Letters

Reading, Writing, and Egotism
I enjoy your Insider column. Thanks for letting us know about "diploma-gate" and the possibility of HISD wasting even more tax dollars by reprinting diplomas [July 6]. I guess when you are on the HISD board, egotism is a terrible thing to waste.

David Rogers
Houston

That Postulatin' Seitz
I guess big-government advocacy isn't what it used to be. Your review of the Apollo 13 film ["Moonstruck," by Matt Zoller Seitz, July 6] ignores any manifestations of "individual autonomy," pretends that the film validates "spending money on behalf of an abstract ideal" and overtly labels the film an "inspiring paean to collective action."

Perhaps the reviewer prays at night that Lindbergh never existed ... and so postulates an egoless collective when confronted with a mass of Lindberghs.

Pete Jamison
Houston

No Suprise Here
Enclosed you will find my ballot for the 1995 Houston Press Music Awards. Once again, I am disappointed that Houston's Banana Blender Surprise was not nominated for any awards, but their omission is no great shock.

The Press has a rocky history with this band, to say the very least. Brad Tyer was making snide comments about them long before he ever made it to a show -- mind you, once he did get out to see them he took everything back and admitted they were fantastically entertaining and highly skilled musicians. It may be cliche to drag in the Houston-music-writers-have-a-chip-on-their-shoulder-about-the-Austin-music-scene conspiracy theory/observation, but I'm not afraid to do it. Banana has regular gigs at clubs in Austin that most of the bands on this ballot will never see unless they are willing to fork over the cover charge. The notorious Black Cat Lounge on Sixth Street, Hole in the Wall, Antones .... Have the Jinkies ever been to Austin? (Apologies to the Jinkies -- I'm using you for the sake of comparison because of your recent profile in the Press.)

No one had on name tags, so I can't be sure, but my guess is that not a single Houston Press music reviewer was at the Satellite Lounge on July 9 for Banana's last show. Houston Press readers and critics, here's what you missed if you weren't there:

A packed house on a Sunday night. Frenetic dancing and singing, from directly in front of the stage to the sidewalk outside. A line waiting for the doors to open. A merchandise case with three CDs, several 45s and a vinyl LP, all of which sold phenomenally well in both Austin and Houston. Parents, kids, cousins, family friends, young hipsters, old hippies, a road-weary yet punchy Austin contingent, a documentary filmmaker. A band that played for five and a half hours, with only one break. A band of five, all of whom sang at least one song. A dynamo lead singer who can drink an RC, eat a Moon-Pie, sing a song about it, all at the same time and make it rock. Two guitarists who could never be called boring or pretentious. A rhythm section to die for -- a bass player who needs no introduction and no microphone, and a drummer who sits in with Soulhat on occasion. And oh my, can you dance to this music or what? I mean really dance -- jitterbug, twist, swing, even limbo and tango.

Houston Press, you missed out. For two years, Banana has been touring hard and playing three and four nights a week, at least, all over Texas. They've toured up to Connecticut and back. They have played their hearts out to crowds of five-year-olds in Memorial Park, and crowds of five on slow nights at small bars. They have packed every Houston, Austin and Dallas club they have ever played. Banana Blender Surprise wins. You lose.

Andrea C. Greer
Houston

Disappearing Press
What is going on? About a year ago Kroger stopped carrying the Press. Now, in the last few weeks I'm having trouble finding it anywhere. Are you having some kind of circulation trouble, or is some fundamentalist group cleaning out all the news racks? What is going on?

Also, as long as I'm here, I'd like to request that you pick up a few of the national columns such as News of the Weird, Klick and Klack, Joe Bob, etc. I've always enjoyed NOTW, I liked Klick and Klack when you had it, and I've seen Joe Bob a number of times, though I've never lived in a city that carries him regularly.

Keep up the good work.
Tony Kenck
Houston

Editor's reply: Members of fundamentalist groups are some of our most avid readers, and they always get their copies of the Press early. Our crack circulation department suggests you do the same. If you wait until the weekend, the racks could be empty.

Damn 'Em All!
Concerning your June 22 article ["Killing Fields"] by Claudia Kolker about lawsuits alleging electromagnetic fields around power lines cause cancer: I tend to go ballistic every time I read another story that references Joe Jamail as a heroic figure who "squeezed $11 billion out of Texaco." The myth lives on! Yes, Joe Jamail was one of the architects of the Pennzoil/Texaco conspiracy that ended in a $3 billion (not $11 billion) settlement. But no media person has ever exposed this enormous court scam -- all we see is praise and adoration for the perpetrators.

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