Letters for the week of July 20, 2000


Letters for the week of July 20, 2000

Cover Me
Your cover stories are really lacking substance. Pure fluff. Stories about rich bankers (Mike Walker's "Jerry Green: Sports Talk Empire Builder," June 29) and inbreeds who want to be sheriff (Allie Johnson's "Urban Cowboy," June 8) should be left to trash papers like The Kansas City Star or something. Here's a novel idea: Why don't you write about stories that affect everyday people, like how the drug war is running amok, or about how the schools suck? Try finding something a little more relevant.-- John Caffrey

Kansas City, Missouri

I have to heartily disagree with Mike Walker's statement that Greg Hall doesn't give a forum to those who disagree with him on his Web site. Mr. Hall does listen to those who disagree with him and anything he says.

I have gotten onto him about things numerous times, and he has listened to me and what I had to say. Anybody can e-mail Hall, and he responds to every e-mail. While he was still at The Star, I called his voice mail and he even called me back that evening to discuss what I had to say to him. Plus, if you look at his site, you will find that he also has a forum section. Quit kissing somebody's butt and do some investigating before you print something like this. -- Bruce Diebold

Pleasant Hill, Missouri

Home of the Rave
What prompted me to write this note was Andrew Miller's excellent cover story, "Spin City" (June 22). As a DJ and promoter for over five years, I really appreciate the positive publicity he's given the scene. His article was obviously very well-researched and maturely written. He definitely spoke with the town's current key players and covered a lot of ground. Overall, a superb piece.

However, I would like to add that there is one individual whose commitment to music has been crucial in the development of Kansas City's club and party scene: Ray Velasquez. Before recently relocating to New York, Ray spent well over a decade bringing great electronic music to KC as a DJ (on KKFI and KLZR, as well as countless clubs), a writer (for the Pitch, in fact), and a promoter.

I've been living in L.A. for almost a year now, but I still read the online version of the Pitch and pick up the paper when I'm in town. I'm sure I will continue to enjoy Miller's excellent writing in the future. Keep up the good work.-- Henry Self

Los Angeles

Andrew Miller is by far the best writer I have ever read in the Pitch. Please keep him on board before some other paper snatches him away. "Spin City" gave readers the real take on raves in Kansas City as well as all over America. Thanks, Andrew!-- Name withheld on request

Kansas City, Missouri

Feet of Clay
Connie Lamka sincerely but incorrectly admonished me for employing a "closed planning process" concerning our latest light rail effort (Letters, July 6). The current light rail petition reflects not only input from hundreds of citizens we have consulted with across the city and numerous public transit hearings we have attended, but it also follows the recommendations of 3,000 citizens who participated in the city's FOCUS planning report.

In FOCUS, a clear majority stated their preference for light rail over buses, wanted light rail to connect the Plaza to Downtown to KCI, and would support a tax increase to do it -- EXACTLY what the petition calls for. The problem is that our city leaders have never carried out the citizens' mandate for light rail as expressed through FOCUS and the MARC Transit Initiative survey. Instead, the city has deferred to the special interests who oppose light rail in Kansas City.

Once again, we are offering the people a choice on how to improve Kansas City. We are not "imposing" anything on anybody. People are willingly signing the petition and can willingly vote yes or no on November 7.-- Clay Chastain

Kansas City, Missouri

As We Like It
Ah, subjectivity. For those of us who ply the stormy waters of A Life In The Theater, it is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, subjectivity is essential to the theater. When two people view the same idea from two radically different points of view, there lie the seeds of conflict, which is the source of all drama. On the other hand, subjectivity is the very property that makes theater so difficult. So many factors affect a person's response to a performance: the temperature, the humidity, one's comfort level in the company of one's companions, hunger, the fear that one's job is meaningless, ditto one's life, one's hatred of mosquitoes, and so on. On any given night, in any given performance, actors look into the audience and see some sleeping, some scowling, some sitting forward with eyes alight.

It's surprising that a show can succeed -- on anything approaching a consistent basis -- at all. But it's extremely gratifying when it does.

It's not surprising that on any given night, there can be a wide divergence of responses to a performance. Take, for example, Steve Walker's response to As You Like It at the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival (June 29). On the one hand, there's Mr. Walker's opinion, as wittily recounted in his review of that production. Mr. Walker was apparently so unmoved by the performance that he had difficulty purging his mind of visions of Greek pederasty and The Beverly Hillbillies. On the other hand, hundreds of other audience members expressed their opinions in much laughter, spontaneous applause, and overall rapt attention. These responses have been echoed several hundred times over during subsequent performances by audiences who don't seem to be bothered about the variety of moods Shakespeare wrote into the play. They rather seem to enjoy the story and the performances, and they leave the grounds buzzing happily about the perversity and multiplicity of love in all its forms. I guess some people really like goulash.-- Mark Robbins

Kansas City, Missouri

Religious Science
It makes me sick that the Pitch employs someone as blind and pusillanimous as Jeff Brown. To say that there is no place for positivity in punk rock is simply another way of pointing out one's own insecurities ("Religious Significance," June 29).

Anyone who is a fan of Bad Religion knows that the band's sound has changed over the years. But they haven't changed; they've simply evolved. Bad Religion, and most punk rock for that matter, has always dealt with what's wrong in the world. It's natural course for Bad Religion, and many other bands, to put the troubles sang about in the past in the back seat and focus on what should be done to repair the damage.

As for quality, The New America is definitely BR's best-sounding album to date.

P.S. If you think they lost their roots, you obviously haven't seen them in concert recently!-- Todd Segraves


Caught Napping
I note with sadness that the Pitch has joined the yowling pack of self-obsessed thieves vigorously defending the right of upper-middle-class white kids to rip off creative artists from the comfort of their bedrooms (Reverbs, June 29).

Jeff Brown argues that the members of Metallica demonstrate themselves to be "wage slaves" (a cognitive stretch even by the standards of music "journalism") by protesting the blatantly larcenous activities of Napster and its overindulged, techno-hypnotized ilk. In fact, Brown's sole point is that he -- and anyone else well-off enough to own a high-zoot computer -- is entitled to take possession of a band's music without paying compensation solely by virtue of having access to a machine. He is wrong.

This is an extremely simple issue: If it's a copyrighted creation -- be it book, movie, CD, stageplay, or even this paper-- then rights for the reproduction, dissemination, and transfer of the material is governed by federal law; those rights are independent of whether little Brandon has figured out how to use the mouse attached to the computer Mom and Dad bought him. If you want to possess a piece of copyrighted music, pay for it, and if you must steal it, kindly stop printing poorly reasoned, whining explanations for why it's okay to do so. It isn't okay; it's larceny, and the fact that at the moment it cannot be stopped does not change the moral value attached to the act by one whit.

All this "free the music" crap is just a rationalization for ripping off someone's copyright. It's been going on for decades, and there's always some witless faux-hipster out in front "explaining" how (insert name of current rip-off technology here) is different from a bunch of guys in Indonesia knocking off 100,000 bootleg CDs. It isn't different at all. Unfortunately, there's nothing that can be done at the moment to stop the stealing, but I hope that should he choose to again publicly defend the practice that he will find the courage to call it by its proper name.-- Patrick Quinn


I got Napster because the radio plays the same sickly CEO-picked songs over and over, and it seems MTV has forgotten how to play music videos. Where else can the rest of the world get a taste of different music SO WE CAN buy their CDs? If anything, bands should thank Napster for the exposure MTV and radio denies them.

Plus, I shop at music recycling stores because the most I have to pay is $8 for a CD ... and on a college pocketbook. That's about all I've got!-- Heather Lauer

West Allis, Wisconsin

Full Metal Racket
I wish to express my disgust in the way that MDFMK's album was reviewed (Soundbites, June 29). Obviously, Jeff Brown didn't do his homework. First, KMFDM has always stood for "Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid," which, loosely translated, means "no pity for the majority."

Secondly, KMFDM officially disbanded on January 22, 1999, after their farewell album, Adios, was released. MDFMK is not the same band. The only original member of KMFDM that is in MDFMK is Sascha Konietzko, as well as Tim Skold, who was a member of KMFDM just before the band's split.

The band MDFMK has stated that MDFMK is not an abbreviation or acronym and is simply a reversal of KMFDM. According to Sascha Konietzko, "MDFMK will continue where KMFDM left off. MDFMK is a reinvention, a shedding of the skin; with newfound agility and motivation the metamorphosis is complete and nothing stands in the way anymore."

As for KMFDM being a "second-rate industrial metal band," I would like to point out that KMFDM was a pioneer in the genre and that most (if not all) industrial bands have been heavily influenced and/or inspired by the music of KMFDM.

I would like to see a corrected review of this band's release, as it is quite obvious to me that very little (if any) work went into the review that was printed. Thank you. -- Dave Owens

Lee's Summit

A Black Hole
I recently returned from another trip to your city, where I am trying to lend a hand with a jazz history project. I live in Minneapolis and get to Kansas City two or three times a year. When I am in Kansas City, I always count on your newspaper to inform me of what is going on. And I am always astonished to discover how little coverage you give the black community. During the weekend of June 16, your lack of coverage (none!) of the three days of events associated with Juneteenth was particularly egregious.

Last year, you had only a tiny blurb concerning a whole week of events surrounding the unveiling of the Charlie Parker statue. This event was attended by a who's who of jazz legends, but no one would know that from your paper. In addition, despite an extensive weekly listing of Kansas City museums, you fail to list either the jazz museum or the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The latter is fantastic. Have you been there?

In Minneapolis, our weekly entertainment paper covers the whole city. Why doesn't yours?-- James Gerlich



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