What a Circus!

Letters to the Editor

An elephant never forgets: The August 5 Worst-Case Scenario, "The Greatest Shun on Earth," was really not funny and showed that Kenny Be missed the point. It also came at a time that was detrimental to Initiative 100 just prior to the primary election. I thought a paper like Westword would be more forward-thinking and sympathetic to the sad issue of abuse of exotic animals for the unsavory circus trade.

How do you get an elephant to do those stupid tricks? You beat the shit out of it.

Unfortunately, I could not vote on this, since I live outside of Denver, but I wish I could have.

Jeanine B. Keller

The Bus Stopped Here

Leave the writing to us: Thanks for Robin Chotzinoff's "End of the Line," in the August 12 issue. Reading her story may be the only vacation I get this summer; her writing made it a very fun trip.

Lily Hoover

Ticket to ride: Wow. I can't believe that I just got back from vacation a couple of weeks ago, and now see a story about the bus I was on. I took the Denver to Salt Lake City route leaving here at 8:25 a.m. On the bus, you spend so little time passing through these towns that you would never know their stories. Actually, I didn't know we were headed over Berthoud; I'd assumed we would go west on I-70. I knew something was up when the tunnel we went through was much too short to be Eisenhower (or we were going way too fast, and no, I wasn't drunk). What you do find out about are the passengers. Some had never been on a bus or so far West. The folks on the bus appeared to be either kids with more time than money or adults traveling on the cheap.

I went through SLC to Boise (one heck of a nice town and great people), Portland and then Seattle, staying overnight in each city. (I read the equivalent of Westword in each.) I enjoyed watching the rolling farmland and seeing what's between here and the coast. The Great Salt Lake looks like a lake. I saw the volcanic rock and the big river gorge, and we followed the Columbia River into Portland. It seems like all truck stops are owned by the same company now. They are possibly the only remaining places to buy classic rock on new cassettes; I got a hilarious live concert by Kansas. I saw some interesting depots. One had white flowers painted along the bottom of its roof. One place had a playground with old Western storefronts; it was across the highway from a banner that read "We support our troops."

After the buses, airport shuttles, rented car, ferry rides and visiting three different recently married friends, I got on a plane and in two-plus hours flew over what I spent four days riding. I'm glad I rode where I did while I still could.

Mark Tyler

Hall of Shame

Bowled over: Shame on Adam Cayton-Holland for his August 5 What's So Funny? A true Broncos fan would know that John Elway executed his infamous "helicopter" move in the first Super Bowl win against the Packers, not the second Super Bowl win against the Falcons.

David Boot

Elway or the highway: I suppose this won't get printed, but I am very disappointed in John Elway. All that hoopla about him. Sure, I'm glad we finally have a Hall of Famer, but with all his thank yous and praise for those who helped him, he never once mentioned Janet! Even though they are divorced, she was the one raising those wonderful kids he's so proud of, and I'm sure that wasn't an easy task. Would it have killed him to mention that? Also, as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he could have thanked God for his talent and success. How else could he have gotten so far?

Shame on you, John, for your lack of gratitude. Guess success just went to your head after all!

Whoever challenges my letter, shame on you, too!

Suzanne Hudson

Fax Guarding the Henhouse

Fire when ready: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Outfaxed," in the August 5 issue:

I understand Mike Zinna's position very well. I have read and experienced this type of "bush-league" politics in my previous home state of Texas, and I have always felt that where there is smoke, there is fire. I believe Mike should have approached the videotape evidence differently, however. I would have continued to investigate the fax incidents and compiled all documentation for presentation to the county attorney.

Rick Sheehan's response to Mike's "Are you the Pinky T faxer?" question was very interesting, and showed apparent knowledge. It would not surprise me one iota that Rick Sheehan instructed his wife to fax the letter from the Albertson's location. It seems there is some type of vendetta against Mike Zinna by one or more of these Jefferson County officials.

The State of Colorado and the Jefferson County attorney should investigate Mike Zinna's allegations and fax materials. There seem to be too many problems within that county government.

Mario R. Munoz
via the Internet

Happy daze: In Alan Prendergast's article about Mr. Zinna and the ever-intriguing Jefferson County bureaucrats, I believe he misstated the intent of the references to "Pinky T" in the fax transmissions received by Mr. Zinna. The references to "Fonzi, Potsy and Ritchie [sic]" in one fax indicate that the author is attempting to riff on the 1970s situation comedy Happy Days, which featured a character called "Fonzie/ The Fonz." Accordingly, "Pinky T" more likely refers to the character Pinky Tuscadero. Pinky was Fonzie's ex-girlfriend on the TV show (http:// www.tvtome.com/HappyDays/season4.html). Of course, riffing on Happy Days simply adds to the silliness of the antics in Jefferson County.

Michael McLeod

Hip to Hip-Hop

The right stuff: Hip-hop has been on the defense since its inception; we are on the ropes more than a goddamn prizefighter. Can we please stop the madness? Why is it that whenever some of us want to gather and play our music on our terms, we are ridiculed, criticized, ostracized and alienated? Sure, our contemporaries have had their share of troubles. Be it Marilyn Manson, Judas Priest, Amy Grant, Bob Dylan or Janet Jackson, they have all had their episodes at one time or another. The difference is that those episodes are limited, forgiven and forgotten. Our pain lives on. We are on trial every time we step out the door.

Kudos go to Dave Herrera for his August 12 Beatdown. I don't think he could have said it any better. Hip-hop isn't the problem. Yet we continue to have to defend and justify our existence as if we are second-class citizens who have no place in society. I, for one, am tired of it.

In my opinion, there was one big problem with his piece: the fact that he had to write it in the first place! Punk rock, heavy metal, pop -- none of the other genres of music that are also unique cultures have to defend their simple existence or the actions of their communities as often as we do. People are looking for us to fail. They are looking for us to disappear. Well, we aren't going away, and we certainly aren't going to be quiet about it!

It is a shame when something happens of the magnitude of the incident outside the Bluebird Theater. It paints us into a corner. That incident alone will set back the booking of hip-hop concerts in this market because another venue will be wary of letting us in. The problem isn't hip-hop, folks; it's execution. Some of us who do this every day are really good at preparing the artists, the venues and the positioning of our events in a responsible manner. When something goes awry, the problem is always with hip-hop and never the individual. It seems ridiculous to argue that the culture can override the actions of the individuals who choose to affiliate themselves within its borders.

There are a lot of great things happening in the world of hip-hop, and almost all of it gets ignored, while every mistake is highlighted and made an example of. Well, here is just one example of some of the good that can come. On April 27, 1999, Jay-Z, DMX, Method Man, Redman and DJ Clue played a concert at the Denver Coliseum for 8,000 fans one week after the shootings at Columbine High School. Each artist took the fees they earned that night and gave them back, donating them anonymously at the time to the Never Forgotten Fund. Their selfless donation was in excess of $100,000. There was no fanfare, no letter, no press release; in fact, the check went regular mail.

One of the lessons here is that every time you hear about something that has gone wrong, there are a whole lot of other things that go right and go unnoticed.

Jason Miller

Night shtick: As a young black woman who happens to be a sensible club patron, Denver resident and hip-hop nightclub employee, I'm not completely shocked by the audacity of David Holthouse's "Where the Wilding Things Are," in the July 22 issue. It's amusing how the author associates an isolated incident of "wilding" with the countless weekends of drunken belligerent activities that have become a staple of LoDo's nightlife. When it becomes apparent that the ties binding the two events are frayed, Holthouse jumps to accounts that "hard-core hip-hop" is to blame for the piss-drunk brawls. I have yet to hear "We Some Head Bussas" played over the system in Market 41, LoDo's or at Mattie's. (Thankfully so, since the visual of hundreds of white kids from Highlands Ranch slam-dancing to down-South crunk is a little more than I can handle.) As a matter of fact, I can't recall a time when I've collectively seen more than fifty other black/brown faces during an entire night out in LoDo.

It's not that clubs have deviated from the norm of Top 40 selections and gone down a slippery slope to the hip-hop basement. The phenomenon instead is the fact that 29 of the 40 singles on Billboard's Top 40 are hip-hop tracks, or R&B songs fused with cameos from popular rappers.

I work at a predominantly black hip-hop nightclub around the corner on 21st and Larimer. We have anywhere from 300 to 600 patrons grace our entrance on any given weekend night, and I have yet to see any police in riot gear mace our crowd. For that matter, they pass our Let Out with sirens blaring in order to get to the corner of 19th and Market. So my question is this: If hard-core hip-hop heads are to blame for violent Let Outs in LoDo (don't forget to exclude the backpack hip-hoppers; after all, they're just poor white kids from Boulder who can't afford to drink in LoDo -- but the 21-year-old brother from Five Points can?), who gets credit for the absence of violence two blocks over at the hard-core hip-hop club?

Ebony Booth

Adding Insult to Injury

911 on 311: Regarding Graham Webster's review of 311 in the July 22 issue:

Sometimes bands have to release a greatest-hits CD because they were obligated to do it by their label. This is why 311 did this album. Once they record and release their new CD, they are leaving their label. "Love Song" was done because Adam Sandler wanted 311 to cover that song for his movie 50 First Dates.

Graham may want to do a little research and get his facts straight before insulting a band and the people who love them.

Kelly Walter
via the Internet


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