Bracelin's just doing his job:
Wow, you guys really told Jason Bracelin [Letters, January 22, in response to "Clash of the Titans," December 4]. How dare a critic state his opinion? Oh wait, I forgot. That's his job.
If a critic isn't honest about what he thinks, how can you trust anything he writes? It's not like Bracelin completely dismisses metal as a genre; he just doesn't happen to like a couple of the bands you do. Hell, I like Dio and Manowar, but both of them have veered dangerously close to Spinal Tap on numerous occasions. As for Blind Guardian and Symphony X, I don't think anyone was calling their musicianship into question. Playing ability deserves some respect, but it doesn't automatically guarantee good songs.
If Bracelin wants to call Blind Guardian's album the lamest release of the year, that's his business. At least one long-time college radio DJ (whose metal credentials are impeccable) has said that he was less than thrilled with Blind Guardian's most recent opus. Should we demand his removal as well? And what does being in a band have to do with being a rock critic? The only requirements one needs are a pair of working ears and some way to express an opinion. If you think Bracelin's opinions aren't worth a shit, then just assume that whatever he writes, the opposite is true.
If you want to see positive coverage of bands you like, do it yourself. It wasn't that long ago that we had five or six competing music papers in this town, most of them run by people with far more passion than money. That's what the underground music scene used to be about: doing it yourself. That's what Chris Akin did with MBL. That's what I did with my website, Utter Trash. Feel free to join the party, or else just waste more time and energy sending hate mail my direction.
Bob Ignizio, Webmaster
Convention center plans are blueprints for disaster:
I enjoyed Pete Kotz's column about Cleveland's proposed convention center ["Boondoggle in Waiting," January 22]. Kotz's pointed sardonicism exposed this emperor with no clothes to the cold light of a Cleveland winter day. As the Rock Hall, Gateway, and MBNA Stadium illustrate, actual net revenues for bloated political patronage projects never approach the heralded projections. For instance, why do the 72,000 seats of the tax-abated football stadium still remain unwarmed by paying butts for 355 days of the year?
The convention center case offers another textbook example of ruling oligarchs trying to hoodwink the masses into submission. This formula always follows three basic steps: First, create a problem; second, provoke a public reaction, usually controlled via the media; third, propose your predetermined solution.
As Kotz illuminated, a convention center is "not so appealing that Business Leaders will put their money into it." Why throw away your own money when you can saddle the taxpayers with one more risky proposition? Meanwhile, the city's real infrastructure needs are ignored. How many more floods must we endure before our politicians decide to replace those 110-year-old water mains? Yes, the old convention center is dingy. But a new one must pull its own weight, rather than mooch off other government service sectors.
A few politically connected business leaders are using the powers of government to further their own agenda. As the old saying goes, "We get the government we deserve." If overburdened Cuyahoga County taxpayers continue passing the buck, we'll soon have no bucks left.
Brian Gomez, Chair
Libertarian Party of NE Ohio
Not even Vancouver stunk like the Cavs:
I believe the Cavs need to get rid of Paxson, and Gund needs to sell the team ["The Loneliest Man in Cleveland," January 29].
For the past four years, I lived in Charlotte and recently moved back to Cleveland. The Charlotte Hornets, prior to moving to New Orleans, continued to have a strong team despite the owners trading away key players. The fans constantly complained about the team, even though it made the playoffs three out of the four years I lived in Charlotte. Fans in Cleveland would have given anything to see the type of good players on the Hornets' roster.
I'm tired of hearing the Cavs talk about rebuilding. I'm afraid to say that there was more talent on the Vancouver Grizzlies last year in Canada than last year's Cavs team. There is too much talent sitting on NBA benches for the Cavs to continue telling fans to wait till next year. Ricky Davis is a prime example of making a good trade. We need more Ricky Davises and fewer Danny Ferrys.
There's no news worth reading:
Until I learned that the Department of Justice had grilled Village Voice and New Times Media for "their illegal market allocation" -- the "deal" to drop the Free Times in Cleveland and the New Times in Los Angeles -- I struggled for motivation to tell Scene how much it sucked at replacing the Free Times.
I could only wonder who determined the news articles covered in Scene (it's still a good rag for concert, music, and entertainment info). Suffice it to say, however, that I do not read Scene for alternative news. Not worth the time spent to find something worth reading. This is not to criticize the reporters, but the selection of the topics for articles.
Now I am hopeful that an alternative paper will return, to once again present legitimate alternative news for Clevelanders. Those looking for a good read can check out the January 27, 2003 press release from the DOJ (www.usdoj.gov, #044: 01-27-03) that gave Village Voice and New Times new, much wider buttholes.
Filament 38 has Chicago's attention:
Thanks for the positive review for Filament 38 [Regional Beat, January 29]. The best place to catch Ash and Android's mayhem is onstage. I have seen them twice, and they are the very best of what Cleveland has to offer.
I am from Chicago, a place where the industrial scene is in a stage of renewal. Bands like Filament 38 showcase the best of what is out there in America and show that industrial or EBM is not a wholly European movement. I have even traveled to Cleveland to see one of their shows, and it's about time these boys got reviews.
Hank yanks the author:
Hi, John [La Briola]. Henry Rollins here. You must have written some crap ["Chin Music," January 22]! I got some e-mails from people, and I guess they thought you weren't so informed on the topic of me. I knew it from your corny line of questioning and your tone. What do you bench? Have you sold out? What a bore you are.
John, you have to use your brain when you come to the net next time. If you're going to confront, then do it, boy. That amateur pseudo-intellect stuff is not going to get you anywhere. Anyway, man, best of luck to you. You need to work harder. I'm sure you will. Any time, son.
Don't overlook mature, female readers:
As an avid reader of the Free Times, I was hoping that Scene would integrate some of its focus and style. During the past few months, I have noticed a new trend: The articles seem to be oriented toward the hip young instead of the broader reading public; and, in place of "hard-hitting," somewhat balanced feature articles on local issues, I notice a condescending and aggressive writing style. The articles appear to sensationalize issues.
Furthermore, there are no human-interest stories to balance the above. I miss Laura Putre's insightful and thoughtful stories about people and events. Women writers seem to have taken a back seat. The cultural scene coverage leans toward popular music and movies while ignoring classical music and the theater. Overall, Scene appears to be oriented toward young males. Alas, what can a mature, curious reader do now? Walk right past Scene?
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