Letters for December 11, 2003

The blues are like a box of chocolates

Re “Diving into the jam” by Christian Kiefer (SN&R Clubber, December 4):

The author does not seem to be much of a fan of blues music. In his observation referring to extended jams, Kiefer wrote, “Even with great musicians, it can be a lot to stomach.” That points out his lack of appreciation for one of America’s true musical art forms. Shame on SN&R for sending a white-bread sap out to pontificate on something he knows so little about. The description in the review gives me the impression Kiefer entered the bar, heard some Hawaiian noises and very quickly departed.

Perhaps SN&R could persuade the author to bring his guitar next Sunday and show the jammers at the River’s Edge how the blues should really be played. Maybe he could even throw in a few extra chords to really jazz it up and relieve his boredom.

A jam, by definition, is an open forum where any and all players are welcome to come out and play—no rehearsal, no written music, just playing for the love of music. To his credit, Guitar Mac will let any player who wants to play join in. His Sunday jam is attended by professionals and amateurs, almost all of whom also play the other venues mentioned by the Clubber. Sometimes, a lineup will struggle due to the inexperience of a player or two on stage. However, the other six sets will range from good to sometimes great music.

It could be said that a blues jam is kind of like a box of chocolates: You never know what you’re going to get. I think the Clubber’s mother may have said that. Run, Clubber, run!

Guitar Mac is a blues institution with five CDs to his credit, and his jams have helped many local musicians get their start in the blues. Mac is a true bluesman and a great entertainer.

Lastly, regarding the venue: Hats off to Robert and Nataliya Villarreal for sharing the River’s Edge with us and our friends on Sunday nights. The River’s Edge is a clean and friendly establishment with local color and a warm atmosphere. It is not a “dive.”

Greg Gartrell
bass and guitar, Blues Express

Lose those rules

Re “Diving into the jam” by Christian Kiefer (SN&R Clubber, December 4):

Kiefer writes, “The folks who frequent the Monkey Bar, for example, are not the same folks who frequent Old Ironsides, and Old Ironsides’ barflies are not the same folks who frequent such watering holes as the River’s Edge Bar & Grill.”

What an arrogant and completely generalized comment. People who frequent the Monkey Bar don’t frequent Old I? What is this Midtown hipster bullshit about? I go to both bars. I love live local music, and I also like to sit outside and have a beer now and again.

So, Monkey Bar is for yuppies and suburbanites who eschew local bands and dingy dive bars? And people who go to Old I wouldn’t be caught dead somewhere trendy and generic like the Monkey Bar.

What crap. Are you consciously trying to drive some wedge between people who are “cool enough” and “in the know” and those who “shop at The Gap” and have “no soul”?

I didn’t realize those were the rules. Maybe if I wear some black-frame glasses, some Dickies and a vintage Western shirt, I’ll have enough indie cred to frequent Old I?

I can’t believe you publish such nonsense in this day and age. Get over yourselves.

Aaron Jehusin
via e-mail

Church business isn’t SN&R business

Re “Is it ‘unwanted intrusion’…” (SN&R Letters, November 26):

I agree with Aaron Webster’s letter describing the “unwanted intrusion” you covered in “Can’t stop The Rock” by Jason Probst (SN&R News, November 13).

It was most unprofessional of SN&R to even step into a private dispute between church members over scripture, even if you’re a tabloid. Your writers are apparently busybodies who don’t realize a journalist’s role is reporting issues concerning public interest, such as our tax-supported government and its officials.

While the news media need not opt out of covering “private” matters or affairs completely, there are definitely times the media journalist has to know when to butt out for the sake of all involved parties, and Maureen Barrow’s case was definitely one of them.

However, if you need anything to help you understand, or to inspire you, on what kind of role a journalist can have for their community, see the movie Veronica Guerin!

M. Kunert

Now leaving the solar system

Re “Dump the pledge” by Kel Munger (SN&R Essay, November 6):

I have been slow in commenting on this essay. In a word, it was splendid! Not only did it convey a great deal of useful history, but the opinions expressed were very much to the point.

As a person who spent 30 professional years in education, I endorse Ms. Munger’s sentiments completely. I would add “The Star-Spangled Banner” to an “ease out” list. Why, when the world is crying out for more understanding and unity, are we pushing nationalistic exercises, not only in schools but at every public meeting?

We need to be encouraging global citizenship. If any pledge should be required—which I would question—it should be the Earth pledge. Let’s fly the Earth flag and sing “Let there be peace on Earth.” Wouldn’t “let it begin with me” be more meaningful than some of the words we have kids learn?

Come to think of it, maybe even “Earth” is confining. Perhaps new universe materials should be created.

Esther Franklin

More critical thinking, fewer superpatriots

Re “Dump the pledge” by Kel Munger (SN&R Essay, November 6):

I am 100 percent behind the right of Ms. Munger to advocate dumping the Pledge of Allegiance. The ability to dissent is one of the wonderful, unique rights of an American.

The boorish fellow who made an issue of the lack of an American flag on the auto probably slept through his civics classes. He obviously has little understanding of the Bill of Rights and the freedoms associated with those rights.

More power to Ms. Munger, who does not buy into the braying of the superpatriotic ideologists who do away with the Bill of Rights. Certainly, the critical thinkers in the country are behind her.

James G. Updegraff III