When beauty is ugly: Let me start by saying I've been a big fan of the Dallas Observer for many years and appreciate the role it's played in the Dallas music scene. I've been a musician in the Dallas scene for 17 years, and I've always looked forward to finding my band's name in the paper. That's precisely the reason I feel compelled to write. The "Sack of Kittens" section of the Scene, Heard column by Zac Crain just doesn't make sense to me. Why do you feel the need to slam local bands? Is that supporting the scene? I don't think so. I agree that sometimes I go to see a band and they really suck, but that's the beauty of a local music scene. Everyone is free to give it a shot.
There are some bands that aren't very good but have a good following because there might be something about them, other than pure playing ability, that is attractive to clubgoers. You can't expect every local band to be Radiohead or U2. It all depends on your taste. I personally think Bob Dylan is horrible, but apparently someone sees some talent there somewhere.
Now, I can't say that I'm as "fired up" as the Curtain Club seems to be on this issue (Letters, May 2), but they have a point. The role of the Observer should be to encourage new bands. If you don't like a band, simply ignore them. If a band is that bad, they're not going to be around very long anyway. There is no need to publicly rape them in your paper. That's just plain uncool. Besides, Fair to Midland (Scene, Heard, May 9) is not that bad. Lighten up, guys.
Bashing the Bard
The nerve: I really have to call into question your hiring of Elaine Liner. I read her review of Kitchen Dog Theater's production of Coriolanus ("Circle of Jerks," April 18) and was appalled. How dare this woman bad-mouth William Shakespeare! The bulk of her review was trashing the script. And I was further dismayed by her purely mean-spirited comments about the production itself.
In other reviews, I have also seen her bad-mouth Neil Simon. Get out of here, you're a local weekly paper in a theatrically insignificant city; it takes a lot of misplaced chutzpah to attempt to be critical of the theater's greatest writers. Fire her. Please.
Smokeless Night Out
Total ban: I suggest that Dallas follow the lead of several cities and the state of California and enact a total ban on smoking. That would eliminate the nasty issue of second-hand smoke without forcing businesses to install expensive new barriers ("Where There's Smoke," April 25). Personally, I don't care if someone wants to privately smoke 50 packs of cigarettes a day--it's their choice and their health. However, when they choose to practice this habit in public, it ceases to be a private matter. Why should smokers force the 75 percent of us who don't light up to share in their little habit?
Has anyone been out to a bar or club in California since the smoking ban took place? If so, you probably noticed afterward how differently you felt and smelled than when you do the same thing in Dallas. Unless you inflicted some other type of chemical hurt on yourself, you probably didn't have the red eyes, headache, sore throat or other miseries that are the price of going out here, and your hair and clothes didn't smell like a dirty ashtray.
I'm sure some Dallas businesses are afraid a smoking ban will cause customers to stay home. Don't worry: It didn't happen in California, and it won't happen here. Instead, they might actually find that some of us start going out more often because we don't have to deal with the stench.
Paul von Wupperfeld
Take My Vote, Please
Terri Hodge provides a service: Jim Schutze's attack on state Representative Terri Hodge and the owners of Virgin Couriers ("The Case of the Virgin Couriers," May 2) was not only unnecessary, but unwarranted. In his apparent attempt to grab headlines, Mr. Schutze attacked without proof or evidence. This was proven by written backstepping: "I'm not saying Ms. Hodge did this..." and "I'm not saying they do anything bad themselves..." In other words, "I have no proof of wrongdoing, but I am going to slam these folks anyway."
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The fact of the matter is that Terri Hodge and many folks like her provide a service to the community. They help the elderly, sick and disabled have a voice that would normally be forgotten. It would have been easy for Ms. Hodge to go and take ballots from the elderly, vote them however she wanted and drop them in any mailbox. If she wanted to commit an illegal act, why would she use a courier to deliver the ballots as the Texas Election Code requires, creating a paper trail to be followed?
Mr. Schutze not only went after the wrong person, but in the process, attacked a female-owned business for doing a legitimate service. Thanks to this ill-written article, citizens like Terri Hodge will not be there to help folks vote, the vote "brokers" will still be out there, and when ballots are mailed out this fall, voters will be intimidated by official-looking letters threatening imprisonment to folks who vote by mail and receive ballots. And the losers will be the senior and disabled citizens who will decide it is just not worth voting this year.
I am not saying that Jim Schutze's type of journalism is reckless and irresponsible. His words speak for themselves.