By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Arkansas raider: The real news ("Cool Cotton," by Jim Schutze, March 8) here is what Jerry Jones is attempting to pull off, and who he has recruited to carry his water for him. In seeking to eliminate the only viable alternative venue to the events you describe in your article, he will be forcing each of us to choose between a trek to Arlington to attend these events, or forgoing them altogether.
With his partners at The Dallas Morning News leading the parade, he seeks to convince the citizens that nobody wants the silly old Cotton Bowl anyway. (We have a poll—gasp!—that says so!) So now we should all ask our council persons to withhold funds for a Cotton Bowl facelift. Well, times are tight and money is short, so sure enough we'll divert those funds to something more useful, like a toll road on a levee or a bridge.
Your Cotton Bowl article is the article I would have written as a 25-year resident of the Dallas area. I have seen everything from college ball to soccer to drum-and-bugle corps competitions at the CB, so I'm also aware of the condition of the facility. Sure, the CB is old and in need of a facelift. This is what happens when budgeting for infrastructure is neglected.
I might remind Dallasites that (for once) your city council did the right thing by you in sending the Arkansas carpetbagger packing to wherever voters would be willing to pay (and pay and pay) for his toys.
Now is the time to stand up to him once more. The city of Dallas deserves to have a stadium in good repair to host large outdoor events. Let's show JJ and his tribe that we will compete with him and take our share of event revenue and good times here in Dallas. Besides, just think what he'll charge for a beer if nobody challenges him!
Twist and Shout
But we like to smirk: Mark, Mark, Mark: When you stick the knife in, do you have to twist it so much? And wipe that smirk off your face (Hash Over, by Mark Stuertz, March 1).
Your announcement/blurb of Tony's new chef Toby Blakley was a little sadistic/rude for a five-minute phone interview. The connection you alluded to between Toby and the demise of Dragonfly had more spin than a Maytag washer on a warm summer day. And referring to Tony's menu as a "spaghetti Western" will be taken as a compliment. I'm thinking Blazing Saddles, one of the funniest spaghetti Westerns ever written.
Toby is a truly gifted and dedicated chef who is evolving into a star.
Why not stick to the facts?
Little Guy's Lament
SXSW gentrified: We wanted to thank you for your article in the Dallas Observer ("SXSW, WTF," by Jonanna Widner, February 15).
I truly think you expressed what a lot of smaller bands and labels who are fighting the good fight daily in this crazy world of music are feeling this year in regard to SXSW 2007. Most feel like they can't publicly express their feelings in fear of maybe being blacklisted next year, or that complaining about it just comes off as sour grapes. In general, it seems like some odd icky turning point for the festival.
It's officially not the SXSW of my childhood anymore. As a terminal music geek, it was also my personal spring break of choice for years—long before it was like some giant pick-a-number/text message Easter egg hunt for a wristband.
Really, I guess we should all be impressed and thankful how long the festival has gone on and held onto its integrity. In the end, it is their prerogative how to shape its direction, and I do hope they hear all the little muffled cries and take them into consideration for next year. (I think the attention on under-the-radar artists is what made SXSW unique and special, and it's sad to see that go.)
On a side note, during my time working at KTXT, Texas Tech's student-run radio station, starting in 1997, I can also say that without a doubt Baboon are truly a staple of the KTXT inner family of Texas bands that we hold dear, and it was always awesome when they came to town from DFW!
Those guys have been fighting so long, they truly deserve a break, and I am so glad you stood up for them and their latest brilliant record!
Also, up until this year...I always felt so proud that SXSW was from my home state. Now I just feel a bit sad and empty.
Emergency Umbrella, the label I co-own, put in six bands this year and not one made the cut, so we feel the reality sting of this too and wonder what we are doing wrong. We don't have money, just the talent and drive of everyone involved that keeps us going.
To see the gates of SXSW start to gentrify, narrow and close is simply devastating for people like us. In fact it does get really depressing if you start to think about it too much, and it's best to just make music because you love it and hope for the best.