Maxine Munt -- what a wonderful woman! Thank you for Robin Chotzinoff's "Curtains!" last week. Although I left Denver long ago, I was still saddened to read that Maxine had died, but made glad as I remembered everything that the Changing Scene -- and Maxine and Al -- brought to a city that was so much a part of my early life.
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I rarely write letters to newspapers, even though I sometimes think about doing so. Today I thought about it and am actually doing it. I have to write and tell you how deeply touching Robin Chotzinoff's February 24 "Curtains!" was. I never thought I would read such a lengthy article all the way through (I'm sometimes guilty of scanning if the article is lengthy and doesn't keep my interest) -- but I read every single word, with tears pouring down my cheeks. I was moved by her words, and the words stirred up happy memories of times spent at the Changing Scene (its closing is a loss for Denver); over the years, I have treasured the unique charm and dedication of those two splendid thespians, Maxine Munt and Al Brooks. They never hesitated to try something new or daring or bold; the name of the game was "creative" and "let's give the new playwright a shot." Yes, new works were considered every year at the Changing Scene. While these little one-act plays were not always good, they were always in the spirit of "new" and "fresh," and every once in a while, something truly spectacular would happen.
The Changing Scene will be sadly missed by those of us who love the "little theater" scene in Denver. Thank you, Maxine and Al, wherever you are.
I cried when I read Robin's article about Al and Maxine. I was only sixteen when I first met them. My parents had separated; I felt alone, but then I found the Changing Scene. I was given a paintbrush and told to paint. I thought Maxine meant the walls, but, no -- she meant a picture. I was considered eccentric by some but talented by Maxine. I live in San Antonio, Texas, now, producing and directing films. I will never forget those two. I learned that my dreams, impossible to some, were attainable, and I owe it all to Maxine and Al. I will always cherish them.
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Just when I was ready to pack my bags and move out of this backward, disgusting, stupid-minded state for good, I read Patricia Calhoun's "A Perfect Ten." Perhaps there is hope yet for Colorado. May I suggest that Westword mail a copy of "A Perfect Ten" to ALL members of the Colorado Legislature? Better yet, since they were so intent on posting the Ten Commandments at public schools, why not post "A Perfect Ten" in each legislator's office for daily recitation?
Best regards from an avid reader.
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The writers at Westword would do well to pay attention to the commandments that Patricia Calhoun mocks -- starting with Commandment #3, which your publication breaks every week: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."
Anyone else find it ironic that scarcely a week after Fox aired (erred?) Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire, the Colorado Legislature is debating a measure that would ban the recognition of same-sex marriages in the state of Colorado? This in itself isn't ironic, but the fact that the bill's sponsor, Representative Mark Paschall, says he is trying to "preserve the sanctity of marriage" seems somehow perverse. Webster's defines sanctity as "the holiness of life and character: godliness."
I don't know Paschall, but I do know that I believe in the sacred nature of marriage, and this sounds to me like sanctimony (same root, vastly different meaning). My suspicion is that Mr. Paschall is (consciously or unconsciously) trying instead to preserve his own little comfort zone, where he can ignore the needs of and generally devalue certain people who make him feel uncomfortable. Legislation is not the way to restore the values of the general public. Homosexuals are not the problem. Maybe, though, we can learn something from their plight. Ask yourself if you would stay totally committed to your partner in the face of public ridicule, government-sponsored oppression, threats of physical violence and general dehumanizing rhetoric from people like Paschall, who can't seem to grasp the fact that not everyone on earth is like him. If you still want to marry someone through all of that, how could anyone question your devotion to the sanctity of marriage?
Congratulations to Alan Prendergast for his excellent "Unlawful Entry," in the February 24 issue. The Denver Police Department is out of control -- and Ismael Mena paid for that with his life.
The drug war makes a very convenient excuse for law enforcement to wipe its ass with the Constitution whenever it feels like it. The neo-puritan persecution of contraband in a country that celebrates (subsidizes) booze and tobacco is an international disgrace, the primary result of which seems to be an arms race between modern bootleggers and police. This war is beginning to resemble another failed police action, Vietnam.
My heartfelt sympathies and support go to the Mena family and their supporters. Please don't print my name, as I am now afraid of the police.
Name withheld on request
I wonder if Prendergast shouldn't have the voice of the "informant" print-tested to see if it isn't Officer Bini's?
Name withheld on request
I once was a forensic chemist, like Sam on Quincy reruns. Using hard physical evidence, I trashed hundreds of circumstantial cases brought by overzealous cops and prosecutors against innocent people. After seven more years of school, now I'm more like Quincy, except I bailed from criminal justice to help people who can still breathe -- something Mexican national Ismael Mena can't do anymore. Eight years of working for the criminal-justice system taught me two things: Many cops barely function above the level of street criminals (the sad corollary is stupid people don't know they're stupid); and judges often do things for the same reason dogs lick their testicles -- because they can.
If anyone is surprised that Officer Joseph Bini is charged with lying to Judge Raymond Satter to get an illegal no-knock search warrant, you don't understand the mentality of many cops. Of course Bini should be prosecuted for being stupid enough to get caught, but cops do stupid and illegal things like that every day -- something that won't change until they get paid enough to put intelligent, ethical people in uniforms.
Why are we complaining about the cops? Stupid is as stupid does! It's the judges we should worry about. These people have six-figure salaries and are well-educated, and society has exempted them from personal liability when they screw up. The next time some patient walks in and begs for morphine, perhaps doctors should consider following Judge Satter's example and just sign the prescription without question.
Mark von Maier
Would it be too much to hope that apologies and reparations would be forthcoming as part of the new police administration? Chief Sanchez's administration enabled police officers to lie in order to obtain warrants for no-knock raids. Is the lie any less wrong when it's directed at the CSU band in order to mace the members, ruin their instruments and initiate a confrontation with CSU students?
Great insight on Roberts's part, and a well-written article.
Robin Chotzinoff hit on a very important sociological issue. In the past, girls were never trained to appreciate -- much less understand -- machinery, but those days are over. The computer creates a level playing field for the sexes, and those bad boys simply don't want to share!
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Basically, I say that no two people are going to work a mouse the same, because no two people's brains are ever wired the same. My son and I finally had to get two Web TVs so we could be on at the same time in peace. When I let friends use my setup, either I end up turning my attention away, so as not to be driven mad by the lapses in their personal navigating and learning curve, or they end up asking me to take over, and I act as interface secretary, operating the board and accomplishing whatever they command me to do for them on-screen. The latter works rather well, as long as I simply serve as a robot and execute their wishes. If they want something but are not aware of how to make the machine do it, I can offer them choices; they pick, and I carry it out for them.
Robin's comments raise a devil of a question in my mind now. I wonder if two people on one machine -- one controlling the mouse, one controlling the arrows on the board -- could share command power, or would they crash the machine? It's annoying enough just trying to read the same text and scrolling forward at the same reading rates! I suspect my original conclusion is the reality: No two people's brains are wired alike; hence, I seriously believe that sharing is impossible unless one consciously chooses to act in service to the other.
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Robin's description of our marriage and the computer mouse wars contains one fatal flaw: She suggests we buy another computer to end the battles. But, Robin, we have seven -- four of which are in active duty right now. Even with two computers each, we still bicker when we are looking at the same machine. But the sex is still terrific...
Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number.
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