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From the week of November 10, 2005

Rocks and Roll

She's needled:After thinking all day about John La Briola's otherwise interesting Tarantella article ("Twice Bitten," November 3), I have to say I am a bit offended by his reference to the "so-called heroin-rock scene" in Denver. Heroin-rock? So-called by whom? I've heard the scene called "folk noir," "dark hick," "gothic country," "American gothic" and more, but I've never come across the term "heroin rock" here. I find it somewhat demeaning to the Denver musicians to which he was alluding (Tarantella, the Denver Gentlemen, Munly, 16HP, SCAC, etc.). It seems incredibly inaccurate to portray this scene as having anything to do with heroin, literally or figuratively. The scene is a lot more serious, talented and valuable than that designation implies, and La Briola spicing up his writing with a term like "heroin rock" is just sensationalistic (and ignorant) journalism.

Lindsay Moore
Littleton


Doom With a View

Of Mouse and men:"I'll order a Westword critic for lunch and spit out the brain."

The October 27 Playlist on Danger Doom's The Mouse and the Mask, by one Michael Roberts, was one helluva half-assed review. The critic spun the project as a capital-driven venture, but his insight on the creators' motives were trumped by the fact that he didn't even know who the creators were! "MK Doom" -- are you kidding me? Stop playing Mortal Kombat and listen.

MF Doom is an artist who is synonymous with anonymity, known by voice and name, never by face. He releases projects under a slew of aliases with numerous record labels. Danger Mouse has only recently received acclaim for his work in the wake of The Grey Album, but before that, he was doing intro/outro fillers for Adult Swim anonymously. For the critic to portray this project as a rap infomercial bent on product placement and corporate paydays undermines much of what creative purpose these artists strive for.

It's all relative. We've got Clear Channel and MTV that filter and provide only the hip-hop that has commercial significance these days. We're talking about rappers whose focus is not on music but on liquor, automobile, clothing, firearm, movie and video-game sales. With the Danger Doom LP, you've got two underground artists collaborating with the Cartoon Network to provide subjects and topics that are a unique refreshment from the mundane themes of guns, sex and money. These artists had complete creative control over this project, with Adult Swim providing the promotional aspects. I think it's brilliant to write a song called "Vats of Urine" and have a corporate entity push the product rather than having more 50 and Lil Jon albums pushing krunk piss and Bentleys. The Danger Doom LP revives a piece of hip-hop that has been withering for years: the playful, lighthearted, who-gives-a-F*%@!, let's-not-take-this-too-seriously side.

Do your homework: Danger Doom was released to counterspoof the G-Unit, Lil Jon and Jay-Z "I sell everything" artists -- not to spawn a Snuggle Bear single with Cierra.

Michael Coriano
Denver


Failure to Communicate

Voices carry:Regarding Jessica Centers's "Voice Over," in the October 27 issue:

I do not want to focus on your reporter's lack of sensitivity and knowledge in dealing with the topic of facilitated communication and disability "afflictions," although it is typically excruciating.

I do want to point out that many, many professionals, including teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists and occupational therapists, believe that my eighteen-year-old daughter with autism and many, many others are doing their own thinking and typing, despite facilitator support. She's been using this method to communicate since she was four years old. We have had ample opportunity to informally "test" the validity of her typing.

To allow so-called "ex-spurts" to say FC has "ruined many lives" and is fraudulent is a cheap shot and makes me want to ask the reporter if she really wrote this story. I mean, who sawher writing it? And how do we know somebody didn't tell her what to write? I demand to know if federal monies were involved in her alleged education, which she now uses to undermine the reality of so many people!

Carolyn Reed
Denver

Group think:I was quite alarmed to learn from "Voice Over" that the state has given grant money to a group promoting one of the saddest frauds in the world -- facilitated communication for autistic persons. While I am sure Watch Our Words Colorado (WOW) would consider the article very balanced, I found it very disturbing.

I gather from the article that Mike Hoover and all the other persons using facilitated communication are autistic and that none of them are able to speak or use any other method of communication. Is this correct? If so, then how can one know if these people formed this group as their own idea? How can you quote Mr. Hoover as if he had spoken to you when his comments actually came through facilitated communication? I have done some research on this terrible false hope for parents and find no reliable tests showing that FC is anything more than the facilitators typing out the thoughts that they are hoping the autistic person is thinking. At the very least, I think you should have made it clear that all of Mr. Hoover's conversation was through the typing machine and done with the aid of his facilitator -- in his case, his mother.

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