to almost the exact group of people since it opened two years ago?
What about the Katrina families? Did you ask how the entire building became family, friends and neighbors to each other?
I never found the part in your riveting article that focused on the affordable rent that has allowed all of us to be a part of the American Dream. To have a new home, to pay our own bills, to have food in our fridge. (I'm sure it's in there somewhere — I must have missed it.)
Through the pages and pages of unrelated subject matter, I didn't find the part about our community garden. Did you mention the community planted it together? Even Avenue CDC helped; at least, that's what their memo said. (Heartbreaking, right?)
There was no good stuff about the tree-trimming party, the ArtCrawl show, the Fourth of July party or artists who do have shows at the building — we had a big one a few weeks back. I have seen our intimidating management work on building problems after dark.
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I don't know about anyone being a favorite buddy, but I know Susie and Reese never pass anyone up without asking how we are doing. I think Reese has fixed more stuff than I will in a lifetime plus yours.
One last comment: the iron-fist, nonartist, threatening, evicting, keeping-the-man-down management you trashed? They pick up the trash we leave around the building every day — lucky someone reported these two. Look out! They are cleaning! Thanks for the heads up.
The history part was cool, probably the only real facts. Get your shit straight and do an informed article.
Comment by 1 of 27, August 2