Letters to the Editor
So long, punk-rock girl: When I saw the cover of the February 16 issue, I thought to myself, "That girl looks familiar." Lo and behold, the girl's name was Brenda. I never knew her last name, so I had to read Jessica Centers's "Femme Fatale" article. Sure enough, it was the same Brenda I knew when I first came out to the clubs. At the time, it was the Wreck Room at 1082 Broadway, back in the early '90s. She had poked me with her evil jacket. She said her name was Brenda, but everyone called her Brenda the Bitch. And she was like no one I'd ever known.
We'd see each other every Sunday, during Goth Night. Talk a while, but she was always drunk. My friends were a little afraid for me, thinking she might beat me up on account of I was black. I assured them that wasn't the case. Brenda and I talked about all kinds of social issues, and I realized how little I knew about the world. We talked about old movies sometimes, really the only thing we had in common. She was also the first girl I ever kissed! I was in the mood for some experimentation, so she offered. It was more fun seeing the people react than anything. At least she was a good kisser!
I was so saddened to find out what had happened to her. As a matter of fact, I was completely shocked. Not knowing what became of her since the last time I'd seen her, it was a real blow. I had no idea that it was the same person! Since I don't live in Capitol Hill anymore, I missed the fliers, and I really hate watching the news. No one should have to die like that. I know if she had the chance, she would've put up a helluva fight. If it wasn't the work of Brent Brents, I can only hope and pray that her killer is brought to justice.
So long, sweetie. Maybe we'll see each other again and talk about those old movies...
The idea man: Regarding Kenny Be's "Life Without Illegal Immigrants," the February 16 Worst-Case Scenario:
I know that Kenny's scenario is probably a satire on folks who believe that American jobs should be had by (mostly) American citizens. But Kenny did have some good, usable ideas.
If the street beggars are actually induced to get a job (gasp!), then the cost to taxpayers for rescues in cold weather, alcohol and drug treatment, and emergency services at Denver Health might be reduced.
Kids working in restaurants? Gee, lots of motivated cultures (like Greek and Arab and even Italian peoples) have traditions of kids actually working in the family business. Oh, my, if the kids have to help out at work, can requirements for mowing the yard or doing the dishes be far behind? The video-game industry will not be happy with that.
And schoolkids having to learn a skill? Surely you jest. If the little bums in DPS, many of whom are psychopathic druggies, are forced to learn some work skills before they drop out, then it might be easier for the Department of Corrections to place them in jobs when they are on future "work release."
Keep up the good work, Kenny, even if you did not mean for them to be good ideas.
Heart-to-heart talk: Dearest Kenny Be,
I accept your classy offer of love in the February 9 Worst-Case Scenario and furthermore wish to proclaim -- no, testify! -- that I have held a secret passion for you for many years. Well, a secret to all but the FBI, who have no doubt grown weary of tapping my numerous phone calls to friends, anarchists and my trusted telepsychic about my ever-increasing adoration of you, intercepting my e-mails regaling your latest feats of wit, and, every so often, covertly witnessing my personal moments "alone" with thoughts of you. Nevertheless, I want to redeem my Valentine offer of love for one year.
Sadly, because of the reality of Joint Terrorism Task Force surveillance, our romantic activities together may be somewhat limited. Gone are the days when my dates and I could share a dumpstered pizza by the soft glow of a trash-can fire, when we could merely yield instead of come to a full stop at intersections on our moonlight bicycle rides and, most heartbreaking of all, when we could innocently skinny-dip in the Platte River undetected by the authorities. But I know that your "artistic creativity" and my "criminal intellect" will help us find many ways to share our love. Never fear, the Homeland we build together will be forever secured by our bonds of love.
Cartoon characters: I have been a longtime reader of Westword and quite enjoy the paper, so imagine my surprise when I read Jared Jacang Maher's "Anime Attraction," in the February 9 issue, and found myself completely disgusted. I am an anime fan and have been for a number of years. I've traveled to a number of different anime purveyors and have visited both stores mentioned in this article. I need not tell you that once I had visited Animeniacs, my choice was made. Not only are their prices unbeatable, but their service is far and away the best I've experienced in the business. Roger Morse of Gimme Anime complains that he has no idea why his business has gone down. The answer is simple enough: His selection isn't up to par with that of many other anime sellers (not just Animeniacs), and his prices are astronomical.
"Anime Attraction" makes the accusation that Animeniacs sells nothing but "bootleg" copies. First of all, most of these are DVDs that have been made by an Asian company for an Asian market. Second, Animeniacs also carries a large selection of American-produced discs, the same one would find at Gimme Anime, Best Buy or the like, for those customers who do not wish to purchase HK discs, so the store does not exclusively sell HK copies. Of course, this information seems to be mysteriously missing from the article.
Animeniacs is a business that is beloved by many people within the metro area, and it will continue to grow as more people discover it. And discover it they should. If the only way Morse can remain competitive is to egregiously slam his competitors, then he should rethink his business strategy. If he can't, then he deserves any failure he encounters.
A bootleg up on the competition: Thank you so much for your article on Japanese anime and the difference between original and bootleg. What I find interesting is that Joseph Henderson doesn't feel he's doing anything wrong since he's only "selling" this bootleg merchandise. That's like a drug dealer saying, "Well, I don't make the drugs, I just sell them." Just because there might be people who will buy this merchandise from him doesn't mean it's legal or right to do so. There have been raids overseas where thousands of these same DVDs were taken and arrests were made. I hope that somehow, the red tape is lifted and stores like Animeniacs will no longer be able to sell these illegal goods.
As someone who has been around the local anime community for over ten years, I can honestly say that bootleg producers and sellers are no friend to the industry.
Name withheld on request
The blame game: I want to stress that I don't condone bootlegging, especially as it hurts mom-and-pop stores such as the one mentioned in "Anime Attraction." However, I do want to point out that the American distributors are partially to blame for this problem.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was supposed to be released in the U.S. last October. It has been repeatedly pushed back, and many retailers estimate it will not be out until this fall. The American distributors repeatedly drag their feet getting these items to market, pushing fans to find alternative sources. The American translation of the manga Tenjo Tenge is another example. In Japan, this anime is targeted toward adults, and as such, is loaded with nudity and violence. When DC Comics brought the manga to the U.S., it edited it heavily to sell to a broader audience -- yet another reason to purchase a bootleg version. (This is also the case with some anime releases.) Finally, many bootlegs are purchased because the series or movies are not available in the U.S. and there are no plans to release them domestically. In these cases, these bootlegs are the only option. I say all this not to advocate the purchase of bootlegs, but only to illustrate that the lack of respect the industry shows its target audience is partly to blame.
Fake out: I really enjoyed "Anime Attraction." I am a huge otaku and have purchased anime bootlegs in the past without knowing they were fake. Everyone interested in anime must know how expensive this hobby is, but you can save your money and manage it somehow. (I do, and I'm practically poor!) My point: Even if bootlegs are cheaper, you should never buy one, because it just ruins all the hard work all the companies did in making them.
Manchester, New Hampshire
Give them what they want: My full response to "Anime Attraction" can be found at http://twilightphe0nix.livejournal.com/30960.html. In print, I would like it to be said that the anime market responds not to its fans, but to the lust for money. Shops like Animeniacs provide consumers with a well-made product that allows them to both afford and enjoy the art form in more than $30 four-episode stints.
Regardless of their product, Animeniacs has provided members of the anime community with items they could not otherwise receive, and has done it with a smile and a kind hand. Per the question stated on the well-illustrated cover of Westword, Animeniacs, though making a profit like any other business, is no anime of the people simply because of its will to provide the community with the works themselves. Animeniacs offers legitimate U.S. DVDs as well as well-priced Japanese comics (manga) and figurines, and all of its products have dues paid on them when passing through the Customs office. And when a need is not being met in the line of normal service, Animeniacs goes above and beyond if it can.
Who can ask anything more of any business? Perhaps if the other providers spent more time assisting the needs of their customers instead of making calls to federal agencies, running petitions and writing letters, then their business might increase.
Brandon L. De Vito
Comic relief: Thank you for your coverage of the anime-bootleg phenomenon. With all of the focus placed on downloading content from the Internet, it is easy to overlook people actually making a profit off of stolen intellectual property. There are a few things I wanted to clear up.
One is that there is no question as to the legality of the DVD bootlegs (as well as the bootleg CDs and wall scrolls). The Berne Convention for Artistic and Literary Works covers the respect of copyright between countries, regardless of where the bootleg materials com from.
Second is that there is another type of bootleg that fans call a "Region 1 Rip." This is a bootleg that is a copy of the American release, with Chinese subtitles added. These are heavily favored by bootleg buyers because they include the English dubbing track. This is a clear violation of the American copyright holder's license.
Third is to simply clear up what might be a misunderstanding. While John Walker is a part of convention-logistics operations for Nan Desu Kan, he does not oversee the entire convention. Bootlegs are the jurisdiction of the dealers' room and security staff. John's use of "we" was "we, the convention." And while the conventions do talk to each other, they simply share information, including information about potential troublemakers. Also, Henderson has not been outright banned from NDK. As a former co-chairperson said, "He can show up if all of his stuff is legal." The fact that he hasn't speaks volumes.
Listen up, sheeple: In his review of Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan (DVDish, February 9), Jordan Harper writes, "Some cynics say the only good thing about religion is the music. Others say Bob Dylan's songwriting talent allows fans to call his voice 'textured' or 'soulful,' when it's really 'awful.'"
Congrats, Jordan, you're another moron who just doesn't get Dylan. Just like the rest of the "sheeple" in this area, you're blind to truth, passion and honesty. You're a sham, a faker and a one-eyed phony, writing shit reviews for a shit rag in a shit town. Far put, man. Awful, huh? Know what's really awful? Your taste.
via the Internet
Better read than Deadboy: Regarding Jason Heller's review of Deadboy & the Elephantmen, in the February 16 Playlist:
Jason, you do not know what you are talking about, to say that Mr. Dax Riggs is attempting to copy the White Stripes. Deadboy has been around in various forms for a long time. Pick up a copy of If this is hell...then im lucky, their first studio release (good luck finding one). If you do, what you will find are the most haunting and original masterpieces ever created. And I do mean that -- haunting and psychedelic, to a point.
You do not know what you are missing. It is pure genius.
Feeling groovy: From Josh York's letter in the February 9 issue: "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." And classical music. Some classic freaks -- I mean classical-music fans! -- would be distressed to realize that Bach, Mozart and even Beethoven liked to get down and jam. Bach, in particular, was such a legendary improviser that a lot of other players were afraid to jam with him!
Jason's a gem: After reading several astonishingly acrimonious letters from furious readers directed at Jason Sheehan's food criticism over the past few weeks, I made a point to read his article on Black Pearl ("Another Kind of Comfort," February 16). I found his writing to be crisp, well informed and offense-free. Could this be because I, like most Westword readers, have no stake in any restaurant in Denver or anywhere else?
Sea change: Jason Sheehan's review of Black Pearl started with an articulate discourse on his prejudice against it. After reading the review, I was not sure that he had redeemed himself in proving that there was a point to that rant. I did not see why he was so adamant about what he was adamant about.
As a business owner, fifteen years on the same block as the Black Pearl, I have watched in amazement as this restaurant has been quite busy from the first day, and I have seen this restaurant do far more business than any other restaurant that occupied that space. It was a revolving door for a while. Jason hated the hype, the website, the menu. The things he hated are the things that were done that created what looks like success to me, so I wonder: What is the point of having a dislike so strong? When it adds up to success, I believe that those responsible might get a positive affirmation, a job well done, kudos, bravo!
Many months of observing how busy Black Pearl has been would lead me to a conclusion -- and it would be that the success is not an accident, not luck, but the result of some skill and knowledge that there are people there who put their heart and soul into what they're doing. So to the staff at Black Pearl, it looks like you are all working together, doing a great job, and the result is that Old South Pearl Street has another fine restaurant that adds more charm to a very special place that is not duplicated anywhere is this city.
I am not affiliated with the Black Pearl in any way, shape or form. And I certainly am not affiliated with Jason in any way shape or form. Reminds me of the joke: The woman says, if you were my husband, I would shoot you; the man replies, if I was married to you, I would shoot myself.
Jason, you have always been cynical and ambivalent, and I think you are taking comfort in being a little bloated. Relax, dude, you are not all that -- but it's okay, we loathe you anyway. And keep on laughing that we still read what you write. We just take it with a grain of...
Laid to rest: Hate is such a strong word, Jason. May I call you Jason? I feel I can, considering we have the same name and I know your writing so well.
I read your column diligently every week or so, waiting for you to surprise me with an objective viewpoint rather than some slanted dribble based on your seemingly "extensive" experience (sarcasm). Jason, did you miss that day at journalism school that speaks of ethics and morality in being objective? The power of the pen does not give you carte blanche to spew highly denigrated and verbose negativity to the masses.
Just because you are a "critic" does not mean you have to be a cynic; don't take the title so seriously. The problem with critics is that they tend to think that because they have a column or page, they have an audience's attention and they have a chance to affect our minds and our hearts. Well, your ink is black and so is your heart. Somewhere along the way, you have lost yourself.
Come back to the light. I don't know, maybe find...God. Maybe you should to stop eating so much fatty food while reviewing restaurants; it's blocking your arteries. Your angst is going to block your writing. I know: Go get laid.
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