Thank you. I am not much for writing the editor, but kudos ("Rivera falls short, as usual," Between the Lines, June 7).
If Mayor Lionel "Riviera" would even focus on the small businesses that support this community, that would have been "fresh." We all know about the military and the universities. But for a guy who touts his service to "our country," he doesn't go out of his way to recognize the others or those currently serving their community, like City Manager Lorne Kramer.
Keep on writing the truth.
FYI: I spelled Riviera for the French Riviera because he must really think it is what he walks on his way to work every day.
Barri L. Laabs
I would like to say that Pete Freedman's article ("Ten gigs in ten nights," cover story, June 14) is a fine example of one man's immaturity and lack of knowledge of the real music scene in the Colorado Springs area. The music scene isn't all about heavy drinking and needless chatter.
My husband and I have been attending Black Rose Acoustic Society (BRAS) open-stage events twice a month for four years. Every second and fourth Friday night of each month at Black Forest Community Center, we hear three unpaid open stage acts and one professional paid act. Performers from all over the United States and Europe have graced the BRAS stage. We hear bluegrass, Celtic, western, blues and occasionally rock 'n roll. We hear original tunes from fantastic singer-songwriters and bands, and from performers who just like playing the music of others. The music is all acoustic, so there are no booming speakers ruining people's hearing.
Unlike the bar scene, BRAS open-stage events are held in a 1929 log building. They serve homemade cookies and brownies, coffee, tea, pop, water and lemonade. Some folks bring their kids, and everyone actually "listens" to the performers. There is no rude talking during performances. The best part is that it only costs $5 for adults ($3 for BRAS members), and kids 11 and younger get in free. For nearly three hours of music, that's the best deal in the area.
We don't have to put up with drunks, loudmouths and smokers. Perhaps Pete Freedman should try broadening his horizons and attend some BRAS events. By the way, other communities have copied the BRAS format.
Woodland Park has the Mountain Acoustic Music Association (MAMA). Peyton has Buffalo Grass at the Cowboy Church of Peyton. Cañon City has the Cañon Rose.
Regarding "Ten gigs in ten nights":
The writer: 0 out of 10.
Since when is a DJ considered live music?
Yet another disciple of the "writer as celebrity" school trumpeting his keen insight and wit at the expense of his subject matter.
The article: 0 out of 10.
A poorly researched and vindictive fluff piece published by a weekly rag desperate for credibility.
The reaction: 1 out of 10.
I'll allow one point for the writer's acknowledgment that this was a "stupid project." At least he got that right.
Responding to "Ten gigs in ten nights," as a musician and fan, I feel your pain. The best venue in town is easily The Black Sheep, but it has received an influx of "mainstream radio bands" as well as indie stars. If that keeps the place open, it's not a bad thing. However, on the local front, the town just seems lacking.
I miss 32 Bleu for all of the real acts. I remember seeing Modest Mouse and The Sounds there and (though not a fan at all) even Switchfoot.
On the local band scene, it seems worse. There are plenty of blues-friendly clubs, and Union Station is the hangout for basement-dwelling metalheads.
After The Whitney Electric quit doing shows, there just seems to be nowhere for smaller, more artistic bands to play or even get started. The Black Sheep is picky about who can play there, and given that they have hosted bigger bands (Minus the Bear, Mastodon, etc.) they probably have that right.
There isn't really a cohesive scene. Kids pour out to see The Mansfields and The Right Aways, and more power to them. But trying to find a place to play as an arguably more esoteric band is hard.
I'm not the only one who feels this way. I've talked with some local artists about this same problem. It's like there are enough people to support a better music scene, but nowhere to go. If you aren't into blues or folk music, the only other local scenes are either the cavalcade of cover bands on Tejon or the interchangeable rotation of metal bands that frequent Union Station. There is that reggae/ska band that plays at Quinn's; those guys are pretty good.
Ranting aside, that was some brave work. Maybe you can shake things up!
Say sorry, Pete
I thought your review by Pete Freedman ("Ten gigs in ten nights") was a complete slap to the music community. His review was so negative, and did not have one positive to say about the local scene. He should apologize to those bands and clubs he put down in his article. He must be a poor musician or not one at all.
I've been playing around the Springs for about the last 12 years since I moved here. I've found the clubs and the music to be very good for this size of town. We don't need writers like him putting this scene down when we as players and club owners are trying to make it stronger.
It would be nice to have someone from your paper write an article on the growing scene and how much we have to offer to the listener. Thanks again for nothing, Mr. Freedman.
Art Noble, Jake Loggins Band
To Pete Freedman, film critic ("Olive juice: A review of Paris, Je T'Aime," June 14):
All French films are great, because French, like Spanish poetry, is transcendental, man.
There are no "willing sellers" for the Army's Pion Canyon expansion ("Willing sellers' claim contested," News, June 14), and the Department of Defense knows it. The threat of eminent domain has crashed land prices, which the Army wants, and those trying to sell to other ranchers can find no buyers, so the economic ruin has already set in. The very threat of eminent domain is a predatory real-estate practice that's beneath the military to use.
Everyone wants our troops trained as well as possible, but it's a straw-man argument that only with an expansion of the almost-unused Pion Canyon Maneuver Site can they be trained properly. The military controls 25 million acres of training land, with 1.1 million acres at Fort Bliss, 636,251 at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, and even a million acres at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
More land will not prepare them for the urban guerrilla warfare of Baghdad and Samarra. More land will not protect them from IEDs like the MRAP vehicles the military is so slow to provide.
More land will not provide them with the best body armor, treatment for wounds or PTSD therapy when they get home.
Sens. Salazar and Allard should pay very close attention to the 383-34 vote in the House against any further funding of this expansion, as a guide to the will of the vast majority, and not fund this travesty of justice when the bill reaches the Senate!
Postcard from the edge
Sheriff Terry Maketa's latest lawsuit-provoking idea, a possible letter ban limiting inmates to penning only postcards, deserves the following semi-satirical censure: Maketa himself could produce the postcards he is pondering!
Imagine a morally instructive postcard of long-defunct Alcatraz prison, and one of the old "hot seat" at Sing Sing. Further imagine an equally uplifting postcard of Maketa's previous offense to human dignity. I refer, of course, to his disgraceful tent jail.
John (Doc) Holiday
Left out by Skorman
I could understand it when the chain bookstores here in the Springs refused to hold book signings for Mike Jones, the gay ex-prostitute who outed hypocrite preacher Ted Haggard, since they would probably have had to endure a fatwa by Dobson et al, to boycott their stores if they did.
But Richard Skorman's letter ("Saying no to Mike Jones," June 14) saying that he wouldn't even sell the book at his Poor Richard's bookstore took me a little by surprise.
Then again, maybe it shouldn't have. The left loves Richard, though he only seems to like the left when he thinks it can bring him more business. Remember, this is the same Skorman, who when sitting on the City Council, couldn't actually find anything wrong with police tear-gassing peaceful anti-war protesters who were just trying to get into their cars. Now he works for Ken Salazar, the DINO senator who votes with the Republicans more than most Republicans, and opposes the left on just about everything.
Skorman has chosen to embrace with the religious fanatics, flipping the rest of us the bird, and I seriously doubt that I will ever step foot in one of his businesses again.
I was surprised to see no letters responding to Ralph Routon's modest suggestion ("Dealing or not with the tourists," Between the Lines, May 31) for signage to help ease congestion at off-ramps from Interstate 25.
Ralph, did you forget the basic tenets of El Paso County's religion, as preached by its holy prophet, Douglas Bruce? The dogma of Fiscal Bruce-ism, which proclaims that spending money is always sinful, must not be questioned. Your argument that easing congestion for visitors would increase tourism, save gas and result in a net gain to city coffers had to have been read with shock by local Bruce-ism congregations.
Let me offer you a refresher course so you do not make this religious faux pas in the future:
Money is to be spent by the person who earned it, not government. Taxes are almost always evil, at the moment they are collected from taxpayers and when spent by government. If collected taxes are used to build roads that lead to shopping malls, an exception may be made, as this helps people spend their own money.
Spending that produces savings is still spending, evil and to be avoided. Spending that results in increased non-tax revenue is still spending, evil and to be avoided. Taxes spent to protect or save lives of taxpayers may be allowed under assurances that salaries of life protectors and savers will remain low.
Teachers neither protect nor save lives, and are entitled to no public funds. They should volunteer to do the minimal, unimportant work they do.
Fiscal Bruce-ism teaches that the cost of signs to help visitors avoid an intersection whose capacity was exceeded 20 years ago is as evil as rebuilding the intersection. If we can do without the rebuild for that long, we can do without the signs. Visitors may go to Pueblo, Buena Vista, Denver or Ouray, but at least we can say we have not violated the tenets of our local religion.