"Off the Wall!," Patricia Calhoun, September 4
Great article! Yes, the police really did "overreact." But where does urban art fit in an urban environment? And why don't we have more of it? What is the difference between "tagging" and graffiti"? Or is there a difference? Is tagging just the "black squiggly lines" you see on all kinds of surfaces? The lines that look like something a three-year-old would scribble where he shouldn't? Or is it considered graffiti? Is graffiti urban art? And if it is, would you consider the art that is drawn on the sides of buildings and box cars graffiti or urban art?
I ride light rail and I get to see a lot of good, urban art/graffiti painted on the sides of train cars/boxcars that are parked on the rails. The best urban art is on the back of the old Gates Rubber building, and actually drawn by a group of artists, who helped make an old building interesting enough.
And is this art or graffiti? Written on a box car: "George Orwell should sue George W. Bush for stealing his ideas."
All I can say is I hope that the Denver police or Partners Against Graffiti are never allowed near Diego Rivera's murals in Mexico City, or they, too, would have disappeared during the Gestapo-like tactics during the DNC. Guess Denver had to spend that $50 million on something.
Four years ago I wrote a letter to Westword about the term "anarchists" and how many media outlets seem to use it interchangeably with "lawbreakers" or "violent." Apparently that letter didn't change the world, and for that I am deeply sad. Life, it seems, is cold and terrible for a lonely anarcho-pacifist.
However, I've decided to give it a try again (I'll hold off on my attempts to change the misconception of "patriotism" as something desirable, or leg-humping dogs as something to "kick off" as quickly as possible). Though violence-advocating anarchists exist, most serious and committed anarchists are involved in what Gandhi (quite the anarchist and not known for his ass-kicking abilities) called the Constructive Program of building an alternative community in the shell of the old. If the Denver Police Department or any government body wants to take action against citizens for merely holding a philosophical or political opinion, they're heading down a dark, windy, poop-filled road.
Thanks for letting me clear up one of the most pressing issues of our time. I lecture about Karl Marx's Dialectical Materialism at weddings and bar mitzvahs as well, if anyone's interested.
Editor's note: For updates on the signs snafu, go to "Calhoun: Wake Up Call," at blogs.westword.com/latestword.
"A Mad and Faithful Tale," Dave Herrera, September 11
How to write a feature on DeVotchKa:
1) Explain how unique the band's sound is.
2) Offer your own insightful description of that unique sound.
3) Give a thumbnail sketch of the son-of-New-York-Sicilians-moves-to-Boulder-and-assembles-unorthodox-band story.
4) Quote some lyrics.
5) Mention Little Miss Sunshine.
6) Explain that the latest record is absolutely wonderful. (Extra points if you equate listening to it with a religious experience.)
7) End with an inspirational quote from Nick.
I dunno. Dave Herrera's piece is a fine article, but it doesn't say anything that hasn't already appeared in the 2,743 other DeVotchKa articles that have come out in the last five years.
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As Denver's best source for in-depth underground investigative reporting, I would hope that Westword could find a more gripping angle for a front-page feature on this fascinating group of musicians.