By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Al Lipscomb's betrayal
I lived in Denton for most of my life, and I'm still amazed at the control exerted by the downtown businesses in Dallas. I now live in Boston, where politics is a bit more confrontational.
I didn't always agree with the stands that Al [Lipscomb] took, but I hate see him treated so poorly by the black community ["Saint Al," April 16]. I think the black middle class needs to recognize that they enable the white power structure to maintain this shady system of politics in Dallas. Upwardly mobile blacks in Dallas need to decide what they stand for and stop deluding themselves by placing their brother on an altar they helped build.
I'm a member of an organization called the Partnership, which works to keep black professionals in the Boston area. One item I follow when all else fails is to lend a hand to people who haven't been as fortunate as I. Part of this means smiling and saying hello to all blacks and browns I encounter on the street. That simple gesture can empower an individual who may not have the correct style of clothes and may be in need of serious support from our society.
So I hope that despite what happens to Al, the black community will remember that when no one wanted to fight for the underclass, Al was big enough to voice his opinions despite working in the cesspool that is Dallas City Hall. He played all the cards dealt to him in a game he didn't invent.
After living in Dallas for approximately eight years in the late '80s to early '90s, my sister and I clearly knew that something was just slightly off-kilter with the political system in Dallas, but just could not put our finger on it. We often felt that in a city known for its culture and arts, it seemed oddly behind step with some of the other major cities in the South.
This article, although about Mr. Lipscomb, basically enlightened us to the political climate of Dallas. For this we thank you, because it was like a lightbulb finally turned on for us, and we became aware of why certain systems and customs are still in place to this day in what is supposed to be a city on the cutting edge to much of the world.
Thank you for such informative and in-depth reporting.
Great story on Lipscomb. As a native Dallasite, I must say this was very well-presented--for both sides.
Keep it coming, Mr. [Jim] Schutze. However, you might want to watch your back, because there may still be power brokers out there who don't want the truth to be told. You did a marvelous job in the The Accommodation, where you first exposed the sordid past of this city.
Something special in the air
I want to thank the editors for publishing "Straighten up and fly right" [April 16] regarding militant Christian organizations' attempts to bully American Airlines into being more suitably homophobic. The piece was remarkably thorough, more than anything I've ever read in the gay and lesbian media. I wish mainstream publications such as yours would more often print such insightful pieces.
I am one of those dreaded, hateful, right-wing fundamentalist religious psychos. I was pleased to read yet another leftist, pro-gay story in the recent Observer. I really appreciate your typical bigoted, yes bigoted, caricature of people of conscience and faith. You open-minded lovers of freedom and freedom of expression treat anyone who opposes your views as "the enemy," and intolerant. I hope you remembered to throw Jerry Falwell's name into your article. It wouldn't be complete without such buzzwords.
I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle, but wish no ill will to any gay or lesbian person. I work with a gay man whose lover died of AIDS. I have no problem with him, except that he likes to tell us often about how gay men are superior to normal men. Hmmm, that sounds slightly bigoted. Besides that, who cares what he does at home? I only am miffed when such people take their cause to the streets to cram their lifestyle choice down the throats of other Americans.
To me, the term "right wing" is a bigoted phrase, and you liberated people have no problem throwing it around. I seriously doubt that you would accept any person that was outside your narrow ideology as a decent person. You guys probably believe in Hillary Clinton's "right-wing conspiracy" without even bothering to look at facts from a non-biased source.
The Observer has gone downhill since the former owner died years ago. He would not allow all the sex-oriented advertising that now outweighs your actual articles. I guess it would be hypocritical for you to make a non-politically correct stand concerning gays, when you yourselves subsidize your paper with any matter of filth, just as long as the client pays.
You guys are total hypocrites!
Congratulations on your mostly even-handed coverage of the attack on American Airlines by political-religious extremists. And Hooray for American Airlines!
I'm just sorry you didn't have more information about some of the queer-friendly organizations that have been supportive of American. The result was that viewing the feature on the Web, there were a half-dozen links to the religious-extremist Web sites and no links to the sites of the dozens of gay-friendly sites of organizations that have been extremely supportive of American and its equal-opportunity, non-discriminatory employment policies--organizations such as People for the American Way, the Human Rights Campaign, GLAD, etc.
The Dallas Observer has hit another arts-community low with your factually inaccurate and sourceless, rambling diatribe about the USA Film Festival ["That sinking feeling," April 9]. It is apparent that no research of any kind was conducted that would have allowed the pesky facts to get in the way of this story.
The festival has always encouraged free criticism of its programming, and frankly, we don't care if the Observer writers don't like or don't get all the films we present. We don't present them for the benefit of the Observer's film writers, but rather for a large community that welcomes and supports both diverse, interesting programming as well as programs that celebrate pure artistry and entertainment.
However, when your writers attempt to tackle (even in a highly select and cursory fashion) such subjects as the festival's "soul," artistic vision, finances, history, mission, and purpose, a little homework is required if credibility is the desired result.
Mona Oros More
USAFF Executive Committee
Editor's note: We'd be interested in knowing what "pesky facts" we got wrong, since Ms. More does not cite any.
After having had the pleasure of reading the Christina Rees review of Richard Diebenkorn at the MAMFW ["Empty beach," March 26] and after having had the displeasure of enduring the "Pretty vacant" response letter [April 16], I am prompted to point out that Rees' review of the exhibition is very similar in tone to Peter Plagens' review of the same in the February issue of Art Forum. This puts Rees in pretty good critical company.
Concerning the company of "Pretty Vacant," we can only hope that the tasteless personal attacks of his or her letter are not indicative of the typical Diebenkorn fan.
Barry Wayne Bailey
Ching-ching-ching. You know what that sound is? That's a hammer hitting the head of a nail. Once again, Zac Crain has said what I believe people around the area are afraid to say [Out Here, April 23]. "Write your own freakin' music, people!" I totally agree with every point you made in this article. The nostalgia is cool, but it does indeed get old. I've only seen the Mullens once live, but it was enough. I kept thinking to myself, "Does that guy up there really think he's as cool as Joey Ramone?" I couldn't get past those thoughts.
The hair style was "Ramones." As for Matt "Three-Chord" Mayo, didn't that style of riff-writing die already? I realize that there are plenty of so-called punk bands in the Dallas area that still write like this, but that doesn't make it right, now does it? Each and every one of them deserves to get reamed in one of your articles. Keep it up!
Jim Schutze's article "Flood money" [January 22] is an awesome piece. I salute Jim for his reporting, his vision, and his superb writing. If every Dallas voter would read this article from beginning to end, there would be no votes for the Trinity Proposition 11. This is journalism of the highest order, and I hope that Jim Schutze wins more awards than Jim Cameron did for that other Titanic story.
As I am flipping through the April 2 Dallas Observer and considering my choices for this year's Observer Music Awards, I am again plagued with the problem I ran into last year--what to do with the categories in which Meredith Miller is nominated.
Since seeing Meredith Miller perform more than two years ago, I have regarded her as one of the most talented solo musicians in the Dallas music scene today. I bought her CD and would try to make her shows to enjoy her clever songs and pure voice. As a matter of fact, I was so taken with her talent that it took about three shows before I realized that maybe her stage presence was the result of more than just a bad day.
I certainly don't claim to know anything about the music industry, but from a common-sense standpoint, it seems to me that a musician's goal should be to endear their audience to them, further fostering their appeal to both fans and potential fans. Meredith Miller, however, seems to think that trying to play the "I have such an elusive aura about myself" card works. She is unapproachable, withdraws and seems uncomfortable when given compliments, and acts like no one else in the audience could even begin to understand the complexities of life that seem to have inspired many of her songs. As a matter of fact, should you request that Ms. Miller play one of your favorites on her CD, think again; she will usually look at you like you are an idiot.
This year I will once again go through the categories and check the boxes accordingly. The Calways for the most improved, Rhett Miller for the best male vocalist, etc. When I get to best folk and best female vocalist, however, I will pause and wonder if talent above the rest is the only thing that should play into honoring a musician with this award.