Negative energy: I am writing to you to express a few thoughts regarding your recent article on the Sikh community ("A Path Divided," Susy Buchanan, January 10). I found it very interesting and disappointing that you missed the opportunity to educate the general public about basic tenets of the Sikh religion and what we as a whole Sikh community embrace as principles to live by. Instead, you appeared to avoid taking the higher ground and instead presented a negative and muddled picture.
Your choice was one in which it appeared the muckraking was of more importance than preventing another innocent Sikh like Balbir Singh being hurt or killed by unknowing people. It was obvious in reading your article that you spent a limited amount of time in our gurdwaras and/or at services-- or you would have directly observed more than 90 percent of attendees at Ninth Street and Oak being of Indian descent.
When the idea of an article in your publication was first presented to me, I was hopeful that this would help to relieve many people's concerns for the well-being of all Sikhs through a forum of education. I am not disputing the fact that there are two gurdwaras in Phoenix, just that your article missed the mark in serving a higher purpose by increasing awareness and tolerance.
Know that for Sikhs, September 11 brought more than the National Tragedy, but also Balbir Singh's death and the fear that by following our religion we would be targeted for ongoing mistaken identity and thus be at risk (this was completely missed in your article). My wish is that you hear my words and understand it is coming from a place of concern for my husband, my son and my larger family of Sikhs.
Har Kaur Khalsa
Mock this: Recently, your paper printed a review of the dinner-theater experience as seen through the eyes of Carey Sweet ("Value Pact," December 27). Although the review was certainly not very positive, I more than anyone understand that the product we offer isn't everyone's cup of tea and that certain elements of the value package we offer our patrons may not appeal to those of a younger generation.
In the many years of our theaters receiving reviews, I find the most appalling part of the critique was the great efforts Sweet made in degrading and making fun of our customers. Such quotes as "I'm sure the group will spasm, collapsing under the table with arms and legs pointed skyward, bellies bulging like ticks ready to pop" and "Dinner out means dressing to the nines, dusting off sequined frocks and smart suits, wide-lapeled though they may be" were downright mean-spirited and inappropriate in my opinion.
I've received my fair share of negative reviews and will take this one with a grain of salt. I certainly understand that the targeted demographic profile of your paper is far younger than my targeted audience of 55-plus, and the attitude your paper exhibits toward older generations is reflected in the overall style of this critique.
When I recently sat down with my marketing director and we finalized our $200,000 advertising budget for 2002, I was validated by this review that we should not be advertising in New Times. To borrow a quote from Sweet, "Will I ever advertise in New Times? God, no!"
William T. Prather, owner
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre-West
Eating disorder: I seldom read your Cafe review because every time I do, it is some place in north Scottsdale. Living in west Glendale, I have no intention of driving one hour and then waiting another couple of hours to eat. But the January 10 Cafe pullquote caught my eye: "At least Sapporo takes reservations . . . ," so I was hooked in ("Pacific Rim Shot," Carey Sweet). Imagine: reservation specialists that aren't in; a faxed front and back of a credit card; and a faxed statement that you will show up at the appointed time!
I don't know why I continued to read, but then it went on to tell us about smudged silverware with bits of someone else's rice; tables smeared with dishcloth slime; a counter littered with food debris. That's when I did quit reading.
If that's how the cool live, believe me, I'm happy to continue eating at Lily's Cafe in downtown Glendale where they don't require an affidavit to get a table. The food is pretty good, too. And by the way, Lily's gets 100 percent every time the county health department inspects.
Zinging Zia: The tone of Gilbert Garcia's remarks (Soundcheck, December 20) is unmistakable: local music chain sells out to carpetbagging corporate monolith and, inevitably, local flavor and identity are swept under the rug. Let me assure you this is not -- and will not be -- the case, for as long as Red Flag Media publishes the ZiaZine with Zia Record Exchange.
Zia's reputation for supporting the local scene is indisputable. In accordance with its wishes, we're committed to delivering more local content than the Zine has ever had. Our national editorial content also suited Zia's indie philosophy. Look no further than the cover of the new Zine -- we scored an interview with Fugazi's Ian MacKaye.
I feel a little awkward defending our credibility. I can tell you that we're a small, privately owned company (five employees; up from two last year, though!) and that we work very hard. We have a diverse staff of freelance writers who have collectively written for every major music publication in the country, from Rolling Stone all the way down to the good ones.
That Garcia would mistake us for some sort of big-money Madison Avenue operation is flattering, but premature. Like Zia, we remain fiercely independent. If anybody has any questions, feel free to contact me or call Zia Records directly.
Red Flag Media