As one who walked the line in support of the Newspaper Guild and allied strikers during the recent labor action against the Times and P-I, I heartily concur with Knute Berger's choice of Chuck Taylor as a valuable addition to the Weekly ["Renewal," Sept. 4]. The strikers' paper (The Seattle Union Record) was outstanding, and I recall expressing sentiments similar to your own—that Seattle would be better served if the Record were its only daily paper.
I should add that this step improves the Weekly in a direction I am glad to see; with writers like Geov Parrish in your fold and now the addition of Mr. Taylor, you only continue to get better. That's saying something.
In regard to your article "Lit Clique" in the Sept. 4 issue, we wanted to let you know that you made a group of hardworking, intelligent, literary arts administrators sound like 14-year-old bubbleheads at a rock concert.
The way in which you reduced the SAL employees, whose major concerns are how cute Ira Glass is, was nothing but degrading, sexist, and irresponsible to the individual people themselves, the Seattle Arts & Lecture community (its audience and especially its funders), and Seattle Weekly readers—the few that it has.
These art directors and the hard work they do—SAL being one of the only agencies in town able to bring national and international literary talent to the area— deserve nothing but your (and the community's) highest regard and respect.
To plan, organize, and execute large-scale events such as the lecture series takes hard work, dedication, talent, tremendous organizational skills, charm, and finesse. However, you chose not to focus on the true efforts of these talented administrators, but instead to play a false and entirely useless angle of sexist one- liners such as "Oh, it was so icky."
Cresdan Maite and Lisa Querido
Sigh. Yes, fire dancing might be tiresome, I suppose, but why subject yourself to every fire show in town if these pirouetting pyro performers lack enough creativity and spark to amaze you by dragging out the same weary Burning Man routines from last year ["Douse It," Sept. 4]? If you've seen one show, you've probably seen 'em all. But then, what I'm waiting for is the next performance art trend, perhaps at a new venue—Teatro Sashimi. Yes, that's when we can all look forward to Acrobatic Fire Butoh Cabaret and Asian fusion cuisine. Imagine: Eerie Butoh performers in S&M gear blowing fire and soaring through a big top to the delight of fashionable dinner patrons eating California rolls. Bet on it. It could only happen here.
NOT JUST GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
In regard to "Douse It" [Sept. 4], I think Ariel Meadow Stallings is pretty right on. Fire performance is more like a plague than an art, and experienced and innovative performers are growing fewer and farther between. However, there are innovative, experienced troupes in this city that your article failed to mention.
Thermogenesis (the troupe I founded in 1998), the Cabiri, and Ignis Devoco are some of Seattle's biggest and brightest troupes. They aren't interested in shoving naked skin in audience members' faces for the sake of a dollar or whistle, and they are devoted to bringing Seattle integrity and innovation to this art form. Many of these groups do much more than dance around with flaming balls or shove fire into someone's face—many incorporate stories, elaborate costuming, and style. The Cabiri combines aerial and acrobatic work in conduction with its fire performances, and Thermogenesis is far more interested in transporting the audience member via elaborate story lines where fire is only a medium, not the means to an end. Though at times the community's politics may get a little wonky, it should not overshadow the amazing work.
The fact that this art form has supersaturated Seattle "should" push the art to a bigger and better level; those who can't—or won't—will become pass頡nd tired memories. I agree that the audience should exercise a more discriminating taste when choosing to book or view these events, but those who work hard and are fantastic at what they do should not be penalized for the inconsistency of others.
I hope your article will induce this discriminating taste I am referring to, and that the demand for classy and artistic performances will be the bar to which people are expected to perform as a result.
Founder and Director
OUR HANDS ARE TIED
I understand that the public (and Roger Downey) may think that those of us in the wine industry in Washington state are involved in a system that appears to be financially self-serving. "The cozy way importers, brokers, distributors, and sometimes even retailers stand between winemakers and wine consumers, each taking a nice little slice of the action," as you wrote [Sips, "Wine by Wire," Sept. 4], may sound like capitalism at its best. Let me assure you that our state Liquor Control Board, and the RCWs [codes] they enforce (proudly referred to as "tied house" laws by the control board), is what makes consumers pay so much for imported wine. A retailer cannot directly import wine to this state (this is allowed in California). In fact, a retailer cannot be involved with any manufacturing, distributing, or importing (or in other words, hold a nonretail license)—which prevents us (retailers) from importing wines and passing on savings to the consumer. It means that consumers are paying more for wine that sometimes passes through many hands (at least on paper) before landing on the shelf of a wine retailer or grocer. Thus, we are also dependent on inventory selections from the importers and distributors in this state. It is our state that is preventing us from "free trade" and direct importing that may lead to consumer savings and better selections.
Le Savoir-Faire Wine Cellars
With all due respect, what a lousy review ["Corporal Punishment," Sept. 4]. Not that City by the Sea was exactly Citizen Kane; it certainly wasn't. But to describe it as "awful," as your reviewer did, was simply incorrect. And I think you should encourage your reviewers to try for a higher level of journalism.
Decent criticism is fair-minded and gives the reader some insight into what to expect. It seems as though the reviewer here was more interested in getting his rocks off on being a "writer" than passing on information and considered opinion.
Two paragraphs on De Niro's weight? Who cares? Did that have anything to do with the performance? Not really.
Out of eight paragraphs, there are maybe two of substance; the remainder being a lot of ranting about how characters are fat, misused, or should have thought twice before choosing to be in this movie. That being the case, I think it best that, in the future, you simply pare such stuff down to it's meat and sell another ad (or place a PSA) to take up the remaining column inches.
Thank you for your well-written article on the the Supreme Court justice race ["Power of Attorneys," Sept. 4]. Because you so passionately endorsed Michael Spearman, I am certain that Jim Johnson is the best choice. Thanks for providing such a certain beacon to help guide my vote!
Get your rocks off on being a writer? Write to Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206-467-4377; or e-mail to email@example.com. By submission of a letter, you agree that we may edit the letter and publish and/or license the publication of it in print, electronically, and for archival purposes. Please include name, location, and phone number.