Week of January 26, 2005

Just Enough for the City
Through darkness into light: Mike Seely's "Lost Downtown" was brilliant [January 19]. I've been traveling between New York, Chicago and San Fran and now live here in St. Louis, in Lafayette Square. Every day I look for something new or hip on the downtown landscape. I'm practically addicted to any news or information that comes with the flavor of urban renewal: "What, Ikea downtown?" "What, Bottleworks?" "What, maybe a theater, trolleys? "Did NPR say 'St. Louis?'" City, city, city, city. I want it to fly, or to "be born," as Mr. Mercer's metaphor might predict. St. Louis truly is at some stage of proverbial phoenix.

Your article helped me to realize that in order to maintain the integrity of this transition we must not forget those beatnik souls that stuck out the hard times. Through darkness into light. Sometimes it's fun looking for things that have been lost; it's hard to have reunions without first losing something along the way.
Gregory Chad Kahl, M.D.
Saint Louis University College of Medicine

Let's hear it for peaceful coexistence: I was beginning to think the days of an eye-catching Riverfront Times cover that didn't involve sexualized meat were over, but "Lost Downtown" had me at hello. Great photos by Jenn Silverberg, inside and out, and a lively, wide-ranging, evocative piece of writing from Mike Seely. When good journalism and the phrase "surreally vacant box of shit" peacefully co-exist, I'm a happy reader.
Amanda E. Doyle, editor
St. Louis

Kiel Opera House -- or center of the universe? Great open and close, Mike. A little tweaking in the middle?

Emmett McAuliffe: Railway/Famous is not the most important cultural institution downtown. Kiel Opera House is the most important economic, cultural and civic institution downtown.

Margie Newman: Want culture? A six-minute walk south from your gallery is a Kennedy Center that should be delivering all the arts and culture you would ever desire.

Gary Grannerman: The Orpheum...or our Kennedy Center?

Think big, Professor Gerteis: The highways did not do in downtown, Grand Boulevard did in downtown, and still is. Didn't you attend "What Is a City?" on your campus in 1998?

Jim Cloar: Go back to Florida or follow Kimbrough to Portland.

Carolyn Toft: How much more destruction and waste?

Point of no return? Pretty close, friends. St. Louis does not struggle in a vacuum. Other cities are lapping us again and again. As close as St. Charles and as far as Minneapolis.
Ed Golterman

Remembering Nick
A fitting anniversary: I want to thank Jordan Harper for his column on the Race Rock concert [Radar Station, January 12]. You see, I am Nick Holmes' aunt. Nick's mom came across your article and shared it with the family. We were so happy to see that Nick's story is still being heard. Today, January 18, is the one-year anniversary of Nick's death, so your story came out at a very appropriate time.

I do need to correct a couple of things, though. Nick was actually a student at the University of Dayton and had traveled with friends to visit other friends at the University of Kentucky. There was a racial slur thrown at Nick's biracial roommate, but it was not Aaron Roth who said it; it was another in his group. Nick was working to break up the fight that ensued, and that is when Roth head-butted Nick. No one is sure why he did it, since Nick was apparently walking away, thinking he had broken up the fight. Nick didn't even see Aaron coming.

Again, thank you for keeping his story alive. It happened on Martin Luther King weekend last year and all of us are profoundly proud of Nick for standing up for the right thing. But we miss him more than words could ever say.
Patricia Weir

Fluid Mechanics
The hippest water you'll ever drink: We at Hip Hop H2O are flattered that Jordan Harper chose to feature our product in Radar Station [December 8]. Harper said it best when he stated, "The fact that we have to give water a name to get people to drink it is a sad part of America." He is absolutely correct. In America you have to put a label on things for people to buy and appreciate it. However, we would like to take this opportunity to provide you and the public with additional information that was not reflected in the article.

The influence of hip-hop culture is everywhere. It's in the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the music we listen to and now in the water. Hip Hop H2O is a healthy alternative, with a cool, hip twist. Sure, some say it's just water, but many will come to realize that it is the hippest water that they will ever drink! The fact that we market to children and adults that have yet to recognize the value of drinking plenty of water, versus sodas and other beverages, is important. If hip-hop is what keeps our youth excited and interested, Hip Hop H2O is definitely on the right track.

More importantly, we are committed to giving back to our community, as evidenced by our sponsorship involvement with local charities and charity events. For more information about our company, please visit hiphoph20.com or call us at 314-414-1800.
LaTonia R. Collins, media and
public relations manager

Hip Hop H2O

Thanks to Ms. Weir (see above) for setting the record straight regarding the circumstances surrounding the murder of her nephew.

Additionally, despite what we may have led you to believe in last week's review of Julius Caesar, the play contains no character named Octavia. In St. Louis Shakespeare's production, Penny Kols plays the role of Calphurnia. Octavius is played by Ben Ritchie.

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