Coffee in Worcester: WCCA TV13

posted by Mike on April 29th, 2007

DSCN1782The cover story of this week’s InCity Times is a hagiography of WCCA’s Mauro DePasquale, a guy who deserves all the praise he can get. I’m a WCCA volunteer, and Bruce is an intern, so this week’s review is of the WCCA office coffee.

Pie and Coffee: Did you take a look at the article? What did you think?

Bruce: Definitely him. One small problem—I’m not in any of the photos.

P: Maybe we should put a photo of you at WCCA in this article.

I love the introduction (written by Rosalie Tirella):

We’ll say it loud and we’ll say it proud: We love WCCA TV 13 and its Executive Director Mauro DePasquale! From the political shows to the kids news programs, from the exotic and highly capable Zara Dedi at the front desk to no-nonsense community leader turned TV producer Judy Langlois. From the esoteric to the mundane. From the political to the spiritual, TV-13 rocks! Located in the heart of downtown at 415 Main St., in an old bank practically a stone’s throw from City Hall—

[Patrick, a member of the WCCA youth program, walks into the room, takes the paper, looks at the photos, and comments—]

Patrick: Everyone’s there except me.

P: Patrick, why is everyone concerned about their photo being in here?

WCCA practices its own brand of politics: a refreshingly inclusive and progressive kind we’d like to see more of in ‘ol City Hall.

WCCA’s community producers and guests are black, white and brown. They’re old, young and middle-aged. They’re political insiders like City Manager Mike O’Brien; they’re political ousiders (like me!). They’re conservative and liberal; religious and questioning. To tune in to TV 13 is to feast at some funky urban banquet. DePasquale likes to call his station “the electronic park.”

B: I never knew he [Mauro] was going to play with Joe Cocker.

P: Yeah, that’s an interesting detail. There’s one section in here where he says:

Some people would say to me sometimes, “What do you have on that channel—a bunch of religious shows? Well you know what? People watch [those shows] and they got off drugs. They got hooked on some of our programs and they got off drugs and they testified to it!

I think that some people will read that and think, “Are you kidding? People watch cable access and get off drugs?” But people went to the City Council and testified! (Video here) They said, “I used to do drugs, and then I started watching such-and-such religious show on WCCA, and it helped me to stop doing drugs.”

One thing about WCCA is that they have coffee down there.

B: Right! A couple times I grabbed a coffee and it was kinda weak, because it wasn’t strong enough. But then I made it once.

P: You seized the reigns.

B: Yeah, I seized the reigns. It’s got to have more! The ghost has got to have more! So that’s exactly what we did.

P: They’ve got some Good As Gold, some Starbucks down there, I think whatever gets donated.

B: My last thing, in closing . . . thanks for anybody who donated the Starbucks coffee. You’re up for my ghost of books.

P: What’s it like interning down at WCCA?

B: One thing about interning, it’s not internal! Which is always a good thing.

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I actually got to get to learn to use the camera, to tape a talk show. And the woman was talking with a guest I guess from New York, talking about “All these people from Manhattan are coming to Worcester, ” and I simply don’t agree. A lot of places around here close at a certain time of night, and restaurants don’t serve 24 hours a day, like they do in New York.

P: You don’t think Worcester is becoming more like Manhattan.

B: It’s not true a-tall.

P: The White Hen’s open 24 hours, isn’t it?

B: Yeah, that’s not a restaurant, though.

P: You can get coffee.

B: Yeah, but if you want to go to places up on Shrewsbury Street, it’s mostly for your suit-and-tie people, or your biker people. I haven’t had much luck with these restaurants. They just seem too goody-two-shoes to me.

P: I want to ask you a question about the White Hen, a controversial question. Are you ready?

B: Yeah.

P: Are you prepared? So Clive McFarlane in the Telegram & Gazette wrote a column a couple weeks ago. He was talking about how he was in the White Hen, and the line was really slow, so he just walked up to the counter, put the amount of money down for his coffee, and walked out. And he had some sort of remorse for doing this, like maybe he cut in line, and maybe that was a rude thing to do. Do you think that’s a rude thing to do?

B: Yeah, if the guy doesn’t know who left the money there.

P: See, I think that’s interesting, because that reminds me of when I lived in Manhattan, and I went down to my one corner store, fantastic store, and the guy could serve like three or four people at the same time, because people would walk in, grab their thing, hold it up, they guy would glance up, tell them how much it was, they would put the exact change on the counter, and walk out.

B: I did that one time in 1998, I went to this bagel cafe shop between Eighth Avenue and Broadway, when I used to go upstairs and do some recording back then. I went down there with one of the people who worked in the studio, John Geis, and I would walk in there, go get a coffee, and she would look at me, tell me how much it is, sometimes say, “I’m busy, can you leave it on the counter?” Nobody ever freaked out about it.

P: I think it depends on who is working there. If this is a store where the employees are not very good—

B: Or not paying attention to what’s going on.

P: Or they don’t know. But you could go into A&D Coffee, and take a bagel, and put your 75 cents on the counter, and walk out, and I don’t think Ali is going to care one way or the other. There doesn’t have to be this long, complicated process for buying a freaking cup of coffee.

B: One thing I’ve noticed about the White Hen. During the day, there’s a lot more people working during the day. But it gets dark on Main Street between 7 and 8 at night, and at 3 in the morning you’re the only person in there. If someone was to rob you, what are you going to do? You’d have better chances of stopping the perpetrators if there was more than one person working there at night.

P: I just thought of something. Clive McFarlane works for the Telegram & Gazette. The offices are right around the corner from the White Hen. Why don’t they have coffee in their lobby? He’s in a hurry, why doesn’t he just walk into the T&G, tip his hat to the security guard, grab a cup of coffee, and be on his way? WCCA doesn’t have coffee in the lobby, but WCCA has a very small staff. There’s no reason WCCA couldn’t have coffee in the lobby . . . .

B: Maybe they should! Why not?

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P: How would you describe the flavor of the WCCA coffee, scale of 1-5? I’m talking about the ones you made yourself.

B: Oh, I thought the ones I made was pretty good. Like, 2.

P: Wait a second, you thought the coffee you made was “pretty good,” so it’s a 2?

B: Well, I mean, 3. Three and a half. But the coffee I had Friday was a 5.

P: Who made the coffee on Friday?

B: I think Zara made it.

P: Well anyway, I just want to do a tip-of-the-hat to WCCA, and to whoever donated them the coffee.

B: Whoever donated the coffee to WCCA channel 13, you’re in my ghost of books. Chop chop for now.

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