Letters to the Editor
Chipotle off the old blockhead: Do you pay Adam Cayton-Holland? I just finished reading the February 2 What's So Funny, and I have noticed this column evolving into Adam's whine piece to get free food, VIP tickets, invitations to parties, etc.
Can't you guys pay him $6.25 an hour so he can buy a freakin' burrito? This article was a lame attempt to get free Chipotle shwag; the attempts at humor amounted to nothing more than boring anecdotes. If I told boring stories like this at the water cooler at work, people would probably get more done, because they would avoid the water cooler at all costs. People refer others to good-quality restaurants because we don't like to put others through the pain of eating crap -- we don't do it so we can get fifty shares. I love Chipotle, too, but I go buy my own instead of brown-nosing executives into giving me free samples.
I demand you be funny, Adam, or change your column's title to Adam Wants Handouts.
Bean and nothingness: As I decided to kick back and give up on work today, I opened Westword and read What's So Funny. I just wanted to let you know that is some of the funniest shit I've read in years, maybe since college. Being an alum of the University of Wisconsin, home of The Onion, I have a fond appreciation for this type of humor -- absolutely sarcastic and relentless. It instantly took me back to days of sliding on cafeteria trays down the main hill on campus during the snow months. Not to mention "burritos as big as your head," which was the actual sign on the door of our local 3 a.m. burrito haunt.
I had to look down the hall in the office to make sure no one heard me crying today. I will be cutting this out to post on my fridge so I can laugh my ass off again at 3 a.m. during my usual milk-drinking binge. Maybe it's a Wisconsin thing, maybe I'm a freak. I just hope I don't piss my pants before I make it to the bathroom.
Those bastards at Chipotle owe Adam some back pay, I agree. I've been doing the same with Johnsonville Brats and haven't seen a fucking cent. Keep up the good work, and keep feeding the squirrels.
All jammed up: I would like to express my irritation with Tuyet Nguyen's review of Banyan (Now Hear This, February 2). I love music -- from jazz and classical to country and world music. And yes, I also like jam bands. The article was less a review than a soapbox for Nguyen's extreme anti-hippie rhetoric and jam-band bad-mouthing. The only information I was able to glean was that "Banyan is a jam band for jammy jamheads who jam out to instrumental jams," and that "it's an experiment in hippie tolerance and improvisational groove."
How does someone who dislikes improvisation get hired as a Westword music critic? Almost all forms of music are rooted in a rich history of long improvisational grooves -- from world music to jazz, blues and rock and roll. I would appreciate a harsh review for a bad jam band, but Nguyen's article simply implies that jam bands themselves are bad. Moreover, when did Flea, John Frusciante and Rob Wasserman become relics of "the era of Cindy Crawford [and] Wayne's World"? Ratdog and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are alive and well, in case Nguyen hasn't heard. Please stop having people who categorically hate jam bands (and their fans) review jam bands.
Better yet, get rid of Nguyen so she can go home and listen to two-minute, thirty-second non-participatory Britney Spears tracks to her heart's content.
Eclipse of the sum: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Hopped Up," in the January 19 issue:
It would have been bad enough if Roberts's column in praise of KS-107.5's pathetic attempt at appearing to support independent and local hip-hop, The Mix Tape Show, had overlooked the fact that Denver and Boulder radio audiences have access to some truly excellent underground hip-hop programming -- something The Mix does not provide. If Roberts had simply failed to mention Eclipse, I would have thought he just didn't know the first thing about hip-hop, local or otherwise, and wanted to write an inspiring little piece about some kids "living the dream."
But Roberts suggested that Eclipse, which has occupied the 7-10 p.m. Sunday slot on KGNU for over twenty years, is no longer on the air. What's worse, he made it seem like The Mix, which is only a little less mainstream than the rest of KS-107.5's format, is some kind of bigger-and-better resurrection of the "groundbreaking" Eclipse that just needed the expertise of a lame corporate station. The fact that KS-107.5 buries the show at 11 p.m. on Sunday is the most "alternative" thing about it.
I listen to hip-hop radio shows online from around the country, and on a good night, Eclipse has them all beat. On its worst night, Eclipse blows The Mix out of the water. Eclipse has what The Mix claims: knowledgeable, talented, open-minded, non-commercially controlled DJs who love hip-hop and who put the music first.
Understandably, the fact that three DJs on KS-107.5, which has never tried or wanted to be innovative, are celebrating five years since the ultra-pop station took a risk with them, even allowing them four whole slots per show for local music, might be more newsworthy than a cult of hip-hop nerds who loyally set Sunday evenings aside to listen to community radio. Still, decent hip-hop mix shows barely exist on commercial radio. If the intent of the article was to highlight the little The Mix does to change that, the only appropriate reference to Eclipse would have pointed to it as what commercial stations could aspire to -- if commercialism wasn't their one and only consideration.
A class act: Juliet Wittman's "Final Exit," in the February 2 issue, was such a touching tribute to Al Brooks and Maxine Munt. Enjoyed it all: her recollection of a gracious encounter with Al Brooks at the Germinal, memories of theater and dance folk who furthered their careers and artistic visions at the Changing Scene.
I had my first encounter with the two thirty years ago when they visited a somewhat off-the-wall dinner-theater production of mine in Estes Park. I didn't know anything about them, but as we sat down after the show for refreshment (and a cigarette), I fell in love with their spirit. But I declined their offer to come to work at their theater, as I had commitments in bigger markets. Nonetheless, several years later, I did relocate to Denver, in part because I sensed from them that Denver was on the verge of becoming an important theater town and that there were opportunities in both commercial and experimental theater. I never looked back, and only on rare occasions have I briefly considered moving back to either New York or L.A. Al hired me for my second local gig under a federal arts grant, which lasted a year. Over the years, I continued to collaborate directly and indirectly with the Changing Scene. Many of the actors I coach at my studio (the Acting Studio) cite shows they did at the Scene.
I hope to meet Juliet and share tales at a March memorial for the Changing Scene at the Bovine. It's been common knowledge that she is not just a critic, but has also done theater. And I was absolutely stunned and inspired by the tale of her project with the Colorado Women's Correctional Facility! Of course, who but Al would show up on the doorstep to make this work happen?
I think that Al and Max both knew that to do good work and run a year-round theater in a minimalist environment, sometimes you just have to surrender to taking great risks.
Conservative estimates: I am a right-wing conservative who reads your magazine. I get a kick out of the letters from readers blasting your lefty articles, and I can't pass up Jason Sheehan's restaurant reviews. It seems as though Jason is trying really hard to show that not all lefties are tree-hugging, non-smoking, vegetarian, Starbucks-drinking, spoiled rich kids from Boulder. Could it be that he is a -- gasp -- conservative who understands how the world really works? Perhaps the staff better sit down with Jason and find out how he really feels on important issues like Iraq, illegal immigration, Iran's nuclear weapons and the very real threat of another Jihad attack on this country.
Better watch out, Jason, because if you are truly a conservative, you'd better start looking for a job somewhere else. Maybe Fox News needs a food critic.
She's got a beef with Denver: Regarding Jason Sheehan's "Temptation," in the February 2 issue:
Alas, such was not to be. I scrape by with Griff's, mostly. And in the quiet moments, I dream of http://www.chargrillusa.com/. Ah, the Char-Grill. I once lived right next door to Char-Grill #1. Its beefy aroma would waft up to my loft apartment and lure me outside in my jammies to worship at the altar of the cow. Nothing brings one back to reality quite like an old-school burger and a shake so thick that it scoffs at the puny straw.
Did Denver go through some relentless modernizing phase, resulting in a destruction of all the old burger stands? Where is the beef, I ask you?
Story board: As a longtime, dedicated employee of Joyce Meskis and the Fourth Story, I have a couple of words for Jason Sheehan in response to his latest rant in the February 2 Bite Me: Fuck you.
P.S.: Talk less about your mom and your fucking distaste for celery and you won't sound so asinine.
Name withheld on request
Toothsome or consequences: I am a Rochester native who recently moved from Denver to San Diego. One of the few things I miss about Denver is Westword and, more specifically, Cafe. I love Jason Sheehan's wit and cynical Rochester attitude. I love the New York references. The food critic for the San Diego Reader is awful, and uses "toothsome" way too often. I don't even bother reading that section.
Keep up the good work, and I will continue to read Sheehan's reviews online.
San Diego, California
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