Name dropper: Thanks for Gilbert Garcia's exposé on the Valley's most famous guitarist ("The Tao of Estéban," September 21).
I studied guitar in Spain for a couple of years back in the mid-1980s under one of Andrés Segovia's former students. I am aware of the respect and high regard accorded by the Spaniards to their artists who -- like Segovia -- have excelled internationally and who broke new ground in their fields. These artists are honored by Spain in many ways -- with streets named after them, statues in plazas and even by having their faces on Spanish currency.
It appalls me how Estéban exploits his so-called association with the legendary guitarist, especially considering the music he sells. It seems all that he has to show to back up his claims are some photos of him with the Maestro, an autograph that he passes on as an endorsement and some fantastic stories that are full of inconsistencies.
I would guess that the Spaniards would regard this behavior as shameless.
Andrés the giant: Gilbert Garcia's article on Estéban seems to confirm what a lot of people have suspected about this guitarist and his claimed association with the late legendary guitarist Andrés Segovia.
Anyone who has listened to Maestro Segovia and Estéban would instantly notice that there is no resemblance in the way these two guitarists play and the kind of music they play. Compared to the Maestro, the term "remedial guitarist" is most appropriate to describe Estéban's ability to play his instrument.
It is well-known among classical-guitar aficionados that Segovia regarded, among his American students, Christopher Parkening and Eliot Fisk as the ones who would continue his work in carrying the guitar to a higher level. There are dozens of recordings out there by Parkening and Fisk. The listener would instantly be informed of the high level of virtuosity by these two artists. Sadly, Estéban's musical ability does not come anywhere close to the "real" Segovia students.
Estéban has gotten the money and fame for the Muzak that he plays. It's about time he drops his claimed association with Segovia, for he clearly does not represent the artistry and ideals of the late master.
Deaf ears: It was interesting to read of Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano's position regarding discrimination against gay males ("The Not So United Way," Patti Epler, September 21). Too bad he's not interested in protecting all males from discrimination.
Some time ago I had occasion to write him regarding the City of Tempe's business relationship with a company that the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had found cause to believe had discriminated against me.
Did he rush to sever relations with this company?
Did he ask for more information?
Did he at least reply to my letter? No.
I guess he doesn't believe in equal rights for all males.
Next time you see him on a soapbox, ask him.
Phoenix Mayor "Skippy" Rimsza got a letter from me as well. No reply. Confiscate his soapbox, too.
Ralph P. Olson
Misguided: Bravo, Tempe. Now since you have banned donating to the United Way, let's boycott churches as well. After all, they preach about the sins of homosexuality. So let's ban them, too. Let's ban all organizations that claim homosexuality is not right. Let's revoke or withhold city building permits to any organization that has any moral conflicts with the city. The city needs to address other issues than the United Way. Tempe needs to worry about homelessness, crime, taxes, etc.
Name withheld by request
Day-labor pain: Congratulations to the New Times Best of Phoenix editors for placing the entry "Best Place to Find Day Laborers" on a level with "Best Place to Buy Kitchen Widgets" and "Best Place to Wax Poetic About Eyeliner."
Did New Times intend to demonstrate its consciousness of diversity? Did New Times intend to provide a public service for cash-strapped employers? Was it just too cute to kill?
That one entry and its summary line, "Hey, works for me," trivializes both your "Best of" edition and your relationship to the community you serve. Aren't the people who wait for work -- trying to stay alive and often to keep others at home alive -- part of your community, too? Or are they here to provide fodder for editorial amusement?
No one needs New Times' suggestion that picking up day laborers quick and cheap on the corner of Broadway Road and Mesa Drive is somehow way-too-cool. As for the laborers, most of them manage to keep their dignity pretty well without this kind of help.
Review virulent: Never have I read a review so full of animosity as Kathleen Vanesian's piece on 3CarPileUp's "Chaos Theory" show ("No Big Bang, A Big Gong," September 21). Vanesian writes like an overinfluenced college freshman trying to impress her favorite professor, Arthur Danto. Her writing's relation to art criticism is thin, the equivalent of having your softball coach accuse you of "throwing like a girl."
Never have I read such naked virulent hostility to local talent. Be it "cutting edge" or more traditional, in this post-"new" world, do not creative acts deserve to be judged on their own merits? More likely, Vanesian has an ax to grind with Jeff Falk and those who would associate with him. Which is sad, because he has been one of the Valley's staunchest promoters of performance art for more than 15 years! This makes Vanesian's practiced ignorance of Falk's methods all the more suspect. She should be reminded that what is "new" in art is a relative term. Compared to the "cowboy galleries" in Scottsdale, 3CarPileUp and ARTlab 16 look downright futuristic.
Also of note was Vanesian's favoritism to the videos shown. She was careful to nit-pick Falk's contribution to "Crusade" (despite the fact that it was on one of his stories the piece was built), but not the video itself. Is this her way of throwing a bone to the event, "Well, video is kind of new, so I guess I have to pretend to appreciate it"? Or has she been so indoctrinated by mass media that when confronted with a personal form of expression she clings to any familiar thread for comfort? How can a person who can't sort out a complex narrative expect to thoughtfully criticize complex art?
Lastly, if Vanesian felt so sure that "Chaos Theory" was so bad after attending the opening, then why waste a page of newsprint to report it? Why did she also make sure to mention -- twice -- the huge crowd that turned out? Was she disgusted that others would waste their time along with her? Or was she afraid that they all got something she couldn't?
Thanks for supporting the arts.
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Old-timers: I very much enjoyed reading about the life of Vic Kramer ("Staying Power," Laura Laughlin, September 28). I am also a native of Phoenix. My grandfather came here in 1925 with his wife and two small boys. My father, his youngest, met my mother, also from Iowa, and married in 1943. They settled on East Southern Avenue land my grandfather bought in 1930. We still own the land today. So the story of Vic Kramer was very near and dear to my heart. Thanks to Laura Laughlin for one of the best stories I have read in a very long time.