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From the week of June 8, 2006

Let the Games Begin!

Men overboard:I was disgusted by Jessica Centers's article about Denver pick-up artists, "Game On," in the June 1 issue. I'm a twenty-something guy, and it is totally obvious to me why people have so much trouble finding real relationships and why the divorce rate is so high. If immature girls are so impressed with the superficial ability to make conversation that they throw themselves at guys even as they are making out with other girls, is there any question why people cheat on each other? That's not flirting, that's just sleazy.

But, hey, at least these guys have "rules" about how far they will go if they're not really interested. They should just advertise it: "Congratulations, girls, you're getting played!" And what's so intriguing about a guy who ignores the girl he is interested in, anyway? I completely agree that girls know if they're going to talk to a guy before he even says anything.

That said, the intentions of the PUA groups generally are good, because most guys need all the help we can get with attracting women. But seriously, who falls for that crap? Successful relationships are built on both actions and words, and it looks like our generation still has a long way to go.

David Costantino
Denver

Hey, baby, wanna go out?I have heard a lot of pick-up lines being thrown around in the Game, but here is one of my favorites: "Did you know that the human body is made up of 90 percent water? And all of a sudden I'm feeling kinda thirsty!" No one takes lines like these seriously, but they do initiate a conversation. Ladies, I hope you can relate to me when I say that pick-up artists can be just as funny as a lame line. Pick-up artists like Matt and Greg are adding excitement to our Saturdays by giving tips to guys who might very well need them. Sometimes Mr. Nice Guy just needs a nudge to get the party started. However, I want to give would-be PUAs a fair warning before they rush over to the lair: Do not lose what makes you genuine. Women are smarter than men and will cut right through the bullshit. So if you go out looking for a peach and find yourself ready to go after the whole tree, just remember that you won't find anything sweet about a woman scorned by lies and deceit.

My first impression of the lair was that it was a place to teach guys how to get laid. As a woman, I had my doubts that would even work, but if guys are being taught how to lie to women in order to get them into bed, then we would all have a problem. However, that's not what Matt's intentions are, and I have to commend him for that. I would like to team up with Matt at some point and go over what women want: He needs to hear it from a woman's perspective.

My heart goes out to all those women out there who might be inexperienced in the dating game who are now subject to lies and goodbyes. To all you PUA wannabes: Say your lines and get a few laughs, but be honest and you might get a few girls!

Amy Cashman
Denver

California scheming:Although I enjoyed reading "Game On," LoDo does not compare to the glitz and glamour action of the Strip -- Sunset Boulevard -- in West Hollywood, California. There are many real pick-up artists in Los Angeles who haven't paid to learn how to pick up fine women and who help each other out, including giving directions to others who merit their attention. From the San Fernando Valley, they branch into Hollywood, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica and as far as Las Vegas to pick up superstar ladies.

The better and higher the "game," the better the "action," the relationships and the ongoing results. It is like polo, a Mercedes-Benz, a movie-star lifestyle and good showmanship mixed together. The "game" is only good if the fine women are good enough for the "game."

Emzy Veazy III
Los Angeles, Aspen, Denver

Lame on:Are you kidding me? These guys have proclaimed themselves pick-up artists after compiling a resumé chock-full of LoDo and Aurora Stampede women? These are the same guys who brag about the fish they caught at the Washington Park children's pond using corn and worms. That high-five rap was pretty solid, huh? The long hours refining and perfecting the perfect move; the modern manifestation of de Sade's lyrical prose. What an in! And that grueling membership test -- wow.

The article was amusing and very informative, but you really blew an opportunity. These guys and the ladies who fall for their lame rap needed to be crucified. Where was Cayton-Holland when the community needed him?

Chris Wals
Denver


Something's Troubling

Pros and conflicts:Regarding Michael Roberts's "Exposed," the June 1 Message:

I have an issue -- no, I have a real problem with Tom Martino, the so-called Troubleshooter. How can this idiot pass himself off as a consumers' advocate and yet have his name and (really ugly) face plastered on buses, billboards and numerous other advertisements promoting companies and associated products?

This is a blatant conflict of interest -- but since he is associated with Fox, well, need I say more? A true consumers' advocate cannot claim to protect the public while simultaneously promoting himself like a shameless whore. I realize that it may be too much to ask the people of Denver to use some common sense. But, come on, people, wake up!

Steven Barela
via the Internet

Canceling a check: I'd love to see someone expose the alleged background checks that the Troubleshooter staffers perform. The only thing they care about is whether your check clears or not.

I was the operations manager for a company that advertised with the Troubleshooter website, and our company owner had been convicted of fraud on more than one occasion with his previous business dealings. The only truthful statement made on his application to the so-called referral network was the company name and phone number.

So one slips though the cracks once in a while. The amazing thing was how Tom Martino would call on my former employer to act as an expert when people called into the show with consumer complaints regarding our competitors. I think Tom Martino and staff have been very irresponsible in claiming they offer a safe referral network. Your story was just one more example of this.

Nicole Hunter
Denver

Giving Martino the business:It is about time someone wrote about this very dangerous man. Tom Martino is nota consumer advocate, he is a Tom Martino advocate, doing only what is good for him and his empire. I have had firsthand experience of how he almost cost someone close to me their business.

I am glad your newspaper has the huevos to speak up against this guy. Obviously, if you were one of the mainstream media outlets, this would have never been mentioned. Come on, guys, do you think they would go after their own? Keep up the good work, Westword, and thanks for the truth.

Name withheld on request


Band of Opportunity

They don't suck:Dave Herrera's "Phallic Carnage," in the June 1 issue, was an amusing article on a great band. Horatio Alger is getting laid!

Susan Roberts
Boston, Massachusetts

Tour de force:In 2004, I went to the Warped Tour for the first time ever. I walked around looking for the tents of the big bands I knew. As I walked by Dork's tent, one of the bandmembers (I don't remember which one it was) stopped me and told me to check out their CD and take some stickers. After listening to half of two or three songs, I decided that Dork rocked. Unfortunately, they had already played -- but I ended up with their CD.

Deciding to make it a tradition, I ended up at the 2005 Warped Tour. First things first, I go get all riled up in the mosh pit and then go buy some CDs and get free stickers to pile on the back of my 1987 Toyota, and then, walking around, I remembered Dork. I thought, "Yeah, I gotta go see if those guys are around." They were. I stopped at their tent, got a sticker and then ended up in front of the stage when they played. I rocked out so hard I attracted more people to the front of the stage. Eventually, they started singing a song that I picked up the chorus to, and they let me up on stage.

I sang on stage with Dork -- best Warped Tour ever. Thanks, Dork.

Travis L. Rodriguez
Norfolk, Virginia


Real Whirled Denver

The lowdown on LoDo: Loved Adam Cayton-Holland's What's So Funny in the May 25 issue, on what the landing of The Real Worldtrain wreck here in Denver will do for our city. It's like when I was a kid and drunk-crashed into the light pole in my front yard and died. It was truly sad, kinda funny, but overall a pretty awesome story to tell!

I'll be 32 this summer. I was raised in Colorado Springs, and due to my life's demographic/geographic location, was raised on both The Real World and the legends of Denver. We would sneak up here in high school to see what the "big city" was all about. In the early '90s, we small-town Springs kids were often warned of the drugs, prostitution and gang violence that occurred on every street in downtown Denver! Of course, our forbidden high school adventures didn't reveal these dangers, but rather a city far more exciting and interesting than our own. I remember walking down Market Street one night to see the future home of Coors Field: "They're gonna put a stadium where!?" The urban area was lifeless, but not quite dead.

So after moving to Denver in 1999 after living in California for a few years, I was amazed at what I found on this very same street. Now in my mid-twenties, newly married and with a fancy new cell phone full of friends' numbers, LoDo was our playground. Every Saturday night it was Gigglin' Grizzly for cheap beer, then on to El Chapultepec for beer and jazz, then on to LoDo's so my single friends could find themselves an attractive woman to reject them...repeatedly. We always had a good time, and we never witnessed more violence than your average bar fight. Sadly, my group grew up and grew apart. When I met some old friends down at El Chapultepec in the summer of 2004, I could tell that both the media and the police were probably sensationalizing the issue. But the damage had already been done, and the vibe just wasn't as fun and, um, vibrant.

The Real World was huge to me when it first came out, it and gave my young life yet another taste of big-city life outside of Colorado Springs. Over the years, I've grown out of the target demographic, and the show has gone from an introspective look at different walks of life to a Spring Break/Springer episode fueled by a stereotypical, formulaic drunkfest. So I haven't really watched in three or four seasons.

Now my two former infatuations have come together! Now what's old is new again! My small, sleepy Denver (D-town, for the hipsters) is no longer acres of empty warehouses. It is now acres of hip lofts and empty-headed sorority girls trying to sleep with "the cute one" from The Real World. Our little city is now officially "worthy."

Dave Lash
Aurora


Their Story Is Our Story

Nothing lost in translation: I enjoyed reading Juliet Wittman's critique of my play Masked ("Band of Brothers," May 25). I haven't seen the production, but I'm sure Ami Dayan did a great job.

As for the question raised in the review, whether Palestinian audiences have seen it: Well, many did, from Israel and territories. Most of them were moved and thrilled by the fact that an Israeli writer could write it, some of them didn't believe it was by an Israeli author, and some felt that they should have written it. Nobody ever complained about my right to write "their story" -- maybe because their story is our story, and the other way around.

Moreover, the Arab theater of Jaffa, Al-Saraya, translated it to Arabic and produced a very impressive show that runs nowadays in Israel, alongside a Hebrew production.

Ilan Hatsor
Binyamina, Israel


The Royal We

Soaring achievement:I just wanted to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed Jason Sheehan's review of the Royal Peacock ("Wedded Bliss," June 1). From a person who rarely reads an entire article, but instead skims or passes over long articles to read the captions, he captured my attention immediately. Utilizing a personal story with the experience of dinner was brilliant. I not only read the entire review, I am planning when I can go to the Royal Peacock this week. Great review!

Cathy Schuberth
Denver

Dig in!Without a doubt, Jason Sheehan is one of the best food critics/writers I have read. I dig into every column. His love of food is wonderful and contagious. In fact, it has encouraged me to try foods that I would never dream of trying.

Keep up the incredible writing, Jason. You have one avid reader looking forward to your next article!

Michelle Smithson
Aurora

Love, Indian style:Just when I thought Jason Sheehan's stuff couldn't get any better, he came up with the Royal Peacock. My wife and I love Indian as wellŠ I can taste the cucumber and beer right now.

Scott Curtis
Denver

Long-distance relationship: I became interested in Jason Sheehan's writing when I heard his ode to the pleasures of barbecue on NPR's "This I Believe" on Memorial Day. Since then, I have enjoyed reading a number of his older food columns online -- even though I may never get to any of the restaurants featured. (I am, however, making a list of the ones I think my family would most enjoy, so that when we visit my nephew in Silverton we may give some of them a try.) I have always thought the best cookbooks were those that were as enjoyable to read as to use as a cooking guide; I suppose I feel the same about food columns. I don't have to actually go to a restaurant to enjoy reading about it.

Louise Turner
Fort Smith, Arkansas

Follow your bliss:"Wedded Bliss" is probably the finest restaurant review I've ever read. I just wanted to drop a line and say that.

I've read Jason Sheehan's stuff while I've been living in San Francisco the past few years, basically because I was always curious to see what was happening food-wise back in Colorado. I've been a big fan of Jason from the beginning of his stint at Westword. He brings so much more to the table, both as a writer and as a conveyor of information and opinion, than just about any food writer I can readily identify.

I was in the car on Memorial Day with my wife when his NPR segment was played. When they were introducing him, I turned up the volume and told my wife, "You've got to listen to this. This guy is awesome." While we're both no mammals/no birds eaters, the segment on BBQ didn't disappoint.

We're about to move back to Denver, and absolutely looking forward to becoming more familiar with his work and the joints it takes us to.

Peter Heller
San Francisco, California

Editor's note:Last summer, Jason Sheehan was contacted by National Public Radio to record a variation of his "Believe It" review of Big Papa's, originally published in the May 12, 2005, issue, for the "This I Believe" series. Originally scheduled for last Labor Day, Sheehan's NPR piece was bumped by coverage of Hurricane Katrina and held for another suitably barbecue-ish holiday. It finally aired on Memorial Day, and is still available -- along with essays by Colin Powell, Penn Jillette, Studs Terkel and Albert Einstein, although none of them are talking about barbecue -- at www.NPR.org. Just click on the "This I Believe" logo on the right-hand side of the page.


A Class Act

Success story:Regarding "Final Testament," in the June 1 issue:

Richard Velarde was a student of mine in 1995-96 when I was the basic-skills instructor at Community College of Denver Technical Education Center West. We were doing in a few short months with these students what DPS has not done in its history: succeeding.

I was very sorry to read last week that Richard had died. I was glad that Adam Cayton-Holland's articles gave Richard some of the attention that young guys like him seldom get, but was also sad that his shooting and his death were the reasons he received attention. The article on Richard and his mom captured in words what I remember in memory of them both. I knew Jody to be a strong woman, and she cared greatly for him. Damn. I remember how she would come to meetings at TEC West to see how her boy was doing.

It was a great waste and tragedy when Richard was shot. He was a good guy, not a bad person. I can't really judge who the "bad guy" was in all this, and maybe there was one, but I also remember my own days of being young, and stupid, and drunk. And I remember a lot about guns, and always remember that race and class are the context for all this, and always have been. So what judgment do I cast?

Ernesto Vigil
Denver

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