Letters for November 29, 2007

No appreciation
Re “Vital signs” (Feature story, Nov. 8):

As a former bartender and music booker of the Green Room, I feel the need to respond to the misrepresentation of local musicians given by Kevin McGehee:

“These bands, most of them don’t know the concept of reciprocity.” Whenever an opening arose in the Green Room’s booking schedule, I would turn to the Reno Jazz Syndicate and their artists, who would gladly work with me and the venue and compile a group of talented local musicians to perform. Many members of the Syndicate are also artists in successful local bands such as Keyser Soze, Sol’Jibe, and Sonic Nation (formerly the Electrosonics), all of which have rearranged their touring schedules or prior bookings in order to play for the Green Room.

“I was giving these kids 100 percent of the door and letting them drink for free.” Few bands, musicians, artists or performers ever received 100 percent of the door during my employment at the Green Room. The bartenders were given close-out sheets, which detailed that the owner received 20 percent, and the performers the remaining 80 percent. Performers were also given two drink tokens per person, meaning two free drinks—a vast difference from “drinking for free.”

“The jazz kids are the most spoiled.” The “jazz kids” have scrubbed his toilets, painted his walls, mopped his floors, poured his drinks and packed his venue, while he pocketed the profits. “Spoiled” is the last adjective I would give to these “kids.”

The Reno music scene and its family of musicians, artists and performers is in fantastic shape. It’s places like the Green Room that need all the work.

Heather Willson

Crappy reporting
Re “Vital signs” (Feature story, Nov. 8):

That article was one crappy piece of journalism or one overly cute and uninformed piece of opinion, whichever way you want it. I never know which is going on in the RN&R—reporting or opine-ing.

So, you want to take a snapshot of the music scene. You talk to two over-the-hill country-punkers, the one bar owner, and one person with a clue, but all you report from her is her thoughts on the underage scene.

You didn’t talk to anybody in their 20s about what people in their 20s are playing and listening to. Isn’t that the wellspring of a music scene, 20-somethings pushing the envelope in front of other 20-somethings? Did you talk to anybody from Satellite, XOXO, Club Underground, whose owners don’t hate their musicians? There is a thriving indie scene here, but no clue from you.

And most insulting to the notion of journalism, you print Kevin McGehee’s slur on the “jazz kids” without taking the trouble to report from an actual jazz kid for their side of the story.

Did you know that there is something called the Reno Jazz Syndicate, a collection of jazz kids, that plays 10-20 gigs a week in the area? Did you know that there is an actual jazz music program at UNR that keeps the local gumbo cookin'? I didn’t think so.

John Freeman

Shortsighted feud
Re “Vital signs” (Feature story, Nov. 8):

Thank you for the Vital Signs piece. Of course, those following the vibrant “Westend Reno” art, music, theater, and poetry scene have known many details, real and fabricated, of the “boycott” against the Green Room for the last couple of months. I’m sure the responses you will get from the relatively small but vocal contingent, hanging on to what is in many ways an employment dispute, will be vitriolic—it’s Reno. The sad thing is that some of the finest local musicians ever to grace a stage here have allowed themselves to be sucked into this quagmire of half-truths, third-hand knowledge and damaged decades-long alliances.

Boy, talk about a counter-productive “movement stopper.” Why not just cut your unit off? Yeah, a whole new vanguard will be in place in five years and “Westend Reno” will still be where many great weekends are boogied away, albeit perhaps with Sacramento talent being the draw. So why not just stand by and be entertained by this silly squabble diminishing years of Artown development. Maybe because the progressive point of view is to arrange “peace talks” and mend the really meaningful fences.

J. Flyxx
via www.newsreview.com

Humane behavior
As a student of the University of Reno, Nevada, I am appalled to find out that the department of Physiology and Cell Biology are conducting cruel experiments on defenseless animals. We as a society need to be more compassionate toward humans, animals and our earth. There are many alternatives available to animal testing, and I encourage students of the university and members of the community to speak up. I hope that in the near future, UNR will implement programs that conduct research without harming animals.

Jeff Baer