By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Vote for cutie pie!
Thanks to Buzz for the plug for www.dallasarena.com [April 1]. Having taken a crash course in the Ron Kirk/Carol Reed School of Lies, I now am quite comfortable with saying whatever I want to be true--or hope to be true. It's the new Dallas way. Of course, if you have friends like those of Mayor Ron who pony up $300,000 for a shoo-in, you get your story (factual or wishful) a lot further.
As for District 5 candidate Don Robinson, even someone with a droll, bloodless appearance and a lower-jaw mobility impairment can appreciate a good-looking guy. If he happens to be smart and well qualified, more the better. With everyone expecting a historic low voter turnout for the city council elections, anyone who votes for any reason is a better citizen than their neighbor who doesn't. Just remember, Donna Blumer and Laura Miller are the only incumbents who deserve to be re-elected. A protest vote for any challenger will send a big message to Mayor Ron and his puppets that we are not happy.
Pro or amateur?
There's no denying it: Robert Wilonsky is a Professional ["Beat the meatles," Out Here, March 25]. A gifted and capable journalist, he seems unable to break out of this pattern of snotty, vindictive, elitist music reviews and develop a journalism style that is at least halfway objective and hopefully two-thirds less...fucking nasty. As for the Andy Timmons review, I have to ask: What's wrong with "pristine production"? You "can't believe it wasn't released by a major label"? My God! I'll pass! Good thing I read the review in time! Lest I buy a CD by a popular, extremely talented local musician who could use a shred of local support.
I'm assuming that when Mr. Wilonsky writes about infantile fantasies of playing imaginary guitars in front of mirrors, he has firsthand experience--although one has to wonder why 'Lonsky chooses a coat hanger to strum instead of, say, his Pulitzer Prize. He states in his "review" of Orange Swirl--an obvious nod to '60s pop (somehow lost on Robby) by the meanest, black-hearted guitar demon in town, Andy Timmons--"It's one thing to be copycat good, something else entirely to play beyond your influences and yourself." He ends the article with "If only he'd do so much less."
If I may paraphrase Mozart from the film Amadeus, "Which notes would you have Andy remove, sire?"
Andy Timmons, and all of the other real musicians in the area, should ignore this insignificant blip on the musical radar screen. I think Wilon's sky is ready for a fall.
South by Southworst
When I read Robert Wilonsky's rant about this year's South by Southwest ["Tom Waits for no one," March 25], my first impulse was to laugh at the cliched cynicism I have come to expect from your run-of-the-mill rock critic. However, further consideration of his piece prompted me to write this letter in order to point out that Mr. Wilonsky has missed the point of the festival.
From reading Mr. Wilonsky's article, one would deduce that the festival's sole purpose is to provide a forum for music industry types to schmooze and scheme amongst themselves. While I will not deny that this is rampant at SXSW (it is, after all, also a conference for the music industry), the main focus is still, as it has been from the fest's inception, live music.
As most Austinites will tell you, despite the added ritz and hustle that SXSW brings the city, it is still an anticipated event that provides residents with the opportunity to see music acts from throughout the world. Yes, I realize that the crowds and prices have increased over the last 13 years, but it is not difficult, nor uncommon, for the non-wristband-wearing public to gain entry into countless shows.
SXSW began primarily as a way to showcase top musical talent for the residents of Austin, and although the nature of the festival has changed by virtue of its increasing size, it is still adhering to said goal.
I wonder whether Mr. Wilonsky is showing a bit of jealousy at the fact that Dallas does not hold a festival of such prominence, or whether he is just showing the oldest of the rock critic's cliches: that he has to hate everything.
South by Southbest!
I enjoyed the article on South by Southwest. Thanks for helping me not feel guilty for not attending this year's conference. It really is a downer when you know money is squeezing the life out of good, hard-working bands (and there are still some left).
Thanks again. I'll sleep better now.
Thanks so much for a heartfelt, astute, deftly written review of Wilco's Summer Teeth ["The only one," February 25]. Criticism this good (intellectually nutritious and fun to read) is really rare. Good criticism is so hard to achieve (and so valuable when it leaves the arrow quivering in the bull's-eye), because it constructs one side of a dialogue that invites the reader to step in and variously agree, take issue with, chuckle, smile in recognition and learn, all at the same time. I'm absolutely impressed and so glad I stumbled across your piece via the Wilco Web site.