Letters to the Editor

Published April 26, 2000

What About the Ink? Do You Like the Ink?
I've been reading your magazine for several years, and finally it's time to write you -- jeez, I'm lazy. Anyway, I have to say your paper is a damn good read. The feature articles are almost always terrific, and the regular columns and such are great. The movie reviews are usually better than going to the movies. Dog Bites is, I dunno, brilliant? Always entertaining, anyway. Red Meat most often sucks, but occasionally makes me laugh. Puni makes the world of transportation come alive. Then there's Ben Katchor's Cardboard Valise: Who is this guy? Why do I find this strip so fascinating? How would anyone think this stuff up? Does he have a book? Could I buy it?

Also, Dan Savage rules. Very funny and occasionally informative, this column is another must-read. And the sex ads are worth a perusal too. All in all, the whole paper makes life in Haywood more lifelike.

Thanks for the hard work putting out a great paper at a great price.

Art Bennett
Union City

If We Can Please Just One Mom, It's All Worth It
I really enjoyed your article on the Donner Party ("The Last Party," Music, April 12)! It was especially "meaningful" to me because I am Reinhold Johnson's mother! Reinhold was born and raised near Tower, Minnesota -- on property that was homesteaded by his great-grandfather in the early 1900s.

Reinhold always enjoyed music, and was a trumpet and French horn player in the Babbitt School bands. His first job offer -- as an EEG tech -- took him to California and that's where he's been ever since. His friends coaxed him into this Donner Party band and he had a lot of fun with it -- never expecting it to get popular.

Reinhold is a kind of shy, quiet person and all of this "publicity" was kind of unexpected. I talked to him this morning and he said he thoroughly enjoyed the concert on Wednesday night and a good time was had by all. It was a huge success as far as he was concerned. I'm sure your timely article helped. Thanks!

Patricia Johnson
(Mrs. Reinhold Johnson Sr.)
Tower, Minn.

Don't Whine. Practice.
In reference to the Orixa article ("Lingua Franca," Music, April 12) I just wanted to state that the writer was uninformed about the band Orixa, and the rock en español music scene. There are many bands out there who really work, organize, are independent, and are not sitting and whining about why they are only classified into the Latin market.

Ever wonder why Orixa complains about being boxed into the Latin, and only Latin, market? Could it be because the majority of people in the scene do not like their music? Could it be that is why they blame the market? Could it be that that is why their second album sounds nothing like the first?

Did the writer even bother to hear the first album? The first album holds a completely different genre than the second. They complain about their record label telling them to be more like Smashmouth, and that is what they did. The second album is a very Rage Against the Machine, trendy-what-is-hip-now-type record.

If Orixa says they did not "explode" because they were continuously classified only in the rock en español scene, that can easily be countered by looking at bands like Firme, Caradura, or Lodo y Asfalto. Caradura, who play Latin ska and sing in Spanish, are loved within the scene and play in front of Anglo or non-Latin audiences without a problem. We could also use Ozomatli as an example of this.

I believe the truth of the matter is that Orixa is quite resentful that their first album did not do well at all, despite all the promotion and investment placed into them. Other bands, within the scene, such as Lodo y Asfalto, with no label to back them up have gone much further than Orixa (in popularity, and possibly sales) and they have had no investment whatsoever. You go to a Lodo y Asfalto show and it gets packed. You can't even get their CD anymore because it is sold out.

In any case, in the future, I believe it is only fair that the writer researches a bit about the information that he/she receives before publishing. Means of communication, such as the newspapers, radio, etc., have a purpose: to inform. By misleading and giving unresearched information readers are misled from the truth.

I believe Orixa is just upset that they did not make it big and that is why they blamed their failure on the scene, the record label, and the supposed "boxness" of the U.S. society. The writer should have looked into this before publishing something that can hurt a music scene or a record label.

Name Withheld
Bernal Heights

It's Our Party, We'll Whine If We Want To
There is peril in discussing party politics in the context of races for nonpartisan office. In his piece on the candidacy of Republican Rose Chung for the District 3 seat on the Board of Supervisors, Peter Byrne succumbed to the peril ("A Republican by Any Other Name," Bay View, March 29).

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