And some like it not: Regarding Jared Jacang Maher's "Hot Flashes," in the August 4 issue:
Such great journalism.
Warming trends: When I saw the cover of the last issue, I thought Westword had sunk to a new low. Denver's Hottest Service Employees? But Jared Jacang Maher's stories were not only funny, they were very touching. All ten of them seemed like really good people who are worth knowing. These are the kind of caring, fun, down-to-earth people that make Colorado such a great place to live.
I'm just sorry to read that we're losing the Commish.
It's cool to ridicule: Okay. So I love Adam Cayton-Holland's What's So Funny columns because they are so fucking ridiculous. What bizarre arrogance.
In last week's column about a night out at Hemingway's, he radically concludes that because he and his crew can't find a decent lay on a Thursday night at a bar, Denver is no longer deserving of the "#1 Singles City in America" title given by Forbes.com. And it doesn't even occur to him that maybe the reason he can't find cool girls to hang out with is because he gives off that overbearing, narcissistic vibe.
And, c'mon, if you go to a gay rodeo, be forewarned: You might get hit on by a gay guy. So Adam gets hit on by people he's not interested in. Is that really cause for starting up the printing presses to write scathing articles about Colorado's rodeo and Denver's Forbes.com ranking?
But keep 'em coming, because Adam Cayton-Holland's captivation with his own hotness or whatever is really, really fascinating stuff.
Getting back to naturopathy: Thank you for Amber Taufen's "Do No Harm," in the August 4 issue, such a clear article trying to define the differences between fake diplomas and practitioners of naturopathic medicine from accredited naturopathic schools. The fact is, licensing and regulation of naturopathic doctors does not stop anyone from using natural therapeutics -- only from calling themselves "doctor," a title that our educational organizations have set criteria for.
We have these same problems in New Mexico. Without licensing, people claiming to be a "doctor" can come here and set up practices -- putting the people of New Mexico or any other unlicensed state at risk.
Las Vegas, New Mexico
Keep your mind out of the gutterball: Thank you for Bill Gallo's very thoughtful and well-written "Happy Hooker," his article in the August 4 issue about bowler Tyler Jensen. He could have done what many journalists do and spent his time ridiculing the sport of bowling. Instead, he honestly and fairly explained much about the tough life of a professional bowler.
This article was the most realistic exploration of the sport I have seen. When a pro bowler has a bad day, he usually does not get any paycheck, unlike many of the superstars of other sports. A unique kind of pressure, that makes bowling interesting and challenging.
Read alert: Besides revealing a compulsive need to suck up, with their letters last week about Luke Turf's July 28 "Law & Border," Ricardo Estrada and Erin Romero prove only that they never read the Denver Post or Rocky Mountain News. There are more than enough smarmy, fluffy, illegal-alien apologistics there to satisfy even Vicente Fox himself.
Fighting mad: People like Tom Tancredo are scared of the unknown.
I'm an immigrant! I'm also proud, and I'm ready to fight people like you. I will not apologize for coming here. I did not escape religious or ethnic persecution. I was middle class, with a good education.
But if you're wondering why I'm in your country, I'll tell you that I came to take your job. Stop bitching and complaining, because it's not my fault. I'm smarter than you. And if you don't watch out, your children will work for me in the future.
¡Que vivan los inmigrantes! If you don't know what that means, don't worry -- ask your grandchildren. They already learned it in school.
Pony expressions: Regarding Michael Paglia's "Painted Ponies," in the July 21 issue:
I'm not an art hater. I admire works of beauty and, in fact, have numerous works at my home. "Dangers of the Mail" is indeed a good painting -- but the subject matter sucks. As a Native American, needless to say, I am offended -- not by the art, but by the way Native Americans are portrayed.
Were the artist to have painted something similar regarding the black, Hispanic or Caucasian races, I am quite sure the work would have received many comments from people who also are not art haters.
The review was well written, but the author needs to learn his vocabulary and select his words more appropriately.
Lynn Haven, Florida
Saddle sore: It was a pleasure to read Michael Paglia's review of the artwork of Frank Mechau, my father, currently on view at the Denver Public Library. His enthusiastic commentary was heartwarming for the family and for lovers of Frank Mechau's art. That his work should be better known, especially in Colorado, came across in a big way! Thanks also for the kind remarks about me, and especially for the much-deserved praise he bestowed on Kay Wisnia, the art curator for the Western History Section of the library, who put up the exhibit.
I hope that the Denver Art Museum or perhaps the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will schedule another Frank Mechau exhibit in a few years. Due to limitations of space, quite a few pieces locally available could not be shown at the DPL -- not to mention several paintings in the DAM's collection that have not been shown for years. Those, together with paintings in out-of-state museums and private collections added to what is on view now at the library, would make a truly comprehensive exhibition. I am hoping the DPL show will increase the chances of this happening.
The controversy Michael referred to over the mural "Dangers of the Mail" is coming to a head. Strictly speaking, the mural wasn't "permanently draped," but it has been blocked from view with a bulletin board and, along with its companion mural "Pony Express" and four other murals in the same building in Washington, D.C., is the subject of a Section 106 process (required by the National Historic Preservation Act) to determine what to do with the murals, which are accused of having inappropriate images of American Indians. After gathering comments from "interested parties," the General Services Administration will make a decision whether to remove or cover up the murals as demanded by certain Indian employees and Indian-rights organizations.
If "Dangers of the Mail" is removed, it likely will end up in the basement of the Smithsonian. A better fate should be accorded to this mural, which renders a scene from our history with artistry and beauty and in no way denigrates or was intended to denigrate American Indians, for whom my father had great sympathy and admiration. My brother and I, as consulting parties in this Section 106 process, will do what we can to find a sensible way to resolve this controversy. It will help to have expressions of concern from those acquainted with Frank Mechau's work. The GSA needs to realize that this mural is a highly regarded work of art and should be treated accordingly. The action contemplated, the removal of historic public art, is precedent-setting and would put in jeopardy any public work depicting a scene from history.
The steed is done: Who "appointed" Michael Paglia an art critic? If not himself, then the Art Gods? He could certainly be a better reporter. Not only is he in error about the facts of the "Dangers of the Mail" controversy, concerning the Frank Mechau mural at the EPA building in Washington, D.C., but he is arrogant, insulting and cavalier in labeling the opponents of its current location "art haters." I am an opponent, and I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in fine art -- hardly a vocation that an "art hater" would pursue.
The murals were never permanently draped. The EPA director at the time was confounded about how to balance the murals' 1932 racial viewpoints and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which insures that workers are not exposed to a hostile work environment, as the EPA has many American Indian employees in that building who are subjected to them on a daily basis. The solution at the time was to drape them until they could figure out what to do. There was an administration change, meaning the buck was passed to a new EPA director. The murals were removed for restoration and cleaning and were re-installed a couple years ago.
The controversy has not ended but continues, as the General Services Administration, the federal entity that owns the Ariel Rios building in which the EPA offices reside, has recently invoked the Historic Preservation Act 106 process. This means that they are considering removal of the mural and its companion piece, "The Pony Express," which depicts piles of dead Indians, along with four other murals not painted by Mechau. Please understand that the Mechau murals are not painted directly on the plaster, but are on canvas, and thus no harm would come to the art should they be removed.
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SHOW ME HOW
My personal opinion is that they belong in a museum as art reflecting its times, but have no business in a federal office building. Continuation of their current location constitutes an assent by government of the sentiments depicted in the mural toward American Indian people, and therefore demonstrates institutional racism at its highest level -- in the federal government, which is supposed to treat everyone equally.
Perhaps the Denver Central Library would offer to take the murals for public display there. But I find that unlikely for the same reason they do not belong in the Ariel Rios building, and that is that in a civil society, racism is not tolerated in buildings that are paid for with taxpayers' money. However, I could see them in the Denver Art Museum or the Colorado History Museum, where they could be interpreted in context and viewed voluntarily. I suggest you go to the website of the Society of American Indian Government Employees at www.saige.org and look at the page on the controversy. There is a link to the images themselves, which are important to see.
Get a clue, Michael, and get off your high horse.