It'll Put a Hurt on You

No place like Deep Ellum: I moved to Dallas six years ago. After taking a year to get my bearings, I moved down to Deep Ellum. No other place in Dallas had the combination of character, community, entertainment and dining. I have lived in Deep Ellum ever since and have no plans of moving.

I also used to enjoy picking up the Dallas Observer to see what shows were playing and to read the local articles. I would recommend the Observer to anyone I knew who moved to Dallas and was looking for something to do on the weekends. Unfortunately, I can't recommend it anymore. The ad about the crime in Deep Ellum was hurtful (Full Frontal, August 26).

It was hurtful to those of us who live there. I work north of LBJ and have had to answer questions from people at work asking about the crime depicted in the ad. No one should be forced to have to defend their home like that, but that is exactly what you have made us do. It was hurtful to those who operate businesses there. Any time you portray the negative aspects of an area, it is going to have an effect on the number of people who visit. Fewer visitors means less money in the pockets of those who work in Deep Ellum and have been working hard to make it a good place to live and to play. And it was hurtful to the Observer readers who don't know the area. By scaring away people from Deep Ellum, you deprive them of the rich experiences to be found there. From the food to the live music to the festivals to the rooftops with downtown views, there is much to be enjoyed in the heart of Dallas. Where is the Observer ad about that?

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Is there crime in Deep Ellum? Yes. Is the way to combat that crime by printing articles that hurt the community most affected? No. There were a dozen ways you could have raised awareness about the problem without being disparaging to the neighborhood. The fact you chose the method you did speaks volumes about your opinion of Deep Ellum.

The fact that I am no longer picking up or recommending the Observer should speak volumes about what I think, too.

Frank Hodge

A Dallas jewel: Words cannot express how upset I was when I saw the full-page ad attacking my neighborhood. Deep Ellum is a Dallas jewel and my home. I have been coming to concerts and shows since I was 16. Now 30, I still live in the area, and I still support the local bars and restaurants. They are one of a kind! My fiancee spoke to me the first time at the Green Room. Our first date and every Friday night since have been at the Angry Dog. This community is as much a part of me as I am of it. We have the Deep Ellum Film Festival, the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, and we also have tons of local, talented bands whose careers started right here in Deep Ellum. We have five-star restaurants and hole-in-the-wall joints. It's one of Dallas' most diverse neighborhoods.

When the problems began, nobody noticed but those of us who live here and work here. I used to feel comfortable walking the streets alone at night; now I won't. At one time you could find one of Dallas' finest on every single corner, and they had the roads blocked off. It wasn't an ideal spot to loiter or cruise. Now business has been lost by many of the restaurants, and people are afraid to come here. Why aren't the police arresting every underage person past midnight? Why aren't they discouraging the loitering? Why don't the police bust some of the raves going on where drugs are sold? Why is it that we are not important? If Deep Ellum dies, it will never be replaced by anything with this level of character.

I hope your ad--either pure genius or stupidity--will make other Deep Ellum residents take note and tell you why they love their neighborhood.

E. Frederick

Oh, God

Hand toots for Al Fike: I just wanted to let you know that there are numerous comics here in Dallas who perform almost every night of the week who are clever and funny and are not seen at the Christian Comedy Night ("Jokes for Jesus," by Paul Kix, September 2). The Dallas Observer has for many years provided news and reviews on just about every aspect of performance in Dallas with the exception of the local comedy scene. Your story on Al Fike is the first I've ever seen on a local stand-up comic. It would be nice if Dallas knew that there are other comics here locally who don't label themselves "Christian" but at the same time are not doing material that is offensive or prurient. Comedy is many things to many people. At its worst it's tired, hackneyed premises on race, genitals, airplanes, fast food, etc. At its best, it's clever and original and full of surprises with angles and observations you never thought of before but which seem to make perfect sense. It would be nice if the Observer added a weekly comedy page featuring various aspects of the Dallas comedy scene, which is quite large.

I must take issue with Fike's desire to "clean up comedy." If he's a comic, his mission should be to make people laugh. How he does that is his prerogative, but I don't think comedy needs to be cleaned up. If anything, it needs to be made smarter and more original. Dirty comedy is not the problem; lame comedy is the problem. I think it's hubris for Mr. Fike to think it's his duty to change comedy. Would he prefer that brilliant, original people like Buddy Hackett, Rodney Dangerfield or Sam Kinison never existed? I find it interesting that you didn't mention the part of Mr. Fike's routine where he makes farting sounds with his hands. He calls them "hand toots," which, I presume, is the way God likes farts to be referred to when being performed on a stage in the name of clean comedy. One more thing: Next time you review a Christian comic, I'm thinking you might want to refrain from saying things like "Christian rock blows." Then again, "blows" is not a four-letter word, so maybe this euphemism for oral sex is approved by God.

Steve Halasz
Via e-mail

An Honest Woman

Courage: Thank you, Elaine Liner. Not only do I enjoy your reviews, I always learn something from them. The Dallas Observer deserves praise, too, for having the courage to print forthright reviews of the good, the bad and the dreadful. Keep up the great work.

Clay Clark

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