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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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?
He Blue it: Regarding Drunk of the Week, in the April 22 issue:
Patrick Osborn must have been drunk for the last I don't-know-how-long not to know that the Blue Line's location was not "most recently a Le Peep." I can't even remember how long ago that building was a Le Peep; it's possible that it was as much as ten years ago. Its most recent "unsuccessful permutation," much to my chagrin, was a second outlet of Tacos Jalisco; prior to that, it was a string of other not-so-memorable Mexican restaurants. And, if my memory serves me correctly, the building also sat vacant for an extended period of time. Patrick ought to spend less time drinking himself into oblivion and more time doing real research on his articles to ensure that they are accurate.
On a side note, I agree with him that the Blue Line is a great hockey bar and a great addition to southeast Denver's sports bar scene. Oh, and if he ever runs into me there, he'll be surprised to find out that I can talk hockey, football, baseball and college lacrosse probably better than he can -- and more coherently, I'm sure. If he has to stoop to immature locker-room behavior because a girl can't talk about sports, then I'm surprised to read that he even has a girlfriend.
The tooth hurts: In Jason Sheehan's review of Junz ("Something's Fishy," April 15), he referred to the so-called Chilean sea bass by its true name of Patagonian toothfish. I thank him for his up-front assessment of why toothfish is on restaurant menus, but Sheehan should have added another adjective to his description of the toothfish: endangered.
The world's oceans are heavily overfished. The ocean-fishing industry has become incredibly efficient at catching anything that swims. As various fish species become overfished, sometimes to the point of near extinction, the fishing industry simply switches to different species and promptly overfishes those as well. This is happening to the toothfish. Toothfish take a long time to grow and mature, and while they can weigh up to 200 pounds, commercial fleets are catching and keeping toothfish that weigh only twenty pounds -- in other words, juvenile fish that may not have even had a chance to reproduce. In addition to improving their public acceptance, calling them Chilean sea bass may be a way to avoid publicity about their endangered status. Harvesting of toothfish also kills tens of thousands of ocean birds annually.
I respectfully suggest that Westword's readers choose not to eat "Chilean sea bass" at restaurants that offer it.
Brazil nut: You have to love the writing ability of Jason Sheehan in the April 22 "Bye-Bye, Brazil." Yammer about nothing for half the page, then a restaurant review of Tucanos Brazilian Grill.
via the Internet
Silence is golden: Regarding Bill Gallo's "None Like It Lame," in the April 15 issue:
I trust Gallo's take on Connie and Carla. Perhaps, though, instead of dressing as Norman Bates from Psycho, Tony Curtis could reprise his screen role as The Boston Strangler. This may be a role more effective in silencing someone.
Personal best: I just read Michael Paglia's brief review of my work in the April 8 Artbeat. I am extremely offended that Michael implied I copy Mark Brasuell's work. The drawings I did were very personal, were my images. The only resemblances were that the drawings were large and had grommets. My use of grommets has more to do with my financial resources than aesthetics. With this show I felt I had found a voice and couldn't wait to continue. And I will, despite Michael's facile, shallow observations.
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Park and chide: I try to be a live-and-let-live guy, but the aggressive gay cruising in Adams County that David Holthouse reported on in his "Cruisin' for a Bustin'," first published in the February 26 issue, cannot be allowed to continue. In less than two years, I've experienced problems in every park located between Route 224 and 88th Avenue along the Platte River. The first incident involved a diminutive Mexican fellow (insert gay caballero joke here) who relentlessly propositioned me in broken English, finally resorting to the universal gesture for humping to get his point across. I suppose I could have kicked his ass, but I was too busy howling with laughter.
The most recent incident wasn't so funny. I inadvertently got too close to a homeless man who was attempting to pee off a large new deck area. He exploded with rage when he mistakenly thought that I was cruising him for some action. Nothing could convince him otherwise, and I barely avoided a physical confrontation. It took the cops about twenty minutes to respond to my call. All the officer could say was that Adams County would be stepping up undercover action as the weather gets warmer. And he expressed surprise that recent publicity hasn't resulted in more violence.
As things stand now, it's only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt. And it's deplorable when a law-abiding dude can't walk alone in broad daylight without being solicited or eyed with suspicion.