Letters from the week of

Kit and Caboodle 

Letters from the week of

Without a prayer: Although I find the behavior of many Christians repugnant, my heart goes out to the people who gathered in front of Kit Bond's office to protest proposed cuts in Medicare, food stamps and student loans. Maybe these "liberal Christians" weren't very effective protesters, but I think they deserve our thanks, certainly not the demeaning comments they received in the Pitch's Kansas City Strip (December 22). In the space of two paragraphs, Eric Barton called them "a sad little congregation," "hopelessly sentimental" and "a pathetic little gathering."

Pathetic? Gee, that sure makes me want to go out and protest injustice. Apparently if I am not going to meet the Pitch's arbitrary standards of coolness, I should not even think about it. I am just glad these folks were "pathetic" enough to listen to their hearts and not to the kind of cynicism that seems to afflict the staff of the Pitch.

Marc Briand
Lawrence

Clothes Minded
Urban outfitters: Bryan Noonan's Kansas City Strip (December 15) revealed much more than just a discussion about blacksploitation of Kansas City's urban youth.

I appreciate the exposure given to an abhorrent practice of "pimping" Kansas City's black community, whether the sale is offensive T-shirts, guns or drugs. Pener's Clothing may have given thousands to urban-core organizations, but had it not been for the residents of the urban core patronizing their stores, they would have been unable to afford their children's college education, their new cars and their fine home or to have established additional retail stores around the country.

However, my beef is with community activist Ron Hunt's disparaging comments regarding Italian businesses in the urban core. I have never read such hateful, prejudging, stereotyping in all my life! Mr. Hunt's flippant broad-brush statement that the Italians have established "a liquor store on every corner, selling guns and pasta" was downright hurtful and counterproductive to improving race relations.

As a neighborhood and community activist, I have had the privilege of partnering with several liquor store owners who make it a practice to give back to their neighborhood in effective ways.

Years before 36 urban-core liquor store owners signed a covenant with Project Neighborhood to be responsive stakeholders, they knew the value of being good neighbors. Many were already in the practice of contributing thousands of dollars to neighborhood academic scholarship funds. UNICO provides annual scholarships to deserving youth throughout Kansas City; many are dues-paying members of their urban-core neighborhood associations; they sponsor and participate in neighborhood cleanups and community improvement activities.

We know the "Archie Bunkers" are alive and well in Kansas City, and now Mr. Hunt has proven so are the "George Jeffersons"!

Mindless, violent acts in Kansas City will cease when we stop the flow of mean-spirited, stupid public comments people make about one another. Mr. Hunt, quit hating!

Diane Charity
Kansas City, Missouri

Industry Standard
Project runway: I enjoyed Ben Paynter's "In God We Dress" (December 22).

I realize The Standard is located on the Country Club Plaza, and being neighbors to Blonde, it would make sense to have a fashion show there. Although, I find it interesting that the owner of Blonde has made his money through the porn business, and the concept behind Standard is Christian values. God is certainly working miracles on that street corner. God bless you.

Victoria Rum
Lenexa

Editor's note: As "In God We Dress" noted, the Standard Style Boutique is located in Johnson County's Town Center Plaza.

Street Wise
Art of the matter: Regarding Ray T. Barker's Jane Pronko review (Art Beat, December 22): Ray got my take on urban loneliness and angst, but Pronko's work is also about tenacity and spirit; it's not all heartless. Jane and I hit it off years ago when we talked of her art not being "pretty," but capturing a range of emotions. The work is actually quite beautiful and positive — like some Billie Holiday ballads!

Thanks for the thoughtful and concise review. There are many good exhibits going on in KC at any one time, but not enough get reviewed. The Late Show is always pleased with well-written press.

Art public, write letters to the press. Make some fucking noise and support your local artists and art scene.

Tom Deatherage, The Late Show
Kansas City, Missouri

Flick Off
Munich pact: Who is Robert Wilonsky? And why is he reviewing movies?

Why does Bobbie think Munich is wishy-washy in its intentions ("Tragedy Re-Revisited," December 22)? Was Mommy not available to explain the movie to him? Explaining to simple Bobbie that the film had a theme not of vengeance but of what happens to the soul of individuals who kill. That violence never ends. It reverberates, it dissipates, it lodges in the hearts of children "whose father was a military hero." A father he never knew, because he was growing up on kibbutz, with the only thing he knew of his father.

Did Mr. Wilonsky miss that? Was it too subtle? Not included on the video-game version?

"He intercuts these grisly flashbacks with scenes of Avner violently screwing his wife. Whatever the filmmaker's intentions, to show us Avner's need to connect with his wife or disconnect from his actions, it plays only as overwrought and foolish. "

It did not play this way at all. Bobbie, try meditating on love and atonement. Perhaps Avner was trying to exorcise his hate. Perhaps he was looking for redemption. Where can one find peace and redemption if not in love?

I hope that our young men returning from Iraq are lucky enough to have someone waiting to make them whole with love. Is there a better metaphor for this than the womb?

Bobbie, grow up. Challenge yourself to understand larger themes. Learn to love.

Scott Williams

Via the Internet

Flavor Fresh
A toast: It is hard to write a mash letter about a middle-aged, presumably overweight Italian-American (my personal role model), but I can't help it. It was during my brief residence in Kansas City from 2002-04 that I discovered Charles Ferruzza.

The first review that I read was his skewering of the Machine Shed in Olathe, and I still suffer from fits of laughter recalling his description of the flatulent patrons and/or servers (I can't recall which now) he encountered there with his friend Bob ("Grub Shack," September 5, 2002). His most recent revisit to Plaza III brought back fine memories of that icon's great food and of his sublime writing ("Well-Aged," December 22). This is all good, to the point that I now have an uncontrolled urge to eat a radish off an iced tray.

Mr. Ferruzza, Mr. Trillin does not hold a candle to your food writing, and human wit and insights!

Ron Musto
Folsom, California

Grape Work
The tipping point: On behalf of lots of us in the industry, THANK YOU, Charles Ferruzza, for the column on tipping on wine (My Big Fat Mouth, December 15)! You da man!

I think that some people look upon servers almost as slaves or, perhaps more politically correct, servants and not as commissioned sales people. Servers work a lot harder than most people think for not much money. Good servers try hard to earn that 18-20 percent tip. Our dining system has been built around tipped employees for eons, and if that were to change to a salaried position, you would, first of all, see a decline in the quality of service in many places due to the loss of that incentive and, more important, a radical increase in the price of your food ... probably about 20 percent!

Let's make that $25 steak a $30 steak!

Grazie!

Joe DiGiovanni, Joe D's
Kansas City, Missouri

Note This
Sound off: Thank you so much for Jason Harper's review of Jimmy Pozin's album (Here & Now, September 22). I went to his high school and heard his shit a long time ago. That review was long overdue.

Thanks for the laughs!

Anthony Hamill
Overland Park

Worm Drive
Wiggle room: Dearest Night Ranger, I am typing you in regard to your article about The Gaf (December 22). I see that you have had your first worm encounter. I am a little upset that you feel that the worms aren't really a club. We actually do exist.

We meet every Worm Wednesday and worm out all over town. There are about 20 of us worms and about a trillion different worm moves. The membership doesn't really get you anything but worm recognition, but believe me, it's well worth it!

I just wanted to set things straight about the worms. If you have any questions about us or our wormology, please feel free to ask. Have a great day! WORM OUT!

Jeni "The Worm" Linn
Kansas City, Missouri

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