Letters for February 9, 2006

Worship the ax
“Shredded out” (Arts & Culture, Feb. 2):

It seems that Chase Carpenter’s article is more dated than the guitar solo. This topic was fresh 10 to 15 years ago, not today. The guitar solo started to die during the Nirvana years. It was uncool to practice, let alone play solos. The guitar solo is making a comeback in music.

Being a music teacher for the last 12 years, I see it every day. People like John Mayer and bands like Nevermore and Avenge Sevenfold are just some that are using guitar solos/melody lines in their music. Many Emo bands are becoming much more proficient on their guitars and are using solos as melody lines and key hooks to their songwriting. From 1994 to 2000, I barely taught anything with a guitar solo. Just over the last five years (especially the last year), I have taught many young students guitar solos. It won’t go back to the way it was in the ‘80s, but it will become a strong force in songwriting again.

Maybe Chase should have interviewed guitar teachers, guitar students, local musicians, bartenders and more club owners that have live music for more of a realistic view on this subject.

name withheld

Addicts won’t be damaged
“A million little lies” (Feature story, Feb. 2):

I agree fully with the author on the count that James Frey’s book was a terribly written, dubious piece of work (fiction or not). However, anybody who feels that this book will damage the 12-step credibility is just simply wrong. The 12-step method rarely works. The author may call this “contempt prior to investigation.” However, I have studied and worked in mental health for more than 10 years and was a member of 12-step programs for nearly that long. I did not recover. The people around me did not recover. The percentage of people who actually “recover” using the 12-step method is extremely small (approximately 5 percent), which may be accounted for by simple spontaneous remission. Those who do “recover” from an addiction usually simply take on another to fill its place. Hence the stereotypical AA room filled with cigarette smoking, coffee and pastries. The only indisputable fact is that addiction is a complicated, personal and, so far, unsolved problem.

Brandy Pass

Bob’s too old
“Too bloody confusing” (Film, Jan. 26):

I may regret having written this tomorrow, because it’s petty and really unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but I am tired of Bob Grimm’s negative outlook on some good movies, and the latest review I read, Underworld Evolution, was too much. I don’t think Bob should be writing about movies like this, which are obviously meant for a younger demographic. I think there’s a generation gap issue here.

First, he says it was confusing. I don’t see that at all. The whole thing is laid out from the beginning, just so it would make sense, which it did. I didn’t find it confusing at all. In fact, it brought together the whole story of how it all began, filling in the blanks and answering questions about the bloodlines, etc.

And to say Kate Beckinsale was a “terminal bore” with “zero charisma"? Had he said that about Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider, I would have agreed. But Kate plays a great vampiress. If she’s somewhat low-key as a vampire (Bob compared her to Victor), all the better, since they are obviously trying to portray her as having a softer side, as well, which I think is a very nice touch. Sure, she’s a vampire, but she’s not pure evil, as many of them seem to be. That lends itself to balance and complexity in her character, and makes her almost likeable. He was right about one thing, though, she looked good in that outfit. And out of it, too.

I also don’t get your bit about the actors not being able to talk with their vampire teeth in. Huh? They seemed to pull it off nicely from where I sat.

Finally, although I agree that Michael doesn’t live up to the expectations that are hinted at in the first movie, i.e., being more powerful than your average Lycan or Vampire, still he holds his own against Marcus quite well, which no one else in the story is able to do except Selene, and that’s only after she drinks Alexander’s blood, which gives her some sort of extra powers.

Bob is a decent writer, even if I don’t often agree with his reviews, but I think he really missed it on this one. The story was great, the acting, maybe not great but not bad, special effects were super, interesting plot twist at the end. It was exciting and fun and, overall, a nice flick. Not a bad way to spend a night out.

Greg Warren
via e-mail

Hey, that’s ironic
“A million little lies” (Feature story, Feb. 2):

I’m flabbergasted. I’m shocked. I just can’t believe it. Say it isn’t so. Imagine that—a drug addict who lies.

Lorraine Van Brocklin