On the edge: In the July 28 "Art Attack," Ernie Tucker did a pretty good job profiling Jack Jensen and his new venture at the old Ichabod's, may it rest in peace. However, it seems Tucker was hypnotized by Jensen's Buddy Holly cool -- enough so that he missed some big points.
Jensen is not a "hated artist," as he so proudly states; he's simply an asshole. He took over a unique situation, fired the sweet old guys who made it that way, supplanted the good energy there with his arrogant negativity, and walks around beaming about it. He's no anarchist -- he's a blueblood capitalist, cloaking a mean-spirited take on life with his so-called edginess.
I can only dream that instead of ducking Vietnam, this dude should have gone there, gone somewhere, and learned about humility and human value. There's still hope for him -- and if he ever gets it, I'd bet the vinyl would go back to a buck, where it belongs.
All wet: Enough with the gushing over Born in the Flood! Last week's letters sound like the band wrote them for shameless self-promotion. Didn't this band win the ManiaTV! battle of the bands? Doesn't the singer's girlfriend work for ManiaTV? (Yes, and yes.) In addition, the band sounds exactly like Coldplay. The only thing halfway interesting about them is their over-the-top light show.
When will Denver start supporting a band with originality instead of rallying behind yet another corporate-sounding (boring) band? Come on, Denver!
To Heller and back: Jason Heller, you write about music with one of the most colorful and knowledgeable attitudes I have ever encountered. Any more, I pick up Westword only to read your stuff.
Well, and to find out where the free beer is...
Cheap trick: I just read The Beatdown in the July 21 issue. It's hard to take it seriously when it appears that Dave Herrera has a huge agenda -- and I'm not even a W.A.S.P. fan.
First, if he thinks a guy spent 150K to renovate a club for two shows, Herrera shouldn't be writing articles for a school newspaper.
Second, the problem with the soundman happens at many venues (although not the bullet-to-the-head comment). From what I've read, the bands on this tour contract with the venue to supply a professional soundman; this is part of the negotiation process. From my reading on metalsludge.tv, this club promised a pro, then refused to pay for one, and instead got some local goof to run the sound. He admits he wasn't paid and didn't know what he was doing.
So, you mean to tell me a guy spends 150K to get ready for a show and then is too cheap to hire a soundman as he's contractually obligated to? Do your homework, Herrera. Really.
That's showbiz: Thank you for the great article on the W.A.S.P. show. Herrera pretty much summed it up.
via the Internet
Blackie mark: As a diehard W.A.S.P. fan, I can find no way to defend Blackie Lawless's behavior. It would be easy to make excuses and say that Blackie was having an off night, but as much as I love this band that I grew up listening to, the truth is that Blackie's actions were simply bullshit.
The thing I find most annoying about fans' accounts on metalsludge.tv is that no one defends the other bands that gave 110 percent. Indeed, Metal Church (the opening band and the MVPs of the night) were the ones who apologized for the fact that two local units got bumped from the show -- something that Blackie should really have done. These bands deserve notice for keeping the night from being a total disaster.
I guess the one thing Denver fans can say is that we're a lot luckier than a friend of mine who caught a W.A.S.P. show in Vegas and was treated to a 35-minute concert because there were problems with the sound system. (Sound familiar?) Blackie got on the mike and told the audience the sound system in the room sucked and he wasn't about to cheat the fans out of their hard-earned money by giving them a bad show. He then left the venue without refunding any of the ticket money, and I'm sure he treated the promoters and venue staff as nicely as he did the Oriental staff.
It is truly a shame that it panned out that way for the promoters who were trying to bring some fun and happiness to the Denver area. I certainly hope this is not the end of concerts at the Oriental, as I have fond memories of this particular venue (I used to watch movies there as a kid in the '80s -- Blackie's era, no less), and Asia did an amazing job there on July 17. As for W.A.S.P., well, as much as I love the band, at this point I don't think I'll be looking forward to another show anytime soon. I think Blackie just shot himself in the foot.
Good job on the piece. Many thanks.
Stay focused: Regarding Luke Turf's "Law & Border," in the July 28 issue:
Please let me get straight to the point and congratulate you for the tremendous article that you prepared about Lilian Shea. To me it looks very professional. My biggest hope is that you follow this line of work, and God grant more journalists the ability to focus, like you, on these types of human-interest stories about very positive things.
"Law & Border" was great. I always enjoy reading anything progressive in this city. You're not likely to find much of it in any other paper.
via the Internet
White makes right: Regarding Jared Jacang Maher's "Creative Thinking," in the July 21 issue:
As a gallery owner and president of Denver's Artdistrict on Santa Fe, I am encouraged by the creation of a city position to help Denver's commercial arts. We all know that the commercial galleries and film and music studios contribute so much to a city's culture and feel, yet they're almost always neglected when it comes to city planning, promotion and funding. I thank Mayor Hickenlooper and Denise Montgomery for following through on their promise to initiate this unique and important program.
I had the opportunity to work with Ginger White during Doors Open Denver in the spring and found her to be thorough and knowledgeable. Ms. White recently contacted our art district, as well as others in the city, to meet so that she could gain insight as to what our needs are and how the city may be able to facilitate them to the mutual benefit of artists, neighborhoods and the city as a whole. That is a good starting point.
I appreciate Westword's attention to this important matter and hope that Westword will once again provide what was perhaps its most important contribution to the commercial galleries and their artists: a full printed listing of openings and continuing art events.
Jack D. Pappalardo
Habitat Gallery and Studio
Editor's note: All art openings and ongoing shows -- more than a hundred of them -- are listed on Westword's website every week. (At www.westword.com, you'll also find over a thousand more listings for cultural events -- not including music -- that fall outside the art category.) In the printed version of Westword, we not only devote a page and a half to Michael Paglia's art review and his smaller, capsule critiques, but five pages every week to stories and previews of upcoming cultural events -- many of them at commercial galleries. And the arts often break into our news pages, too, as they did with Jared Jacang Maher's piece on Ginger White. We consider that a better use of space -- and a greater boon to the greater arts community -- than tiny-type listings that repeat what we do online.
Flip remarks: Regarding the Off Limits item on Operation Save America in the July 21 issue:
You know, I had the chance to meet Flip Benham last year in Columbus. I was broken-hearted when we went to an abortion place and I saw a young woman being taken in by her mother. The young woman was crying her eyes out. I couldn't stop thinking how she must want to keep the baby and no one cared, not even her mother.
I, for one, am glad Flip is doing what he is doing. Maybe one more baby was saved from death by this man.
via the Internet
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Signs of the time: At 11 a.m. on July 21, I was running a friend home, driving along University at Evans. We found ourselves in the middle of an anti-abortion protest that spanned a good four blocks on both sides of the road, with protesters holding huge placards with graphic slogans and pictures. My friend and I were shocked -- not by the protesters, but by the revoltingly graphic and bloody images these protesters used: giant pictures of dead babies, often with smashed or dismembered limbs, all dripping in blood.
I believe very much in the freedom to express one's opinion. However, I object totally to the way this anti-abortion message was rammed down my throat. The dead babies in these images were nearly full-term, not fetuses within the legal time frame for abortions to be performed. Therefore, the images were purposely misleading. The best bumpersticker I've seen recently simply says, "If you can't trust me to make a choice, how can you trust me with a child?" It seems that the anti-abortion protesters I saw believe their own message to be so fragile that they have to resort to incorrect images and shock tactics.
I called the police station on University and complained. The officer I spoke to said he felt the same way and was horrified, but legally there was nothing they could do.