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Comparing scenes

First, a thanks to Pete Freedman for accuracy in relaying my comments about the arts in Colorado Springs ("Looking forward," cover story, April 26). My hope for the article was not to come across as bitter and negative. Your town is home to many people and organizations I worked with for many years and continue to care about from afar.

Now living in a community that is perhaps the arts and culture polar opposite, my perspective is slightly more objective. Only a fool would compare Santa Fe to the Pikes Peak region, but there are lessons to be learned.

The arts, culture and artists are embraced as an integral, even dominant, part of Santa Fe's spirit and character. It's a very vibrant and collaborative environment.

I long believed in an "art revolution" for the Springs, but now realistically feel it will much more likely be a long evolution. The "Incubator Series" organized by Christopher Lynn is a good step, but hardly a new one; ask Susan Edmondson or Mary Mashburn.

Curmudgeonly comments by Tom McElroy were most likely the only truly valuable ones in the room of rose-colored glasses. Atomic's words were probably smart-ass but wise. His attendance speaks to his perseverance, commitment and devotion to both the arts and the Springs.

It is going to take leadership, collaboration, luck, money, volunteerism, time, vision, lots of people and massive amounts of hard work. The "tipping point" may well fall in the right direction, but momentum takes a long time to build. Keeping a positive attitude is vital, but be warned it is likely to be a very long journey.

So good luck, Colorado Springs, and be aware that for arts to thrive in the long run, you'll have to relish a rather extended ride!

Rodney Wood

Santa Fe, N.M.

Forgotten artists

Although "Looking forward" is a good article, this writer fails to mention Cottonwood, an arts community that belies the complaints mentioned in the article: that there are no affordable studios to rent, that arts dreamers don't stick it out and make their ventures happen, and that advocates are typically unwelcoming "posers."

There are more than 40 artists at the Studios at Cottonwood: young and old, established and new, traditional and abstract, even experimental ... but you sure wouldn't know it by following the "arts community" stories in the local media. As a happy, sort-of abstract, non-established member of the Cottonwood community, I get really tired of being invisible.

Nethery Wylie

Colorado Springs

Time for action

I write this letter due to the fact I was unable to attend the Incubator meeting of curators and artists, as Kansas City, Mo., is where I must reside through May. As an independent curator of galleries and venues for nearly four years in the Springs, I must type that all of this chit-chat about "problems" within the art culture is but a waste of time.

Sure, funding would help greatly, but that should be an automatic source of assistance, as it is with nearly all communities except Colorado Springs! There is but one answer to the collage of questions and concerns. Simply arrange exhibitions, promote, then display for the love and passion one has for the process itself.

By now, it has become painfully apparent that the idea of funding assistance rests decomposing within a coffin that represents either the laziness or fear of the narrow-minded, anti-cultural treasury teasers. With mentors like Gerry Riggs, Elaine Bean and Rodney Wood evolving toward newfound prosperity, it is up to us, as a fresh generation, to keep going with or without the financial assistance of the lame-brained, non-creative city officials.

I am proud that OpticalReverb, Rubbish, the BAC and all larger venues, such as the UCCS Gallery of Contemporary Art and the Fine Arts Center continue along the path they have created. If for some reason any of these organizations decide to resign its mission, that is one more weapon for our city of Colorado Springs to utilize in its arsenal of defiance.

Jason Zacharias

Colorado Springs

curator, OpticalReverb

Libation limitations

Thank you for your article in last week's Independent related to getting Colorado's archaic liquor laws changed ("Let's improve liquor laws," Between the Lines). I run a wine education company called Experience Wine, and while we are growing, it has not been easy to work within the laws to establish a viable business model that allows me to effectively service consumers in our community.

There is a great need for basic wine education, and very few opportunities to acquire it. The limitations of today's liquor laws are hurting the growth of the Colorado wine industry, as well as limiting wine sales overall in Colorado.

For example, in California, it is perfectly legal to have a store location where you go to taste wine, perhaps eat a little food, and, when you find something you like, walk over to the shelf and buy it at the same establishment.

In most parts of Colorado, including the city of Colorado Springs, that kind of shop is illegal. You can have a license to sell wine at a certain location, or you can serve it but not both.

In-home tasting of wine is legal, but you must never make a sale at a home, or you are subject to prosecution for making an unlicensed sale of an alcoholic beverage. Again, in California it is a very normal thing to host a party such as this with the winemaker or a representative present, who then sells his wine right on the spot.

It would be great if we had that same flexibility. It would help the wine shops, the winemakers, wine distributors, restaurants who sell wine and, of course, the end consumer.

Mark Hejtmanek

Colorado Springs

Forget the book

No need to worry about Alberto Gonzales writing a tell-all book about his experiences as attorney general. He can't recall enough to write a pamphlet.

Dave Cuthbert

Colorado Springs

Seeking a golden age

Homosexuality. I hate that we're even discussing this. Why? It's a non-issue. Look at it this way: When nations overseas suffer from genocide, starvation and war, they democratically vote for their candidates based closely on how they're not going to make their way of life miserable.

In America, it's totally different. Hundreds of thousands don't die every year from starvation in America. It's a very minimal number, in fact. Poverty in America is a lingering stench like the smell of something rotting under the sink; hardly enough to care about. Death by violence? Again, just a minimal number.

Instead of voting for individuals who discourage the things that are physically causing our people harm, we vote for people who have good Christian morals. It's a bunch of tired, boring idealism. With time, we as a people move forward in social order, not retreat backward into the depths of religious dark ages where gays are punished for something that they can't control.

In the 20th century, universal suffrage was brought forth by politician and citizen alike. Perhaps in the 21st century, it will be recognized to its full potential to bring our society into the golden age it's been longing for.

Tom Nelson

Colorado Springs

The real threat

In reading "Diversity, please" (News, April 26), it struck me how many letters and articles I have read discussing the "threat" of gay marriage as a highly charged political issue.

I paused for a moment as the realization came: I know more than one gay couple who are more dedicated, loving and with more anniversaries under their belts than most of my heterosexual friends who are swingers, swept away by divorce or simply have kids without a thought toward marriage.

Perhaps we should all pause to re-evaluate what really "threatens" the values of marriage in our culture. Perhaps Las Vegas is more of a threat to family values than any gay couple looking for recognition of a true love could ever be.

E.E. Martin

Colorado Springs

Use all options

I, along with all Americans, want to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and interfering on the ground inside Iraq. I firmly believe that military force must be viewed as the last resort not a first option.

President Bush's continued war talk gives the United States little additional leverage over Iran, but rather is sure to accelerate a dangerous slide into military conflict. Speaking to Iran, working with our allies and using every diplomatic, political and economic option at our disposal to deal with the current situation is simply the right thing to do.

Joe Hartmann

Colorado Springs

Stop the planes

C.S. Odlin of Manitou Springs tells us in his screed ("Control the guns," Letters, April 26) that "the one constant in all instances of massacre by firearm [is] the guns."

Oddly enough, after Sept. 11, when a hundred times the numbers in Virginia were massacred, folks of Odlin's ilk were not advocating removing one of the constants in acts of aircraft hijacking: the aircraft itself.

After all, haven't we had plenty of warnings? Haven't there been plenty of aircraft hijacked in the past? All the dead bodies from hijackings must certainly stack higher than those 30-some at Virginia Tech, plus the several here and there from other school shootings over the last 20 years.

Tell me, why do we still allow civilians to travel in those massive aircraft, hundreds of which are in the skies of our nation at any given time? All it takes is a handful of mentally disturbed folks, and suddenly that jet is transformed into a cruise missile, ready to murder thousands.

But perhaps we have just given up. It is widely acknowledged that no matter how many massacres, no politician dares alienate our vast and powerful "air travel lobby" by advocating and pursuing removal of the one constant in all instances of massacre by aircraft: the jet planes.

Scott Graves

Colorado Springs

Wrong values

This letter is not meant to belittle the events that unfolded in Virginia in any way. However I must agree with the Virginia Tech shooter when he stated "society" is to blame for what happened. After all, what does our society value? If we look closely, it is violence, murder (in the form of war), degradation, lying, self-righteousness, bullying (governance by force) and cheating, among others.

Don't believe me? Then explain how the upper echelon of society gets to power: by lying, cheating, serving only themselves and generally using people below them.

Pray tell, how are society and the ills of "democracy" not to blame? We must turn away from the "kingdom of God" and establish our own individual sovereignty (what the Bible actually means by the "kingdom of God") and stop the madness of "King George (W. Bush)" before it is too late.

Dwayne Schultz

Colorado Springs


In "Rhythm session" (Personal Space, April 19), we misidentified Aaron Lauritzen, who actually was pictured in the foreground. The Independent regrets the error.

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