Slidebar Cafe Helps Homeless After Owner Previously Slammed Kelly Thomas

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The Slidebar Rock N Roll Cafe is in the middle of a month-long food collection initiative aimed at aiding the Fullerton Interfaith Emergency Services. Founded in 1975, FIES is a charitable collective providing emergency food and transitional housing to homeless in the Fullerton area. Slidebar, which regularly puts on free live shows featuring local and national acts, has been accepting food and cash donations since November 30th.

But considering the infamous Fullerton watering hole's current entanglement in the Kelly Thomas beating, one has to wonder if this charity is merely an attempt to snatch a little good PR this holiday season. 

Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man suffering from schizophrenia, was beaten to death in July by Fullerton police officers a few feet southeast of the Slidebar, the kind of place where an off-duty sheriff might feel comfortable brandishing his weapon. Two of the officers, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli (currently facing charges in the man's death), were reportedly responding to a call of someone breaking into cars at the Fullerton Transportation Center.

In August, multiple sources close to Slidebar told the Weekly that it was a venue employee who made the call on Thomas after he was seen glaring at customers from the sidewalk. The Weekly made several request to co-owner Jeremy Popoff (formerly of bro-rock icons Lit) and the Slidebar management at the time seeking comment, but none was answered.

Popoff was interviewed by local blog Fullerton Stories following Thomas's death and shed some light on how the mentally ill man was viewed by folks at the establishment. 

"I feel guilty ever having contempt for this guy," Popoff said. "But if you had asked me about him a month ago, I'd have nothing good to say about him. I don't want to say it was justified, what happened. But man, Kelly scared people. We...were always having to kick him out of our bathrooms or tell him to leave customers alone. Then he would yell at us." 

So is this food drive an indication that Slidebar has been moved by the spirit of the season, or just haunted by the ghost of this summer past? We'd like to know. The request for comment stands.

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