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Honor Bound At a banquet in Indianapolis this past weekend, the National Association of Black Journalists announced the winners of its annual Salute to Excellence Awards, which recognize exemplary coverage of people or issues in the African diaspora. Of the six awards given in the division for newspapers with circulations of 150,000 and under, Riverfront Times writers took home three. Randall Roberts' "It Was Just Like Beverly Hills," which caught up with former residents of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project, won the Enterprise category. In Sports, "Alley Cat," a profile of Lindenwood University bowler Emil Williams Jr., garnered first place for Mike Seely, who was recently named managing editor of our sister paper, Seattle Weekly. Ben Westhoff's "Rap vs. Rapture," which examined the burgeoning genre of Christian hip-hop, topped the Features category. The winning stories can be accessed via www.riverfronttimes.com. For a list of all the awards, see www.nabj.org /awards/excellence/2006.



NEWS REAL, AUGUST 17, 2006

Paper Rout You unduly smug sycophants, you: The RFT's coverage of the Post-Dispatch's complete lack of local news coverage is unduly smug [Chad Garrison and Ben Westhoff, "Newsless in St. Louis"]. When was the last time the RFT ran a "meaningful" local news story that did more than: give a rehash of a completely outdated local legend, profile some wacky man, woman or group doing something offbeat (not to be confused with newsworthy), or provide fodder for Unreal?

Where I come from, the alternative press is just that: They provide an alternative (and often more critical) insight into local goings-on, as well as a real attempt at investigative journalism. The RFT is just another sycophant to the big media empires that currently hold St. Louis in thrall.
Alissa Nelson, St. Louis

Feature, August 3, 2006

Hash Marks This old hasher: Unreal's "Jogging While Intoxicated" was very well written. I've been hashing since 1990 (now age 63). It's fun and anonymous. Thank you for writing about a fun idea and group of people, all around the world.
Oral Banger, Tampa Bay, Florida

A kinder, gentler hash? The raunchiness of the Big Hump rang true, as we did try them once. An outsider might come to the conclusion that all hashes are conducted like theirs. This is not so. I wish you would have added an extra story about other HHH groups and how they conduct their hashes. Not all HHH feel the need to have male locker-room behavior at their hashes. My husband and I ran with HHHs in the States as well as overseas, and in these hashes the behavior, words and sexual undertones were not included. Some were listed as family hashes, or male- or female-only. The family hash usually had 60-some hashers at each gathering and ages ranged from 1-year-olds to 80-year-olds.
Gail Rice, Ballwin On-on! I have to say, after nine years of hashing in various cities across the U.S., this is one of the best articles I've seen, in terms of really capturing the essence of it. Well done! So, have you been back to the hash yet?
Poopatrooper, Denver, Colorado Shout-out from Tampa: I'm a hasher in Tampa. You were dead-on about it being like a college keg party. In fact, that is how I explain it to everyone. It is a really cool subculture that accepts everyone. Just Google "[insert any city name] hash," press enter and automagically — 40 drinking buddies and a place to crash in any major city in the world. On-On.
Zamboneher, Tampa Bay, Florida Count us in for the next monsoon: Excellent article, Unreal! You have now missed two consecutive hashes, which makes you a backslider. When are you going to rejoin us? I can't promise monsoon rains every time. On-on!
Meta Arsehole, St. Louis

Feature, July 27, 2006

Theoretically Speaking They will know us by our pseudo-hipster smugness: Once again I am totally underwhelmed by an article in the RFT. I applaud the fact that you will even write about these "conspiracy theorists," but to do it in the usual smart-ass, pseudo-hipster smugness was expected.

I am a skeptic, but the works of David Griffin and Michael Jones are thought provoking. Although they are not from Missouri, they and their work is the foundation of the rational questioning of the 9/11 Commission Report. Westhoff's thesis seems to be that Dave vonKleist's and Michael Berger's endeavors give their lives meaning and direction, and without their "theorizing" they would be rudderless. That's just silly. He also mentions more than once that these men didn't know anyone killed on 9/11. That's irrelevant, and yes, silly.
Michael Keipe, St. Louis Jack takes back some rotten things: Bravo to the RFT for actually putting a foot forward in exposing the 9/11 scam. That is so much more I can ever say for any other St. Louis corporate-owned and -controlled media. After years of studying the pictures and information regarding the Pentagon crash (including the updated film released by the Pentagon several weeks back), I've come to the conclusion that only a mind-controlled zombie slug would believe a passenger jet hit the Pentagon on September 11. God knows what else actually occurred that day. My biggest fear is, if they can get away with what they did so easily, they can get away with anything. Again, bravo to the RFT for showing a little backbone. I take back a few of the rotten things I continually say about your paper. Good luck to us all.
Jack Petrovic, Affton

Stage, July 27, 2006

Play Things Deanna, wont you please? Can you please ask Deanna Jent to resign? Her review of Metamorphoses ["Cannonball!"] is proof-positive once again that as a member of the theater community she cannot offer an objective look at anything she is reviewing. She has obvious biases against and for certain actors she has cast in her shows and against certain directors and theaters she is threatened by. This production has received glowing reviews and, the night that I was there, a standing ovation. Picking out a misspelling in the program is merely a distraction and a childish waste of energy. (Especially when the RFT's own listing spelled the playwright's name incorrectly.)

Please try to give your readers something constructive to read and form an opinion by and not some insider's rant on what she would have done. Having her on staff is an obvious conflict of interest as she cannot possibly look objectively at anything without thinking she could always do a better job and knows exactly how things should be staged.
Sam Craig, St. Louis Ba-da Bing: White Christmas as a play is thin because White Christmas as a movie was designed not as high art but as an excuse for Bing Crosby to sing Irving Berlin [Dennis Brown, "Basic White"]. Outside of his turn as Frank Elgin in The Country Girl, Crosby basically played "Bing Crosby." It was a persona created by writer Carroll Carroll for the Bing's radio show and it carried him to become America's number-one attraction in movies, on records and in broadcasting. To ask someone else to assume that role is impossible. It's one of those strange show-business rituals, like the tribute album. Why listen to Bette Midler sing the Rosemary Clooney songbook when Rosie is only a CD away? Why go see someone else try to play "Bing Crosby" when the old groaner is sitting on the DVD rack?
Brian Johnson, Canton, Ohio

Stage, July 20, 2006

Who, What, Guare Guare dog: The House of Blue Leaves is one of those shows that one appreciates more with repeated viewings [Deanna Jent, "Guare Is Hell"]. Now, if you want to see a real Guare dog, search out Moon Under Miami. After a Chicago fiasco many years ago — so bad that a major theater company died after producing it — it seems to have rightly disappeared.
Hugh Spencer, Countryside, Illinois

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