Helene Boone’s letter (The Mail, 5/15) brought back memories of my dealings with her two years ago. I had played a couple of open mikes at the Soho Tea and Coffee when Helene asked me if I would provide sound and run the next open mike for her. There was mention of possibly continuing to do so for the rest of summer, as well. I agreed to do the next open mike for $50, and we shook hands on it. In order to do right by the performers and her, I purchased an additional microphone, microphone stand, and two speaker stands.
On the appointed day, I packed up my sound system, synthesizer, and video gear and headed down to the Soho. When I arrived, I was told someone else was doing the open mike and providing sound. When Helene arrived over an hour later, she told me that someone else had offered to do it for free, that we had no deal, and that I should have called her to confirm our arrangement anyway. She was smiling broadly and enjoying the situation. I called her a liar and left.
Prior to that, in the about 15 minutes that I had conversed with Helene at the earlier open mikes, over half of it was spent listening to her speak with contempt of several of the performers. One did “gay”-oriented folk songs, two others did a performance art piece with one of the men wearing a dress, and another young gentleman read poetry and wore a dress. I thought this rather odd, since her clientele not only enjoyed these performers, but a large percentage of them seem to be into the same sort of lifestyle. She also spoke ill of the gentleman who had been running the open mike before I was invited to take his place.
I haven’t been there since. Too bad. There were some real nice folks there, with one notable exception.