Letters from the week of July 12, 2001


Letters from the week of July 12, 2001

Brush Off
Art and soul: Kendrick Blackwood's article "Bad Impressions" (June 28) is an accurate account of what really goes on at the Kansas City Art Institute. In the fall of 1993, I entered KCAI. I was 35, unemployed, bankrupt and depressed and already had an undergraduate degree from a state university. My goal was to start a new life in commercial photography. I thought there was light at the end of the tunnel, but I was sadly mistaken.

I spent one semester at the Kansas City Art Institute. Not once did I touch a piece of photography equipment while I was a student there. The only thing I have to show for my time is five more years of hefty installments to Sallie Mae.

Academic freedom at the Kansas City Art Institute means you ascribe to a liberal agenda. Garbage thrown together is deemed art by so-called experts. Further, theft and vandalism are all too common. Still yet, disrespect among faculty, students and administration is blatant. All this for tuition that would raise the eyebrows of the best Ivy League alumni.

Perhaps the Kansas City Art Institute was once a prestigious and reputable school. I certainly would not recommend it to anyone!
David Youmans

Pop goes the easel: Kendrick Blackwood's story exemplifies one of the great purposes of alternative journalism: taking on institutions and in doing so, exposing the faults of those who have coasted on reputations for far too long.

I know several people associated with the Kansas City Art Institute on both sides, and the story seemed thoroughly researched and blessedly without agenda or bone to pick -- but for me the definitive passage was "at one point [the administration banned] a Pitch reporter from a campus otherwise dedicated to nurturing free expression." Brilliant.

Alas, it seems the KCAI administration took Oscar Wilde a bit too literally when he said, "It is through art and through art only that we can realize our perfection; through art and art only that we can shield ourselves from the sordid perils of actual existence."
Kelly Cannon
Kansas City, Missouri

Darkness on the Edge of Town
The blunder years: Joe Miller's article "The Scholars of Central High" (June 21) was insightful, to say the least. He might consider its damage, however: Major corporations in downtown KC do not hire minority youth in numbers; they simply seem to not be interested. This said, visit downtown on any noon hour; visit the restaurants and look at the faces on the street. Look at the "regentrification of downtown," which really means "whites only."

Does it not seem strange that in the heart of a major city, a few blocks from the largest concentration of Latino and African-American youth, there are few, if any, brown or black faces with those little security cards on their belts, implying "employed"?

What struck me about the article was the overall dark attitude of the kids. After generations of constant rejection and belittlement, most simply do not care. After they saw their brothers, fathers, uncles and great-uncles denied benefits that education was supposed to convey time after time, you'd think they would get the idea that Kansas City has no place for them and if they want success, they had better manufacture it within their own groups as other minorities have done.

Sooner or later the youth will get the idea. However, after forty years, it seems not to have sunk in yet.
L. Harris
Kansas City, Missouri

Power Station
The end of the dial: Regarding Deb Hipp's article "Fly in the Soup" (May 31): All good things must end, and KKFI 90.1, unfortunately, is no exception.

As a former subscriber (actually, a charter member), I do not feel comfortable with the current accusatory leadership. No one is quarreling with anyone's race or sexual preference -- or even qualifications -- only the intent of those in power!

The people no longer govern KKFI. This is apparent with the decision to change labels from "community" to "public" radio. Hey, there already is a public radio! Get the point?

We the people don't want homogenized programming. We the people support free speech -- obviously a vanishing commodity at the new KKFI!

Long live democracy!
Stephen K. Bland
Kansas City, Missouri

Houses of the Holey
The Miller's tale: Good story on Miller Enterprises (Kendrick Blackwood's "Built to Sue," May 24)! Jeff Miller has done a disservice to the people who bought from him. I am one of the Miller Enterprises homeowners. On the second night in our home, representatives from the neighborhood came by to ask us to join in a class action suit, as our house was doomed to fall apart.

We couldn't sleep all night long. We felt duped. We didn't finance our house through anyone associated with Miller, nor did our real estate agent even know the neighborhood. I had a difficult time finding an engineer who didn't know Miller and who would call me back, but I found one to inspect our house. He said the house was sound but the work was sloppy.

In one year, we spent more than four weeks of vacation time showing up for repairmen to redo this and fix that. Regretfully, we benefited from those before us who were fighting to have seams and cracks fixed, floors leveled and plumbing done right. Grandview's employees were very attentive to our needs, calls and complaints because they knew they'd been part of something shady, even if they themselves were not shady.

It's hard to keep reading about Miller. He got away with "murder" on many people. I hate waiting for something to happen to my house. I pray it's sound. I hope it's as sound as a non-Miller house.
Name Withheld Upon Request

Wizard of OZZ
Metal of dishonor: I love the hell out of Andrew Miller. His OZZfest article (Around Hear, June 28) is right on in many ways, but there are some things I wish to clear up.

Most of us who consider ourselves "true metal" fans hate every band in OZZfest and cringe every time anyone calls these rap hybrids metal. It sickens me that OZZfest would rather carry around a bunch of clones and not have the guts to help real metal bands that need it, such as Cradle of Filth or Blind Guardian.

What in the hell is wrong with the audience of 98.9 The Rock anyway? Yet another year the show has been ruined due to the fact that these "people" have to throw mud, beer and bottles all day and do nothing more than pick fights. Ozzy was quoted as saying one of his worst shows ever was at Sandstone and that he was not only ashamed of his fans but of the entire crowd a few years back. This man has played before millions of idiots and we still win the crown!

Once upon a time the term "metal" was reserved for bands that had integrity, quality and the ability to actually PLAY their instruments, not simply downtune them and slam on the C chord all night while some beer-belly half-wit screams about his hostile attitude. The very ideals behind metal could not possibly go with rap, hip-hop or pop music. NU-METAL is what corporate America wants you to love -- it's the Wal-Mart and McDonald's of heavy music.

Real metal is still out here, guys, and we could use that support. Origin, Esoteric, Darkside, Overture -- they all kick ass and work hard -- not to mention the other bands out there that do the same.

Thank you, Andrew and the Pitch, for the great articles -- keep it going!
Astoroth Occultus
Kansas City, Missouri


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