No Free Meals?

No Free Meals?

Release Rodrigo: As much jack as it takes to get into Rice University, you can't really be all over this brother because of $107.99 -- or could it be this ["The Pretender," by Jennifer Mathieu, November 14]?

I'm reminded of a line by Malcolm X in Spike Lee's movie: I say you been had; you been hoodwinked; run amok; led astray; and my favorite, you been bamboozled.

Let it go, Rice officials. If you want to set an example, learn from your mistakes and do not let it happen again. Free Rodrigo Montano -- or in this case, let him eat free.

Michael E. McKee

Movie Props

Well scripted: I also think the movies coming out as of late are sucking an amazing amount of ------ ["Breaking In to the Movies," by Tony Ortega, November 21]. But -- wow! -- how crazy is that? Ballsy a lot. I gotta give props where props are due.

So props with love and good luck.

Sylvia Babb
Jones Creek, Texas

Blame the Magnets

Getting a leg up: I empathize with the parents of T.H. Rogers concerning their lack of playground but must say it is the price they pay for the benefits of a magnet school. If it were a neighborhood school, there would be little problem. The children there would be Post Oak Little League players, and all have the same parents who would care about the after-school activities of their children as much as the in-school activities.

I just wonder what the Rogers parents -- coming from Timbergrove, West U or Bellaire -- would think if they were the ones being told their children's sports program needed to give up its fields for the benefit of some other kids not from the neighborhood. These are the only fields we have to play on, and inner-city land is not easy to come by. I think Post Oak is an easy mark because so many kids come from Tanglewood and River Oaks, but it actually services kids from all walks of life, and it does it well.

Rogers has outgrown its original facilities. The Vanguard program needs a new location. The neighborhood needs the school back for its children. Briargrove Elementary is coming out of its seams, and the space could probably be utilized for the overflow.

My kids play Post Oak Little League but go to River Oaks Elementary. We have the same problem with the neighborhood using our playground facilities for their dogs' urinals. If more neighborhood kids went to River Oaks, the adults would think twice about letting a dog pee on the equipment their child would play on within the next hour.

Donna Kohlhausen

Crossed Out

No KKK ink: What a waste of perfectly good newspaper space ["Fueling the Ire," by Craig Malisow, November 14]. All you did was give these people a spot to advertise.

As Shakespeare or Tupac or one of those poets said, this is much ado about nothing. I just hope none of that mess got on Craig Malisow. Like they say, "If you stay in that trash can too long, you're gonna get dirty."

Michael E. McKee

Passion Play

Viva Frida: Your review of Frida is muy bien, excellent ["Queen of Pain," by Gregory Weinkauf, October 31]. I totally agree with every word. I've been a Frida lover since 1987 when I visited the Casa Azul in Mexico City. In the movie, Salma Hayek's passion was so powerfully strong that I could feel it because I have and feel a portion of that passion toward the artist as well. It fills the theater to give the audience a profound, uplifting experience. An amazing piece of work.

I want this movie to do well for both Salma and Frida. You have an eye as well, the way you stated the bus incident was made violently beautiful. Bravo to you, sir.

Robert Lenard

No-Class Glass?

Chihuly's foibles: I have to applaud your honest review of Dale Chihuly's showing ["Shattering the Glass," by Kelly Klaasmeyer, November 21] and your candid and uninhibited voice, which signals good reporting. Naturally, you will expect criticism from local Chihuly supporters and admirers, for you have raised a critical question: Does Chihuly's glass constitute art, or is it merely "overblown" decoration?

I was delighted with your comparison between the manufactured kitsch of Thomas Kinkade and Chihuly's use of glass. For four years, my college art history professor wholeheartedly bashed Kinkade, who specifically targets little old ladies using QVC as his marketing tool. Not only is your comparison accurate, I thoroughly enjoyed your sharp wit.  

I can vouch for your protestations against Chihuly's mogul-style approach to running Chihuly, Inc. Your entertaining stories of previous Chihuly employees performing degrading services for sweatshop labor wages remind me of a Dickens-era scenario. It goes to show that even in the art world the rich keep getting richer while the poor get poorer.

I harbor a particular bitterness toward Mr. Chihuly, largely because of the ridiculous expense in preparing for his showings. As a former employee of McClain Gallery, I not only helped prepare for the arrival of his team but I watched his collectors and admirers with their eyes as big as saucers, as if Chihuly himself embodied the Second Coming.

Thank you for your courage to state the truth. Indeed, "Chihuly (or should I say his sweatshop workers) really cranks this shit out." Keep up the good work!

Meghan Barnett

Dale's swell: Kelly Klaasmeyer must have been wronged in some personal way by Dale Chihuly. That's the only conclusion I can draw after reading the invective that passes for an art review. Some of the points made are undoubtedly good -- although some of it comes down to personal taste, unless Klaasmeyer would prefer that opinions be dictated to us drooling, slope-headed masses by savants like herself.

The tone of the article impugns any content that otherwise might warrant a reader's attention. It's so obviously a knee-jerk reaction by someone predisposed to hate the work that I'm surprised it debases the pages of the Press.

If you're going to lecture us that we're stupid for liking art you find puerile, at least pay us the respect of putting effort into the writing. Pointing out that Chihuly drawings (which I also don't find any reason to like) take little time is absurd (since when has there been a direct relationship between artistic quality and the time spent on it?), but doubly so in an article that's clearly a first and only draft, a rant with breathless acrimony.

And it's hard to take this polemic seriously when the most sophisticated adjective the author comes up with is "cool." Mondrian painted a hell of a lot of rectangles -- surely Klaasmeyer wouldn't suggest this means a Mondrian is "shtick." I agree that individual pieces have little effect, but major installations like the famed ceiling of the Bellagio are really very beautiful, not merely collections of "decorative objects." Your readers deserve a more dispassionate, better-reasoned review, one with grounds given to support its arguments. If this article truly reflects the poor opinion you have of us, perhaps I'll switch to reading In Style over my lunch.

Glen Ford

Wrecking the Rack

Burnout: I'm not surprised that the Record Rack closed [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, November 21]. I went in the store once, and I would never have gone back even if it was the last store in the city.

My friend and I were browsing around looking at the selections there. The shopkeeper glared up from his newspaper and asked what we wanted. When I mentioned two specific rap titles, he replied that he didn't carry "stuff like that." It seemed fairly obvious to me that he wanted us to leave. My friend and I were the only customers in the store.

I think instead of blaming kids for burning CDs and the lack of quality in the music industry, he should take a long look at himself. Maybe he's just burned out on running a small business.

Zachary Browne

Houston horror: It's sad that the Record Rack is closing, but it has more to do with ignorance and conceit and less to do with Metro and kids burning CDs. Bruce and the Record Rack were part of the cancer that has crippled music in Houston. The downfall of his store has everything to do with the famously rude owner and staff, the silly and expensive pricing, and the incredibly shrinking attention paid to new music and customers.

Sure, there is a lack of interesting bands out there, and the music industry is putting out more fodder than ever, but there is also more to a record store than having hundreds of remixes of the latest Madonna, Pet Shop Boys or Janet Jackson single.

I used to pop in every week to get the latest releases. However, at some point Bruce made a decision to stop listening to music and decided to push his own business into a corner. You can go into a store only so many times and look for records, then ask for them, then ask if he will even get them, then be told to pay for them first and maybe he will order them.  

When record stores worry more about surfboards, watches and videos than they do about music, those who want music have to find it online. There are no record stores here that really are up on things and are willing to get the product in and promote new and interesting stuff.

Houston is simply a horrible place for music and clubs. Our music "industry" seems to perpetuate the reputation of Houston as a bunch of gay surfers who stay home and watch videos.

Tim Murrah

Picky: Poor Record Rack -- not!

After reading about Mr. Godwin having to go out of business, I did the happy dance for about an hour and a half. Bruce felt the need to blame everyone for his shop going under -- everyone but himself, that is.

His CD selection was subpar; if you wanted to listen to one, the person behind the counter would have to log off AOL and put the disc in. As you would stand there and listen, you'd observe signs like "DO NOT TOUCH THE CD PLAYER," "ALL CELL PHONES MUST BE TURNED OFF," etc. A real warm environment.

God forbid if you asked Bruce about any of his pictures with rock stars: He acted like it was the invasion of Poland! I was like, "Wow, is that Trent Reznor?" And Bruce replied, "Yup, you need anything else or is that it?"

That store had an attitude. I'm happy to see it go. Now if you will excuse me, I'm off to burn CDs for all of my friends.

Name withheld by request


Shortsighted: The only thing sadder than seeing a decades-old establishment go out of business is having to read the owner's lame little interviews where he blames it on everything under the sun but his own failure to adjust to changing business conditions. If you're a struggling record store, would it kill you to expand your genres a little?

Sure, we all remember the glory days of in-store appearances by Morrissey, Front 242 and the like, but when was the last time the Record Rack did anything like that?

I'm sad to see the place go, but to blame its closing solely on the Internet and the lack of talented bands like we had "back in the good ol' days" is evidence enough of the owner's stubborn shortsightedness.

Michael Bell

Wigged Out

Nightfly foul: As a young professional and avid music fan, I write to echo the sentiments of Andy "Champa" Moore [Letters, "Swatting the Nightfly," November 7]. Despite being the fourth-largest city in the nation, Houston lacks a consistent musical environment conducive to nurturing talent. One need only look to the flight of several top-notch local bands and the absolute ban on any event/venue associated with electronic music (e.g., the recent closing of the venerable Hyperia). City and local government perpetuates this oppressive environment, based purely on ignorance.

The citizenry of Houston, for some strange reason, seems to tolerate this ignorance. What's more important, the Houston Press contributes to this ignorance, especially through the writings of Craig D. Lindsey.

In his promotional blurb on a Baltimore rapper, Mr. Lindsey refers to the artist as a "wigger playa" -- the use of the term "wigger" in reference to a white rapper is patently offensive. Mr. Lindsey's reference to Scarface fans as "those who don't give a fuck about the rest" of the Houston Music Festival attendees ironically perpetuates "the bullshit of this culture that sometimes seems as rife with mayhem and murder as it is with creativity" ["Damn, That DJ Made My Day," by Matt Sonzala, November 7].

Music is about bringing diverse people together to share their respective cultures and to celebrate life. The Houston Press needs to be a part of that experience and report on the local music scene in an educated and intelligent manner. While "Swatting the Nightfly" was a step in the right direction, it is time we shoo him out the door.

Blaine Hummel

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