Letters to the Editor

From the week of April 29, 2004

Zoot Allure

The kids are alright: I just finished reading "The Next Stage," Laura Bond's April 22 article on the Zoot Suit Riots production at North High School.

I wanted to thank you for the article. It was such a nice surprise to read something positive about the students at North High. Although I did not attend North, I was raised and still reside in north Denver. The profiles on the different students highlighted a positive but realistic look into the family life of those students. I could easily understand the struggles they face on a daily basis just to survive -- not only in north Denver, but in everyday life.

I am looking forward to attending this production. Thanks for being a champion of youth and promoting the positives.

Joelle Zamora
via the Internet

Riot squad: Laura Bond's cover story was a refreshing change from the usual death-and-destruction stories you find about today's teenagers -- not just in Westword, but in other publications, too. It's time for the media to pay the same attention to good news that it does to bad. Not all teens are gang members. They just need a chance.

Ray Vigil
Denver

True North: I was in Denver today, picked up Westword and read "The Next Stage." It was so good. I was surprised that the director, José Mercado, came from Greeley. I work in the university library here and over the years have learned about the zoot-suit tradition; I also was thrilled to recently attend a zoot-suit wedding.

How does one get tickets for this event?

Elaine Schmidt
Greeley

Editor's note: Zoot Suit Riots runs from April 30 through May 2 at North High School; for ticket information, call 303-964-2700. On May 5, La Rumba will host a benefit for North's theater department; for more details, see page 42.


Something's Fishy

Hook, line and stinker: I can't help but wonder what the motivation was for including Ethan Wenberg's cartoon with Alexander Neth's article on fishing at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal ("The Young Man and the Lake," April 22). We all know the sordid history of that particular chunk of land, and a few of us are even aware of the valid attempts being made to make the area something the metro area can be less ashamed (if not proud) of. Not only did that cartoon have little or nothing to do with Neth's tale of a day spent trying to outwit a few large fish, but it also seemed to be an unnecessary cheap shot.

I can understand not wanting to jump on Interior Secretary Gale Norton's "look what we've done to clean up the mess we made" bandwagon. But c'mon!

Wendy Thornton
Denver


Breaking Out of the Box

Gone, but not forgotten: As an aficionado of both boxing and music, I was pleased to read John La Briola's take on Mark Kozelek's work ("Abstract Painter," April 22). At the risk of appearing to be a nit-picker, I believe some points need clarification.

La Briola refers to Salvador Sanchez as a "long-forgotten Latin featherweight." Forgotten perhaps by the casual boxing fan, but certainly not by Mexican and Mexican-American devotees of the sweet science, a group that numbers in the millions. Sanchez was a bit of an anomaly for a Mexican fighter; he came from an upper-middle-class family and had no economic need to take up boxing. Also, his style was not typical of the Mexican style of fighting: all heart, a macho attitude and a mean left hook. Instead, Sanchez was a technician in the ring, preferring to avoid brawling and choosing instead to use his considerable skills to outclass his opponents. His battle against a then-relatively unknown Azumah Nelson at Madison Square Garden was a classic, establishing Nelson as a force to be reckoned with and cementing Sanchez's reputation as a true champion.

Kozelek mentions fights in the "late 1800s, early 1900s" lasting "35, 45 rounds." True, but misleading. Back in the bare-knuckle days, and in the early days of the gloved era, fights often lasted much longer than that in the number of rounds, but the rounds were often not three minutes long. In those days, before the standardization of the rules, if a fighter were taking a beating, he could drop to one knee, thereby ending the round. Both fighters would retire to their corners, and the fight would resume after a minute had passed. It was not unheard of for several five- or ten-second rounds to follow in succession until the losing fighter could clear his head. If one checks the record books, one can find many fights of that era lasting 80 to 100 rounds. It is unlikely that even a supremely conditioned fighter would be able to last 100 three-minute rounds.

I'm glad that Kozelek is writing songs about boxers. Few musicians have done so. Warren Zevon wrote about Boom-Boom Mancini fighting Bobby Chacon, and Miles Davis gave us the classic "A Tribute to Jack Johnson," from the documentary film of the same name, but I'm hard-pressed to come up with any other examples. Nice work, Kozelek.

P.S.: Oops! How could I have forgotten Dylan's ode to Hurricane Carter?

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