Look to the East
The never-ending circle of corruption: I would like to applaud Mike Seely for covering the never-ending corruption that goes on in East St. Louis ["Complex God," May 18]. The Belleville News-Democrat and Riverfront Times need more recognition in pointing out the blatant and absurd wrongdoings going on in the East St. Louis government's never-ending circle of corruption. It really is bad when one person leaves and another steps in to continue the horrible job that is being done.
We know the truth: As a member of the national tour of The Producers, I would like to congratulate Dennis Brown on his honest review ["Sell Mel," May 18]. When I first joined this company, I got to watch the show and could not believe the mediocrity I was seeing in two of the principal roles (see your review). Too often we roll into a town and the reviewers will fall all over themselves to praise everything about the show.
You and I know the truth. Thanks for restoring my faith.
Name withheld by request
Calling all witnesses: I want one of the bystanders to verify the alleged incident at Dillard's chronicled in Mike Seely's "Strobe Light Special" [May 11]. I mean, this is potentially a multimillion-dollar civil-rights lawsuit and I just don't believe it went down this way. Even dumbass, rent-a-cop, mall security guards are trained better than this.
The shame is that this type of overexaggeration takes away from the real cases that happen every day. I'm not saying that they weren't profiled, or even harassed, but don't tell me that someone told them they belong in the city. That's bullshit!
More TEN Commandments
How stupid we can be: Heaven help Unreal -- please! Again RFT has shown how stupid you can be. I am a Christian who just happened to be a gay woman. My sexual preference is not at the top of list of who I am. I was at the Evangelical Network conference Unreal wrote about [May 4], with my church. We are from St. Louis; my pastor and her spouse gave the seminar for women's relationships. In that room was about 75 years of commited, monogamous unions.
I attended that conference with my spouse of twelve years and our five-year-old daughter. Everything that happened that weekend was based on the word, the Bible. The hugging was because of seeing people we hadn't seen all year. The reporter never bothered to interview anyone in that room. That picture was -- I do not use words like that anymore. Read between the lines, like you did when you wrote the article. This has proved that our job is not done.
Pray for Unreal: As a person who attended the conference you wrote so unfairly about, I'd like to say that we certainly treated your reporter with more respect than she did us. She came with a preconceived opinion, I guess, because she certainly didn't get all that from the workshops she attended. If she had stayed for the service, maybe her opinion would have been different.
I'll be praying for you and for her. God is building bridges and we don't need the negativity.
A double standard: "Men Aren't from Venus," Ben Westhoff's April 20 article on Venus Envy, quotes founder Mallarie Zimmer as saying, "Women are not equally represented, not only in gallery work, but in the visual and performing arts as well." Unfortunately, Venus Envy did not take this statement to heart when planning its performing-arts selection policy. On Saturday night at Venus Envy, I was astonished by the number of men performing as part of ensembles. When I asked about these men at the official Information Booth, I was told, "It would be impossible to have only women performing artists."
I had thought that Venus Envy was a space for under-represented female artists, but I guess that just means visual artists. Bill Russell could have had his art displayed (penis and all) if he'd been a musician instead of a visual artist, and part of a performing group with at least one woman.
Houston vs. Keys
Props to Whitney: It's so unfair to compare Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston as Serene Dominic did in a March 16 Critic's Pick. Alicia can't hold a candle to Whitney; her music is just a cheesy sample of so-called neo-soul.
That aside, I am sick of these backhanded slaps on Whitney. Whitney paved the way for artists like Alicia to explode onto MTV and into the Anglo market, which now consists of the biggest consumers of black music. Whitney also paved the way for the hip-hop community. Yes, music by black people has always been purchased by white Americans, but people like Whitney acted as a leader. One who white America loved and embraced without such an issue of race.
You can't compare someone who burst onto the scene in the '80s with someone who came during a new century. The politics, the dynamics, the whole culture has changed. Yes, Whitney may have been a mess the last few years in one sense, but that's after enduring years of tabloid bull and interest, a whirlwind of back-to-back tours and concerts, 180 million records sold, hit movies, movies that she has produced, a mother, a wife, a philanthropist, a model, a pioneer, a standard and I could go on and on. Alicia has only scratched the surface of where Whitney Houston is and has been. How about giving Alicia her props without dogging someone else?