B-Sides, October 26, 2006
Bad taste galore: Jaime Lees' "Jett Fighter" piece about Joan Jett begins by asking, "Who gives a crap about Lita Ford?" After referencing the other famous bandmate in the Runaways, Lees goes on to state, "Everybody knows Joan Jett was always the coolest member of the Runaways.... Jett also happened to be the hottest member of the group, defining the '70s rocker-chick look with her leather jacket, black mullet and perpetual snarl." I think it was most unfortunate that you chose to run this piece of trash just after Runaways drummer Sandy West died of cancer.
Anybody who knows anything about the Runaways and I am a longtime fan will tell you that Lita Ford is one of the greatest female guitarists in the world and a very accomplished musician. As a fan of Joan Jett, the Runaways and Lita Ford, I was deeply offended by Lees' article and saddened that you chose to run it right after the death of Sandy West.
Hal Friedman, Hollywood, Florida
Feature, October 19, 2006
St. Louis reminds a lot of us of Simpsons episodes: I was much relieved to learn that Randall Roberts' "A Whole New Ballgame"was fiction! In reading the story I was reminded of an episode of The Simpsons where the city of Springfield commissioned Frank Gehry to build a new symphony hall. Shortly after opening, the new concert hall closed because no one came. It was later converted to the Montgomery Burns memorial prison.
Was St. Louis going to suffer the same fate? We may never know.
Dave Shogren, St. Louis
Here's what Ed G. really has to say: Randall Roberts' "downtown" has the makings of a Jim Carrey movie, but he makes some very good points:
1) The Cardinals broke their promise on doing phase one of the Village after they got their money from the state and the county and relieved the city of much-needed ticket tax revenue.
2) The only connection with the Opera House is that Civic Progress did the same after it bludgeoned the city with its destructive Kiel deals.
3) Emily Pulitzer has no interest in downtown. She is a museums lady, a Grand Center lady and a Forest Park lady. She could care less if Kiel Opera House were destroyed.
4) Mike Shannon would never call Kiel Opera House the "goddam opera." He is afraid of Civic Progress, as are all downtown small businessmen, but he is not a scumbag. He would be lucky to have a restaurant in the bottom level of Kiel 365 nights a year.
5) Charles MacKay was told long ago to keep his mouth shut and stay put on a college campus in Webster Groves. All other operas or opera theaters are in core downtowns, where they should be.
Before there is one more crooked deal downtown, perhaps all of the big mouths and the big wallets can help me reopen Kiel Opera House, right where it is. St. Louis is disgracefully the only city in America without a downtown performing-arts center. This is not civic progress. It is not good economics. It is not good at all.
Ed Golterman, Kirkwood
Cardinal red-faced: My face like the Cards hat upon my head is bright red. Bravo on the Village piece. I tip my cap.
It's hard to imagine anything spoiling my elation the day after the Cards advanced to the World Series, especially anything having to do with baseball. But your article had me hotter than a Mets fan after watching Carlos "Two Toy Poodle" Beltran take strike three with two out in the bottom of the ninth. I couldn't agree more with Mr. Shannon: We just built ourselves a beautiful ballpark. We've got this great space to create an environment that puts us on the same playing field as Wrigleyville and Yawkey Way places where fans can gather before and after games to have fun, and more important for the sake of the city, spend money.
If you choose to publish my letter to demonstrate just how gullible we St. Louisans can be, I really would appreciate anonymity not just because I made an ass of myself, but because it really could mean my job, as my employer has connections to the Cardinals.
Many thanks. Go Cards.
Name withheld by request, St. Louis
Skatepark Village! I have to say I was duped by your story about Ballpark Village. But only because I was already planning on watching them move the Kiel down the street. Man, how cool would that have been? Was that supposed to be a tip-off that it was fake? Hey, if you watch Discovery for more than half an hour, you'll see them move all kinds of big stuff that shouldn't be moved, so it seemed possible to me.
For me, the best part is the number of people that wrote in angry about it. I believed the story to be true but shrugged it off after the excitement of the prospect of watching them move the Kiel wore off. I figured there was no way this would ever happen and that it would take another 50 years to sort out whatever it is they will build there. Ballpark Village? Yeah, build me a Skatepark Village and we'll talk. Otherwise I'm done here.
Tim Jamison, St. Louis
Everybody loves Gehry: I was extremely disappointed in your fabricated story regarding the plans for the new Ballpark Village. Frank Gehry is one of the most talented and sought-after architects in the world, and writing lies about the possibility of him creating a wonderful cultural center for our city is insulting to me as a reader and someone in the architectural field.
I rely on the Riverfront Times as my main source of information on what's going on around town, but this story makes me feel I cannot believe anything written in your paper. I realize this was purely for entertainment and to make a point, but this was way over the top.
Amy Brennan, Kirkwood
Missed the humor? Our readers? Nah! Judging by the letters to the editor, many adults missed the humor and found the inside joke aspect of your Ballpark Village hoax to be like Unreal, Keep It Down!, You Are Here, The City and so much of the Riverfront Times' content: pretentious and/or condescending.
I thought it was complex and rather clever. It certainly fooled this red-state, almost-in-Jefferson-County rube! Since Randall Roberts and many other RFT writers will be graduating high school in just a few short years, I wish them all the best in finding real journalistic jobs.
Mark Eggers, Fenton
Riverfront Times is looking for freelance writers to help us add to our coverage of local theater. Please send clips, résumé and cover letter to:
Tom Finkel, editor
6358 Delmar Boulevard, #200
St. Louis, MO 63130
Or via e-mail to
No phone calls, please.