As a member of the media, I would like to deliver my own, personal "Shame on You Award" for Kayte VanScoy's article "Pyramid of Dreams" [Vol. 18, No. 1]. The political agenda of the writer was especially self-evident in the presentation of the story's sidebar "Dueling Dreams for the MACC," where the reporter began: "Just what would a Mexican American Cultural Center actually be? Ask six different backers of the MACC and you may get six different answers."
The blatant implication is that these poor people don't even know what they want. If you asked various backers of the proposed Palmer Auditorium renovation what their vision of their project would be, you'd receive similar responses of dueling visions -- a very natural response when a major project like this is merely in the planning stages. If the Chron decides to do another story on the MACC, at least get a writer who can reasonably feign objectivity as opposed to one all-too-willing to project her own political agenda.
Alex Avila, Deputy Producer
MACC Is Coming
After reading "Pyramid of Dreams" by Kayte VanScoy (Vol.18, No.1), I must respond with some accurate information about the MACC.
The survival of the MACC is based on a healthy diet of hope and faith, a strong belief that our culture is a part of America, and has been since before it was called America. Our culture is worth preserving, presenting, and sharing with all Americans. We have a saying, "Mi casa es su casa." These words embody the spirit of the MACC. Everyone is welcome!
Folks from a diverse Austin community continually express their support for the MACC both privately and publicly. This includes Mayor Kirk Watson, all the City Council members and a host of other elected officials, business people, and artists. The AMOA supports the MACC = the MACC supports AMOA. Our supporters grow daily.
We are environmentalists and caretakers of the earth. This is our cultural tradition. The MACC site is being developed with this as a guiding principle. The SOS Alliance supports the MACC = the MACC supports SOS.
The "long history of clashes" between the MACC's goals and Mexic-Arte Museum is a figment of Kayte's imagination. The MACC supports Mexic-Arte = Mexic-Arte supports the MACC.
The only one threatening the Rainey Street neighborhood is the real estate speculator who has contracts on some of those houses. His proposed development is the only threat, not the MACC. He wants the MACC site, as well. Too bad!
"What will the money be spent on?" or "How will you maintain it once it's built?" These are great questions. We are continually improving our solutions to them. This is a part of the process in developing a project. When Kayte called me, I gladly answered those questions. She didn't listen.
The MACC boosters are constantly realizing their dreams. We had a dream about presenting a play, La Pastorela, in a warehouse at the MACC site. As we began turning this dream into a reality, there were naysayers who told us it was impossible, some laughed at the idea. During two consecutive weekends in December of 1997, around 200 people a night sat in that warehouse and watched happily as some 30 performers, on a makeshift stage, put on a great show. The Austin Chronicle was one of the sponsors. Thank you and my co-producer Lizzie Martinez for asking Louis! I invite you all to this year's production of La Pastorela, at the same place. Please come and see what it's all about.
We will accomplish all our MACC dreams. The $11 million may or may not fund it all. As for raising additional money, it has been about a year since the current MACC board incorporated a nonprofit, and in that short span we have raised more than $300,000 in cash and pledges. Very competent!
It is the work of the artists on the board that has finally propelled the MACC, especially those that are working on it every day like Board President Roen Salinas (performing artist) and Vice-President Tomas Salas (performing and visual artist).
Center for Mexican American Cultural Arts, Inc.
Nature Conservancy Responds
I would like to respond to Mark Nowacki's letter ["Postmarks," Vol. 17, No. 51] accusing The Nature Conservancy of Texas of selling land near Mount Bonnell and on Loop 360 for development. In the first place, we do not own any land near Mount Bonnell. Secondly, the land we own near Loop 360 is part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, and when the city of Austin takes ownership of it in October, it will remain preserve land.
The Nature Conservancy does occasionally sell land without ecolological value when it was donated to us for the express purpose of selling it in order to buy land that does have ecological importance. We also sometimes sell ecologically significant land when we are certain that the buyer will not develop it and will manage it permanently for conservation.
As a registered nonprofit organization, our mission is to conserve the unique lands and waters that are crucial for the survival of the diversity of life on Earth, and any buying and selling of land we do is to serve that purpose.
Hill Country Field Representative
The Nature Conservancy of Texas
Save the Murals
Thank you for showcasing, among others, Doug Jaques' mural at Vreeland Graphics ["Our Murals, Ourselves," Vol.18, No.1]. This is a unique creation that merits preservation. But I fear the painting, already damaged, is further endangered by ongoing gentrificaiton of the area. I hope that some agency, private or public, will do whatever is possible to save it from destruction.
Louis H. Mackey
Spilled the Beans
World hunger, ethnic cleansing, the continuing threat of nuclear attack from a terrorist group. All of these things far outshadow the bungling of a movie review. However ... I feel I must comment on Hollis Chacona's review of Simon Birch ["Film Listings," Vol.18, No.2].
I often read movie reviews with one eye closed for fear that an important detail about the movie will be irresponsibly revealed in the review. I should have read the Simon Birch review with both eyes closed. Not having seen the movie yet, I can only assume that what Chacona revealed about the baseball game is very significant in the movie's plot. (Warning: If you are planning to see the movie and haven't read the review yet, don't.) Now much of the impact that that scene would have had for me (and all of Chacona's other victims) has been lost, squandered by a reviewer who either felt that that detail was not important or, worse, knew it was and didn't care. I'm glad I didn't read Chacona's review of The Crying Game.
John Van Strien
"The Bloody Gray Line," Vol.18, No.2, by Ron Antosko, first paragraph: "Yesterday, as a ritual, I took my 13-year-old son to see Blade."
Mr. Antosko, Blade is "R" rated.
What's missing is the "gray" between your ears.
Do Your Job
To Concerned Parents like Ron,
I'm happy to see that you are concerned about what your son watches ["Postmarks," Vol. 18, No. 2]. However, the movie Blade is rated R for a reason ... Don't take a 13-year-old to a "restricted" movie. And if you think that movie was bad (which it wasn't), maybe you should stick to PG and PG-13 movies. I would also recommend never seeing a movie from the Hellraiser series. That's some sick shit.
You seem to be implying that further censorship should be enforced on TV as well as movies "because of the children" (let's not forget the Internet). The job of teaching children right from wrong as well as keeping them from seeing shocking material is the responsibility of the parents. If you do your job, they should be able to determine the difference between what is real and what is make-believe.
Quit censoring my entertainment for your kids.
So You Like It?
Wonderful, Amazing, Astounding, a Gastronomical Blessing. I just got back from lunch at Thai Spice's new south location, 360 by that yuppie hell -- West Lake's arena of consumeristic wealth, display and trophy wives. "Oh-My-Gawd, You Cut Your hair! I just love that new Exhibition you drive, what a cute cell phone, I haven't had a real orgasm since high school ..."
Oh my, push past the yuppies and into the restaurant, and it was great. I have been to their way far north Austin (or way far south Dallas, depending on your perspective) location of this amazing restaurant. What the south store loses in ambiance and service, it more than makes up for in the quality/price/value ratio.
Thai food is light, tasty, and definitely not bogged down with the heavy, greasy sauces most people expect from too much exposure to cheap Chinese. The chefs at Thai Spice use the basic Thai platform to launch some heavenly dishes.
I ordered the "Summer Palace," a spicy curried chicken dish, mmmm curried chicken ... broccoli, bamboo shoots, a hint of carrot, just heavenly. Add to this, a salad bar, a fruit bar, spring and egg rolls. The Tiger Cries salad dressing turns normal lettuce into a spicy fury, the peanut sauce for spring rolls is the best in town. To cut through it all, I just did not want to leave. I'm going back for dinner tomorrow night. Austin has a veritable plethora of fine Asian restaurants, even more mediocre ones. Thai Spice stands out, I recommend it, I will patronize them, I hope you will too.
No, I am in no way related to, employed by, etc
... Charles Statman
I only met Paul a couple of times, out of all the times I played at the Black Cat Lounge. His enthusiasm for the Austin music scene was encouraging and infectious. No matter the genre. It must have been eight or nine years ago when Doug Looney (Looney Tunes Productions) and Paul Jr. put together a hip-hop showcase on Thursday nights at the Black Cat.
Paul Sr. would be on hand to see us perform and after we had made fools of ourselves, he would give us honest critiques and heartfelt encouragement. If I remember right, I think we drank for free, and for us that was plenty for doing what we loved. I never took the opportunity to thank him for the advice he gave me, and for the beer. I was so busy trying to make the hip-hop scene happen in Austin; we were too busy blazing trails and leaving dust in our wake. I suppose we're lulled into the idea that God's angels will always be around.
It was because of Paul Jr. and Looney that my band had the chance to play with Austin "legends" like Joe Rockhead, Bad Mother Goose, and Retarted Elf. The Black Cat was the only place showing love to the hip-hop scene in Austin eight or nine years ago. Steamboat and Maggie Mae's wouldn't touch us and Liberty Lunch only did so when we opened up for the above mentioned bands.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the whole crew at Black Cat Lounge, Looney, especially Paul Sr. Thanks man, I promise your legacy lives on.
Blaq Phist, Chairman
We Deserve a Break Today
Dear Chronicle Editors:
A year ago, in response to a Chronicle article lauding Justin Augustine III (8-15-97), I wrote you about Capital Metro taking away 10-minute rest breaks from UT shuttle bus drivers. Our union believes that driving buses, non-stop, without a break is unsafe. The Transit Authority, and our managers, Laidlaw Transit Services, have responded to our complaint by ignoring us. Interspersed within this ignorance is their claim that this is not a safety issue ("Postmarks," 8-29-97). We have been patient with board and manager changes, but our patience has worn thin, and this issue has proven in the last year to be a genuine and critical safety concern for UT shuttle passengers and operators.
In the year prior to the removal of the 10-minute rest breaks, there were none of the most severe category of accident, a so-called "gross negligence accident." Zero. In the year since removal of the 10-minute rest breaks, by Laidlaw's own assessment, there have been five. Five. This incredible increase should astonish and frighten everyone who shares the roadway with these fatigued bus drivers. The injuries have been minimal, but how long can the Transit Authority push its luck? The trend is toward more serious and more dangerous accidents, and the trend will continue without some sort of remedy. The simplest, safest, and proven remedy is reimplementation of the 10-minute rest breaks for UT shuttle bus operators.
President, ATU Local No.1549
UT Shuttlebus Union
Scott Carlin ["Postmarks," Vol.18, No.2]:
A word of advice, dude: Go ahead and get your English degree and work at Book People or some other shitty joby like the rest of the six-stringed fools in this town do.
Get used to being underpaid and underappreciated, this is Austin, and you can't shake a stick in this town without hitting at least three whiny musicians who write letters to the Chronicle about how nobody cares about their band. Did you stop to think that you might not be getting booked at the "in the know" clubs because your demo tape sucked?
And if airplay is what you're looking for, get used to an extra helping of brown stuff on your nose -- this is the music business, people won't return your calls, and program directors love to have their salad tossed (watch out for those croutons).
Maybe if you spent more time writing songs and less time bitching about nobody supporting your band, you'd figure out how odious it is to sit there, crying into your towel.
If you really want to be appreciated playing music, move to fucking Branson, I hear Yakov Smirnoff's hiring ...
Jacob C. Schulze
We all realize that even Nazis and scumbags have a right to Free Speech, but that doesn't mean they have a right to a free public forum for their hatred and hypocrisy. Isn't it about time the Chronicle stopped giving Kurt Standiford free space to advertise his Godless vitriol ["Postmarks," Vol. 18, No. 2], and sent him back to the letters column of the KKK Newsletter where he belongs? I realize that controversial writers like Kurt, Amy Babich, and "Don Cool" ensure acres of rebuttal letters for "Postmarks," but seriously, fellas, enough is enough. It's about time that Kurt be retired from the Chronicle and sent back to his regular job writing for the Aryan Nation Quarterly.
And by the way, Kurt -- since you are so obviously the queerest man in all of Austin, perhaps you'd be less consumed with Godless hatred if you just learned to stop hating yourself and accept your homosexuality. Then maybe you and "Don Cool" could settle down together as a happy couple, and together you could learn the teachings of Jesus Christ.
And to think, I procrastinated in dashing off a note saying how much I enjoyed the new look of the pub. I really do. And for months I've noticed the help wanted has become a real alternative to the daily's, as opposed to what it is in most species of the alternative press: a repository for work-at-home, call this 800 number because Don Lapre told me so type scams.
Also enjoyed Black's comparison of the pub to a child. Really can relate.
The Perversity of Kurt
I'd like to remind Mr. Standiford that the rainbow is not a "perversity of nature" ["Postmarks," Vol. 18, No. 2], but is "the sign of the covenant which [God] ... established between [God] and all flesh that is upon the earth." Gen. 8.17.
Oh, and hey Kurt, try reading the entire Bible, not just the parts that justify your narrow little view of the world.
The Irony of Kurt
Ooh, Kurt Standiford, how "ironic" that you would use three paragraphs in your letter ["Postmarks," Vol. 18, No. 2]. Because obviously you support ménages á trois and were trying to slip that fact by us, ya little devil!
That's just as ironic as those darned sodomites "perverting nature" with their "flat rainbows." Thank god (sic) you saw right through that instead of believing the reason it's flat is just because it looks cool and is cheaper to produce than a die-cut bumper sticker with rounded edges.
My point is: reading that much into a bumper sticker makes about as much sense as seeing a bunny rabbit in the clouds and thinking that must mean it's Easter.
That's only the beginning of the travesty that is your logic, but I don't want to ramble on all day.
Donna M. Sheldon
What I am going to herewith claim does not come from agnosticism or atheism or secular humanism. In less than 271*2 months, at the stroke of midnight, December 31, 2000, the Piscean age will have ended and the Aquarian age will have begun. Christianity, symbolized by a fish, will be at the end of its cosmological significance.
Among the first of numerous signs pointing to this was when the U.S. Constitution superceded the morality of the Holy Bible by outlawing slavery, which institution the Bible clearly condones, with the eighth amendment in 1865.
Kenneth Starr, a dogmatic dinosaur in a fanatical frenzy to humiliate if not destroy the presidency of Bill Clinton, with an obviously vicarious thrill and prurient fascination, is the current embodiment of the decline and death of Christianity.
The end of Christendom is as it should and must be. No moral god can sanction indefinitely the abdication of ultimate personal responsibility through a sacrificial lamb.
Where Do We Park?
To The Editor I hereby declare Friday, September 25, 1998 Austin Mea Culpa Day.
All of those who have engaged in an illicit affair (for definition, see the Starr Report) and lied about it, are to gather for public confession at the following venues: Royal-Memorial Stadium, Frank Erwin Center, Austin Convention Center and Palmer Auditorium. Zilker Park will be available as an overflow site.
Afterwards, we can discuss Bill Clinton.
P.S. For those who had the affair but never lied about it, you are to assemble at Joe's Three Stool Bar on South Congress. Sorry, you'll have to draw your own -- Joe's going to be in the park with us.
Thomas Van Orden
Higher Than Thou
I am disturbed by the prevalent sentiment among some of our population in regards to Bill Clinton that goes something like this: "Who are we to throw stones? He's doing his job isn't he? Doesn't adultery and dishonesty go on widely among our people, including elected officials?" Yes, it is true that we are all flawed, but I happen to think that the leader of our nation and its representative to the world should be held to higher moral standards than the average citizen, because one of the most important parts of his job is to be the moral and idealistic leader of this country. It's not like he's running a factory or something! The president is entrusted with the highest power that exists in this country -- accordingly, he should be expected to live up to equally high standards. Maybe it's time we started holding all our politicians accountable for their actions and actually enforcing high standards, rather than lowering the caliber of the entire country by reducing our moral expectations for a president to the lowest common denominator.
I wish that Austin were going to get rapid transit, instead of lots of parking garages at $6,000 per parking space. Rapid transit usually consists of subways, trolleys, and trains (it could also include monorails and cable cars). The only form of public transit that is never called rapid transit is buses. Buses are slow and were designed to be slow. Buses were purposely introduced by General Motors to be inadequate public transportation, unable to compete with cars. That's why we have buses, but no rapid transit, in Austin.
Driving cars has become less and less enjoyable for everyone in American cities in the past few years. There are just too many cars now, too many people driving too many cars. The drivers get impatient, angry, and downright uncivilized. It becomes unpleasant to be on major roads. (Riding a bike or trike on the back streets of town is still very nice. Unfortunately, you have to cross major car roads to get across town.) And it's just going to get worse. Everyone says so.
But there's a much-ignored option. We could get rid of all or most of the private cars in Austin, run rapid transit all over town, and build any new "growth" in the disused parking lots.
If we don't move to actually reduce the number of cars on Austin's streets, we cannot solve our problems. If we can basically rid our city of private cars, many of our problems will vanish. Let's plan to get private cars out of Austin by 2020. If we don't do this, Austin in 2020 might be a place where no one will want to live.