Listen to the Music
Director's cut: Bravo, Houston Press! At least one Houston newspaper realizes that the Houston Symphony deserves a cover story ["Can the Band Play On?" by Marene Gustin, September 7]. The orchestra is important not only to the concertgoers but also to the community at large.
The symphony, under the leadership of Christoph Eschenbach, added fame and luster to Houston's claim as a city of culture. The level of musical quality, so esteemed by local and foreign audiences, has risen and remains at new heights. The musicians are determined to keep it there.
It is unfortunate that the quality of administrative performance did not keep pace, and it was refreshing to see that discussed in the article by Gustin. The lackluster efforts at fund-raising and the ineptness of public relations have been all too evident for years. One can only wonder if board members would have tolerated such incompetence within their own organizations.
Hopefully the current board will seek the best music director and the best executive director to restore the level of excitement audiences felt during Eschenbach's tenure. Houston deserves nothing less!
Legs, lungs and liberty: Regarding "Live Free and Die" [by Wendy Grossman, August 31], Dave cannot objectively discuss the issues surrounding smoking because he is addicted to cigarettes. Of course Dave says, "it isn't about smoking." What it is really about is the huge costs of treating tobacco-related illnesses.
I cannot be objective about smoking either. The doctor said my father would die if his leg was not amputated. Horrified, I asked what caused this condition. "Fifty years of smoking" was the simple reply. After the second leg had to be amputated, he just asked for a cigarette. His body was screaming for some nicotine. My husband held his father's hand as he died from lung cancer. My mother-in-law quit at age 62 without a program or even nicotine patches. It can be done.
Good foundations: Now, thanks to Brad Tyer, maybe no one else will feel the sting of David Allen Zovath ["Home Sweet Cell," September 7]. Moral of the story: Don't build until you get a performance bond signed and sealed!
Paint peeler: KPRC is "caustically conservative" [Insider, by Tim Fleck, September 7]? And I suppose KPFT is "soothingly liberal." The voice of Amy Goodman (host of KPFT's Democracy Now) would strip the paint off a barn.
Home to Roost
Crock-a-doodle-doo: Not George W. Bush -- George Polydoros! It seems my friend George is having trouble with crowing roosters at the Wabash Feed Store on Washington Avenue ["Room to Crow," by Melissa Hung, August 24]. I like roosters and the Wabash. So I bought every crowing rooster they had. Wabash has agreed to call me when the next group of young roosters starts crowing.
If you would like to help George, please make a small contribution payable to True To Texas and mail it to 14501 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX 77079.
As a bonus, upon receipt of your contribution we will forward George's recipe for fried chicken.
Cinch for the Grinch: I can't believe Mr. Polydoros missed his chance to audition for the Grinch! The Wabash Feed Store is a wonderful place, and both my girls love going there every chance they can. It seems like Mr. Polydoros is trying his best to change a wonderful place that holds many happy memories for many children. If he took some children there, I bet he would have a change of heart, kind of like the Grinch, since he would see how much they would love the place.
Bonnie C. Sheeren
Dallas or Downtown?
Zoned out: People have zoning in Dallas, so when they move to Houston they freak out ["Murphy's Law", by Melissa Hung, August 3]. Get a life or move. How can you move into a bohemian neighborhood and expect it to change because you coughed up a quarter-million dollars for some generic town house. Stop the madness.
Move to the burbs: Seems that Mr. Murphy got more than he bargained for when he moved from the Dallas suburbs into the Heights. It should be readily apparent to anyone who has spent time inside a city that what makes a city a vibrant place to live and work is the diversity of the people who surround you.
If he wants to be surrounded by people who look like him and think exactly like him, and where the riffraff go home each day after mowing his yard and cleaning, and where there are no neighborhood joints to give it character, he should move to the suburbs. Hell, I live in the burbs and can't wait to get out.
Head job: Apparently someone on your staff was dozing in journalism class. They misheard the statement "headlines should jump out at the reader" as "headlines should jump out at the reader, club them, drag them off to a cave and scream at them until they wake up and beg for mercy." What's up with the big fonts?
Loved the barbecue article ["The Art of Smoke," by Robb Walsh, August 24], especially the history of the four major styles of Texas barbecue. My stomach was set on a mission before I'd even finished reading the article.
Race and Rasp?
Start your engines: I don't know if you'll print this, because they're one of your advertisers, but I saw your ad for the downtown Texaco Grand Prix race [August 24 issue], and I've been asking this question over and over ever since: How can this be happening? We're having an air-quality crisis here; all you have to do is flip on the news to hear about proposed "no-drive days," light-rail travel and further restrictions on vehicle emissions and (hopefully) industry.
Those of us who work with kids are asked to watch the ozone reports and use our judgment about keeping them inside for recess. But we're going to run a car race through downtown Houston? Having grown up near Indy, I know what such an event does to the air. How many thousands of gallons of fossil fuel does this happy little event burn and throw into the air? It must bring a ton of money into the city.
Keeping the faith: I especially liked Wendy Grossman's article ["Left for Dead," August 24]. Tracey is to be commended for her recovery. Wendy is to be commended for her excellent research in the case. My physical therapist knew we had similarities: being shot in the head and left for dead.
In 1981, as a student at the University of Texas, I walked into a convenience-store robbery. I was shot in the brain with a .38 and left to die. I've learned many lessons. One of these is the importance of a good support system. My girlfriend, Sharon (now my wife), dropped out of school to be with me. Through her love, as well as other factors, I beat all odds. I'm a social worker at Memorial Hermann Hospital, primarily trying to help families and patients cope with head injuries and other catastrophes.
My message is simple: Sometimes hope can be miraculous, and one should never give up. Tracey did not. Congratulations to Tracey for her determination and to Wendy for her excellent writing.
Michael Jordan Segal
Pleasure shots: Excellent article by David Gerst ["Click Art," August 17]! Refreshing insights and terrific writing. It was a true pleasure to read his article.
Don't Be Cruel
Melissa's magnificent: I am frankly amazed at how you allowed such an obviously biased music critic like Rob Patterson to write a review for a genre he has no affinity for [Rotation, Firefly, August 24]. So why do you have him writing reviews for the folk genre?
I would think a magazine with your reputation would audit your critics occasionally. Melissa Adams deserved a fair review, not one so obviously biased. The man was cruel and heartless. That's not what I call a review.
Fond of Felix
Nachos and nostalgia: My recollection of Felix Mexican Restaurant is somewhat different from Geneva Harper's ["Combination Plates," by Robb Walsh, August 31]. I have eaten at Felix's since Mr. Tijerina opened for business in a little bungalow near Woodhead and Westheimer.
He is a wonderful man who never considered himself anything other than a fellow human being, an American. From what I heard, he never considered himself a minority. Felix did not tailor his food to the tastes of gringos. He was interested in serving the kind of food he may have grown up with, and food that he learned to develop because of its exquisite taste. Quality food is quality food.
Felix Restaurant is in a class with James Coney Island, a class that emulated Houston, where the powerful sat down to dinner with the least powerful of those days' society. Jesse Jones and Bob Smith could be seen there. It was a wonderful time in our history.
Paul C. Engelbrecht
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