By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Voice of Dallas: Sarah Hepola again reminds me why she is, and rightfully so, the voice of Dallas-Fort Worth music. Admitting guilty pleasures like Hall and Oates, Lionel Richie and The Vanished only serves to prove you don't choose what you like, but you can choose not to put it in writing and expose yourself in public. However, she chooses to bare a part of herself in every piece she writes. And that is what is missing from so much of what we see, hear and read today. An open mind and ear, with an honest, heartfelt take on the Dallas-Fort Worth scene. Thanks again, Sarah!
Heartfelt thanks: I was in attendance at the Maltoro show reviewed this week (Set List, by Sam Machkovech, January 27), and I just wanted to say "thanks" for the wonderful review. Once again, you guys are incredibly on-target and fair with your local reviews of bands that are not indie rock. I do believe that your "music expert and reviewer extraordinaire" was the only person at the show who did not have a good time. Judging by what was written and the comparisons, I am not sure that he has actually been to either a punk or a metal show, since there were many metal comparisons for a punk band. Reviews like these are an excellent way to make sure that Dallas has no music scene whatsoever, especially for bands that are not ripping off whatever the current trend in New York is. Also, sending the same staff member to a punk show who wrote in the same issue that the French electro-pop band M83's new album is the "first must-own record of 2005" may not be the best of ideas.
I would once again like to personally thank you and all of your wonderfully talented staff who remind me why I try not to read the Dallas Observer if I can help it. You guys unfortunately make the Harder Beat a much better source of information for the Dallas music scene. Thanks again!
I weep: Oh, waaahhh! My heart is aching for Dallas' homeless ("Sleight of Hand," by Jim Schutze, January 27). Every time I think about how crushed they must feel when someone asks them not to piss on downtown's architecture, I weep. I find it outrageous that anyone with washed clothes and hair would not want to trip over a snoring body while on his or her way to lunch. I mean, if the homeless can't scrape together the cover charge at Gilley's, just where are they expected to get drunk? How selfish are we! If we really cared, each of us who'd like to see a viable, vibrant downtown Dallas should simply take one "wino" home with us, thus turning the homeless into homies. Problem solved, come on with your bad Trinity River project self!
Look, here's the deal: This is America, and this is Dallas. People in this country and city do not go to sleep at night with an empty stomach and a concrete mattress unless they choose to. They do not have a "home" because they don't want one. Specifically, they don't want a W-2. Obviously, there are people who, because of mental illness and abandonment, wander the streets with no real home base, and that is a truly sad, difficult situation. What I'm talking about is the vast majority of bridge-dwellers whose only planned activity is lifting a cardboard sign ("God bless") from mid-thigh to chest level in synchronization with an adjacent traffic light, followed later by throwin' back a 40 or 12. Whew! Tough day at the office!
Real homelessness is when a few zillion gallons of earthquake-generated water come rolling in over your village, erasing 99 percent of your structures and a dramatic portion of your family and neighbors as well. Real hunger is when the stork of "NO! NOT HERE!" drops your newborn body off in a Third World country where a full meal is both a luxury and the difference between living or not. You want your heart to bleed? Let it bleed for those who literally have no options, 'cause the world is full of those poor souls, but they don't live in Dallas.
If homelessness is such a given for our domestic population, why aren't there homeless people in small towns? Seems like you should see at least one guy passed out on the sidewalk after wetting himself as you drive through Fredericksburg. And regardless of your view on Bush's handling of our Swiss cheese southern border, when was the last time you saw an immigrant from Mexico begging for a handout in lieu of (GASP!) working? Well?...waiting...still waiting...
Bottom line: Given legitimate exceptions, the homeless in Dallas choose homelessness. Just ask anyone who feeds them or gives them shelter. Pity them because, for whatever reason, they don't want more from life unless it's handed to them in a gilded Neiman's bag. And personally, I'm considering quitting my job and never working again, so if anyone's interested in feeding me for the rest of my life...