Whaddaya Mean, "Secret?"
Narrow-minded: I just have one question. Why does Sam Machkovech have a job? I think the man has a secret agenda to kill the Dallas music scene. His articles are so negative and his perspective is so narrow that I can hardly force myself to finish reading most of them. The past two weeks have been the icing on the cake. Two weeks ago with a malicious and unwarranted insult to the Clearview/Curtain Club complex ("Is This On," June 8) and then this past week when he shot down a review from texasgigs.com of a show at that same complex (Lazer, Alligator Dave, Mach-Star and Oliphant). I guess it's not bad enough that he can spew his own negative and narrow views all over the pages of your fine magazine, but he has the nerve to blast a fantastic Web site for giving a great review to a show that he didn't even go to. I was at that show, and I saw a club packed with people having a great time and enjoying some fun local music.
I tell you what I didn't see: Sam Machkovech. Shows like this are a breath of life into what Mr. Machkovech has so clearly defined as a dying local music scene. Isn't that what we want, bands playing and people going to see them? I think the staff at Clearview/Curtain are great and should be commended for doing their part in supporting local bands, and their response to the insult in the June 8-14 issue (page 82) was very well stated.
Readers respond to "Time Heals No Wound," "Chop Suey Syndrome"
I've tried to tell myself that "after all, he is a music critic and by definition that means he criticizes" but there is a line between criticism and insults, and more often than not (especially lately) Mr. Machkovech ends up insulting any band or venue that doesn't fit into his limited range of taste. Lighten up, man! I know there are a lot of bands out there that are not very good at all, but just because a band isn't brooding and highbrow (or, seemingly, any rap band) doesn't mean that they don't have a place in the Dallas music scene. Thankfully, Dallas has some really great artists like Salim Nourallah and Chemistry Set to balance things out. There are some great bands out there, but people have got to get out and find them, and I think it is counterproductive to bash a venue that is giving bands an opportunity to be heard. Now, I'm not saying that Sam should be fired. I'm sure that somewhere around the offices of the Dallas Observer there is a broom that would fit his hands.
Editor's note: Nick Durham is the bassist for Mach-Star.
Well, We're Trying
S.O.S.: I read your recent article "Time Heals No Wounds" (June 8, by Matt Pulle). It was disturbing, to say the least. The question remains, though: What, if anything, is being done to force a change to this dismal situation? Is contacting a private attorney the only way to get help for neglected inmates in need of medical attention? If that is the case, there are a lot more inmates who will suffer. Aren't there any organizations that work effectively on behalf of indigent inmates needing medical attention? I'd be very interested in seeing more in-depth investigation into alternative resolutions for help other than costly legal counsel and well-meaning exposés on what's wrong with the system.
We Is Smart
Good eye: For an article trying to educate the general public about the finer points of Chinese culture ("Chop Suey Syndrome," by Mark Stuertz, June 8), you guys at the Observer have certainly goofed on your cover art. The figure you use to illustrate Mark Stuertz's article about Chinese food has the head of a "yuk," or "giant" from Thai mythology. In case you didn't know, Thai culture and Chinese culture are completely different. Until you guys, and the rest of America for that matter, understand that all Asian cultures are not the same, and that their symbols really shouldn't be used interchangeably as if they are, there's really no point in trying to convince people that the food at the Super China Buffet really isn't authentic Chinese food.
Editor's note: You didn't get it? That was our winking, ironic, post-modern, uh, meta-something way of making our point about Dallas' ignor...Not buying that, are you? Yeah, we goofed. But you gotta admit, if we had meant to do it, that would have been pretty clev...Don't buy that either? Oh, well. Sorry.
Authentic enough: Well, I'm from China, and I do think Big D has some pretty authentic Chinese restaurants. Northern Chinese food is generally more heavily cooked and less "exotic," while southern Chinese food has more "bloody, sea-oriented" exotic stuff. I guess the reason the people you interviewed say that "blood can be seen in authentic Chinese food" is probably because they are from southern China. As a northern China [native], I do think some restaurants like Mandarin Cafe have pretty darn authentic northern Chinese food, at least not much different from what I enjoyed back at home--although not as spicy as I hope.
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Finally, I must say that I, as you, read those urban legends about "cruel dishes," i.e. eating live animals or using very graphic methods to cook, but I would say most Chinese people have never tried them, for a very simple reason: Only the top 5 percent richest Chinese people would even think about trying such sick stuff.
Department of Geological Sciences
Southern Methodist University