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Letters

OMAHA, SOILED

Come now, Alec Something Bemis, what did Mannheim Steamroller ever do to you [“The Story in the Soil,” March 12–18]? Chip Davis is an Omaha fixture, and if you’re going to write an article about the Omaha music scene, he’s certainly worth a mention. But your tone! And calling him infamous! Chip Davis is way too square to be infamous. Also, your story contains a number of factual errors about the city of Omaha; for instance, the tallest building used to be the Woodmen Tower, but now it’s the First National Bank building (the structure being erected in the background of the movie About Schmidt, from which I can almost guarantee you the author derived most of his metropolitan descriptions). There’s, like, four buildings in Omaha’s skyline — is it too cool to take notes? I’ve been considering moving back home of late, partly to get away from you conceited, contemptuous, Los Angeles tools.

—Carrie Jacobson Santa Monica

 

Being from Omaha, I am disappointed that L.A. talent cannot appreciate the true good life of Nebraska. Reading “The Story in the Soil” is bittersweet indeed. I like how Bemis fails to mention any other city of importance during the additional 245 miles between Gothenburg and Omaha. Why did he stop in Gothenburg? Because the name sounds indie rock? Try Grand Lake and Lincoln on for size. And the list of iconic celebrities with ties to Omaha is “perplexing” to him? Maybe he will be perplexed to find that shops really don’t close on Sundays, the tallest building in Omaha’s skyline is not the Woodmen Tower, and that if he would have tuned his dial to KIWR-FM 89.7 The River, he could have heard Omaha’s cutting edge of rock instead of Omaha’s Catholic radio station.

For those of you interested in seeing indie rock at decent venues when you’re in Omaha, check out places like Sokol, the Ranch Bowl, or Homer’s Music and Gifts for bulletins. And no mention of Boys Town, scenes shot from Indian Runner and Election, Memorial Park, the Dundee Dell’s largest scotch selection in the United States, Council Bluffs’ casinos, and steakhouses? What about the steakhouses? I could go on. I will just suppose that Alec had a brain freeze due to the unfamiliar frigid temperatures, and his failing to write about any of Omaha’s real highlights can be blamed on this temporary loss of judgment. People in Omaha are far beyond your first impression, Alec.

—Matt Kolbeck Venice

 

CLEAR-CUTTING FM

What Johnny Angel-dust is your reviewer smoking [“Anarchy in the Airwaves,” March 12–18]? So, Clear Channel’s Indie 103.1 is now, by virtue of Steve Jones’ turn at the mic, honest-to-god punk radio? Sorry, but this puts the moron in oxymoron.

The Orwellian marketing (“your independent radio station”) of a venture aimed at selling the very music that Clear Channel drove off the commercial airwaves is an insult to listeners everywhere. It’s a brazen, ballsy masquerade, dripping with contempt for the consumer.

So, this ex–Sex Pistol can play “whatever he wants whenever he wants”? Wow! How revolutionary. I got news for you, Johnny: Before Mr. Jones’ employers swallowed the dial whole, most FM disc jockeys were free to do the same. Career suicide by freewheelin’, freeform jocks on the commercial dial is impossible because the breed is already extinct. Sure, we still have a few old dinosaurs like Jim Ladd and Rodney Bingenheimer stomping around the airwaves but, like the Adventures of Indie Jones, they’re relegated to special-show status, to being musical museum pieces trotted out for the few remaining radio faithful — folks hungry for the days of old, when FM rock mattered. Clear Channel’s betting that the new generation doesn’t know, and that the old guard doesn’t care about, the truth. Oh, but to sell this snake oil they’ll play the Clash nonstop. Somewhere Joe Strummer is rock and rolling in his grave.

Someone has to tell the kids that once upon a time stations used to be truly independent, local, vital and diverse — places where DJs programmed their own shows and developed close relationships with artists. Then came Clear Channel and their friends on the political right. Now, listeners are left with centrally programmed, corporate-cloned delivery systems, where airplay is essentially bought rather than earned. It’s time fans of 103.1 woke up. By supporting this station, you undermine the very artists they’re playing and our collective power in the marketplace. The only way to take back the airwaves and make Clear Channel go away is to tune them out.

Finally, Mr. Jones’ closing comment on his gig, “I’d like to . . . syndicate it,” proves far better than I can that punk is dead and Clear Channel’s latest rock & roll swindle is working.

—Nathan Dan Aldrich Los Angeles

JOURNO IN ROADIE’S CLOTHING

Jesus, thanks for the catch-up on MIA Jef Hickey [“Too Old To Rock, Too Young To Die,” March 12–18]. For a minute there I thought with watery-eyed anticipation I’d get to break the news about Hickey’s secret life as a brilliant postmodern journalist, yet I’m grateful that Beato exposes Hickey’s true calling.

Damn, I hope the novel’s as good as it could be. That Hickey has not been realized as the writer he is has been a topic we were known to wring our hands over in the offices of Adult Video News.

—Rebecca Gray Adult Video News Chatsworth

NO PROOF OF GOD

My thanks to A.W. Hill for doing a fine job capturing the essence of John Dobson’s cosmology classes at the Vedanta Temple [“The Matrix in God’s Eye,” March 19–25]. While I agree that it’s not everyone’s idea of a hot date, my wife and I are attending the series this year for the second time. I dare say it is a shared experience that has brought us closer together. The concepts are challenging (as Dobson likes to say, “You need to think until it hurts”), and it certainly helps to have someone to review them with afterward.

My only quibble with the article is the use of the possibly misleading word God, which is a term that I can’t recall ever hearing pass Dobson’s lips. Despite his apparent spiritual background, Dobson claims to be a physicist first and foremost. As he stated just last week, “I don’t see any evidence of a creator.”

—Stephen Roullier Los Angeles

25 MILLION FREED

There is one crucial statistic left out of your “War by Numbers” [March 19–25] compilation: The number of Iraqi civilians liberated by a noble and just war is approximately 25 million.

—Michael Maloney Silver Lake

METALLICA RULEZ!

I love the review of Metallica [“Bastard Power,” March 5–11]. Greg Burk hit it right on. The music in their future is a mystery. I cannot wait to see what they do. Maybe some blues-funk-metal! They just have to grow with their music. What they do is what they feel. Whatever they feel is fine with me.

—Charlotte McKinley Culver City

ALL THAT JAZZ

I noticed Brandt Reiter isn’t doing the jazz pick of the week anymore in the Calendar section. I also noticed that the Weekly’s jazz coverage has declined and there seems to be more emphasis on rock again. Could we get a little bit better representation considering Los Angeles offers excellent jazz at many new and old venues?

—Jordanna Potter Los Angeles

CLARIFICATION

Two recent articles about Patricia Surjue’s civil rights lawsuit against the city of Inglewood (“Light of Justice,” February 13–19, 2004, and “Day in the Sun,” February 20–26, 2004) included Surjue’s allegation that her lawyers, Robert Mann and Cynthia Anderson-Barker, pressured her to accept a confidential settlement. However, the tentative settlement agreement that the parties reached on October 23, 2003, before federal district Judge James Otero did not include any confidentiality provision and did not limit Surjue’s ability to discuss her case publicly. Inglewood’s lawyers introduced a confidentiality clause into a draft settlement agreement that they later prepared and sent to Mann and Anderson-Barker. After Surjue refused to sign the city-drafted agreement, Mann and Anderson-Barker asked Judge Otero to enforce the terms-of-settlement agreement placed on the record in court on October 23, without the city’s proposed confidentiality provision. Judge Otero declined to enforce the settlement, and reset the case for trial.


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