Letters to the Editor

From the week of February 8, 2001

Sheep Thrills

Like lambs to the slaughter: I can't tell you how much my circle of friends and I enjoyed Stuart Steers's "Meaner Pastures," in the February 1 issue. I have never met the Peroulis family, I know nothing about them, and I don't hear anybody defending them in Moffat County. It was a tough story, but it needed to be told in illustrative detail. Our local press does not have your courage, and the local residents I'm acquainted with were unaware of the FBI/INS sweep of the Peroulis operation. The local press must have quashed it.

I'm disappointed with the apparent refusal by the local sheriff and the deputy DA to move forward with a prosecution, but I am not surprised. It would be a simple, routine task to bring the key witness(es) back from Peru for depositions and trial if the special interests (local Greek group) hadn't blocked the effort. To me and others, it clearly demonstrates the level of corruption we are faced with in northwest Colorado.

Jeff Taylor
Moffat County

Shear nonsense:Although the situation involving the foreign sheepherders sounded very sad, I find it difficult to believe that there aren't workers in the Denver metro area involved in situations that are much worse, with employers that make the Peroulises look like angels. Why doesn't Westword do some investigating in its own backyard?

Hilary Perkins
via the Internet


Fade to Black

Frontier injustice:A friend shared with me T.R.Witcher's sad story in the February 1 issue, "Month to Month," regarding funding for the Black American West Museum. A city such as Denver, which is the capital of Colorado, should not be considering closure of this famous and worthwhile "Center of Education." Surely, with a stained-glass window in the State Capitol of "Aunt" Clara Brown and a seat in her honor at the Central City Opera House, Denver has long recognized the relationship it has had with African-Americans since their days on the frontier. Men like Barney Ford and others contributed to the city and the state. The Black American West Museum relates the times and deeds of these and other black people who contributed not only to the growth and development of Denver and Colorado, but to the opening of the West.

I lived in Denver during the '70s while earning my doctorate at the University of Denver, so I am aware of Denver. A budget deficit of $18,000 should not be impossible for the city to cover for this worthy enterprise while the effort continues to raise private funds to keep the facility operational.

Thank you for sharing my concerns. I hope there will be positive action in support of the museum.

Audreye E. Johnson
University of North Carolina

History in the remaking: The current mayor of this city is black, has been in office three terms -- and the Black American West Museum is closed for Black History month?

And don't forget that the City of Denver spent $50,000 extra to man the Columbus Day Parade after the Sand Creek Massacre site had been made a national historic monument.

Some people actually live in Colorado longer than a day.

M. A. Eckels
Denver


Are We Having Funds Yet?

Offsides: Now let's have an election to ratify the Invesco name and to throw out the stadium boardmembers who pushed the name "Invesco Field at Mile High" on us (Off Limits, January 25). I did not vote to be taxed to support a giant billboard.

Ed Gauss
Niwot


Hot to Trotsky

Hari today, gone tomorrow: Did Mary Motian Meadows, whose letter was published in February 1 issue, read the same review of Mexicanidad: Modotti and Westonthat I did? I found Michael Paglia's January 25 column, "Mexican Sojourn," both insightful and entertaining. The description of Modotti as a "Marxist Mata Hari" was evocative rather than insensitive. Mr. Paglia should be commended for his intelligent reviews, and Westwordshould be congratulated for believing the visual arts are important enough to consign their care to such a sensitive reviewer.

Jane Mahoney
via the Internet

X Marx the spat:What Ms. Meadows calls "Cold War bigotry" and "hysteria of McCarthyism" notwithstanding, the evil of Stalin and his operatives is such -- particularly after the Nazi-Soviet Pact, purges, show trials, mass starvation and the suppression of religion -- that the alleged participation of Tina Modotti in the murder of Trotsky on August 20, 1940, needs to be known. This is more than an issue of Modotti being "socially concerned," as was the case with the preponderance of left-wing sympathizers in the arts and humanities at the time.

Would Mary Motian Meadows likewise whitewash Leni Riefenstahl, who was a Nazi propagandist even after the 1935 enactment of the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Decrees?

Jack Henry Kunin
Denver


Quiet on the Set

Negative advertising:I go to see a good many films -- but not, sadly, on the basis of the reviews that I read in Westword. If I was influenced by these weekly reports, I would have missed so many excellent movies. Some of your journalists seem to be under the impression that a good review means a negative critique.

Take, for example, Jean Oppenheimer's February 1 review of Malena, "Misguided Passions." It wasn't simply that I enjoyed the film immensely and that the critic didn't. To my mind, Oppenheimer missed so much of the symbolism, so much of the plot, that she didn't give her readers a fair analysis of the movie!

In reply to her review: It wasn't a comedy -- but there were some funny moments, because even in tragedy there is comedy. Uncomfortable moments were intentional: The behavior of the Sicilian villagers was a reflection of human nature, albeit more intense. Which of us women hasn't felt envious of a beautiful woman? Which of you men hasn't leered at a beautiful woman passing? And remember, this story was based in Sicily, in a village in the 1940s, under Mussolini! Malena's silence and her father's deafness were symbols of the prevailing attitudes in the face of the rise of fascism and the subsequent collaboration with, or resignation before, the Germans.

The villagers' behavior, apart from being normal in such a location, was also a result of the war and their mixed emotions in such a crisis. Maybe Guiseppe Tornatore didn't allow us to hear Malena speak because he is telling us that we must not judge on appearances. Maybe she wasn't intelligent or witty or kind, but that doesn't matter. She was simply different -- like the Jews and the disabled who were condemned by Hitler's regime. The director couldn't have given Malena a strong female role, as those roles simply didn't exist then, when women's choices were severely limited.

Tornatore made a beautiful film, visually. But more than that, he set out to make his audience think. That may not be a popular approach these days, but it works for some of us. I would urge your readers to go and see it.

Sandra Creemers
Denver


An Open-and-Shut-Up Case

Last but not yeast: Enough about the Biscuit! I've never understood what Kyle Wagner saw in that place, and am still shocked that she gave it an award for Best New Restaurant in last year's edition of the Best of Denver. And it's even worse to read that all the time and money Sean Kelly put into the Biscuit may have contributed to his decision to close Aubergine (The Bite, February 1). That's a real loss to Denver diners. Aubergine was one of those treasures that you think you've discovered all on your own -- although when you took one look at the number of people who crowded into the place, you knew that couldn't be the case.

Best of luck to Sean Kelly. Let's hope he brings Aubergine back soon.

J.T. O'Hare
Denver


Drawing the Line

Street dreams:You have one the country's best food/restaurant writers in Kyle Wagner, and it's a blessing for us readers. But to restore credibility to Westword's restaurant listings, can't you find a local person and proofreader to make the categories accurate?

At present, it looks as if no one at Westword a) knows where an address is, or else b) knows and doesn't give a damn. How, for example, can 730 South University be "Southeast Denver" while 1028 South Gaylord jumps into "Southwest Denver"? How can Jerusalem, at 1890 East Evans, be "Southwest Denver" while Damascus, at 2276 South Colorado -- just south of Evans -- is "Southeast"?

Also, 1487 South Pearl sure ain't "Southwest," as Westword has always had it, nor is a Thai place five blocks east of Broadway similarly "Southwest."

Just some random examples. It's not worthy of Westword to be so careless.

Judy Hull
Denver


Hardcore Facts

There's always room for Jello: This is for Eric Peterson, who wrote the February 1 Critic's Choice:

Sorry, son. The Dead Kennedys' lead man, Jello Biafra (aka Eric Boucheau of Boulder), did not come out of the New York/DC hardcore scene like Discord recording artist Bad Brains. The Dead Kennedys have always been from the San Francisco hardcore scene -- as eclectic as the entire Ohio scene was.

Get it right, not wrong. Ciao.

Patrick D'Annunzio
Denver

Editor's note: Have you been to Aurora lately? How about the Denver Tech Center? In dividing the metropolitan area, we gave considerable thought not just to geography, but also to the concentration of restaurants. And all of your questions are easily answered by referring to the geographic explanation at the start of the Cafe listings: We use University Boulevard as an east-west dividing line.

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