Broaden the lineup: Encore! Encore ["Les Passé," by Richard Connelly, April 11]! Finally, someone has the balls to print what I've been saying about Theatre Under the Stars since I moved to the Bayou City 16 years ago. Being a big theater fan, I bought season tickets for the first couple of years, but I quickly learned that TUTS is interested only in catering to the aging Caucasian population of this city. As diverse as Houston is, you would think the least this glorified community theater could do is offer one minority musical per year. Instead, all we get are the same old tired retreads or shows that closed after a week's run on Broadway.
The American musical theater is over 70 years old. That's quite a repertoire to choose from for a mere five or six shows a year. So when they proudly broadcast their offerings for this season, I rolled my eyes, shook my head and asked myself, "Why would anyone agree to finance a $100 million facility to put on crap like this?"
TUTS is in need of new leadership. A board of directors should not be afraid to be a little edgy in the choice of shows, or to recognize and appreciate the diversity of this city, and be proactive in targeting future subscribers by offering more multicultural, varied shows. Until that happens, I'll continue to purchase the Broadway Series.
Courageous Everett: Au contraire!
Your depiction of Everett Evans, the Houston Chronicle's theater critic, as "elitist" is wrong. Mr. Evans is one of the very few arts columnists at the Chronicle who have the courage to speak out, instead of just rewriting press releases and reviewing performances.
Mr. Evans is right in "blasting TUTS's choices." With the opening of the new Hobby Center, TUTS had an opportunity to present a stellar season, with great musicals and casts. Yes, the realities of business economics don't call for an entire season of cutting-edge programming. But if one had to brag about TUTS's season, other than saying that it's presenting some musicals, what could one say?
TUTS has elected to dumb down to Houston audiences. But then again, maybe they're doing what some of the other arts organizations in Houston do: thinking that impressive architecture replaces courageous and innovative programming.
Sins and spins: Even though I came off as a sinner or, even worse, a complete loser, I thought your story on Joel Osteen was great ["Power House," by Jennifer Mathieu, April 4]. There were many things even I did not know, and you captured the folks who enjoy going there very, very well. They are all pretty amazing in their happiness.
Spamming the globe: Loved this article ["Moonstruck," by Wendy Grossman, February 28], the information therein and the way it was written. I sent the link to almost 200 readers/thinkers/doers on my e-mail list in hopes of further utilizing the power of the grassroots nature of the Internet.
Thanks for your vision, and your efforts.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Problems with the provost: Thank you! Imagine -- taking four years to name a dean for the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, among many other sad tales [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, April 11].
We have made good progress, though, in spite of Edward Sheridan. Makes one wonder what we could have accomplished over the past four to five years under a competent provost.
Name withheld by request
Yates Knew Too
Prosecute the father: Like most of your readers, I wonder why Rusty Yates has not been tried for neglect ["Otherworldly," by Margaret Downing, February 28]. I can only imagine that it is because our justice system is blind -- and sexist.
He knew she was ill, extremely ill, and for him not to share in the responsibility of their children's deaths is as much a travesty of justice as Andrea's conviction.
Frances M. Cangialosi
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Tom Terrific: With regard to the closing of Fox Diner ["Fox Bids Adieu," by Marene Gustin, April 11], what a loss to the folks who were lucky enough to have found the place and its owner. Once, when eating at the Taft location on a Friday afternoon with a friend, I managed to lock my keys in the car. Tom told me not to worry about a thing, called a locksmith, seated us at a table, then came over with the keys after the locksmith showed up. All of this, while dealing with a lunchtime crowd! Wonderful food, but an even more wonderful owner.
Best regards and a speedy recovery to Tom. The world sure could use more guys like him.
Vegans' health values: As to your review of Naturally Yours Café ["Fat City," by Robb Walsh, January 17] and other minor rants on vegetarian eating, the word "unenlightened" continues to come to mind. Robb, I do find you to be the best of the local food critics, so you're not gonna cast this note away as one of some health Nazi who hates your views.
The reason most meat eaters don't like vegetarian stuff is the same reason I don't: It is usually bland, outdated stuff. Basically, most are relatively new to it in the sense it has not spawned a second generation of people raised on good vegan, vegetarian cuisine. It's usually young radicals, old hippies or just animal lovers. I was raised on gourmet vegan food from a mother who was very well known on the East Coast for her incredible cooking. She can make a chocolate cake that tastes exactly the same as a buttery one, with the same texture.
It just cracks me up to read review after review that always has this condescending view, as if taking an interest in your health were some weird little health-food cult idea. You suffer from a prevalent condition in Houston: You eat for pleasure, and everything else is secondary. The purpose of eating is to feed the body what it needs. The arrogant decadence so often displayed by most Houstonians is why we are at least up there in being the fattest city and why most people will die an ugly death from degenerative disease.
Beach Fest Bias?
Extend basic human rights: As you stated in your article, a United States citizen wanting to visit a public area should be protected ["Beach Party Blues," by Scott Nowell, April 11]. What I didn't see is the same attitude for the rights of people attending the Kappa Beach Party, the negative comments such as "Galveston blues" and the businesses closing because their employees cannot get to work -- that is ludicrous.
What are you saying here, that people are not welcome there? That business owners in Galveston have all the money they need? Sounds more like if you're black, you're not welcome, even though you're going to college and are going there to spend money and enjoy one of the fine Texas beaches. As an American, you may not be welcome in Galveston: I think this says it all. I wonder if it's okay to just be a human who shows up there -- after all, that is what we are: human.
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