By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Not So Hot
Pitiful thing: Thank you, thank you, thank you for having the guts to expose Some Like It Hot for what it is--a disgusting attempt by Dallas Summer Musicals to fill seats and get some cash ("Some Like It Not," July 25). This production was the most pitiful thing I've seen on the DSM stage in some time (since Jekyll & Hyde several years back). It seems to me that the shows DSM books and produces are getting worse every year--and people still stand and cheer. Well, not this person. While every other Tony Curtis-loving fan was standing and cheering, I was walking out the door. I wish I had been able to read your column (instead of Tom Sime's ridiculous glowing review) beforehand. Thanks for being honest with your readers.
Bring on the Smut
Good ol' dirty days: Eric Celeste's article ("Sex Sales," July 25) makes me pine for the halcyon days of the Dallas Observer, when it was an actual alternative paper, instead of just another link in a chain of weeklies, when the writing was good and the ads were dirty. Like Mr. Celeste, my friends and I used to entertain each other by reading the ads aloud, but we also enjoyed the good journalism that the dirty ads paid for, like investigative reports by Laura Miller and intelligent theater criticism by John Lewis. Back then, I was excited about picking up the Observer every week. Now, getting the paper is just a habit I haven't broken yet, like checking in on Saturday Night Livethinking, "Maybe it'll be good this week." Over the years, I've watched the Observer's sad, slow slide into corporate homogeneity, with tame personal ads and writing that is--with a few notable exceptions--bland and uninformed. Julie Lyons may find "hooker ads" embarrassing and disgusting, but in my opinion, poor journalism is worse. If dirty ads can buy better writing, bring on the smut!
I love it: Eric Celeste's "Sex Sales" was dead on. I, too, used to sit around reading ads searching for one that could actually shock me. Men seeking men: "You are a new father who isn't getting the attention you deserve...Let me pamper you!" I would call my friends: "You aren't going to believe this sick bastard!!!" Reading personals, escort ads and adult video store ads is a form of mindless entertainment that is dear to me. I love it! It's not just free content for the Observer; it's paid-for content. It's a significant part of the stuff that helped make this paper. If it offends you, try turning the page. If the problem really was the "offensive" content, you should feel better almost instantly. If the pain persists, call a doctor!
Freakin' aluminum windows: OK, I get it. But I don't get it. As a custom home builder in the M Streets/Lakewood area ("Trouble in the House of Tudor," July 25), I've heard the complaints, and brutha, I feel your pain. I really hate aluminum windows, front-loader garages with an acre of concrete leading up to 'em and the requisite Plano arch front entrance. I spend buckets of money that I don't really need to spend in order to make my houses fit into the neighborhood. Result? I've got neighbors who wish that a laminated beam would come crashing down on my head. One woman living close to my latest project told me that she hopes that I never build near her again, that she already hates the new owners of the house, even though it isn't even sold yet, and that she's surprised that the structure has not somehow mysteriously ignited by now. Fortunately, other neighbors are thrilled about the house and are happy to have the previous structure gone.
As ridiculous as some of her attacks are, I truly understand where she's coming from. She was there first. I came later. Her house is old and small. My house is new and large. Her house is worth around 200K. My house is priced at a million more than that. If I were that woman, I'd be pissed, too.
I've lived in the M street area for 11 years now. And I've seen the neighborhood checker-boarded with all kinds of new houses. Some builders throw up crap and stick a sign in the yard. Others spend time and money to construct a historically correct structure that blends in as if it had been there forever. Such builders could be counted on one hand. The difference is that one builder wants to make a contribution to a neighborhood, while the other wants to make a contribution to his mutual funds. Most of the original homes in the M Streets area were painstakingly constructed with quality materials, design imagination and pride in workmanship. All three are hard to find these days, as homes are built with the intention of housing the first owners for two or three years, instead of two or three generations.
In downtown Dallas, homeless people piss on old buildings that are so intricately detailed, they couldn't be reproduced today at any cost. Mini versions from that era are parked on the M Streets, and there won't be anything like 'em ever again. Are they worth hanging onto? Oh, yeah. Should the neighborhood look like The Truman Show? Huh? That's bordering on dictatorship. Even in high-tone Highland Park, there's some god-awful stuff going up, and nobody there could stop it. Our little M Streets aren't nearly as politically buff as the Park Cities, and the new houses will reflect that. More Plano arches are headed our way, and that's the American way. I can't stop 'em. But I wouldn't mind a ban on those freaking aluminum windows.