Toot, Toot to You, Mr. Murphy
I was very interested in Richard Connelly's "Upping the Ante-Up" [May 7] and the comments of Jim Murphy regarding efforts to create a Westpark toll road "stretching nearly 13 miles from Shepherd and U.S. 59 out to the Sam Houston Tollway." I was also interested to see that his group has come to the conclusion that they "don't even have to worry about noise abatement -- these people are living next to a railroad now, anyway." Do your homework, Mr. Murphy. There are no trains in these neighborhoods, but there have been quite a few "train wrecks."
Any effort to introduce such a project into the residential area known as Boulevard Oaks is likely to prompt a response different from the one Mr. Murphy predicts. From 1983, when Metro tried to use the same corridor for heavy rail, up to the latest Texas Department of Transportation Southwest Freeway project, Boulevard Oaks residents have made themselves heard, including through their civic association, BOCA.
Mr. Murphy and his "business group" are just the latest example of folks who see the primary purpose of inner-city property as transportation routes "helping people who work or live here to get between their residence and their employment." Those of us who live in the inner city see the same property as homes in which to raise our families and spend our lives.
Poor Russell Contreras. Like many of us, he has spent his college days wondering why the University of Houston refuses to divest itself of its greatest detraction, the Frontier Fiesta ["Frontier Fiesta," April 30].
But why would the university withdraw its support of this white-folks gathering? Remember, the university once invested in apartheid. And the new leaders at the university are more Anglocentric now than at any time in the recent past. The diverse African-American, Hispanic and international population at UH might as well be invisible to the new president.
Some at UH hope to bring back the "happy days" of the fifties with entertainers like Jerry Jeff Walker and Kenny Rogers. Possibly, they hope better recruiting of white students will help the university avoid the inevitable affirmative action dilemma. Or maybe the administration fears the angry fraternities will riot, as in Ohio and Michigan, if their beer bust is eliminated.
Some students and faculty voiced their concerns about this event to the Houston Chronicle, but were not acknowledged in the editorials or news. The Chronicle claimed university issues are not of interest to the city. As a sponsor of UH events, the Chronicle promotes them to the city, but cannot report on the real problems of the university. Frontier Fiesta is only the tip of the iceberg.
More on Frontier Fiesta
I would like to thank Mr. Contreras for his informative piece regarding Frontier Fiesta. I am a student at UH, and there are many people who are still concerned about the controversies regarding Frontier Fiesta, such as its mockery of the frontier's history as well as its large allocation of funding from the university. I loved his pieces in the Daily Cougar and will continue to read them in the Press. Good luck, Russ.
Enough Already! Let's Just Have Fun!
Why can't we just have fun anymore, without turning everything into a race issue ["Frontier Fiesta, April 30]? In the '50s, when I was in high school and then college, the Frontier Fiesta was something my friends and I looked forward to all year long. Now that it has been revived, instead of going there to have a good time, folks go to see whether it is racially diverse enough to suit the big chip they are carrying around on their shoulders. As an American of German descent, I wouldn't think of boycotting the Fiesta because there isn't an oompah band playing "The Beer-Barrel Polka" or booths selling Wienerschnitzel. I go there to enjoy what's presented, and to those whose purpose is otherwise, either stay home or find something else to attend that better meets your ethnicity.
Carol J. Rhodes
I was really pleasantly surprised to see Russell Contreras's article in the Houston Press about UH's "Frontier Fiesta" or, as I affectionately call it, "hillbilly fest." He was a good writer for the Daily Cougar, and always has an opinion about everything. I was always happy to read someone in the Cougar who gave an alternative viewpoint. I am, however, really sad to see other Daily Cougar staff members getting "bitchy" because Russell made it into a larger publication. I wish him the best, and hope he writes for the Press for many years to come! It's a shame one frustrated cartoonist/guy-who-cleans-the-toilets can't get over a case of "big-feature envy," right Mr. ?
Former Daily Cougar cartoonist
Focusing the News
A round of applause for the author of "The Mean Spirit of Texas?" [by Tim Fleck, April 30] and to you all for putting it on your web site. The sad thing is that the two men will most likely settle instead of going to court -- after all, they have to worry about getting new jobs. God forbid that their future employers might think they expect to be treated fairly as human beings, on the basis of the relative quality of their contributions! Actually, the two men do fail to contribute -- that is, if contribution consists of generating sex appeal. The real issue here is whether the focus of the news should be to entertain or to inform, because if the news was intended to inform the viewer, then age discrimination would be unnecessary. The EEOC will continue to face cases such as those of Mr. Getter and Mr. Uhl; Houstonians will continue to have no choice but to watch local news of little substance; reporters will continue to have to compromise themselves in order to make a buck -- all of this will occur until the purpose of the news, to entertain or to inform, is decided once and for all.
Musical Launch Pads
Really enjoyed reading the article about Dennis Lange ["Static," by Hobart Rowland, May 7]. Maybe we're getting over our last obstacle on the way to becoming a launch pad for all this great talent. It's been a long time coming! I truly believe we have the potential of really busting out some bands, but it's going to take all of us pulling together to do it. And it would be nice if someone could get one of our commercial radio stations to play local talent on a regular basis and not just on some local show.
Anyway, I'll be booking some killer shows at Numbers through the summer and also will be doing The Dominion Club Night every month.
Sorry, this was supposed to be a short note. I just get going about Houston music and can't stop.
Bobby Joe Rose
Good Job on Van Halen
The "Steady Eddie" article about Van Halen [by Bob Ruggiero, May 7] is the most well-written piece I've seen on the band in years. Nice job!
Good Fake Stuff
The cowboy ballad laments that it is so sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along. Deja Vu ["Deja Vu All Over Again," by Scott Timberg, May 7] makes the strong case that if that right one comes along and we don't grab him or her, we will never experience true love. This is a skillfully crafted and manipulative film built around a series of so-called coincidences involving the main characters, Dana and Sean, which I agree are artificially arranged. But the good dialogue and acting more than compensate for suspending my disbelief. Which way the film will end also adds to the fun of this roller-coaster ride, which fittingly ends with the old tune from Babes in Arms: "We've loved each other before like this, but who knows when or where?"
What If We Still Don't Get It?
You know, it took me a while to ponder the review we [at Theater LaB Houston] received from you ["No Laughing Matter," by Lee Williams, April 30]. Everyone else in the entire Houston area seemed to get it; what happened to you? I'm sure you are a talented writer, for the most part, so why are you using Eating Raoul as your public forum on hate crimes? The show is a caricature of life in the mid-'70s, not Jerry Springer! And I loved your question about why everyone else thought it was funny except for you. Well, probably because you are in the minority, my dear! (If one person equals a minority.) And as for the comment about our cast being a bunch of Nazis, there are three Jewish actors in the show who practice their faith regularly, and more than a few Christians. We can all take a joke; can you?
This isn't about the neighborhood the theater inhabits, or the gay-bashing in Montrose (since Body Positive came with a sold-out house to one of our previews, which Gerry LaBita so graciously donated to the cause). How come we get standing ovations? Maybe you need to take life a little less seriously and learn to laugh a little more.
I certainly am not afraid of you, but some people think your opinion holds some merit and were afraid to write to you. I credit you for at least having an opinion, I'm just not sure it is of the same things we are speaking of: you of hate crimes in America, I of innocent comedy. And I have to wonder if your opinion of the show and the neighborhood the theater inhabits would change if we were to do the show at Stages? My dear, we are not all white, we are all different people of different religions and ethnicities doing a light, fun, comedy, and doing it very well, I believe. Thanks for your time.
Missed a story? The editorial contents of the Houston Press, dating back to July 1, 1996, are available on-line at www.houstonpress.com/archive/ index.html.
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