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Week of February 9, 2005

Paper Tigers
Post script: I appreciate the interest of Chad Garrison in our employee effort to buy Pulitzer Inc. but would offer a couple of clarifications to his story "Burnt Offering" [February 2].

The original idea to pursue an employee purchase came from a retired businessman I know, not a retired lawyer. Also, we didn't circulate information about the effort on an internal e-mail. Instead we printed an informational handout at Kinko's on our own dime and made it available in the newsroom. Finally, we never formally retained Joe Schlafly at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. His outstanding efforts and those of attorney Tom Mug at Gallop, Johnson & Neuman were motivated by civic pride, for which we are grateful.

By the way, none of the employees involved thought the Post-Dispatch buried the news about our effort. Chris Carey's coverage was terrific. Thanks again for the RFT's interest.
William H. Freivogel

Get Gast
Haus rules! Rose Martelli is not a very worldly person. Obviously, she's Italian, and there's room for hundreds and hundreds of Italian restaurants in St. Louis -- but not for one beautiful German one, strategically placed on the corner of Chouteau and Jefferson so that more enterprise comes into that area, building the city back up ["Going Deutsch," February 2].

The food is very good. There's not one head chef, but I believe there are two chefs on duty, always. Martelli didn't mention the brilliant vegetarian meal, which I know a chef had to create. (A "cook" could not have done so.) And the sauerbraten? Working on a meal for five days is definitely worth $20.

I'm part of the friendship circle of the owners, and my cousin is the manager there. I know how significant it is to the German people that this restaurant succeeds. There's so much hope placed in it.

For someone to be worldly, they have to acknowledge all cultures. There are probably a thousand Italian restaurants in St. Louis, but there cannot be one German one? Who is this Rose Martelli? I want her job.
Irmgard Spirk-Ceney
St. Louis

Chew on This
No guts, no glory: It's unfortunate that Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story could not be screened by the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University [Randall Roberts, "They'd Only Just Begun," January 26]. In 1990 Superstar was screened at the Saint Louis Art Museum as part of its then-thriving film series. As head of adult public programs, I had heard about the film from SLAM's assistant curator of contemporary art, Maureen Megerian, who had seen a blurb about it in the Village Voice. Todd Haynes came, for a ridiculously low honorarium, and introduced the film together with Assassins: A Film About Rimbaud, another short film he had made while still a student.

While viewers tend to initially laugh at the characters portrayed by dolls (Dionne Warwick is played by a "Michael Jackson" doll in drag), they are ultimately pulled in by the film's poignant and powerful handling of Carpenter's tragic battle with anorexia and broader issues of body awareness.

It would have been an excellent complement to the exhibit Inside Out Loud. The SLAM screening -- the film's Midwest premiere -- was covered by local press and enthusiastically received, without incident. I've always considered Haynes' visit and Superstar to be one of the highlights of my thirteen-year tenure as film programmer at the museum.
Daniel A. Reich
St. Louis

City Gritty
Monica gets "Lost": Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated Mike Seely's "Lost Downtown" [January 19]. Without one iota of sarcasm or cynicism, Seely told an amazing but true story. Like a good novel, I couldn't stop reading, and it left me wanting to know more. I like it when you write like that!

Apparently, so do many others -- the follow-up letters reminded me to give you a shout-out. Well done.
Monica McFee, public relations manager
City of University City

Tanner doesn't get "Lost": I was less than thrilled to see the headline "Lost Downtown" emblazoned across a vacant building on your January 19 cover. Mike Seely's article lived up to this pessimistic headline by focusing on the sad stories of those who have been left behind by downtown's continuing renaissance. Maybe Seely is a glass-half-empty kind of guy. But he is entitled to his opinion. The real crime is that the RFT doctored the photographs to support the article's bleak point of view. Each photograph has artificially darkened borders, fake rips and smudges. That is dishonest, shock-effect journalism.

There are two sides to every story. I invite Mr. Seely to publish a sequel. "Found Downtown" sounds like a pretty easy article to write, considering how many people are discovering downtown for themselves. As proof, the city is reporting its first population gain in decades. This time around the story could profile the many buildings which have been dramatically restored and now are filled with new residents -- most recently the 2020 Lofts, Printers Lofts and Vanguard Lofts. Mr. Seely can interview the owners of new, successful restaurants like Lucas Park Grille, Mosaic, An American Place, Kitchen K and 10th Street Italian. And with hundreds of new loft residents, I'm sure he'll find a good quote or two.

The revitalization of downtown is a good fight, being fought by optimists. The vision is becoming reality. I concede that some people will be left behind by the rising tide. In the long run, however, everyone benefits. I don't believe a newspaper should be a booster club for downtown; however, as a shaper of public opinion, the RFT has a responsibility to report good news along with the bad.
Tanner Mueller
St. Louis

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