By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Couldn't stop: Thanks for an excellent article ("What's Wrong With This Picture?" by Zac Crain, January 15). I intended to read the first couple of paragraphs to see if the article might be interesting, and I found I couldn't stop reading. I was moved by Hal's story and his friends' stories. Great writing. Great choice of subject matter. Thanks again.
Vagrants: Your story of Hal Samples and the homeless is a little light on true homelessness. The characters Ephram, Cindy and Shots are not homeless. They are vagrants. Duane is a professional vagrant.
Sympathy goes to those whose cars and businesses are broken into and vandalized for money to purchase drugs and alcohol.
Samples got too much wealth too soon. He spent unwisely on addictive behavior and found himself under a bridge. It was wonderful that his family took him back to rehab. It is wonderful that Samples wants to help the homeless. It is wonderful that Jerry Reynolds of Prestige Ford took this man back.
But Samples, like the city of Dallas, needs to focus on the HOMELESS--those whose circumstances placed them in this despair. The mentally ill, the drug abuser and the criminals who prey on people's property cannot and/or will not live by the rules of Dallas, the shelters or any other program or service meant to aid them.
Each "type" of homeless/vagrant/insane must be identified and treated according to their willingness to get help, maintain treatment and desire to come out the other end more whole and more useful to society.
Get out the word: Great story. Thanks for finding it, writing a great piece and getting it in front of Dallas.
Very Angry Inch
Banished: I am writing in response to Elaine Liner's article that appears in the current issue of the Dallas Observer ("The Man Who Wasn't There," January 15). When the Observer sent her to our performance on Saturday, January 3, we were under the impression that she was going to review our show. What might have been a careful examination of the production was instead a very personal attack that was inappropriate and, frankly, unprofessional.
It is clear that Ms. Liner has seen only one Hedwig--Mr. Joey Steakley. Her provincial view combined with lack of imagination may have contributed to her inability to contemplate a different approach to the role. Had she researched the role of Hedwig, she would have discovered that all types of people have performed in her shoes. Did you know that Michael Cervervis, who was the second actor to play Hedwig and took over the role from John Cameron Mitchell, was bald, stands taller than Mitchell and weighs considerably more? Are you aware that even a female has performed the role? Ally Sheedy played Hedwig in New York from October-December 1999. While an actor's physical attributes may certainly enhance or detract from a performance, the intelligent viewer quickly realizes that Hedwig's delicacy and vulnerability are not physical but rather emotional. She can be performed by any and all who are able to convey her emotion and sing her songs.
Fortunately, our audiences--and most critics--have approached Hedwig with a more sophisticated view. We are extending our production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch because of popular demand and also as the result of four area reviews that focused more on Mr. Rain's performance than his physical attributes--in fact, stating that Mr. Rain outperformed Mr. Steakley!
As a producer, I long for great reviews but appreciate constructive critiques from intelligent and well-informed professionals. Unfortunately, Ms. Liner's review falls into neither category. As such, it reflects poorly on all of us--my production, the Dallas Observer and Ms. Liner. For this reason, it is probably best that she does not attend our future performances.
Co-Founder, The Other Half Theatre Experience
Downtown pedestrian mall: Jim Schutze says that James "Chip" Northrup has original plans for the Trinity? ("Happy Next Year," January 8.) Well, original city planning in Dallas is a jailable offense! So please don't mention my name. But here's my idea to go along with the soon-to-be-forgotten innovative Northrup idea. There's no reason cars should go THROUGH downtown Dallas. They should go TO or AROUND it. If you ban cars from downtown on Thursday, you have the world's biggest, best and most innovative pedestrian mall in the country by Friday. Then as community builds up in the car-less zone, people will naturally want to fix up and build up the Trinity. But you didn't hear any of this from me as I flee the provincials!
Right on the Head
So to speak: I just finished reading "Hey, You. Yeah, YOU!" (by Sarah Hepola, January 8). What a fantastic and funny article! You hit it all right on the head. Could we get every club to plaster it all over their walls? Yes, yes on starting weeknight shows early. Triple yes on not peeing on the toilet seats! You're off to a great start as music editor. Keep up the good work and clever writing.