Support Your Local Production
Why is it that no one in the media is willing to support local productions?
Randall Patterson's article on Entry Level Male ["Dr. Schlock's Adventures in the Cineplex of Doom," October 10] did well to explain the difficulties of independent film production, but putting it down on an artistic basis was uncalled-for. Surely there are methods in journalism to remain somewhat neutral in judgment. Perhaps high praise wasn't deserved, but neither was a putdown.

The cast of E*L*M was hardly an "amateur" group. Many of us have been working in TV, stage and screen for more years than it pays to tell. Even if stardom has avoided us, our years of experience put us well above the level of "amateur." Rick Harrington has, for more than 30 years, been dreaming of producing a feature film -- 30 years and more in film, screen and TV hardly denotes an "amateur."

That constant media putdown has got to be one of the main causes behind the lack of audience participation and the absence of financial backing for many local show-biz endeavors.

If the Houston media would extol the effort involved and soften the derogatory comments, then perhaps Houston could become the production center that I firmly believed it could become when I first arrived here 35 years ago.

Luke Leonard

Zontar: One More Reason We're Proud to Be from Texas
Your story on Entry Level Male made me wish I had gone to the premiere. I'll try to catch it at a midnight movie or when it comes out on video.

From the article, Rick Harrington sounded more like another Texas filmmaker, Larry Buchanan (Mars Needs Women, Zontar, The Thing from Venus, Creature of Destruction, etc.) than Ed Wood. Either way, both of those guys have cult followings (and there's a magazine named Zontar that refers to Buchanan as "the master").

With a little luck, Harrington's movie could be picked up on video by some big chain like Blockbuster, and he would be on to his next movie. Also, you have your overseas markets.

One thing's for sure -- he took his dream and, with the help of his friend, turned it into reality. That, in itself, is a lot.

Robert Walters Jr.

Arise, Oppressed People of Kingwood!
I take such exception to your picture in the October 17 issue of "a Kingwood community barbecue" ["Strange Bedfellows, Strange Sheets?" The Insider, by Tim Fleck]. This could not be further from the truth!

I find no humor in your selection of "an attention-getting photo" to go with the story on Kingwood annexation. The picture represents a most despicable act that sadly does occur in our world; however, to suggest that a Ku Klux Klan cross burning would occur in Kingwood is downright appalling! Kingwood is made up of, to use the words in your article, "worldly types whose ranks include a high percentage of corporate nomads who have lived in more than one city, and, frequently, more than one country." And yes, we probably are more "cosmopolitan" than most Houstonians, but your definition of cosmopolitan is totally wrong. Kingwood is made up of educated, caring people with pride. Just come and see for yourself. The people in your picture, I doubt sincerely, are "educated, cosmopolitan, worldly types."

The only irony involved here is that Kingwood residents, like black Americans once were, are fighting for the right to vote on an issue that affects each and every one of us. We have no voice, until after the fact of annexation occurs, to determine the fate of the community that we have built and love living in.

Eileen Howell
via Internet

No Defense
Please exclude me and my Kingwood friends from the "Bigot Defense" -- the public portrayal of Kingwood as biased against minorities -- currently being advanced by the Kingwood annexation opponents.

History shows us some shameful examples of the use of bigotry to advance political goals. There is no political or economic consequence to our community as great as the harm done by bigotry. Let us all disown and decry the "bigot defense."

Joe Synan

No Pimpin' in the Heights, Either
Please let Scott Palmer [Letters, "No Pimpin' in Kingwood," October 31] know that me and my Heights neighbors are highly educated, culturally enlightened professionals (many single and childless). We count ourselves fortunate to have each other. We are civic-minded, as we pay to educate others' children. We consider it preferable that Mr. Palmer survives in his close-minded cultural wasteland. Surely his income is derived from a Kingwood-based company, whose employees were all educated in the Kingwood school system and who never drive on anything but Kingwood roads or venture to anything but Kingwood-produced (mall) entertainment. What kind of music, dance and art is known for being produced and funded solely in and by Kingwood?  

We don't vote for crime, filth and poverty pimps, and we are not mentally slow. All he is doing is diverting the attention away from the real issue. There is nothing worse than a bunch of "good ol' boys" whining when they don't get their way.

Theresa A. Tilley
via Internet

Incubating Ain't Easy
As a fan of the Houston Press of many years, I applaud accurate journalism when you print it and groan with the rest of your readers when you don't. Brian Wallstin's article "Incubating Problems" [October 16] missed the mark on the Business and Technology Center and all the good things done there.

Mr. Wallstin assuredly doesn't know that the incubator industry has matured in several ways. Case in point: Incubator managers across the nation have discovered that to truly be of benefit to startup businesses, the incubator itself must be operated as a business.

Further, Mr. Wallstin, whom I doubt has ever been a business owner himself, hasn't recognized that charity is the bane of entrepreneurship. While some incubators may have a great deal of latitude in lease arrangements, they are not charities, and fees for use of facilities must be paid by the users. Business incubators are businesses which provide the "hand up" at reduced costs; what's also true is that some businesses are too early in the development stage to afford any additional expense, even at the low rates associated with an incubator. In today's industry, business incubators that practice "giveaway programs" do not survive close scrutiny when compared with their peers, because at the bottom line they don't "grow" companies very well.

Also, I'd want Mr. Wallstin to learn that within every incubator environment I've seen there seem to be business owners of two distinct personality types: The first is the entrepreneur who recognizes the responsibility of business ownership and strives to continually learn and grow. Ownership is a risky business, but these personality types dig in and dig themselves out of whatever hole they find themselves in. They just don't have time or interest to bitch or moan or point fingers. Not surprisingly, these business owners do well in incubators.

The second type, alas, when finding themselves in a tough spot (like running out of money, for instance) immediately seek to blame something or someone other than themselves. Frequently, incubator staff and/or managers have been the all-too-handy scapegoat for such failures. The tired old excuse of incubator staff making it "increasingly hard" to run a business has been the standard cop-out phrase in incubator corridors everywhere until recently. Now, however, incubators are no longer accepting the blame. Incubators have too successful a track record of growing companies to be condemned for "poor me, it's all your fault for my failure" attitudes any longer.

I've been among Palm Center's harshest critics for years. But I've gained confidence in Marlon Mitchell because I've seen him complete a number of difficult projects quite nicely. He and his staff are doing a good job with the Business and Technology Center, even though it's just a small part of a much larger and very worthy revitalization effort they also manage. Send Mr. Wallstin out again to cover the other side of the story that I'm confident is there for all to see.

C. Dean King
Chairman, Texas Business IncubatorAssociation

Department of Self-Promotion
The Press captured four Katie Awards earlier this month in the annual statewide journalism competition sponsored by the Press Club of Dallas Foundation. Winning first place for investigative reporting among major market newspapers was staff writer Bob Burtman for his April 18 story "The Fire Next Time?" which revealed potentially deadly safety oversights at Baytown's Exxon refinery. In the non-daily newspaper division, staff writer Randall Patterson won two Katies: His September 28 story "Throwaway People" on a "bum-bashing" murder in north Harris County captured first place in the features category, while his April 11 story "Fourth and Long" on local semipro football players took first place in the sports category. Editor Jim Simmon won first place for general column writing in the same division, while staff writers Tim Fleck, Steve McVicker and Brian Wallstin were all Katie finalists. The Press's sister paper, the Dallas Observer, was named best non-daily newspaper in the Katie competition, while Observer staff writers took first places in the major-market papers division for government/political reporting (Laura Miller), business news (Miriam Rozen) and arts criticism (Robert Wilonsky).

Department of Self-Abasement
In his October 31 column "Kingwood RFD," Jim Simmon misidentified a caller to the Press as the editor of the Kingwood High School newspaper. Brian Howell is the editor of the Kingwood High paper, and he did not call the Press to complain about a photo that ran with the October 17 Insider column. Also, the subject of a photo that appeared in the October 31 Static column by music editor Hobart Rowland was wrongly identified as Willie D of the Geto Boys. The picture was of Scarface of the Geto Boys. The Press regrets the errors.  

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