Our readers talk back.
Texas' Holy TrinityDear Editor,
I read in my Dallas Morning News today about the passing of Clifford Antone. As soon as I could, I came to your Web site because I remembered this is Thursday, and I just knew you would have more about him, and oh, my, have you come through [Music, May 26]. I have found comfort today in reading your pages, being reminded of not just Mr. Antone, but Stevie Ray and Doug Sahm, the other parts of Texas' Holy Trinity of blues. Thank you for what you have said.
John G. Dungan
Clifford Will Be MissedDear Nick, Louis, Raoul, Taylor, et al.,
Many thanks for your wonderful tribute to Clifford Antone [Music, May 26]. I know what it took to pull this issue together at the last minute, since I was working at the Chron in 1990 when the Stevie Ray Vaughan issue was published. But we at least had a little more lead time!
Antone's was one of the first clubs I visited upon my arrival in Austin in 1975. That night I saw James Cotton and Junior Wells, with Angela Strehli opening what a lineup! And there were many more nights just as fabulous, at all four locations.
Clifford will be missed more than any of us can think now, in the midst of our grief.
Again: Kudos for a job well done.
Austin Owes CliffordDear Editor,
I've been meaning to write to Louis Black for quite some time. So now I'm going to finally do it.
I really enjoy reading his "Page Two" commentaries every week. I loved what he wrote about the Constitution and the American system of government. It is so refreshing to see that someone really does understand what the Constitution is all about and that we are not a democracy but a representative republic based on constitutional law.
I just read what Louis wrote about Clifford Antone, and I have to say "Amen" ["Page Two," May 26]. What a beautiful piece. Almost poetic. I never had the privilege of meeting Clifford in person but felt like he was an old friend. Anyone who loves music as much as he did is a soul brother to me. I heard of Clifford's death in my truck on the radio. The station then played a song by Malford Milligan, and I literally felt goose bumps all over my body. I went to the Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Double Trouble show last Saturday night at Antone's. And man am I glad I did! Clifford was so alive and full of joy when he bounced up onstage to introduce the musicians. He stayed at stage right the whole time and was like a kid in a candy store. His passion was infectious. Malford got up and belted out a killer blues song too that night. What a great time it was. That's why it was such a shock to hear of Clifford's passing. He was taken way too soon from us. But his legacy will surely live on.
We in Austin owe him a lot of gratitude. The blues all over the world owes him a lot of gratitude as well. And the blues will live on stronger than ever in large part due to his love and passion.
Thank Raoul HernandezLouis,
Let me thank and praise you from the bottom of my heart for your stunning issue in tribute to Clifford Antone [Music, May 26].
To produce such an emotionally devastating edition under an impossible deadline is something of a miracle, and the best tribute I can think of to the Chronicle's passion for the city and its people whom it serves.
Your "Page Two," Delbert McClinton's letter, and Bill Bentley's magnificent eulogy were simply heartbreaking. I couldn't stop crying and probably won't be able to read them again for a while. Nevertheless, the edition will be added to my growing 20 year pile of keepers.
I could offer you any number of funny and inspiring Antone's stories, but I'm sure you'll be deluged by them. Maybe we can share them some day.
Clifford a Perpetual ChildDear Editor,
I have heard him referred to as "godfather," "father of the blues," but to me Clifford Antone was a perpetual child [Music, May 26]. He loved music the way we did as children. Unashamed, with all his heart and soul. It wasn't to be hip or cool. It was to immerse himself in sound. Sound that persevered amid destitution, racism, and raised us all up in spirit. I will forever see him swaying in front of the stage, with his eyes closed, already in blues heaven.
Ruth Ellsworth Carter
Cover Art Very InappropriateDear Editor,
Re: "The Hells Angels Hit" [News, May 19]: I think the cover artwork was very inappropriate, considering Anthony Benesh's kids having to live with seeing their father shot. They don't need to see it all over the cover of the Chronicle ... illustrating the bullet going through his head and his kids standing there. Someone should have used better judgment when selecting the artwork for this cover story!
Correcting ArticleDear Editor,
I enjoyed Daniel Mottola's News article "Shall We Bike?" [May 26] very much; it is a valuable piece that contributed excellent information. One small error that is worth correcting is the population estimate for Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties (the CAMPO boundary). On p.30, Daniel stated the region's population was more than 2 million, when it is actually nearer half that figure. The Census Bureau's July 1, 2005 estimate for the three counties is 1,346,074 (www.census.gov/popest/datasets.html). If recent growth trends continue, the region may exceed 2 million citizens by 2030.
Thanks for publishing news on this important regional transportation issue.
Greg Griffin, AICP
Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization[Dan Mottola responds: Mr. Griffin is correct. The 2 million figure was actually the growth in the number of overall trips. That was my fault, and I regret the error.]
Encourages More Folks to CycleDear Editor,
As an ardent lifelong cyclist who has cycled to work, shop, and exercise in a dozen world capitals I congratulate you for your excellent "Shall We Bike?" [News, May 26]. The upcoming projects you list fill me with hope. Still I wish Austin would follow the example of cities like Zurich and Berlin with clearly defined bicycle lanes marked in yellow or red, and like millions of cyclists in Europe we need to do all we can in Austin to encourage more folks to use their bicycles for daily activities like shopping, taking kids to school or play, or going to work. Yes, like other cyclists I've also narrowly missed being hit by motorists who simply don't see us. But on my way to teach, and laden down with charts, books, and tote bags on my familiar yellow bicycle, I've also been praised and congratulated by many a motorist hanging out a car window and yelling, "How I envy you!" My response, always, is "What's stopping you?"
Pamela Ellen Ferguson
Country Club Creek TrailDear Editor,
Great article on the state of bike trails in Austin ["Shall We Bike?," News, May 26], but there are more planned projects. The neighborhoods of Southeast Austin have banded together to build the Country Club Creek Trail, which incorporates the Pleasant Valley Bike Route Phase 2 project as one section of the trail. The CCC Trail will eventually connect the Colorado River Park with Mabel Davis Park, without traveling on major arterials like Oltorf or Pleasant Valley Road. More details on the trail can be found on the city of Austin Web site: www.ci.austin.tx.us/zoning/downloads/parks_3.pdf.
for Southeast Austin Trails and Greenways Alliance
Another Site for BikersDear Editor,
In addition to the excellent cycling resources mentioned in "Shall We Bike?" [News, May 26], another site of interest to the local cycling community is www.austinbikeroutes.com.
"Then Something Happened'Stephen Macmillan Moser,
Thanks for a literary "ride," almost as thrilling as Jo Carol Pierce's songs and lyrics ["After a Fashion," Arts, May 26]. Your first lines provoked a resentment approaching a homicidal level with, "Jo Carol is not exactly my cup of tea." "But then something happened," and you took off with one of the most touching reviews I've read.
A fan of the "tumbleweed angel" and now of yours,
Bicycling Not Treated WellDear Editor,
I began bicycling for transportation in France in '72, and have done so 24/7/365 in Austin since '79. The great majority of Austin motorists are courteous and competent, but in November a fortysomething, short-haired white woman in a full-sized gray Toyota pickup came within feet of killing me while forcing an unannounced left turn onto 38th Street at the entrance to Central Market.
It doesn't matter to me that the northern access to the Pfluger bridge is unfortunately designed, because I can either portage over the railroad tracks, or use the admirably designed Drake bridge. We'll know that bicycling has become a significant part of American transportation when Chevy and Ford make room for Schwinn and Trek in the Super Bowl ads. Until then, my interests would be better served if, instead of paying government bureaucrats to do 10-year studies of potential bike paths, their salaries were used to put bike racks at bus stops.
Rest in Peace, CliffDear Editor,
I was out of state when Clifford Antone passed. Cliff was good to me. I hope I was able to return the favor to him. Going to the Chronicle Web site and reading Joe Nick, Ed, Margaret, and Bill was like being able to go to the wake; share thoughts on a good friend; recount the life and times [Music, May 26].
Thank you for that. Rest in peace, Cliff. Thanks for the blues.
SRV Not Yet EligibleDear Louis,
Concerning the woman who inquired as to why Stevie Ray Vaughan is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ["Postmarks," May 26], I believe it is because the rules of the hall do not allow eligibility until 25 years after the artist's debut album. Since Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble's first disc came out in 1982, I do not think they are eligible until next year.
KGSR program director
What About Guy Forsyth?Dear Editor,
I clicked on your site first thing this morning, reading the Clifford Antone tributes [Music, May 26], looking for mention of Guy Forsyth.
I've driven in from Cedar Crest, N.M., a couple of times a year for the past four, five years to catch Guy's band at Antone's on Sunday nights. In fact, the one time I met Clifford, it was Guy who introduced us.
Forsyth is totally my favorite Blue Guy.
Love & peace,
Cedar Crest, N.M.
Ventura Hits Nail on the HeadDear Editor,
Re: El Pueblo Unida ["Letters @ 3am," May 26]: Once again, Ventura hit the nail squarely on the head. Time and time again, his articles strike a note with me. Not only due to his unique insight and talent with words, but also because I grew up near Lubbock (Petersburg), and his letters on that area's culture cause both smiles and cringes.
Of particular note, Rusty Ladd is also a native of Petersburg and was the keynote speaker at the dedication of a new cafeteria/computer room at the Lubbock Children's Home, which resulted from a contribution by my late father. To read Rusty's words were most encouraging since I was guilty of stereotyping him into the group of intolerant religious fanatics. Perhaps there is hope after all.
Wonderful Article on AntoneLouis,
Thank you for the wonderful article on Clifford Antone ["Page Two," May 26]. I knew him a short time, but within this time period I was thrown into a world that you've been in forever. I would find myself jealous that I didn't discover it sooner, and in its height. I went to Antone's on the Drag and Fifth but never was part of this family. Maybe if I was living in Austin, things would have been different. I am grateful that Lucky asked me to be part of the documentary, and in turn, a small part of Cliff and Susan's life. Thanks for your love for a man that was bigger than life and for your contribution to the documentary.
E. Colleen Saro
On Politicians and Club OwnersDear Editor,
Observation: Former U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen died last week, and no one seemed to care ["Quote of the Week," News, May 26]. I think it's because politicians are generally regarded as scum, and most people think it's good when they finally become worm food after all, serving as a banquet for worms is probably the most useful thing that most politicians will ever do.
By contrast, Clifford Antone, a local music expert and club owner who also died the same day, was deeply and sincerely mourned by the people of Austin. He will be long and fondly remembered by all who knew him [Music, May 26].
On a related topic: About 40 years ago, Tom Lehrer prophetically wrote a parody song called "Whatever Became of Hubert" (about then Vice-President Hubert Humphrey). I'm not sure if Mr. Lehrer is still writing, but that song could easily be updated and retitled "Whatever Became of Albert" (about former Vice-President Albert Gore). Somewhere in that ditty was a line about having a politician who could "really sing and dance."
Perhaps the U.S. Senate could join Madonna on her current tour, if Madonna would not regard any associations with the U.S. Senate as "bad for image." Madonna, after all, has a reputation to uphold, and the U.S. Senate has not been good about maintaining theirs. As for President Bush, it would probably be best for him to avoid any more singing and dancing in public for a while.
Blames PODERDear Editor,
I was over in East Austin, down Cesar Chavez this weekend, at a friend's new house. Really nice. I was asking him in general terms about the price, he said it was a mere $350,000. Gosh, down on South Padre Island that will buy you one hell of a house on the beach. He said he'd bought it from someone who had bought it a year earlier for $80,000 but had done a lot to the house. The thing was that his taxes were pretty substantial. As were his neighbors', and everyone else in the neighborhood, including the old timers, the elderly residents of East Austin, most of whom were of modest means and low to moderate income. How are they going to deal with the gentrification of their neighborhoods and the ridiculous increase in property taxes brought about by skyrocketing property values? Sell their homes and move is the only solution for many. Who can they thank for being driven out of their homes of many decades? PODER of course. PODER was the group instrumental in the closing of the power plant on Town Lake, and the immediate result was the destruction of the traditional neighborhood, gentrification, and skyrocketing property taxes. Well done, I wonder if PODER feels proud of what they did? Doubt it. Course, now I see the woman who took credit for closing the power plant complaining about the McMansions that resulted from her actions. Less generation capacity, millions of taxpayer dollars to close, decommission, and clear the current closed power plant, and the cost of building a new one, plus the destruction of old East Austin and the end of affordable housing for the poor and the loss of homes for the elderly. Brilliant. Of course, now that East Austin is a gold mine of property taxes and filling with yuppies, maybe the City Council will suddenly take notice. You think? After all these years of pretending Austin ended at I-35? Maybe the chick from PODER can start a new campaign to keep her occupied, like finding homes for the elderly and low-income people she displaced.
Thank you for your time and consideration.