The Independent has died.? As many know, James Renner asked me to write for the Indy from Day One.? I always wanted to write for a local paper, and James is a good friend, so it was a no brainer.? But starting a local alt weekly in this environment, in Cleveland, with local advertisers used to paying Scene Magazine, well…..it was kind of a matter of time.

Scene Magazine, owned by Times Shamrock, which fired James Renner over a spat in which Kevin Coughlin threatened to sue them over James Renner’s reporting on the whereabouts of his penis inside women not his wife, isn’t faring much better.? Frank Lewis, the editor who duplicitously and cowardly fired James, was fired himself by Times Shamrock about a month ago.? Just goes to show ya Frank, sell out like you did, and well, you’re probably next on the block.? The paper underwent a major redesign, got smaller, and Scene’s biggest advertisers are now out of town accounts, with a heavy emphasis on gold buyers.? It’s as if it’s being eaten alive by itself.? So who knows, James may only be out of business for a bit.

The project coincided with my decision to run for county council, and that led to a barter deal where I took less for my writing (went from next to nothing, to….closer than that) in exchange for some ad space.? Which led to an epic series of ads, all designed by my friend Rick Novario, a graphic artist in Tremont – send some business his way if you like his site, he volunteered the design work. ? Barter here, volunteer there…that’s how shit gets done in a town with no money.

Rick seemed to capture the, shall we say, je ne sais quois of the Russo for County Council campaign perfectly.? I’ve had people come up to me in bars, laughing their asses off, wondering if it’s for real (oh, it is), some asking for the original artwork.? The ads really capture a moment in time.

Well, without the Indy, there’s no more ad campaign.? I’ll be damned if I give a stinking penny to Times Shamrock or the PD, and frankly, the ads belonged in the Indy.? So here’s the last one in the series, again designed by Rick Novario, and again, capturing our campaign perfectly – click on it for the full Cleveland.? Thanks to James, and Rick, and everyone at the Independent for a great ride.

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