Letters for the week of March 26-April 1, 2003 

Urban zoo, cartoon pooh, sellout trash, overdue bash, angry punk, knitting bunk, spare us all the gushy junk.

Billboard

Suburban Experience
I doubt I'm the only one of your readers who finds it ironic that your sister paper, the SF Weekly, lists art openings in the East Bay and includes more coverage of the East Bay art scene than the East Bay Express.

With the elimination of the calendar listings and their replacement by the aesthetically challenged "theme sections," it is becoming a lot clearer that the Express is targeting a suburban audience, rather than its prior urban (Oakland-Berkeley) one. I had a nice snort of sarcasm at the title, "Urban Experience."

While I appreciate the Express' benevolent gesture at encouraging the suburban set to experience Oakland, it is a bit unsettling to this Oakland resident to have their digs semiotically exoticized as an "experience," akin to experiencing wildlife in its natural habitat, or experiencing authentic [insert Third World country here] cuisine, by their local paper.
Sarah Lockhart, Oakland

Editor's note
In fact, the Express still features the East Bay's most comprehensive arts and entertainment listings. You may find these at our Web site, eastbayexpress.com

Partially Clips

Eclipse Partially Clips
Please stop wasting valuable space on that abysmal Partially Clips strip. Partially Clips is beyond lame. It's not funny. It's not ironic. It's not anything except annoying.

I could just not read it, true, but I fear for the unsuspecting masses who read Partially Clips for the first time. If I could rescue them, my life will have had meaning. To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, "This is not a strip to be tossed aside lightly; it should be thrown aside with great force."
David Bolick, Oakland

"Has CMJ Become the Monster That Ate College Radio?" Feature, 2/26/03

Just Like Wall Street
I have NOT paid attention to CMJ ever since I spoke to them about their comp CD a few years ago. What a racket! I declined to participate, as the comps were expensive throwaways.

The fact that CMJ is in our backyard is not pretty, but they DO need to completely clean house and start over or just shut down.

Problem is, they've built it up so big that even with the bad news, stations still keep participating. And CMJ knows it! It's too bad because the original concept was good. Remember, college radio is still a bumpy road. It's college, man!
John Sullivan, Long Island

Are There No Good Guys?
Excellent reporting about quite a sleazy topic. I guess we shouldn't be surprised with all the shady dealings of Clear Channel, but this is still inexcusable. Here's hoping that a more honest, relevant alternative can sprout up.
Jason Gross, New York City

"Truly Unverified," Planet Clair, 3/5/03

Perhaps You Should've Verified Your Story
In the Planet Clair column, WFMU program director Brian Turner denied e-mailing us to writer Katy St. Clair. This has brought our integrity into question, with reporters asking us questions like, "Are you faking these e-mails from CMJ staff and station deejays?"

We would never fake an e-mail. Heck, we even put hypertext links on the news items on our site to make it easier for reporters to confirm. The Ramones were all about integrity, and so are we. We always keep in mind WWJD: What Would Joey Do?

We don't know why Brian Turner would deny contacting us. He did e-mail us, twice. We've got the e-mails and other evidence to prove it. If your reporter had taken the time to ask us about his denial, we would have provided this information. She didn't. But she did feel free to question the content of our characters, and that we do not appreciate. One angry punk.
Scotty Unverified, Albuquerque, New Mexico

"Not Just for Grannies Anymore," Cityside, 3/5/03

Back to the Closet
My heartfelt condolences go out to the unintended victims of Alisa Weinstein's recent foray into alt-newsweekly cultural reportage. As an avid, longtime knitter whose genitals so happen to dangle, I feel a certain responsibility to speak up for the hundreds of East Bay men -- straight (gasp!) or otherwise -- who will no longer feel quite so comfortable settling in at their favorite cafe table with a skein of handspun Horstia.

Weinstein's treatment of public knitting as a sort of currency by which the urban hip might exchange phone numbers is as misguided as it is superficial. For men, knitting as a pastime (or even professionally) is nothing new; nor is it a thing of shame. Her unsubtle implication seems to be that this "emerging set of young hipster guys" wages a sort of quiet societal struggle akin to the handful of outspoken gay rights activists of the early '80s. To point out here the faults in either the degree or direction of her whispered analogy would be needless overstatement.

As far as appearances, she's pigeonholed the male knitter somewhere uncomfortably between emotive indie-rockers and unusually creative urban fashion plates. To be blunt, I don't care what "look" Steve Dawson favors, knitter or not. And while Christina is probably delighted that her store will probably see a brief influx in patronage, we all could have done without reading that "cute boys in Dickies pants and funky glasses browse the shelves" there.

Between this adolescent gushing and her unabashedly desperate lounge language -- "many women view the hobby as a sign of confidence and enlightenment in men" -- Weinstein has done a wonderful job in persuading me not to show my needles in public for the foreseeable future. And though as knitters we are not legion, our self-image has taken a collective bruising. I suppose we'll have to keep our hobby in the closet for a few more years.
Jeremy Stonecipher, Oakland

Correction
An item in the March 12 Critic's Choice section erroneously stated that Neville Brothers drummer "Mean" Willie Green is part of the group Bonerama. The accompanying photo of Green was similarly miscaptioned.

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