By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Jim Schutze's comment that "compared with Dallas, the racial time warp here puts Amarillo somewhere in the early '70s" is going off the erroneous assumption that single-member districts have created a progressive utopia out of Dallas ("Black out," January 13). I have to laugh. Do a little more leg work before you publish your next cultural analysis.
Something smells fishy
Excellent reporting on an ongoing problem in Galveston Bay ("Bay botch," January 13). I will certainly be investigating where my seafood comes from, especially now. Think any of the seafood restaurant chains are listening?
Hyde from Stuertz!
I often read restaurant reviews, and can generally rely upon them, but Mark Stuertz's review of the Jekyll & Hyde Club in Grapevine ("Theme puke," January 13) made it sound like he came just this side of vomiting all over the actors and patrons. A friend and I ate there while on break from Christmas shopping and found the food to be decent if slightly overpriced (but not unexpected given the venue), and the entertainment fun, if you got into it.
Chris, our waitress, was fantastic. We sat next to the stage. Both Chris and the actors were there "just enough": She to keep our wine glasses full, and the actors to get us into it. Yes, it's brash, busy, and overdone. But that's the point. Anyone with a little imagination (Stuertz obviously has one, or else he wouldn't have been able to come up with the descriptions of what he felt was regurgitated, putrefied food) should be able to enjoy Jekyll & Hyde. I did, and I will again.
I'm going to test their mettle in a couple of weeks with a birthday bash for 30-plus adults. I'll be more than happy to tell you how they stand up to a large group with separate checks. Maybe Stuertz is just upset that the actors didn't play with him very much. Maybe he should try walking into a restaurant without "Hi! I'm an asshole of a food critic" written all over his face.
I am soooo over Zac Crain!!! I have felt this way for a while, and yet I haven't really felt the need to write until now. I opened the Dallas Observer this morning and the first thing I read was "Worst Crain of the '90s" (Letters, January 13). Ahhh, I'm not alone!!! What is this man's deal? What made this man so miserable?
And yet, people who have met him "say" he is a nice guy. So, is it all an act? Is he just an ass on paper to get a rise out of people? Yes, I know everyone has a right to his or her own opinion, but come on, guy! He critiques people's dreams. These people are out there busting their butts trying to make something happen for themselves, and here is this weekly newspaper guy dumping on them. I wonder how Mr. Crain would feel if someone who had a lot of influence over people critiqued his work poorly every week. Maybe they did, and that is why he is working for the Observer and is so pissed off.
Zac Crain's "Take these records, please" (January 6) was one of the most hard-hitting and honest articles I've ever read regarding the state of the music industry.
Zac, you left one out: Carlos Santana's Supernatural. Sounds like someone grabbed a cat by the tail. Even includes the bland Rob Thomas singing on "Smooth," eyeliner and all. Shameless. The thing that is scariest about this horrific album is that it will probably win about a half-dozen Grammys!
Damn, buddy. You must like a lot of crappy music, because if that was your list of the worst albums of the 1990s, where the hell are the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey? Hold up. You probably like that crap. How can you put Limp Bizkit on your list and also suggest Korn? And then you put matchbox 20 there as well.
Damn, buddy, you need to quit listening to all that crap y'all get up there in Dallas, like all of those little girl bands. When was the last time Dallas actually had a good concert up there?
Thanks to Robert Wilonsky for bringing back some wonderful memories of the Big "D" Jamboree ("Good rockin' last night," January 6). I would like to mention my favorite and my worst memory. My favorite performance was by Roy Clark, making his guitar sound like a train. My worst memory is of gathering the courage to tell Minnie Pearl she had a price tag hanging from her hat. The time line was probably around 1965. By the way, I was unable to find a copy of the Dallas Observer this past weekend. Thank you for having a Web site.
A Frank account
I swear that sometimes your paper goes out of its way not to call me out to offer true accounts of what really happened. Time after time, you write about the good old days and various events that led to what Deep Ellum has become today. Most recent case in point: the two articles (or should I say, wastes of ink) on the age-old feud between Russell Hobbs and Jeff Swaney ("Art and Commerce Street," December 16; and Street Beat, December 23). While most of your writers were toilet-training, I was there amidst these two knuckleheads with other neighborhood pioneers, Charlie Gilder and Jeff Liles.
Swaney's legendary area-development meeting was no ground-shaking episode in anyone's life; it was just another day. Jeff stated his vision and asked for support in this concept from other area luminaries. As we left that non-epic event, it was clearly understood amongst all of us that this was just Jeff being Jeff. There's nothing wrong with that, no matter what spin you choose to put on it; it's just his way. Had any of you been there, it would have been obvious that the future of the area was destined to change.
In my opinion, Swaney has always been up-front and straightforward about his idealist mission, whether you agree with it or not. Had he not taken charge with his vision then, some other less scrupulous, greedy piece of shit would have and truly sold out the hood. As far as wasting ink is concerned, Hobbs still mouths off from time to time, and you people still print it. He is as responsible for what the area became in its "fun" aspect as the aforementioned others. Then again, he is much more accountable than the rest of us for the way things are now, because he left the area when he still had a voice of influence.
Hobbs gave up his status and say of how things were to be the day he bailed and burned the scene. As he's stated in the past, God forgives him, but that doesn't mean we have to, does it? You would think by now he'd know where the door is.
Deep Blue somewhere?
Every time I watch my wedding video from my first marriage -- which the lead members of Deep Blue Something crashed -- I sigh, grab a tissue, and wonder what happened to these favorite whipping boys of the Dallas Observer. Do they ever play locally anymore? Did their glamour-shot layout in Playgirl have anything to do with their disappearance from the Dallas music scene? Will they ever pair up with the ever-resilient boys (and I use that term loosely) of Duran Duran again? Please give us an update.
Editor's note: For more about Deep Blue Something, please see this week's Street Beat.
Back in the U.S.S.R.
My name is Rob, and I'm a Peace Corps volunteer in Russia. I realize that this is just one article you wrote a few years ago, but I just read it today on your Web site (www.dallasobserver.com). I just read your article slamming bands like Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo as "kids playing Cowboys and Indians during summer break." That's absurd, and here's why: At the end of the day, it doesn't matter who's playing it or how old they are or who they are influenced by; what matters is whether they are playing what is in their hearts and how the listener is affected. I like Gram Parsons, and so do a lot of people, including, as you mentioned, the guys in Whiskeytown.
I have a feeling you are in your late 30s. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think you are looking at music from the wrong angle. You hold some band (in this case, Parsons and presumably the Flying Burrito Brothers) as the stick by which to measure any band that might be compared to them. In your mind, you have already decided that no band can come close to them or, God forbid, be better ("Taken as a whole, Sweetheart of the Rodeo and Gilded Palace of Sin are the beginning and the end of country-rock"). This way of thinking is very negative and rooted in some strange holier-than-thou attitude. Do you see what I mean? I've been there before, but I got out of that dead end.
Somewhere in Russia
You can't handle the truth
In reference to attorney Warren L. Clark's letter in the December 9 issue of the Dallas Observer, I'm so sick and tired of hearing that judges and lawyers alike suppress evidence. If it's crucial to the case -- in this instance, the case of Dustin Camp -- let it be heard. I don't think it's fair not to. But, hey, our justice system isn't fair anyway. Murderers get out in eight to 10 years, drug dealers get life, and people who are at the wrong place and time witnessing a killing are sentenced as severely as the actual perpetrator.
But this guy Dustin getting 10 years probation is absolutely ludicrous. Where is his accountability? He gets off scot-free. Self-defense, my ass. How can a stick compete with a 2,000-pound car? He's a murderer, plain and simple. Our laws sure need changing -- and not 100 years from now.
Don't forget to flush
Since I am an associate of J.C. Penney ("Penny pinched," November 25), I found the article very interesting. So thank you again for the eye-opener. There are a lot of cutbacks going on now. We don't learn these things through the company, and it sounds like it is going to take a very big roll of bathroom tissue to clean up things at the top.