Week of November 12, 2003

Zooted Out
What are we, the Personals? Just checked out Mike Seely's elimiDATE article ["Girls Gone Mild," November 5]. Very interesting. I had no idea it was so staged!

I was wondering, do you have any way of getting in touch with any of the girls you mentioned? Namely Natasha or Talitha? I'd love to meet either of them, since they had no love connection (lol).
Lyle Perkins

Providing a public service: Isn't it nice that A.J. Miller took Adderall before his elimiDATE experience! Funny thing -- the Yahoo! Drug Index lists this on the Adderall site: "Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor."

Good to know that RFT is providing a public service to their readers by endorsing improper use of prescription medication!
Chris Fulmer
Homestead, Florida

Go Indians!
Charter member, Sanford-Brown fan club: I just wanted to let you know how fantastic I thought the story on the Sanford-Brown Indians was [Mike Seely, "Underdogs," October 29]. For so many, playing a sport on the collegiate level will only be a pipe dream, yet Coach Campbell is giving whoever wants it a chance to fulfill that dream.

It doesn't matter that they're not the winningest team. They are getting the chance -- something most people would never get at any of the big schools. And the playing cards were a terrific idea. Go Indians!
Karen Pszonka

Everybody's a Critic
Charter member, Gregory Weinkauf fan club: OK, no more kidding around. I want answers, dammit. I've just recently returned to the St. Louis area after five years elsewhere, and I'm wondering first of all, what happened to Riverfront Times movie reviewer Diane Carson? And second, and more important, why would a paper dedicated to promoting local culture pipe in syndicated movie reviews? And third, and most important, why -- in the name of Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci -- would that reviewer be Gregory Weinkauf? This man is the worst syndicated film critic in the country. Period. He writes like a thirteen-year-old girl with bipolar disorder.

Don't believe me? This, from his October 22 review of Sylvia: "Before you can say 'cinematic genius made manifest,' Sylvia is standing up in the boat, theatrically reciting lines from 'The Wife of Bath' to the contented bovines. Happy critic, happy happy critic." You can find better prose than this wadded up in the wastebasket of any eighth-grade English class. And you pay this man money.

I know that many papers like the RFT belong to larger media conglomerates, and maybe Weinkauf is somehow forced on you through such an arrangement. Or maybe this Weinkauf weirdo I just can't believe that any professional editor could possibly mistake his cutesy babbling for professional composition. What decision-making process has resulted in your paper putting its good name over Weinkauf's embarrassing reviews?
Richard Tar
St. Louis

Editor's note: Turn to page 38 of this week's issue for Diane Carson's (and other local writers') take on much of what this year's St. Louis International Film Festival has to offer. On page 37, hardier souls will find an introductory essay by Gregory Weinkauf.

Setting the record straight (we think): Though well intended, your 2003 award for "Best Citizen" relies on trivial image concerns to determine its winner ["Best of St. Louis," September 24]. Whether or not Robert Powell's game involves any "half-steppin'" is of little consequence compared to the unsettling insistence of your publication to select its citizen of the year based on his underappreciated state rather than his actual accomplishments. It is disappointing that St. Louis' self-proclaimed alternative voice would bash its city's vibrant contemporary art scene in defense of its choice for "Best Citizen." I don't see the connection between Powell's failure to attract the attention of "zeitgeist galleries" and his status as citizen of the year. Perhaps your award would be better titled "Underdog of the Year."

As a conceptual performance artist, I frequently visit both Powell's gallery and the Contemporary and have even written the concept for Powell's summer youth program. In this capacity, I would like to ask: What exactly is your problem with pop art? And more important: Why are you calling conceptual art "pop art"? If you're going to bash an exhibit or a "scene," let's at least get the name right. The two genres are not one and the same.

In your haste to declare the decline of St. Louis' conceptual art scene, you apparently missed the student exhibit at Powell's "outpost down the block" this summer. Talented student artists including India Church, Rafeeq and Aneesa Warfield and Chel Sea Valiant proudly displayed works of their urban environment, bringing clout to our city's place in the conceptual art world. As a legitimate conceptual performance artist trained in San Francisco, I am enjoying the apple martinis and the vibrant buzz. I miss the hipper-than-thous who visit from all over the globe to frequent the San Francisco clubs and lounges, my hometown of Denver, Colorado, and the beaches of LA.

Kudos to the Contemporary for bringing a taste of it to our Midwestern town. In all fairness, was it necessary to badmouth the museum down the street? In doing so, you belittle the international artists selected to exhibit in the opening show. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to gain the status of an international art star and to enjoy the status of our Contemporary?
Shame on you, RFT.
Kellie Stokes

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