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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
May 25, 2007

We kid you, Patrick, but we
love you

Cleveland--There were no Friars to be seen at the May 18 Cleveland Stonewall Democrats roast of Patrick Shepherd, but laughter echoed off the walls of the View Ultra Lounge on Euclid Avenue.

Shepherd’s partner Jason Lansdale, who is past president of the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio, joined Cleveland Film Society artistic director Bill Guentzler, long-time friend and public policy analyst John Corlett and Cleveland City Council member Joe Cimperman to present a top ten list of why they were roasting the former president of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats in front of 50 of his friends.

Shepherd’s attempts to hide his face were in vain as Cimperman recalled the time that the two of them took shelter in the back of a semi trailer with Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, a group of drag queens and a clutch of leathermen during a rainstorm at Cleveland Pride. According to Cimperman, Shepherd leaned over and told him, “I pray to God that nobody closes the door and drives off with this truck.”

Guentzler paid special attention to Shepherd’s addiction to his Blackberry. He also noted that, even though Shepherd is no longer the group’s president, he now spends even more time away from his job at the Cleveland Film Society with political activities in Columbus.

The most personal view of Shepherd came from Lansdale, who noted his penchant for leaving things open, a trait inherited from his mother.

That was one of Stonewall’s current president and roast emcee Keli Zehnder’s favorite items.

“I liked the human side of Patrick, who leaves all his kitchen drawers and kitchen cabinets open,” she laughed. “It was just so wonderful to see Patrick be forced to accept the kudos he deserved. He’s been very good at deflecting all attention away from his accomplishments, so it was nice to have an evening where he had to sit there and hear it, you know, accept his due.”

“I thought that the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats board really pulled together nicely and everybody took a piece on and it was quite the joint effort,” Zehnder said. “I felt very supported by that.”

“I’ve known Patrick for, I have to think back, over ten years,” Corlett said later. “I met him when he first moved to Cleveland and worked for the American Red Cross.”

Corlett’s assault was the most biting, and almost certainly the funniest, with that Shecky Green “I kid, but I love” undertone. He was happy to take part because, “Patrick’s a very funny guy himself, so I know the kinds of things he enjoys, interest in politics, friendships with people and obviously his role at the film society.”

Among the many barbs he directed at his old friend, what Corlett found the most amusing was “his constant use of the word ‘dude.’ That’s pretty funny. To me, at least.”



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