What Buzz? Where's the Sex? and Why Is Everyone an Expert?

Pushing Hempfest Out

DEAR EDITOR: Hmm, the heavily endowed SAM doesn't want Hempfest anymore ["Stoners vs. Sculptures," May 16]. I think we can see where this is going. The fest will be relegated to Magnuson Park or to another city. And I'll miss it way more than the Sonics, because if people can't gather over something they care about, we're dead.

As for the sculpture "garden," I gain strength from recalling what became of other equally irritating eyesores. Richard Serra's Tilted Arc was shit-canned from Manhattan and sent to the breakers. It could happen again, right?Wendy Gallacci

Kenmore

Fest Organizers Stoned?

DEAR EDITOR: It is obvious that the Hempfest organizers hate real art. Anything that is not tie-dyed, paisley, painted on black velvet, or a hand-held glass "sculpture" that holds bong water is not worthwhile art to them.

The Hempfest organizers cannot see through their marijuana-smoke-filled Volkswagen vans to see how th v is event is harming the Puget Sound environment. Sea lions, Orcas, endangered salmon runs, quack grass, and all other native vegetation that the Seattle Art Museum has gone to great expense to design, import, and strategically place is in imminent danger of being completely destroyed under the Birkenstocks of these eco-terrorists. Last year's "festival" did irreparable harm to rocks and logs that were torn from their natural habitat and relocated, just to make a wider entrance for more partygoers to overfill Myrtle Edwards Park.

SAM has hired and paid the greatest architectural and environmental designers in the world to put together a sustainable and beautiful concrete, steel, and glass sculpture park that completely embodies the ideals that make Seattle one of the most progressive cities in the country. By illegally moving the rocks and logs from the locations that environmental-restoration experts created, Hempfest has done more than just cost SAM a few dollars in damages. It has upset the delicate balance of the waterfront that SAM has created for generations to come.

It might be time to consider a new location capable of containing 563,374 people that would be less damaging to the environment. There are large, fairly unused portions of the state in Pend Oreille and Spokane counties that could easily accommodate this festival. The infrastructure that is already in place in towns like Cheney (should be plenty of places to find a drink in a college town), or the local penitentiary in Walla Walla, can accommodate all participants, bands, and speakers.

There is a reason that the government has made marijuana illegal. It not only destroys lives, but, as all the organizers of Hempfest can attest, it destroys your mind and the ability to make rational decisions.Jeff Landstrom

Seattle

SAM Made Event Unsafe

DEAR EDITOR: The entrance and exit into Myrtle Edwards Park from the south has been extremely reduced in width. Before construction began on the sculpture park, Hempfest representatives made it clear to the city and Seattle Art Museum that the roadway needed to be larger than SAM has constructed. The footage needed to safely execute a large political event such as Hempfest is much wider than SAM built. In the 10 years prior to SAM's construction, the roadway has allowed a safe event.

I appreciate your article telling about the situation that SAM's construction has caused. Kudos to Hempfest for acting so quickly to remove the fencing and keep the festivalgoers safe. SAM should be held responsible for the costs that are incurred in order for the roadway to be widened again in order to allow safe access to one of Seattle's biggest gems. Hempfest has been known for taking care of Myrtle Edwards Park, picking up every piece of trash, leaving it cleaner than when they got there. The people who attend the event are, for the most part, gentle, respectful people who do not damage public property.Allison Bigelow

Owner of Reefer Magnets

Mount Vernon

Everyone's an Expert

DEAR EDITOR: I just read the story about Sally Clark ["How Nice is Too Nice?" May 16] and I can't help but be troubled by the fact that, while so much was written about her work, I learned more about the expectations of a "diverse" community of locals who were all experts on how she could do better. Those who have so little patience for the gift of thoughtful reflection are whiny, entitled gentry who have yet to take the same risk, and responsibility, as Ms. Clark.

Nice work, Sally. Keep it up. You have exceeded what I hoped for when I voted for you. I hope you don't change to try to accede to all the expectations so many would heap upon you.Kevin Hilbiber

Seattle

Not Enough Sex in Weekly

DEAR EDITOR: Did the Weekly deliberately "straighten out" its story about Sally Clark? How could you run a feature story about Seattle's openly lesbian city council member and never mention her sexuality?

Aimee Curl wrote of Clark's having been the editor of the UW Daily, but Clark's time at the helm of the Lesbian Resource Center Community News was important, too!Carol Anne Sundahl

Seattle

Kevin Bacon's Lesson

DEAR EDITOR: It's sad to find that Seattle's Mayberry school administrators focus their energies on the terrorism of sexual attraction ["Freak on a Leash," May 16]. In 1984, a fundamentalist minister spearheaded a ban on dancing in his community. It took a teen from Chicago to evangelize the local youth against the oppressive mores of the community's social conservatives. You've probably heard of the boy and the story: Kevin Bacon in the movie Footloose.

The political correctness of Seattle's social conservatives seems to have no bounds. Let the kids dance. The community you save may be your own.Scott Marlow

Seattle

Miller Had It All Wrong

DEAR EDITOR: I'm writing to make a correction to Brian Miller's article ["SIFF News," May 16]. Brian wrote that our new 400-seat venue "has been plagued with an annoying, high-pitched buzz in the audio system—perhaps the curse of filmmakers rejected from the fest." This statement is false and gives a very mis­leading impression of our presentation standards and the significant investment we made in order to have a state-of-the-art sound system that is equipped according to THX and Dolby Digital Surround processing specifications with top-of-the-line JBL speakers.

I should note that this so-called buzz in our sound system has never occurred at any of the public screenings we have presented since opening last March. We brought our sound engineers in to diagnose the cause for this noise. The facts have shown that a particular individual attending SIFF's press screenings has been having issues with his hearing aid: This has been the cause of the offending high-pitched sound. It even occurred at another venue this past week, when we moved the location of the press screenings due to a previous booking at the SIFF Cinema. We are taking appropriate steps to prevent this from occurring at future screenings. I gave this explanation to Brian prior to his damaging statements appearing in your paper, but apparently he didn't listen.

Furthermore, his speculative statements about the reasons why Son of Rambow was not screened in advance for the press are also false. The studio did not embargo any further reviews since the film's premiere at Sundance, rather we at the Festival decided to make the film available to the press to see, with an audience, on Opening Night. The film is not scheduled to be released theatrically until 2008, and it is not necessary to generate reviews so far in advance. In fact, it is the Festival's policy to request that press withhold full reviews until a film's eventual release. We did choose to screen the North American premiere of our closing-night film, Molière, a film that we are equally proud of and that will be opening later this summer.Carl Spence

Artistic Director

Seattle International Film

Festival Group

Brian Miller responds: I stand by my characterization of the buzz, which many who attended the Janus classics series this spring at the new SIFF Cinema also recall. It has been a persistent problem cited by numerous filmgoers. I did, in fact, listen to Mr. Spence when he offered his conjecture about the cause, and if that cause has now been correctly identified and the hearing-aid culprit cast out, so much the better. With regard to Son of Rambow: The film's owner, Paramount Vantage, has, in fact, embargoed reviews at recent screenings, including the Newport Beach International Film Festival, as my media colleagues attest.

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