As you like it: This is my response to Dave Herrera's response to all the stink about DJs at the Westword Music Showcase (The Beatdown, July 14).
I don't discount the point made that what DJs (all of them) do requires a high degree of skill and focus, at least, and at most, imagination, creativity, passion, vision, a cool outfit and all the other tangibles and intangibles deemed integral to viable artistry of any kind (or a good sales presentation, for that matter). God, that was a long sentence!
I do find it chilling, from my own perspective as a writer, to observe that in these times we find it increasingly normal and acceptable to have our cultural and (arguably) personal likes and dislikes dictated by someone else ("the tastemakers," as Sean Choi put it). It's as if we don't even have the energy to decide for ourselves what we like now. Weird! It feels a little Orwellian to me, and I don't even read much.
That's probably what my friends are yapping about when they accuse me of being "old school." Eh! I'm not crazy about TV, either; I only watch it when I'm ill.
Good luck with the next twelve pounds of correspondence you will hopefully receive on this topic.
In hot water: Somebody at Westword sure seems to have their pulse on what's hot when it comes to music. The band you featured on the July 14 cover, Born in the Flood, is just that -- very hot!
Last Friday at the hi-dive, where Born in the Flood was celebrating the release of its new, six-song CD, I experienced something very special: a live concert that hasn't made me feel the love I have for live shows since seeing U2 at Red Rocks in the early '80s. Taking that powerful show in was like an out-of-body experience. Absolutely riveting.
Experiences like this are probably the biggest reason it's so hard for me to move back to Hawaii. The quality of life here is like paradise, when you keep finding bands like this in our own back yard. I may have missed getting to see U2 when they were playing little dive bars in Dublin back when they were just starting out, but getting to see a band like this at the hi-dive kind of makes up for that.
Everybody into the pool: Born in the Flood rocks! This band works hard and is the best I have heard in the Denver area for a long time. They have gotten a lot of notice in Denver and across the country. Go see them while you can, because this band is headed for the big time!
Collect call: I have been waiting for a good, clear article in the press about the end of Ma Bell, and you delivered with Alan Prendergast's "Waltz of the Cannibals." I am saving the July 21 issue of Westword.
I started at Mountain Bell out of college, when Robert Timothy was there. Alan's remark about him being at the last stockholder meeting was poignant. Thank you.
The hard cell: The industry changed less in the first 120 years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone than it has in the last decade. Alan Prendergast's story was a masterful summing up of a sad situation.
Disconnected: "Waltz of the Cannibals" was a very well-written article. But in this sentence -- "A second wireless effort became a joint venture with Pacific Telesis" -- Alan had the pieces right, but didn't make the connection. NewVector was contributed to a joint venture with AirTouch (which had been PacTel's wireless arm before it was spun off). Ultimately, US West Media Group shareholders received AirTouch shares in exchange for their interest in the joint venture that had been NewVector. Thus, the joint venture was not a second wireless effort; to put it in your terms, NewVector became a JV with PacTel.
There was a second wireless effort called US West Wireless, which became Qwest Wireless, in which the customers were ported to Sprint, and the spectrum and towers were sold to Verizon last year. This effort was not competitive, because its higher-frequency spectrum was not well-suited to the low-population density of US West/Qwest's western markets. However, this venture had no operational connection/relationship to either NewVector or the JV.
Again, a small nit in what was otherwise a fine piece.
Tom Friedberg, director of Strategic Financial Analysis and Investor Relations
US West NewVector Group 1990-1991
Paying the price: Regarding Luke Turf's "Border Wars," in the July 14 issue:
I think if people are going to open their mouths screaming about all the illegals here and how they want immigration reform, they should know that illegals will never be stopped from coming here until they can support their families in their own countries. And I know this immigration reform comes at a high price: My husband of fifteen years was here legally and deported due to the 1996 reform, leaving his two kids and wife behind.
That is not reform -- it is my and my children's civil rights being violated. I hope Terry Graham gets nothing. She went to the forum to do exactly what she did, and she does not deserve the attention she has already gotten.
A matter of corpse: I really enjoyed Laura Bond's "Death Becomes Her," in the July 14 issue. I have a friend who is going into mortuary science, and I couldn't figure out why the hell she would do something like that. Now I understand.
via the Internet
Coming up lame: As a member of the last group in America you can still make fun of (no, not fatties), I was greatly offended by Marrion Irons's over-sensitive pique in his/her letter last week at what he/she/other perceives as Adam Cayton-Holland's "issues" with the attentions his cute little hetero butt drew at the gay rodeo (What's So Funny, July 14). As a straight, white conservative male, I just thought it was lame parody, not the kind of redneck homophobia Irons took it to be.
Funny how it's okay for everyone from Richard Pryor to Ellen Degeneres to make entire careers out of poking fun at how stupid, goofy and bigoted are we straight, white males, but the moment a "reporter" (huh?) takes a shot at something as inherently ridiculous as the gay rodeo, it's time to get a rope, pardner. Yeah, there may be a few dedicated cowboys/girls/others who go to this event (I know at least one), but if the gay community doesn't want the rest of us ridiculing such events, might I suggest they take them a little more seriously themselves?
Naw. We can go to Frontier Days or the Stock Show if we wanna see a real rodeo. Where else you gonna see a fugly drag queen in fishnets, five-inch heels and a cowboy hat, if not the gay rodeo? And as a bonus, he might even hit on you!
Haaaaaaay! Chuck Roy here -- gay since 1972 and a fan of Adam Cayton-Holland's What's So Funny column since its introduction. This week, what's so funny to me is to read people calling Adam "homophobic" because he wrote a funny article about the gay rodeo. If you didn't get his jokes, then you won't get my letter. Funny is funny; if it's not funny to you -- move on.
For the tool who questioned Adam's sexuality, he drinks and tells jokes at the Squire Lounge on Tuesday nights: $1.50 PBRs and a chance to prove your game. If you tap that ass, I'll pay your bar tab. Woof.
The truth hurts: I was a juror on Nathan Ybanez's trial for murdering his mother, Julie. I have found the sympathetic tone toward the convicted murderers of this poor woman offensive. In Luke Turf's "Headed for Trouble," in the July 7 issue, it was printed as if it were fact that the murder victim was abusive toward her son. A statement now made by two jailed, convicted murderers! What proof is there that Nathan was abused? Sounds to me like the rantings of desperate men simply trying to be freed from prison.
I also have to ask myself: "Self, how does Nate's so-called abuse justify the murderous acts of Erik?" It doesn't! Also, the statement made in the article about being so stoned that they couldn't possibly have made a rational decision is so stupid that it is laughable. It's like saying that a person arrested for DUI shouldn't be held to the highest standard of the law because he was too drunk to know that he shouldn't be driving!
Look, the bottom line is that Nathan received a fair trial. I know; I was there. I believe that a conviction for first-degree murder and the sentence of life in prison was the absolutely correct thing for society. Oh, and Erik, I do know the truth -- and it doesn't change my mind.
Bruce on the loose: I read Debra Myers's "B Master," in the July 7 issue. Sadly, Bruce Campbell's appearance was severely botched by mismanagement. Fans who bought movie tickets at the Mayan three weeks ago were told that the movie ticket got you into the signing, and to get there early. If you followed those instructions, you wasted your time. You could only get in if you bought your copy of Campbell's book at the Tattered Cover and got a ticket with a line number on it! I bought my book before any of this was announced, and not from Tattered. So now I could buy a copy from Tattered and get in, or they would stick me with #560.
The 10 p.m. show was to be followed by a Q&A. Since it sold out, a midnight show was added. Do the math: At 10 p.m., a ninety-minute film followed by Q&A with a sold-out crowd and another big crowd waiting outside equals the Q&A happening before the film at 10 p.m. Bruce asked, "Does anyone have a question about a movie they haven't seen yet?"
Luckily, Mr. Campbell was quite funny and amusing. The rest of the evening wasn't.
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Board games: Regarding the Q&A in the July 7 issue with Michael Bennet:
The two other candidates for the job of Denver Public Schools superintendent should have known that kissy, kissy buddy of the mayor was going to get the job. The DPS board says politics were not involved, but who are they trying to kid? The people of Denver aren't dumb, though they are always being led like sheep to the slaughter.