Sunday, April 25, 1999

Naked Cowboy gets rounded up




BY JIM KNIPPENBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Going to prove once again, that if you sing semi-naked you'll get banned from plenty of places.

        That from John Robert Burck, a k a the Naked Cowboy. Remember him? He's been singing locally for about 18 months, most of the time in cowboy boots, guitar and tightie whities.

        Early this year he did a 56-city tour that landed him on dozens of TV shows, including Jenny Jones and the nightly news when he sang at the Mayfair Hotel while Monica Lewinsky was inside for a grilling.

        Wellsir, he's back in town and doing his bare bones act for appreciative audiences and unappreciative security folk.

        To wit: He turned up at Tri-County Mall during a radio station promotion and “was escorted out by security. They banned me for life.”

        At the University of Cincinnati, “A friend used me as a visual aid in speech class, then I went through Teachers College and the Engineering building. I got ushered out and told not to come back. Good thing I have my degree.”

        Tuesday, it was the Reds game. After the sixth inning he jumped atop the Mets' dugout, then was ushered out and told not to come back.

        He leaves today for New York and yet more stunts.

        HEARD AROUND TOWN: “Only Jeff. Who else can throw a party at 7 and by 7:15 you can't move?”

        That's radio account exec Jim Stadtmiller at Jeff Ruby's 51st birthday party at the late Ciao Cucina, soon to be Ruby's newest restaurant.

        Some party — names and power at every turn: Boomer Esiason surrounded by fans; Carl Lindner and Steve Schott making nice with each other; attorneys Stan Chesley and Jonas Katz; jocks Oscar Robertson, New York Mets star Mike Piazza, Reds Sean Casey and Aaron Boone; media types Eddie Fingers and Deb Haas (she carrying Baby Jack, due in July); Lindner exec Jim Evans; and, of course, Ruby, on stage with a swing band singing Sinatra songs.

        Topics of conversation: Is this place going to make it this time? Consensus: Sure.

        For now, the place looks tired: Ruby had scrawled graffiti on one wall, thanking friends, diners and investors. Another wall had a hole punched through. Another was losing wallpaper.

        None of that ruined appetites for lamb chops, beef with truffle mayonnaise sauce, sushi and seafood appetizers. Nor did it encourage anyone to leave early — it was going strong when Psst! waddled out at 12:30 a.m.

        IN LINE: Well dang, look who's going to extremes. It's inline skater Robin Miller.

        The 25-year-old UC student is in Louisville at trials for June's 1999 Summer X-Games in San Francisco.

        Only 16 will qualify in each category, but Miller's expected to be one. Last year in San Diego, she finished sixth in Vert (ramps and all that) and seventh in Street (racing). Those are global rankings, mind you.

        This year? “I feel good. I've been training hard all year. I think I'm ready.”

        Psst! appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.

KNIPPENBERG ARCHIVE