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Brothers Grim Please allow us to offer our praise to David Holthouse for the disturbing, eye-opening story of the brothers Kirkwood and the death of Michelle Tardif ("Shooting Star," November 12). As my friends and I--each of us bearing the eternal, bittersweet moniker of "addict-in-recovery"--have read this sad and somewhat...
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Brothers Grim
Please allow us to offer our praise to David Holthouse for the disturbing, eye-opening story of the brothers Kirkwood and the death of Michelle Tardif ("Shooting Star," November 12).

As my friends and I--each of us bearing the eternal, bittersweet moniker of "addict-in-recovery"--have read this sad and somewhat familiar tale, it helped us to remember just how lucky we are. Lucky that we are here, living, and no longer merely existing in the drug-induced haze we'd previously called life.

We know that there are those whose reaction will be anger toward a system that once again allowed people to "fall through the cracks." Those people will never know an addict's life. Sleepless expanses of time punctuated by a shower to mark the end of one and beginning of another approximate 24-hour period of time, much of which is spent perfecting the arts of manipulation and subtle deceit so that the addict can remain "peacefully content" in the existence created to escape that which they choose not to face. All systems are flawed and shouldn't always be blamed when a human being repeatedly makes poor choices.

In his article, Holthouse has shown his integrity as a journalist by so boldly stating the true ugliness of addiction and the fact that it knows no socioeconomic boundaries. If his goal was to reach someone and keep him from walking the path of an addict, he has most assuredly done so.

Although we have already walked this path to varying degrees, this article has served to reinforce that our choice for recovery was the correct one. We each fight temptation, but with the assistance of things such as this story, we can continue to make the choice to walk away. Thank you!

Name withheld by request

I managed the Meat Puppets from 1991-1994. I fell out with Cris Kirkwood when I called him on his drugging in the Too High to Die period. I merely wanted to say that I thought David Holthouse's piece was excellent, very sad (for both the brothers are wondrous) and a better argument against hard drugs than a million Partnership for a Drug-Free America ads--a real public service.

Jamie Kitman
via Internet

I thought that it was very rude of you to do what you did to the poor Kirkwood family. They did not deserve what you did, writing all of that crap about them, it was very rude. I could not believe that a human being could write what you did about other human beings. These people have feelings, too. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such things about other people. I believe that you should write apology letters to the entire family. You should make a retraction.

Name withheld by request

Just got through reading the story on the Meat Puppets' Cris Kirkwood, and I must say that it was both unsettling and inspiring. Having met the boys at a promotional event for Too High to Die here in Cleveland, I can remember Derrick Bostrom and Cris as being the "most normal," with Curt being rather aloof and unapproachable. I was told, by Bostrom, that the brothers existed on a different plane than the rest of us, and another friend of mine who knew the band for years told me that the brothers did "a lot of drugs." That kind of dismissal is, unfortunately, pretty common in rock circles even to this day. The nightmare that Cris must be living is horrible beyond belief, and I can only say that I hope Curt finds it in himself to stay strong in his resolve and doesn't give up hope that one day his brother saves himself. Congrats on a fine piece of journalism.

Mark Holan
via Internet

Thank you very much for filling in my questions concerning the Kirkwoods. Your story really touched our family, as we were pretty close with Vera and the brothers. David Holthouse is a very talented writer, and I must say that with all the awards New Times gives out, he shall be awarded the "Best Ever Story."

Mike Barclay
via Internet

Just wanted to say thanks for writing the story and giving it a decent amount of column space. I've been a Meat Puppets fan since the mid-Eighties when I went to an all-ages show at the Mason Jar. For the past few years, I've been scratching my head as to what happened to the Valley's best rock band. I guess I wasn't too shocked at the overall situation (although the "poking a needle in an abscess" thing kind of wigged me out). From my perspective (never personally met the band but have attended a dozen or so shows and read many articles), if it was going to happen, Cris just struck me as the most likely to become a fat, reclusive junkie.

It's a shame, not only for reasons mentioned in your article, but I think Cris was just hitting stride with his songwriting; his contributions were among the highlights of the last couple of albums. Please keep us posted in future New Times--the Meat Puppets official Web site seems pretty stingy when it comes to this kind of news.

Name withheld by request

Congratulations on a chilling, infuriating and very moving feature on the Kirkwood brothers. As a longtime fan of the band, and foe of the shitty live-fast/die-young myth, I can only hope it has a happy ending. Thanks for telling it, and telling it so well.

Will Hermes
via Internet

David Holthouse has taken my breath away! His article about the Kirkwood brothers and "Mrs. Meat Puppet" was great! I had tears rolling down my face at some points; and others, a smile filled my face. I have known the people he wrote about, and the way he described and told the story behind each was profound and wonderful. The ending to the article was especially touching. I want to cry when I realize how real this whole mess is and that now anybody can know about it, yet I'm so happy that someone has set it straight.

Name withheld by request

I don't normally write fan letters to other writers, but David Holthouse's Meat Puppets piece was powerful. Great work.

Steve Terrell
The Santa Fe New Mexican

The article on Cris Kirkwood's decline into drug addiction brought painful memories of trying to help friends who became heroin addicts. These friends ripped me off and smiled in my face as they did so. Bright, intelligent people, using all their intelligence and cunning to lie to family and friends just to get money for their balm.

Drug addiction is a personal lack of morals. Addicts are greedy, instant gratifiers who take what they want instead of having to earn it like the rest of us. Integrity is its own reward. No rehab can give this. It has to be earned.

Sue Gunn

Your article on the Meat Puppets was compelling. After reading it, I was touched. It is such a shame that such talents went to waste. I hope others who are dealing with drug addictions or considering using drugs will take a look at how it ruins lives. This story was not fiction, just dead facts. Keep up the great work, New Times. This story was on the cutting edge.

Name withheld by request

Paradise Lost
Thank you for the Spur Cross land-trade column (Wonk, Amy Silverman, November 12). As the founder of Friends of Spur Cross, I believe that there is a very material issue your article missed. Until the Friends of Spur Cross organization decided to play politics, rather than fund-raise to save Spur Cross Ranch, I was also its president.

Opposition to the land trade by 25 enviro organizations was based upon many factors, but a significant issue was the language embedded deep within the agreement that enabled land trades of other state and federal lands in addition to Spur Cross. In essence, using Spur Cross as the lever, federal legislation was included to bypass Arizona's constitutional ban on State Land trading.

It was Hannah Goldstein who first alerted me to this devious clause, which I checked with a qualified land-use attorney, and then passed on the information to Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club. The rest you already covered.

Why is this so pertinent? Because it further demonstrates that the dark forces of this state will stoop to any level to perpetuate and expand development-at-any-cost. If it requires using Congress to bypass the will of Arizona's voters, no problem. That's why John McCain was castigated and that's why so many groups and individuals came out in opposition to the trade. In addition to the lopsided values, loss of wildlife corridors and the rest of the issues you covered so well.

Barry DiSimone
Cave Creek

Flickering Out?
After recovering from the senseless demolition of the Cine Capri, we read your article on the possible closing of Tempe's Valley Art Theatre ("The Last Temptation of Krista," M. V. Moorhead, November 12). We are sick and tired of hearing about the "little people" like this independent theater manager who are getting squeezed out of their business. We have personally seen how Krista Griffin sells tickets, runs concessions, then goes up the back steps to the projection room for only a mere handful of people. She deserves a lot more credit than is given by Dan Harkins. Shame on him for not helping her out as a friend, ex-boyfriend or for merely the memory of his late father. He has clearly made it in the theater business his father left and should refurbish the Valley Art and make it more "acceptable."

We just saw Touch of Evil "exclusively" at the Camelview and were amazed to see the old picture of "Red" Harkins at the grand opening of a theater. How proud he looked! Why are these movies shown only in Scottsdale? Why not show these "exclusive" films more at the Valley Art and give the other areas a chance to view them without driving clear across town? Doesn't Dan Harkins realize that if he wants his children and grandchildren to enjoy these landmark theaters, we must keep the developers from turning them into parking lots?

Peggy and John Thomsen

After losing the Kachina and the Cine Capri, Dan Harkins isn't exactly batting 1.000 when it comes to saving the city's cinematic heritage. Let's hope he doesn't go for broke with the Valley Art.

Robert Workman

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