We can only hope
In reference to the April 15 Dallas Observer cover story "The fandom menace," I understand that high-tech employers are worried about the so-called "Star Wars flu," in which hundreds of thousands of fanatical Star Wars geeks plan to call in sick on May 16 just to sneak off and see the premiere. Any chance of anyone developing a lethal version of the flu, just so everyone else won't have to hear about the goddamned movie anymore?

Paul T. Riddell
Via e-mail

I cannot let your "in-depth" article on the Dallas Business Committee for the Arts ["Art attack," April 22] go without a response.

When the Dallas Times Herald went out of business, I was so glad that with the Dallas Observer at least we had another paper in town, even though it is so blatantly anti-Establishment.

With regard to the arts, and in fact all nonprofits, it is time for the realization that we are all in the "information revolution" whether we like it or not, and donors--whether companies, foundations, or individuals--are much more sophisticated than they were even 10 years ago. And although they all have a lot more dollars to give in these days of a roaring economy, they are not willing to give to helter-skelter, half-thought-out, or poorly organized groups that are doomed to failure.

Most of the people you interviewed for your article were crybabies who are looking for a handout and not viable "organizations," and our society today will simply not tolerate overage hippies.

If you can't realize the service the DBCA has performed by turning out 300 graduates of its program to populate various nonprofit boards and to try to get them to comply with the demands of the "marketplace" (today's wiser donors), then you are doing a disservice to your readers and to the arts groups who prefer to whine about the questionnaire rather than learn from it and qualify themselves for support.

Hopefully, you can understand these facts and convey them to your readers instead of picking at the budget of the DBCA.

Frank Ribelin

The Chick speaks
Your article ["What's not to like?" April 15] was a hooty-hoot hoot (I can be corny if I want to be), especially since no one is listening anymore. I was glad to see that my not-so-sweet comment about Michael [Corcoran] got a rise. He sure said a lot of mean things about us when we were just trying to be cool and make a living.

Anyway, I have no axe to grind; I am happy, and I have found love for the first time--yippee for me. Oh, and I love the band; I will always love that band.

Laura Lynch Tull
Via e-mail

Editor's note: Ms. Tull is the Dixie Chicks' former lead singer.

I found your editorial on the Dixie Chicks very harsh. Sometimes you do what you gotta do to get a deal. It's hard enough to get a deal, let alone keep the deal going.

Living in L.A., you meet and know many musicians who are struggling. We like to see someone get a piece of the pie. Its makes us believe that maybe we can get a piece of that pie too!

Maybe just playing music and getting paid decently is enough for the Erwin sisters. Remember, you don't know what kind of money they are actually seeing from all the record sales; just ask David Lee Roth how far in debt Van Halen was when they had sold more than a million units.

Come on--give them a break.
Cass Estes
Via e-mail

I was impressed by the debate about the newly popular Dixie Chicks. I have been following the Chicks for the last year; I have read every article about them and have gone to many of their concerts. Yes, the "old" Dixie Chicks did play on street corners in Dallas for a while, and they were very good at what they did. I think that they were bluegrass, and that doesn't appeal to many people anymore except the yeehaws who are older and refuse to let the bluegrass era die.

As we all know, there are many bluegrass groups, especially here in Texas. I haven't seen many bluegrass bands in the last few years come out and catch the public's eye like the "new" Chicks have. People can say that Natalie Maines has made the bluegrass (old) Chicks into the new country Spice Girls, but I strongly disagree. I don't see that the old Chicks have sold too many records. I think Natalie Maines has made the Chicks what they are now. I don't think that they are overrated at all--they are the real deal. Emily and Martie can definitely rip it up on their instruments, and they always have been able to. They just needed someone that had a lot of energy, someone that made them a little different. That someone is Natalie Maines.  

People can say that they dress like hussies or look trashy, but I have to disagree. They have come into the '90s. They have their own style. They don't have the crispy hair and the blue-jean ankle-length skirts of the bluegrass groups, but they do still have the faint sound of bluegrass.

I think the most valuable thing many groups in the country-music industry lack is energy--and in my opinion, that's why the Dixie Chicks stand out so much. They are doing the unthinkable in country music: acting how they want, getting down in concert, and dressing how they want. They are gonna be big, bigger than they even know.

The article asks, Which do you like better--the old Chicks or the new Chicks? I think that the record sales, airplay, concert attendance, and the Erwin sisters will tell you themselves...we like the new Chicks.

Vanessa Collins
Via e-mail

Getting out the vote
It was very interesting to read in Buzz [April 8] that "a gleeful [Joe] May, who is helping manage [John] Loza's campaign against [Pete] Vaca, faxed Buzz a copy of the couple's ballot applications...May joked that the Vacas 'owe us 66 cents for postage' for sending in their forms."

My wife and I never gave Joe May our applications to vote by mail. An acquaintance, Tony Hernandez, asked whether we wanted applications, and we both agreed. We did not say we would vote for John Loza. I am not sure about the legality of Hernandez even inquiring as to how we would vote while collecting ballot applications. At the time, we suspected that Hernandez was working with Joe May, but Hernandez told us he wanted to work for my campaign.

Senior citizens and incapacitated individuals can vote by mail. When someone offers to file your application for a mail ballot and collects your application, there is an assumed fiduciary agency on the part of the person collecting your application. Anyone would assume the collector would then mail or deliver the application directly and confidentially to the elections department.

When we read Buzz, Yolanda and I learned that our applications had been delivered to a second party, Joe May, before going to the county (if they were sent to the county at all). We also learned that Joe May had faxed to the media what we thought were our confidential applications. We further learned that Loza volunteers were asking people how they were going to vote while taking their applications.

Our phone-bank volunteers had talked with senior citizens who told us they had "already voted." When the voters were told that they had only applied for a ballot, they said they had been told they had already voted.

Our campaign has been very concerned about Joe May's methods. As you know, several of my volunteers have worked in campaigns (including Loza's) with Joe May. Because May's activities were kept apart from the general campaign, they only had vague information as to how he was getting the vote-by-mail ballots. Buzz has cast a clear light on Joe May's methods.

We will be referring this matter to Bruce Sherbet, director of elections for Dallas County, as well as Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill.

Again, we appreciate the Dallas Observer and Patrick Williams' assistance in making the public aware that:

1. Senior citizens are being asked how they will vote when their applications are taken;

2. Senior citizens' applications are not being sent directly to the elections department; and

3. Senior citizens' applications are being delivered to a second party, Joe May, for copying and May's approval.

Yolanda and I never spoke with Joe May about our applications. We never gave Joe May our applications. We never appointed Joe May as our agent to deliver our applications to the election department. We never authorized Joe May to make copies of our applications. We never authorized Joe May to furnish copies of our applications to the Observer.

The Observer is an important outlet for getting information to the public that other publications conceal. This time Buzz has done a great service to the community by revealing this voter fraud.

Clearly, Tony Hernandez and Joe May have conspired to subvert the electoral process and deprive my wife and me of our constitutional right to a secret ballot.

Pedro ("Pete") T. Vaca

Wild ride
In reference to Mark Stuertz's April 22 review of the Wilderness Grill ["Dining in the rough"], I never thought it was possible to laugh out loud at a restaurant review, but your stories about male bonding in the woods with Art the flying bushman were a fabulous and entertaining intro to your review. I look forward to reading your comments each week; your descriptions are priceless. Keep up the good work--your candor is a refreshing change from the ordinary!  

Courtney Ronan
Via e-mail

Moses at bat
I so much enjoyed the review of the film about Hank Greenberg ["The Moses of baseball," April 22] that will be screened in Dallas this week. I look forward to seeing the film and feel that the reviewer's insights will enhance my understanding and enjoyment of the documentary.

Marta Tanenhaus
Via e-mail

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