A Hard Blow

The Tilman takeover: Two Novembers ago, I took my mother-in-law to Galveston for the day and had planned to take her to lunch at Pier 21 near the Elissa.

I was horrified and embarrassed when I discovered that Tilman Fertitta ["Pier Pressure," by Greg Barr, July 15] had ruined the entire area with his not-really-very-good restaurants, and thoroughly mucked up what had been a cool place to take out-of-state visitors. I am sure that I let slip a few choice words about how I feel about the man.

If he ends up owning all of Galveston, I guess all I can do is pray for a hurricane.

Linda Walden

Democracy Now

Saluting Sullivan: The only point I can glean from the recent Hair Balls piece about Brent Sullivan ["Representing an Alternate Universe," July 15] is that any challenge to a safe congressional seat is fair game for ridicule and derision. I'm not a Libertarian, and whether I vote for Brent is my own business (I happen to know Brent slightly as a neighbor and father of one of my son's playmates).

But I think it's a commendable and celebratory thing for a citizen to decide on his own, without powerful connections and without having conducted any focus group studies, to go out and engage his fellow citizens in public issues and get his name on a ballot. Shouldn't a paper of the Press's sensibilities care more about democracy than to take the cynical approach of focusing on the unlikelihood of his unseating Sheila Jackson Lee?

That would entail actually talking to him about his views and presenting them in a fair context, rather than making him look like a crank by asking him to address whether he has any celebrity endorsements. The problem with the former approach, of course, is that the reporter doesn't have as ripe an opportunity to show how clever he is.

Wade Williams

Disparity at HISD?

Performance enhancers: The man who wrote [Letters, "Flap on the Gap at HISD," July 15] in response to Dr. Robert Kimball's guest column claimed that "On the whole, white students are not treated differently from their minority peers; they simply perform better."

What if it is true that the HISD schools in River Oaks have new textbooks, and some inner-city schools have to buy their own textbooks? Could that not be a factor in performing better?

If that is true, then the Houston Press could produce a valuable and informative news story by comparing the facilities at various HISD schools: computer equipment, textbooks, etc.

Jim Caldwell

Not OK

Rating the actors: The review of Oklahoma! ["State of Affairs," by D.L. Groover, July 15] failed to mention one fact that perhaps explained the blandness of the production: This is a nonequity tour. None of the principals has ever played on Broadway and can, I guess, be considered lucky amateurs. The director and choreographer do have minor Broadway credits.

It seems that any mention of James Black in an Alley play, such as Black Coffee, has to mention that he is the "favorite." There is an old adage that the three things an actor needs are voice, voice and voice. I think Mr. Black is lacking in all three categories. Granted, he adopted an amusing accent for Poirot but then lost it in his trademark screaming at the top of his voice. Even in that sedate living room mystery The Thirteenth Guest, Mr. Black's inspector had an out-of-place screaming fit. I recommend the audience adopt Jeffrey Bean as their new favorite -- he gave a nuanced, suave and witty performance as Dr. Carelli and is always serving the drama rather finding a place to insert yelling to hide a deficiency of charisma.

Richard Norris

J.R.'s domain: I recently read your take on the play Oklahoma! as the one piece of culture that our northern neighbors lay claim to ["Better Than OK," by Lisa Simon, July 1]. Having lived half of my life in Oklahoma and the other half in Texas, I can assure you that Texas's claim to fame is the TV series Dallas.

I am sure this is news to many residents who live inside the Loop.

Larry LeBarre

Shady Characters

And the winners are: I am both incredibly flattered and pleased by the positive review that Robb Walsh gave to Shade ["The 19th Oasis," July 15], but I would like further credit to be given where it is due. I am just one head of the two-headed executive-chef creature here at Shade.

Jeb Stuart, who was with me for almost four years at Daily Review, is the other head and the mastermind of the majority of the summer dinner items highlighted in the article. Also, Carl Eaves (my original partner and designer of Daily Review, as well as the contractor on Shade) played a major role in the design elements mentioned.

Huge thanks to our fabulous kitchen and front house staff and customers for helping to make Shade an oasis in the Heights.

Claire Smith

Dealing with Cardi's

Great starter venue: I truly loved this article ["Minor League Rockers," by Ian Downing-Beaver, July 15]. You should write more articles about this badass club Cardi's. I've been there, and I've seen how badass it is. Cardi's is the easiest place to play for a band that just started. But if they wanna play a show on a Saturday somewhere else, like the Engine Room or Fitz, it's almost impossible, because those clubs are all about the money. Cardi's gives everybody a chance to be seen by other crowds; it's truly underground, and I love Cardi's and that handsome young bartender they have on weekends.

Rebecca Lewis

Bands beware: I read your fine material every chance I get, and when I read your article "Minor League Rockers," I was shocked. My band (Blue House) and I played at Cardi's 2000 on July 14 at 7:30 p.m. They told us in advance that we would get a 30- to 45-minute set, and we got up there and they cut us off after our fourth song, and then explained that we really had only 20 minutes to play.

As if that weren't enough to make me pissed (it was), they refused to pay us. They told us that we had only nine people show up for us, and that you had to bring in 15. This is odd because your article states, "After the first five heads in the door, the band gets $1.50 to $2.50 for each person they bring in…"

It wouldn't have been much money for us to get, but it could have at least paid for gas. I guess the reason for me to write this is to let other new bands like us know to watch out for this. It was truly a learning experience.

Anthony Castillo


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