Letters to the Editor

Letters from the week of 6/26/2008

"Curtain Call," Adam Cayton-Holland, June 19

The Last Laugh

Thanks for the well-written article/sendoff and wild cover for Don Becker and for the community of which he was a treasure. That goes for the comic/poet/playwright communities, too. Don was unique, passionate and hilarious.

One of my best memories of Don was running into him at the block-party wake for the late, great Tom Auer. Don and I strolled around together off and on, making each other laugh (in Don's case, that goes without saying), and he knew just about everybody, it seemed. Laughter at a wake was one of the definitions of Don Becker, and he sent his good friend Tom off just so.

There was much laughter and love and righteous anger, amazing wordplay and pus and phlegm, too, at Don's memorial at the Merc last Sunday. So thanks, Don, for sending us off with a little of you inside, to carry on...
Jim Bernath

Personally, I did think Don would live to be 101. I believed that Don would behave any way he pleased and die of old age. Taking dope was like many things in Don's life. At first glance, it would seem to be a bit OCD. But actually, it was science. I asked Don about his addiction to cigarettes. He quickly produced the photo you printed on the top of the mountain — the photo where he has a cigarette sticking out of his mouth. Get this: Don said that he climbed a Fourteener every year. If he could make it to the top, he could continue to smoke. That attitude carried over to less printable pursuits that Don and I pursued. My guess is he might have gotten the chemistry confused in May.

Here is Don's piece on death, "Slow Dance": www.spokenwar.com/becker1.html.
Greg Stant

I want to thank Adam Cayton-Holland for his well-written, well-investigated piece on Don Becker. There were some small articles in both the Post and the News covering his passing — but considering all that he had done for this city's comedy, poetry and theater scenes, somehow it didn't seem just to have that be the extent to which he was acknowledged.

I'd known Don since the late '70s and followed his career from his early stand-up attempts through all his plays, and often spent time at the Merc catching his poetry slams. I will always cherish my copy of the script to Lucifer Tonight. I watched him go through his ups and downs and blast through friends. Don introduced me to the man who would be my husband when he was building a prop for one of Don's plays. He was always proud of that, and would talk about his accomplishments as a matchmaker for more than one couple. It seems a bit out of character, but he had such an eclectic group of friends that it makes sense that people who didn't hook up through the usual means might find a friend through Don. Paul Weiss, my husband, is naming one of the stages at his City Park Festival of the Arts on July 20 the Don Becker Memorial Stage because he was often an MC or organized the poets for our spoken-word stage.

It has been strange walking though Capitol Hill or going to the Merc and checking phone messages and knowing Don wouldn't be there. He deserved a cover story and more. Thanks, Westword, for giving Don Becker his due.
Carla Madison
Denver City Councilwoman District 8

"Show Time," Dave Herrera, June 12

The Show Must Go On

I agree that the music scene here in Denver is growing and evolving. I see this more than ever now that I am a student at the University of Colorado Denver with a dual emphasis in music business and recording technologies. There are so many different types of musicians making different styles of music in this town, and now with the expansion of small, intimate venues, these musicians have numerous options that fit their sound and can possibly connect them with crowds and other local bands' fans. I really think Denver is headed in the right direction. We have artists such as the Fray, Meese, DeVotchKa and Ian Cooke, as well as others who have been noticed by majors or are at least well known enough to help the rest of the country acknowledge there is a music scene here in Denver.

Westword has introduced me to several different local bands that I would never have known about without the Backbeat writeups. I respect what you're doing here in Denver to help expand the local scene.
Tony Mason

I've been an avid follower and devout supporter of the Denver music scene for quite some time now, and I've attended the Westword Music Showcase for about the past eight years. In a scene that is unfortunately becoming more homogenous and bland every year, it is refreshing to still see a few good acts at the Showcase. By far the coolest thing this year was that band that played out of a truck! This was definitely the highlight of the evening, and it wasn't even on the official schedule or a part of the Showcase!

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