By Jonathan Shikes
By Michael Roberts
By Jonathan Shikes
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By William Breathes
By Melanie Asmar
We'll Drink to That
Wow! Your August 31 edition should have carried a warning, something like: Read only while sitting down, preferably with something to soothe the nerves at, or even better, in hand.
First, the story on MarkAir (Andy Van De Voorde's "By the Seat of Their Pants"), which could have been entitled "The Great Con, Phase II." Phase I: Anonymous confederates ooze into town, only to disperse, then evanesce, leaving us committed and eventually married to an airport version of a Godzilla who, spiffy though she may be, will scarf tons of Denver tax receipts for over half a century. Phase II: Sensing terminal (no pun) vulnerability, a seedy junk airline seeks to survive by gallantly agreeing to nosh on those same apparently limitless tax revenues. In any event, MarkAir does one thing: It makes the ever-neurasthenic Continental look as robust as Braniff in its (short) heyday. Or it would, if Continental were not in the process of slyly, bit by bit, slipping out of Denver altogether.
Next, we have the story on the officially fudged water-quality records that so nicely complement the officially fudged air-quality records (Richard Fleming's "Hard to Swallow"). Aw, but then, who cares when you're havin' fun, are growin' like wildfire and have a Godzilla of an airport just--like Mr. Hoover's prosperity--around the corner.
Finally, exhausted from hacking through these noxious thickets, Westword leads us into the gloom of "Kafka Does Graland" ("Book 'em," by Steve Jackson). Now this story is big-time serious: Kids are the cambium of any society, and how they are processed defines the future. If it were simply Graland, we could write it off as serving the upper-yuppies right. But we can't do this, since the dismal fate of brother Trost ("solace" in German, if you have a taste for irony) is one being endured by teachers across the land. This is spooky stuff: The Lord of the Flies enacted daily in room 106, or a sequel to weird Henry James's The Innocents, this time a vision of the little demons tearing the hearts from living, breathing teachers.
Then again, maybe I'm just getting fussy in me old age.
MarkAir My Words
Regarding Andy Van De Voorde's "By the Seat of Their Pants":
Errol Stevens has no right to be making any type of decision for the people of Denver if he believes MarkAir is a viable airline.
I think he should lead the way and show how strongly he believes in MarkAir by investing his life savings in the initial MarkAir stock offering. Tom Clark, Mary DeGroot and Gennifer Sussman should do the same, since these "accountants" spent six and a half hours poring over the books and announcing that MarkAir will "get current" by year's end. Get real! I'll bet a top accounting firm couldn't get through the first two pages in six and a half hours.
Would the mayor, city fathers and the airport committee be willing to personally guarantee any loans made to MarkAir? I don't think so. What a joke. This administration is an embarrassment to the city of Denver.
Regarding Steve Jackson's "Book 'em":
J.B. Trost was my junior high music teacher in Colorado Springs. I have only fond memories of Trost sharing his love for music with us. He was innovative, creative and, most of all, caring about his students. He taught us self-confidence and pride in our singing. I never heard one negative comment from any fellow students concerning Trost. We all looked forward to the one hour we would be sharing with him. All he ever wanted to do was to share his love of music with children. It made me sick to read about how he was treated at Graland. The children that used their parents' power and money could have only learned this disgusting way of life from the parents themselves. Their actions deeply sadden me.
After reading Steve Jackson's story about Graland, I wanted to remind the author of one thing: These are children he is writing about. I find it difficult to believe that one grown teacher couldn't handle them...or at least find school officials who could.
If the adults at Graland are, indeed, as incompetent and blind as Jackson makes them seem, that is the real lesson here.
My heart goes out to folks who keep spreading the word on environmental coverups and who really suffer, as in Richard Fleming's "Hard to Swallow." Since I came here eight years ago, I've drunk bottled water. A geologist friend told me the Denver metro area is perhaps the most polluted place on earth. Not as directly toxic as Chernobyl, but long-term. This geologist also told me Colorado's cancer rate--especially odd cancers--is perhaps the highest in the nation and a closely kept secret.
The movie Dangerous Ground, with Steven Segal, begins to put things into perspective, but it speaks to us to have compassionate for folks in Alaska, where environmental pollution is just beginning. What about those of us who live near Martin-Lockheed or the Rocky Mountain Arsenal or Rocky Flats or Lowry Landfill or Leadville, Idaho Springs, Durango and numerous other Colorado sites? It's overwhelming. Bottled water is an idea whose time has come. And what about lead foil for the floor of one's apartment or house or car?
P.S.: The movie reviews are what I read Westword for. They are reliable for cynical me. Others can read the Post guy who writes anal-cranial inverted movie reviews for probably a fundamentalist audience. Keep crankin' those good reviews.
I have to say that Karen Bowers's August 31 article "Better Dead Than Read" did not have the effect on me that your writer was trying to bring about. As far as I am concerned, that kid deserved everything that came to him.
Sure, there are some bad cops out there, but Betts probably wouldn't have had the problems he had here if he'd just kept his mouth shut in the first place. But after the first run-in, he started digging his own grave, and to try to get sympathy for doing it is beyond me.
What makes him so special? Why should he get more respect than a cop who's just trying to make a buck?
I'd love to find out what this college student expects to do with his life. It sounds like he has great direction!
Name withheld on request
Walk, Don't Pun
I'm writing to express my outrage concerning Kenny Be's "cartoon" printed in the August 31 issue of Westword. The cartoon, in very poor taste, mocks "Latino protest season." The depictions seen are entirely superficial, and it is about time non-Latinos understand what is really being protested.
September 16 marked the 25th anniversary since the last walkout. Therefore, the walkout taking place this year not only commemorated the first one 25 years ago, it also signified the lack of progress made in the past and the lack of progress still taking place. I am talking about the lack of progress surrounding Latinos in the school system and in the community in general. It is sad to see that little has changed in 25 years. Overall, there has been very little support for Latinos. In fact, injustice, inequality and racism are words that come to mind when describing the treatment of many Latinos in the school system. Many children are inadequately taught. As a result, they don't score as well on tests such as the ITBS, which was one subject of mockery seen in the cartoon. Aside from this, there are very few Latino educators who can serve as role models for students. Unfortunately, this can also be a factor that interferes with the progress of some Latinos.
It angers me that anyone can illustrate subjects such as these in such a light and humorous way as was done by Kenny Be. To be bluntly honest, these issues are serious stuff for us, and it is cartoons such as these that show the disrespect and racism in the community toward Latino issues. However, it is these things that the Latino community must overcome. For this reason, I have chosen to write so that I may express my outrage and pity; it's a start.
For once I can agree with Kenny Be. "Hispanic walkout day"--more Latino fiesta days, more Latino language classes, more Latino sporting events, more Latino arts programs, more Latino parking spaces, more and more things for Latinos.
What puzzles me is, why in the hell did these Latinos come here?
How the West Side Was Won
Regarding Arthur Hodges's "West Side Story," in the August 24 issue:
If Mayor Webb intends to cultivate the Hispanic voters, he should do two things:
1. Learn to speak Spanish.
2. Correct those atrocious notices in Denver's buses. A kindergarten student would be ashamed of them; they are a disgrace to Denver. Los Angeles has perfect Spanish notices in its public vehicles. Why are Denver's so awful?
First Things First
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Church Pleads the First," in the August 31 issue:
Dennis Powell is one of many individuals who have been ignored and treated unjustly. We read of so many lawsuits against churches these days; also, television programs often show church members who have been wronged. Churches that have been our pillars of strength seem to be a thing of the past. At the final judgment we will not need a lawyer or courts, because true believers will be judged by the saints.
When our young children are taught to obey God's laws, we won't need to build more prisons; they should find joy and happiness in communion with one another and God. Heaven on earth is feasible--but not going down the path we are reading about among churches today.
Mad About Crazy
Boo to M.S. Mason's review of Crazy for You, "Let George (and Ira) Do It," in the September 7 issue.
Comments like "banal storyline" and "predictable dialogue" indicate to me that your reviewer needs a little more magic and humor in his/her life. Incidentally, M.S. had to really search for something to criticize. When is the last time you read a movie review that commented on the admission price? Top-quality, Tony Award-winning Broadway shows always cost around $50. Been to New York lately? The show was wonderful. The review was lousy!
No Rhyme or Reason
In response to Linda Gruno's pathetically sophomoric review of Charles Bukowski's live recording, Hostage, in the August 31 issue: Baby, baby, you just don't know where it's at, and the sad thing is, people like you never will. The problem is, Linda, you were spoon-fed poetry in college by some fruity English prof in a turtleneck and clogs. You just don't know what real poetry is all about.
Bukowski spoke the language of the street--real life. But, Linda, you probably were never exposed to real life in those prissy private schools you attended. Man, I bet you never even had a flat tire or a pimple on your ass! Bukowski was life. He lived it, drank it, fucked it and then wrote about it. He wasn't one of those poetry phonies like Allen Ginsberg.
And as for the current crop of Generation X, artspeak, spoken-word, MTV poetry nothings, they aren't good enough to sharpen Bukowski's pencil, let alone stand shoulder to shoulder on a stage and read their little poesy.
So, Ms. Gruno, the next time you are with your little disassociated artist literary friends sipping espresso in one of those artsy-fartsy poetry cafes discussing the genius of Jeffers, W.C.W., Kerouac, Kassidy, Watts (OH GOD) and all the rest of the has-been never-were literary dry holes, just remember one thing: Charles Bukowski will always be "The Toughest Guy in Town."
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Today, Boulder. Tomorrow, The World," in the August 24 issue:
I enjoyed reading your article on the A3 conference in Boulder and the A3 format in general. I'm somewhat of a radio junkie, and I've thought for years that KBCO in Boulder and WXRT in Chicago are the best commercial rock radio stations in the country. I guess it's only recently that the marketing gurus have decided that "progressive rock" (A3) is a radio format that should be offered in many U.S. markets.
It seems that the modern-rock format is also starting to take hold across the U.S. I listen to KTCL often, but unfortunately, I think this format is getting narrower all the time as it expands. It would be interesting to see a similar article on this format in the future.
Thank you for an interesting article.
I have a few ideas to put forth in the interest of fighting a pressing problem of our times: radio stations that suck. 1. Don't listen to them; buy tapes, CDs and vinyl of your own choosing, be it Nine Inch Nails or the soundtrack from Oklahoma! Imagine the possibilities. 2. Support live music. Now there's a wild idea. It positively reams the senses. 3. Quit your whiny-ass bitching about how a radio station has you by the balls. Poor thing! Has your cable channel got a grip where it counts, also? You must be in some major pain. For all your name-dropping and musically hip verbiage, you are still just an errand boy for corporate structures put in place by accountants and kept in place by soul-searching channel surfers like you. If it's really that important to you, you shouldn't be letting someone else choose your playlist. But, damn, it's just like birth-control pills. Radio's so much more convenient. Ah, how modern and full of shit we are!
And regarding Anthony Rivas and his deathless prose in the same issue: Who is this moron, and why is he talking to us?
I go now to take aspirin and resume my shattered life.
Victoria W. Frerichs
I hope it's not too late to voice my support for Peter Tonks's wonderfully accurate rebuttal to Michael Roberts's imbecilic "Woodstock Redux" piece. Tonks's August 24 letter, characterizing rap as "atonal, infantile jingles," simply reduces the music to its essence. Equally obnoxious was Jesse Fuchs's sarcastic diatribe (letter) in the August 31 issue, in which he somehow confuses the late Sixties with previous eras of repressive racial stereotypes. If nothing else, the late Sixties embodied the rejection of stereotypes and all the other social precepts that served to alienate the human spirit. Perhaps Fuchs even views Jimi Hendrix as a "Stepin Fetchit"--a cheerful, humble negro such was he.
Woodstock was an allegory to a cultural renaissance, a window in time the likes of which may not be seen again for decades. It was a celebration of freedom, whose enduring influence has unwittingly made beneficiaries of even its newest critics. That its historical essence is lost on Michael Roberts is no wonder; it would take a few trips to the library to fully understand history as comprised of such eras of social epiphany interspersed with long eras of stagnation and ambivalence. I trust that in time, the post-baby boomers will concede that they are forever relegated to the latter category.