Fine Cutrufello: Thanks for your great article on Mary ["The Art of Getting Broken," by Brad Tyer, May 17]. I wondered where she went. I'm glad she survived, and I hope she moves forward.
She had a good run with Mercury, but these days talent is a small part of the total equation in the quest for stardom. Luck and strong industry push really make it happen. Timing is crucial also. She invested ten years at this; maybe she should do something else now.
The real thing: I saw her playing guitar in a Jimmie Dale Gilmore band in Portland, Oregon, several years ago. I bought into her "honky-tonk" persona and talked to her after the show. I even admitted bluntly that she shattered a lot of stereotypes, to which she just laughed and said I wasn't the first to admit it.
I bought her self-produced demo CD out of her guitar case and the Mercury release later. She is the "real thing," and I will continue to follow her career with enthusiasm.
A Stark Affair
Heat's off: The Stark family story ["Texas Gothic," by George Flynn, May 17] was magnificently written -- it took my mind off the desert heat of Saudi Arabia for a few delightful moments.
It is very Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and I really think you could enlarge this portrait into a book. There is enough money and hidden power to market it. I hope you'll consider uncovering more beneath these dirty Texan legacies.
Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Sherman tanks: Just out of curiosity, why is there a photograph of a "Chinese- American" veteran waving a Republic of Vietnam flag and dressed in ARVN, protesting outside the Chinese consulate [Bayousphere, by Deron Neblett, May 17]?
Could it be that it's just our old friend Marvin the ARVN refusing to let Saigons be bygones?
Documents and disgrace: Your opinionated news story ["Very Appealing," by George Flynn, May 17] on the Oklahoma City tragedy is very disturbing and accurately reflects the liberal bias at the Press. You and your editors should be ashamed of yourselves. The use of quotation marks around the word "mistakenly" when referring to the FBI's blunder is both un-American and disgraceful.
It was only in this case that the prosecution did the defense a favor and agreed to share the documents (hence the so-called "court order" as reported in legitimate media sources). So why don't you and your slimy paper get off the "beat up the FBI bandwagon" and do some real investigative journalism. Like the Jesse Jackson story. (Yeah, right, that'll never happen.)
Bye to Bruce
Remains and reminders: I just wanted to thank you for the story about our mutual friend, Bruce Henry Davis ["The Party's Over," by Steve McVicker, May 10]. Your coverage was head and shoulders above the Chronicle's flaccid attempt. You would think that they would have put more into a story about a person who was their voice for such a long time.
It's a shame to lose Bruce in such a pitiful way. I'm most sad about that. Another friend of Bruce's quoted Catherine Aird: If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible reminder. Thanks again for the honest homage to a fellow creative.
Public debt: Since Bruce Henry Davis made such great contributions to society and humanity, did we all show our appreciation by paying his medical bills at Ben Taub Hospital?
Breck Porter Jr.
Costly HISD consultants: As the original Webmaster for HISD's Internet site, I had the privilege of seeing the $2 million man work his magic [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, May 17]. In mid-design, he flew in a West Coast consultant who put in a six-figure bid to create the site. I don't doubt the school board and administration would have paid hundreds of thousands for a half-dozen pages of what Web designers call dancing baloney, and all the bureaucrats -- if not the Web-savvy and taxpaying public -- would have been thrilled. Fortunately for Houstonians, a few existing employees put a more comprehensive Web site together for much less.
If district workers didn't fear reprisal, many would speak volumes about the shortcomings of PeopleSoft, ServiceMasters and Aramark. Mr. Fleck found a few insiders with the courage to do so.
I understand Mr. Jacobs and Ms. Mincberg now want to give the HISD Web site to an outside firm and have a couple of district employees maintain the entry page as a "portal." There's no compelling need to do that -- but it'll cost ya! Too bad the Houston ISD is now the GOP ISD; it means there's no one in Harris County, Austin or D.C. willing to hold their feet to the fire.
Wear adds value: While I am in general agreement as to the marketing of this event ["Making Wookie," by Kelly Klaasmeyer, May 17], I must take exception to the disparaging and patronizing attitude concerning the displays.
The single most disappointing display was the Imperial Body Guard, as it appeared never to have been worn. I feel the "Darth Vader" costume in the gift shop to be the height of tackiness, and I would probably sell my first-born for the "Storm Trooper" costume that showed that it was actually worn. The wear makes the outfits.
We went (three adults) and got stopped short by the displays going to and from the Star Wars exhibit.
KIKK in the Pants
No-frat diet: Having grown weary of commercial radio, KPFT was virtually the only station I've listened to for the past several years [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, May 24]. However, I don't enjoy all of its "news and public affairs programming," so I was thrilled when I heard about 95.7 FM and the music it was playing.
I didn't think there was a chance that a corporate station would play these talented artists, and I think it's great that they are getting the exposure. They are adding new artists all the time, and I hope it will continue. Okay, so they are a little cheesy and they do play too many commercials, but at least there is an alternative on the radio.
The bottom line is that there will be twice as many people at this year's Texas Uprising concert. I have a dream that some little girl might walk around singing a Lucinda Williams song instead of a Britney Spears one. Isn't that something to hope for? And by the way, I'm not a frat boy, nor do I wear Dockers or Ropers.
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In a pinch: Great article. I've been waiting for the Press to comment on KIKK-FM's format change. I'm a mere 43 years old, but I can confidently state that I have never witnessed a commercial radio station make a more stunning change.
What KIKK management is attempting, particularly in a major market like Houston, is nothing short of revolutionary. Yes, it's far from perfect; some of their disc jockeys wouldn't know Steve Earle from Steve Martin, and the station has yet to completely sever its umbilical cord with the Nashville cookie-cutter acts. Nevertheless, it is to be congratulated for exposing many nonmainstream artists who have long deserved recognition.
Texas is a hotbed for "alternative" country singer-songwriters, and it would be oh-so-righteous if KIKK's success began influencing commercial stations around the nation. Excuse me, I have to run -- I hear KIKK in the background playing the Lucinda Williams song "Right in Time." Somebody pinch me