By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Beauty and the beast: While I know all of us at CBS 11 are pleased that you named our 10 p.m. newscast Best TV News Show (Best of Dallas, October 14), I'd just like to mention a couple of things important to what you see on the air: 1. Tom Doerr is our news director and deserves credit as the guiding hand here. Tom hired Jack Fink, Deborah Takahara, Shannon Hori, Doug Dunbar and others who make up the best group of Dallas-Fort Worth newcomers that we have seen in a very long time. Tom has also been supportive of the excellent journalists who work off-air here, including John Sparks and Todd Bensman. And 2., while I applaud your selection of Brad Hawkins as Best Anchor, my vote would go to Karen Borta. Karen is key to our growing success at KTVT and is one of the best and brightest people I know in this business. She is as credible and knowledgeable as she is beautiful, and that's considerable.
Best radio program: Guys, thanks. You've been very kind the last couple of years. I've now rented Harvey and The Philadelphia Story to figure out this Jimmy Stewart thing, but who am I to complain?
Keep your Tim Tams: It's a shame there is so little good to say about the Magnolia (Best Movie Theater). Lacking praise enough to fill even one paragraph, the whole blurb seemed to be about the Angelika. If you are going to accurately contrast the two, do your homework. Host of the 2004 USA Film Festival and the 2004 Deep Ellum Film Festival (among others), the Angelika Dallas has become the center of the metroplex art-house film scene. Going strong for more than three years, the Angelika has been extremely successful at bringing in quality films and film enthusiasts, and has done so without the Landmark name attached--an achievement that eluded the now Landmark-owned Magnolia. Angelika Interim General Manager Shawn Mahan does not waste his time stocking fancy cookies--the UTA film grad and Dallas native knows more about the local movie scene (and film in general) than any Australian import, and it shows. So compare nearby restaurants all you want--it's more proof that the Magnolia is merely a stopover on the yuppie hot-spot tour. If you want the best of what actually matters in film, you'll have to (gasp!) head east of Highway 75.
Jai and My New Man
Not just a pretty face: With in-laws in Texas, I regularly read copies of the Dallas Observer here in New Jersey. Imagine my shock and displeasure at the demeaning comments regarding Jai Rodriguez of TV's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. My husband and my house were recently "made better" by the Fab Five. My husband has an amazing new look, my house more efficiently beautified, and our daughter departed for her freshman year of college extremely well-equipped with the latest in electronic devices. We have four of the five gentlemen to thank for the cosmetics; however, Jai Rodriguez proved to us firsthand that he is much more than just a "culture vulture" who "introduces you to people who can actually help you" as stated by Mr. Jay Webb (Night & Day, October 14). Jai is the one who homed in on the fact that my husband was very much an "all about me" kind of guy and set about to make a difference in his treatment of the women in his home. In the episode, Jai spent valuable time with my husband discussing trust and selflessness, much of which never made it to air. A new man emerged from within, and my husband learned lifelong lessons of communication, understanding and compassion, and it was all a direct result of his chats with Jai. Perhaps Mr. Webb has based his observations on one or two brief glimpses of the show, but he should know that Mr. Jai Rodriguez is much more than an empty and useless pretty face as Mr. Webb portrayed him in his review.
Westwood, New Jersey
Love Her, Hate Her
I laughed, I cried: You've got to be kidding me! Did I see the same Camelot as Ms. Elaine Liner? ("Dungeons and Drag Queens," October 21.) Everything from the sets, the costumes and the actors was absolutely amazing and refreshing. How many times can one see the same old "light as a feather" version of Camelot? Ferrell's direction was tastefully modern, creative and full of depth. I laughed, I cried and every person I spoke with after the show absolutely LOVED IT!! Huge praise to Ferrell and the entire cast! Fantastic performance...bring us more!!
That brand of truth: Dear Elaine, hold on. Take your vitamins. Run an extra mile. Keep your head, mind and body strong. After reading your treatise on It Ain't Nothin But the Blues and Dreaming America ("Blues States," October 14), I have no choice but to put down teaching poetry workshops to kids and blue-hairs and fire up my computer toward the stage! I have one new goal in life, and that is to be reviewed by your pen. Thank you for telling the truth about the work and the workers--although it is not hard to make sense of a show that features a duet between Liz Mikel and M. Denise Lee. Those two waging a vocal "toe-to-toe" onstage is as close to sexual joy as a theater-goer is able to get. To hell with beer-ad babes frolicking "Victoria's Secret"-naked in a fountain. When Liz and the Diva cut loose, you remember it for life! Much is the case with your offering in this week's Stage section of the Dallas Observer. Keep writing that brand of truth and people might actually drive back into the city for a night on the town.