Kansas City, Mo. (and proud of it)
I was very interested to read the item that appeared in the Mail section titled "We're slack-jawed yokels." In this letter, the author argues that anyone stupid enough to enjoy the cultural and social activities KC offers must be "inbred." She then attacks the city's lack of charm and hospitality with a very charming tirade of insults and profanity.
Pity motivates me to attempt a response. My experience has been that comments about KC's lack of culture indicate nothing more than ignorance on the part of the speaker. Nobody is claiming that a visit to the Nelson gallery or Kemper Museum is a cultural experience on par with a trip to Paris, but that doesn't mean they aren't enjoyable and entertaining places to spend the day learning about culture. The industrial wasteland south of downtown was brought back from the dead by art and artists, as was the 18th and Vine area. National artists who travel here each year to offer their work at the Plaza Art Festival would probably be very surprised to discover that this area is a "shithole" populated by "inbreds."
I would suggest to this gentle person that perhaps the reason she finds so little hospitality in KC might be due to peoples' fears that they won't live up to her highly cultured standards. It could also be that we reserve offers of friendship to persons who are less likely to answer with rudeness and hostility. -- Kevin Sheely
Kansas City, Mo.
You like us, you really, really do!
On behalf of BokoMaru, I'd like to say thanks to the Pitch and to your readers for the award for "Best Jazz Ensemble" at this year's Klammies ceremony.
Unfortunately our financial state won't allow us to turn down gigs, and we opted to perform the job at Fedora's on the Plaza during the awards banquet. We had arranged for a representative to be in attendance, but I screwed up and didn't get the tickets delivered in time. Please accept my apologies for our lack of courtesy.
I speak for the entire group when I say that we were surprised and honored by this award and that we have the highest respect for the other nominees in this category. We should express our thanks to the great "Hoary Thunderer," but I think he's got quite a bit of explaining to do. -- Todd Wilkinson
Eyes wide shut
I would like to comment on Leslie Bowyer's article "Closing your eyes" (March 16-22). I found the article insulting and misinformed, and there was no sufficient evidence presented in the article to back up any of Bowyer's preposterous claims that young artists, art students, and professors don't appreciate or participate in the local art scene. I do agree with her that the Kansas City art community is "pulsating," though.
As a graduating senior at the Kansas City Art Institute, I visit the numerous galleries at least once a month (and it should be noted that the Nelson is a museum, not an art gallery). I also read Art In America and other publications on modern art. Locally, I follow the events of Kansas City artists, and most of the other students I know not only visit the local exhibitions but also make every attempt to show their work in Kansas City. It has never once been implied to me by my professors that New York and its big city 'tude is what I should focus my attention on. In fact, every week we discuss exhibitions to visit locally. Two of my primary professors, Hugh Merrill and Adriane Herman, exhibit locally and nationally. I have also been instructed by Nate Fors, who is a very active local artist. These are just a few, but maybe Bowyer doesn't count showing locally as appreciating the KC art scene. The majority of the professors are almost always present at any local art openings that I attend. I am curious to know which art instructors it is that Bowyer has not seen at the galleries, or if she is even aware of who the local instructors are.
Furthermore, I think the most ridiculous aspect of the article is the implication that success artistically depends upon exhibiting in galleries. While I do try to support Kansas City's galleries, the openings are not an opportunity to view the artwork but merely a social gathering where people spend most of the time drinking and schmoozing (perhaps this is where Bowyer was when all of the local art professors and students strolled past). Implying that success is due to gallery exhibiting is off-base. Personally, my interest as an artist lies far beyond the reaches of the "cultivated and cloistered" gallery scene, which I find to be overly educated and incestuous. I want my work to reach a wider, more common audience and, therefore, I have no interest in participating in the pulsating gallery scene but rather in a more public, less smug and arrogant, welcoming arena for disseminating my work. This, of course, would not matter to Bowyer because no matter how talked about and relevant a student's work is in Kansas City, it is rare that he or she would be reviewed in the Pitch. Perhaps part of the lack of participation Bowyer is observing is her own ignorance to the overwhelming presence of student work in Kansas City.
Please, next time you publish an article with such vast blanket statements about groups of people, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with the local art scene, art students, and art professors. The general accusations of the article were never backed up by any substantial evidence. Which gallery did Bowyer work in for five years? Which instructors have been missing from local art events or show an interest only in New York City? Which students showed no knowledge of the obvious opportunities that Kansas City holds? I don't think it is the local artists who are out of touch. Bowyer doesn't seem to have a clue about just how "pulsating" the Kansas City scene is. -- Claire Joyce
Kansas City, Mo.
Alan and I want to thank Patrick Dobson for the article that he wrote on the stroke foundation ("Stroke foundation pulls heartstrings but angers neighbors," March 23-29). His handling of the issue was very fair and balanced, and he did an excellent job of airing both sides of a difficult matter.
Friends, neighbors, and even a former client of mine (an attorney, no less) have called to express their support for our battle, their complete disbelief at the lack of media fairness up to this point, and most important, their admiration for Dobson's efforts. As we have told them, he didn't seem to be impressed by or deterred by political power and influence. We had expected fair treatment, and that's what we feel we received.
We have been Pitch readers for a long time and have made an effort to introduce others to one of the few legitimate sources of information in the metro area. I believe that this article may have a beneficial effect on readership among the "older" members of our neighborhood.
Thanks for a great job. -- Rose Grimes
Overland Park, Kan.
Just plain insulting
I could mention several format complaints (Dr. Carroll, for one), but this is the last straw. How can an "alternative arts-and-entertainment newspaper" not even mention a Kansas City event that includes 20 bars and 17 live bands?
I scoured your March 2-9 issue and saw only (brief) mentions of the Mardi Gras Pub Crawl in the bars' individual ads. I found nothing in the "Night & Day" section, nothing in the "Calendar," no map of the crawl route, and no articles, or even captions, about any of the zydeco bands playing. That is pathetic.
People in Kansas City rely on the Pitch for entertainment information. If you skip a big annual pub crawl, what's next ... the Blues & Jazz Festival? -- Andrea Ways Newman
Kansas City, Mo.
Congratulations to the members of Mayor Barnes' DUI task force on a job well done! As a proud member of a state workforce whose members -- many volunteers -- work diligently and often tirelessly to reduce the incidence of alcohol use and abuse among youth, I truly appreciate your efforts.
Having said that, I must tell you I am also outraged at the double message being sent by the City of Kansas City. Does anyone else think it incredible that while a city task force examines DUI cases, other city officials are relaxing ordinances to sell more alcohol where gas is sold to drivers?
I'm told that changes in the ordinances around density requirements will help liquor establishments open in Kansas City's developing areas, thus increasing tax benefits for the city. I'm also told that existing gas/convenience stores will be better able to compete in the beer-selling marketplace. But at what cost to our youth?
Are city officials aware of a recent survey of 24 urban residential areas in New Orleans that examined the number of alcohol retailers and the attitudes toward drinking by neighborhood residents? That study, commissioned by the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, determined that the higher the concentration of liquor outlets, the more relaxed an attitude people had toward alcohol.
Researchers also determined that neighborhoods where alcohol was easily accessible also had higher rates of drunk driving offenses, homicides, and other violent assaults. In short, the study indicates that neighborhood residents drink based on the way their friends and neighbors drink. Do we expect the patterns would be different for the youth in the neighborhoods?
Roughly half of this country's 20 million junior and senior high school students drink monthly; a large percentage of those are drivers. Two-thirds of teenagers who drink report they can buy their own alcohol. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that many will be buying that alcohol from new liquor establishments in Kansas City. I wonder how many of them will be stopped for a DUI violation?
A nationwide survey shows 96 percent of the respondents are concerned about teen drinking. Missouri's Youth/Adult Alliance Against Underage Drinking (MYAA) is a coalition to reduce youth alcohol consumption through community and social policy change.
One of Kansas City's officials once said, "Liquor is the economic engine for Kansas City." While such sentiment makes it difficult to fight the battle against underage drinking, for the sake of our youth, we remain committed to the fight. -- Beth Wilson
public information officer, Missouri's Youth/Adult Alliance Against Underage Drinking
Blue Springs, Mo.
Thanks, but ...
With reference to the article concerning my dispute with the City of Mission ("The Case of the Missing Fiero," March 30-April 5), The Falls apartment complex, and Heritage Tow, it should be noted that: 1) The charge I was quoted to pick up the vehicle was $142.50. The vehicle was towed after midnight on Saturday, and the towing company was not open on Sunday to pick up the vehicle. If the tow charge was $102.50, I would have been able to pick up the vehicle, regardless of my being determined to be guilty of not paying my taxes, creating a public nuisance, and vehicle abandonment, without the opportunity to defend myself. 2) The appropriate charge, according to the information Heritage Tow gave Michelle Rubin, the charge should have been $75 at the most ($55 for the tow and one day's storage). 3) I went in on Jan. 22, 2000, not Jan. 28, 2000, as reported by the tow operators. Also, I would like to point out that: 4) The complex does an excellent job of notifying all residents of activities sponsored by the complex, as well as notifying all residents of inappropriate furniture on decks, by placing sheets with information under the door of each resident and on all exits. A list of all vehicles in question could have been distributed in a likewise manner.
Thank you for telling the story so that others do not fall into the same trap I seem to have been caught. -- Thurman Williams
Our thanks to Kansas City Star columnist Mike Hendricks for pointing out in his April 5 column how "another publication" (PitchWeekly) identified Kansas legislator David Adkins as being from Olathe instead of Leawood in the March 30-April 5 story "The Cost of the Game." Once again Hendricks has proven how difficult it is to get misinformation past him, a skill we're sure he sharpens by reading PitchWeekly. To Rep. Adkins and his constituents, we apologize for the error.