Please send Sally Cragin back from whence she came, and bring Bob Wilcox back! I've wanted to complain about her negativity since she's been writing articles but didn't want to comment on anything I had been involved in. Well, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was a show in which I was just an audience member, so I feel free to comment (Sally Cragin, "Meow Mix," RFT, Oct. 4). Sally, do you like anything? HotHouse's production did not deserve your negative review, and neither do most of the other productions you so callously attack. Theater has a hard enough time staying alive in St. Louis without you continuously berating all productions or the spaces (which are few and far between) they are performed in. Bob Wilcox didn't like everything, either; however, he has appreciation of theater and the work that is done. Your constant negativity is getting old, and it certainly would be a surprise for you to be pleasant for once. If that cannot be accomplished, why don't you find another city and do reviews there?
The state of Missouri has custody of 12,057 children, and people want to stop abortion (D.J. Wilson, "Short Cuts," RFT, Oct. 4)? For every abortion prevented, there's at least one more unwanted child thrown into the mix. If Bush and Gore had any guts, they'd address the real problem of unwanted/unplanned pregnancies.
I am sorry that Gregory Weinkauf had such a bad time at the movie Girlfight, but for the sake of fairness, I think you should send another reviewer, preferably female, to see the movie, and publish her review (Gregory Weinkauf, "Film," RFT, Sept. 27). I can't begin to speculate about why your reviewer had such a hard time with the film, but I suspect that it may have pushed one of his buttons. Clearly he did not get it. I just came home from seeing Girlfight, and I found it utterly delightful. Moreover, I totally enjoyed watching Michelle Rodriguez, the lead actress. She has the kind of screen presence that makes it a pleasure to watch her no matter what she is doing. Unlike your reviewer, I found her anger and her situation totally plausible. Moreover, I was born in Brooklyn and found the setting fully believable. I came out of the movie feeling great and ready to recommend it. Please don't deprive your readers of chance to see a beautiful film on the basis of the discomfort of one male reviewer!
First of all, the person who wrote the article on this movie obviously missed the point of this movie (Robert Wilonsky, "Film," RFT, Sept. 27). Remember the Titans, set in a time period that disliked race-mixing of any form, provided the tension for the movie. Two men, both at the top of their fields, asked to take on jobs that will cause problems in their families as well as in their environment adds more stress to the movie. The players' interactions at college, as well as after they get back to their hometown, is an interesting blend. I believe the clarity of the characters, their growth within the film and their triumph (based on the truths that Coach Boone instilled) within a tumultuous time made this a must- see film. Personally, I thought it was more like Lean on Me meets Pleasantville on Any Given Sunday. An all-around treat for any family.
NOT OUR BEST
I think The Riverfront Times is having an identity crisis. One week, you sound the battle cry against big, bad, racist Schnucks and condemn a white female shopper for her disdain of the Kingshighway store. And the next week, under the guise of "Best of St. Louis" (RFT, Sept. 27), you discreetly compile a clean little white-bread list of the city's finest, bearing almost no mention of businesses or neighborhoods in North St. Louis city or county. As a proud resident of Ferguson, which, in my opinion, is the area's best-kept secret, I'm appalled that your writers speak with such conviction about ethnocentrism when the closest they've come to a black neighborhood is watching Good Times reruns on cable TV.
That's not to say that there aren't problems with race relations in St. Louis, because there are. I have personally experienced black men following me to my car at the grocery store, wrongly believing it's an effective way to get a date. I've also faced aisles full of pig's feet and crispy snoots when I'd rather find sushi rolls and organic mac 'n' cheese. But that's what life is like in an ethnically diverse neighborhood. Sometimes it's a struggle to accept cultural differences, especially when your community, your home or your personal safety seems threatened, but at other times it's refreshing to find yourself surrounded by such a variety of interesting people.
If the RFT truly wants to serve the citizens of St. Louis and help move the racial dialogue forward, it will stop passing judgment from its liberal high horse and act as an impartial forum for honest discussion. Do you want to know what North County or North City is really like, good and bad? Just ask the people who live there, or, better yet, move in. But whatever you do, don't say that St. Louis' "best neighborhood" is an upscale enclave with a median home price of $172,000 and then turn around and cry racist at the drop of a hat. It makes your writers look like a bunch of issue-chasing hypocrites and does absolutely nothing to make St. Louis a better place.
Shannon Shepherd Howard
I was gratified to see that Through the Eyes of a Child was honored by your paper with "Best Setting." I was surprised and flattered as well to see my name as the person responsible for the interviews upon which the play was based. However, my role in this creative project was quite minimal. I only conducted a portion of the interviews along with Jackie Dace, the project chair, who also initiated this very important historical and cultural project, secured funding, set its parameters, maintained its integrity and close ties to the community and otherwise nurtured its development. To see Through the Eyes of a Child garner any attention without her name being mentioned seems a gross oversight.
I am writing to take exception to a statement made in your article about "Best Rural Bicycle Ride." In this article, you say that the roads in Monroe and Randolph counties in Illinois are the best rural bicycle-ride locations because "there is so little traffic they may as well be bicycle paths." Then you go on to say that the area farmers have a reputation for not liking bicyclists. For one thing, not all citizens of Monroe and Randolph counties are "farmers." Some of us live in town or in the country but do not farm. Second, we use our roads to get to and from work, school, stores, doctors, etc. Just because our roads are not logjammed with cars does not make them or give anyone the right to make them bicycle paths. It is this attitude that the bicyclists have that the roads belong to them that makes for hard feelings toward them. And they do ride as if we are the outsiders to the area and should get out of their way. Bicycling season is about over for this year, but next year why don't you come and see what it is like to drive on our roads when the bicyclist are hogging the roads as if they own them? Try getting around a group of 25 to 30 or more bicycles. If you are lucky, a couple of them may even be riding single file and keeping to the right as the law states and is clearly posted.
When the bicyclists are out and about, a 20-minute drive to town turns into a 35- to 40-minute drive, complete with the need to drive on the other side of the road to get around them. And, of course, the pleasure of being given the bird by these pedal jockeys. Or getting to observe them stopping to steal some veggies from our gardens or piss along the side of "our" roads.
So, please, before you name a place "best" for any reason, how about checking out every aspect of the place?