Should the esteemed young entrepreneur guest columnist Paul M. Fleming spend less time with his bankers and hobnob a bit with "the people," he might discover that many of us support alternative approaches to food production with our feet and our wallets ("Meating of the Minds," August 22).
What a lovely thing to make a bundle at a relatively young age. Now perhaps Fleming will be in a position to address some of the problems which his industry enables. Rain forests and old-growth forests as well as pasture are destroyed at a dangerous pace worldwide by unmanaged cattle production. Even pristine Costa Rica (that rain-forest yuppie Eden) is experiencing severe desertification because of clear cutting to provide pasture and consequent overgrazing. Local Zonies know all about unmanaged cattle production threatening our riparian environments, among other dangers.
We "fringe loonies" are possibly suffering from mad cow disease and just don't get it somehow, but bovine, porcine, fowl, even fish production, in addition to fruit and vegetable production, come at a tremendous cost to our environment. Rather than somehow eliminating food production altogether, effective management will continue our productive use of these threatened resources. Fleming should listen to RoxSand Scocos. She knows what she's talking about and is one hell of a chef as well! Wake up and smell the cattle gas, pal.
James C. Everett
What's Wrong With This Picture
I guess it had to happen. The dumbing down of American culture has reached museums ("An Artistic Challenge," Ed Lebow, August 15). If the Phoenix Art Museum is going to focus on "novice visitors," then art patrons and sophisticated art lovers have nowhere to go. A history of rock 'n' roll belongs in a shopping mall.
I don't think stooping down to low culture is going to help the museum gain a broad audience in the long run. It may gain some visitors--for instance, aging baby boomers to the history of rock 'n' roll--but in the long run--what is next? How indulgent can the museum become?
Art knowledge is earned; it is not conferred upon. Art is a worthy subject because lots of artists went to a whole lot of trouble to produce it. If the museum is into demographics marketing and planning to attract a certain age group, it will lose others who have the knowledge and money to support the museum.
Phoenix is still a cow town and will remain one regarding its museum if it is going to stoop even lower in culture to attract "novice visitors" and a "broad" audience. Novice visitors need education; they don't need to be catered to.
To attract this broad audience, the museum could run a little swap meet in one of its new rooms so this group would not feel intimidated--above all, not to feel intimidated apparently is what PAM is about these days. Once a cow town, always a cow town?
The article "An Artistic Challenge," regarding the Phoenix Art Museum's "quirkiest" art collection being put into this brand-new building, really missed the boat.
The new art museum facility is a miniature megalith of a building epitomizing Robert Charles Venturi's statement that "less is a bore." This museum is embarrassingly small and inadequate compared to many cities much smaller than Phoenix. For example, Denver's art museum towers over Phoenix's and has architectural intrigue. It's a joy to experience Denver's museum even without the art because the building itself is art. At every turn of the corner, the building reveals a new sight. Phoenix Art Museum has a boring univalent quality that gives you no reason to take a second glance.
The point is that you put a mediocre piece of art in a mediocre frame, which is exactly what is happening.
Bone of Contention
Even though I don't always agree with M. V. Moorhead, I enjoy reading his movie reviews. Regarding the topic of his "Pet Reprieve" article (August 1), the book Where the Red Fern Grows and the movie of the same name wrought copious tears from me. The dogs weren't Irish setters; they were red-bone coon hounds. Just thought he'd like to know.
Regarding Serene Dominic's "I Love a Band in a Uniform" (August 15), he forgot many other notable bands famous for uniforms:
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs: They were posing as sheiks on their first album, Woolly Bully, in 1965. "Woolly Bully" was their one big hit. They performed in their costumes, too.
Lord Sutch: An original longhaired freak from '64 on, in his earlier performances, he dressed like Dracula, whipping his long hair around, wearing toilet seats around his neck, having coffins onstage. (Big hits: "Jack the Ripper" and "I'm a Hog for You, Baby.") His stage performances outweighed his rather lousy vocal ability.
Children of the Night: A '70s L.A. group, the members dressed like Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, a mummy, a wolf man, a zombie and many other monsters.
Motley Crue: The early '80s had 'em looking like the New York Dolls meet punk in drag. Torn fishnets, lipstick, makeup, ripped clothing, the works.
Poison: '80s heavy-metal pop pretty boys who looked like pretty sluts--makeup, volted hair, lipstick.
There was also Dr. John, who dressed like a voodoo witch doctor; David Bowie and the Spiders From Mars, who, in the '70s, looked like freaky, swishy spacemen; Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Arthur being a British dude who painted up his face and dressed like a witch doctor; Helen Wheels Band, a late-'70s punk band with a mean attitude whose members looked like buccaneers and dressed like them, too; King Diamond, whose band wore demonic makeup and played black metal; and, of course, KISS. Where did Alice Cooper fit in?
I'm a 23-year-old mosher. I enjoyed the column that focused on the downfalls of the mosh pit at the Ministry concert (Coda, July 18). I remember the days when the pit was a circle that spun in front of the stage with a punch or two and maybe a jerk or two who would later get theirs in the end. This skinhead slam-dancing-kill crap now is crazy. My two Indian friends cannot enter many mosh pits anymore because of the skinheads. The skinheads do not play fair, for they team up in groups on one individual. Something needs to be done! Also, about eliminating moshing--screw that! My condolences to the families who lost a loved one to the pit, but no one forces you. Every time I get ready to tear it up, I know that I could get hurt or killed, but that is the chance I'm taking. More people get hurt snow skiing. Also, if you get smashed up in front of the stage, well, you should have known.
Daniel D. Schler
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