Classic picture: Bravo to photographer Daniel Kramer for the "Cowboy Noir" feature [by Craig Malisow, August 19]! That large first picture was fantastic -- composition, lighting, tone, emotion. Beautiful photograph, beautiful cowboy. I'm clipping it and pinning it up, right next to Michael Keaton, Keanu Reeves and Johnny Depp.
Uniform weight: Your item headlined "Undercover Cop" [Hair Balls, August 19] about our new police chief mentions the chief's failure to take a test that is required before he can wear an HPD uniform or act as a police officer.
I wonder if the test includes passing a physical exam similar to that required of applicants to the police training academy. Overweight applicants will not be accepted. Once they become HPD officers they are allowed to balloon to elephant size.
If an overweight applicant can't be hired as an HPD officer, it is a double standard to hire a police chief whose uniform must be made by Omar the Tent Maker.
Tilman's virtues: The media strangely delights in putting down Landry's CEO Tilman J. Fertitta [Hair Balls, "Something Fishy This Way Comes," August 19]. It's not unusual for a company to want a tax break, as in Landry's Ocean Journey Aquarium in Denver, but Fertitta is always the target of derision, including cheap shots at his Houston Aquarium entertainment complex downtown, or his efforts to develop Galveston.
The man employs 25,000 people nationwide. Landry's revenues topped $1 billion in 2003, with net earnings of nearly $46 million. A $10,000 investment in Landry's in 1993 would be worth more than $40,000 today. Nothing to laugh at.
Omitting Elvia's: Much to the disappointment of Houstonians who enjoy Latin music, the Press newspaper for some reason failed to list Elvia's as its Music Awards winner for Best Latin Venue [August 5]. This was, at best, irony since the Press gurus chose to note that this year's winners were heavily Latin. Also, Elvia's has now won the award for 12 consecutive years.
The Press leadership to date has offered only the reason that "there is not enough space to list Elvia's."
Maybe in the future there won't be enough room to offer the Houston Press!
Edmund M. Parsons
Editor's note: Because of space limitations, we ran an abbreviated list of other winners at the end of our Music Awards feature. We regret that, because of an oversight, Elvia's was omitted from that list.
Comedy community: I find "Stop the Violence" to be the funniest piece of material written about an event in the theater community in a long time [Performance, by Julia Ramey, August 12]. Not only is it funny, by portraying us improvisers as gun-totting hooligans, but it's also seriously misleading.
The small communities of us, including Cliff Christian, that work together are trying to build an industry comparable to that in Chicago or New York. Granted that some are less likely to work with others, we as a community for the most part are extremely encouraging of each other and all have personal relationships with other groups outside our own.
So no, Ms. Ramey, the guys at Main Street Improv will not be having a "throwdown" with the guys at Vagabondage. While the girls at Jane X will not be having any "catfights" with the Alley Cats (no pun intended). I would have suggested, though, that Ms. Ramey come out to Improvaoke, so then maybe she would have a better feel for what she was writing about, rather than just basing it off of some West Side Story fantasy.
As You Like It
Sealed with a hiss: In the review of the Houston Shakespeare Festival's Taming of the Shrew ["Extreme Makeover," August 12], Lee Williams claimed not to be able to think of a better way to spend a summer night. I couldn't disagree more. Though the venue and acting were indeed superb, this play can only be described as repugnant.
The premise of this "romantic comedy" is that an independent woman expressing rage at being treated like cattle must be "tamed." In doing so, her "love interest" kidnaps her at gunpoint, submits her to violent rages and deliberately starves her of food and sleep. Once she's beaten down, her obedience is humiliatingly displayed before the town, and she admonishes all women to kneel before their "masters" (a.k.a. husbands).
If this play were about any other group, there would be public outrage. As I watched hundreds of people cheering this woman's soul being crushed -- oblivious or indifferent to the message being communicated -- I wondered why we continue to put on this play. There are so many others expressing the beauty and complexity of Shakespeare's vast talent. Why champion one that preaches only his misogyny? Where are the voices of protest? Perhaps they have all been tamed.
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