Letters for the week of February 7-13, 2007 

Readers comment on Fremont crime, Oakland litter, and the battle over Wolfgang's Vault.

Page 3 of 4

Donating items: the Salvation Army and St. Vincent De Paul will come and pick up goods (clothing, household items, etc.)

Good old-fashioned garage sales: many communities and neighborhoods host multi-family garage sales and share the responsibilities of organizing and advertising. They also tend to attract more shoppers, because they like the idea of going to one place and having a variety of shopping options.

Stopwaste.org offers valuable recycling resources for residences and businesses. They also offer grants to help businesses become more "green."
Felicia Silva, Oakland

Prosecute Them
I really enjoyed this story. I feel that all too often the little guys are stepped on because they can't stand up for themselves. This story calls attention to a problem that all of us are already aware of, but no one seems to do anything about it. I hope the City of Oakland makes a better effort to prosecute these illegal dumpers who continue to take advantage of those whose voices are seldom heard. Well done, Robert Lewis.
Will Roberts, Chicago, Illinois

"Ungrateful Living Dead," Music, 1/10

The Dead Died
Your story is so on it's not even close to funny. This is the very reason this Deadhead of 37 years will no longer support them until they pull their collective greedy heads out of their asses. As unfortunate as it is, the Grateful Dead died with Jerry.
Jay Ashley, Murphys

I Ain't No Deadhead, But ...
Boy, talk about youthful arrogance and ignorance! This David Downs fellow wrote one of the most disrespectful pieces I can imagine about some of the most loved bands of the '60s and '70s in his article defending the entity called Wolfgang's Vault. Bill Sagan never could have obtained rights to distribute the content he streams "for free" on his Web site. Mr. Downs includes quotes from Sagan's attorney referring to the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and the Grateful Dead as "antique rock stars" defending their "old has-been goods." Mr. Sagan could have negotiated deals with each of these major artists to obtain permission to distribute these live shows, but instead chose to "just do it," for whatever reason — and it's difficult to understand the logic behind that decision. These genre-defining bands and artists deserve so much more from a supposedly "alternative" Bay Area weekly than some narrow-minded kid comparing Carlos Santana to Matchbox Twenty, and claiming that the Dead sound like Phish and the String Cheese Incident! Do any of the editors of your paper even have a clue?

Maybe the point of this article was to ruffle the feathers of those who would defend the likes of these "aging rock stars." Even so, what about the very fact that stuff that was created by Bill Graham to be distributed for free to his beloved audience is now being sold to the highest bidder on Wolfgang's Vault by a guy who obviously cares not about the music and the artists, but strictly about the profit? Their free live streams generated commercial traffic that more than pays for this supposedly "free" but actually "stolen" content. May the scam known as Wolfgang's Vault die the painful death it deserves for disregarding all the rights of these magical artists — and by the way, I ain't no Deadhead, but I do respect them for what they've done. The Internet offers and will continue to offer many incredible avenues of distribution for artists to consider as Web sites develop legal and fair ways to offer artists' work to their fans and beyond. That is how a bridge will be built between today's younger audience and these great artists.
Marc Weinstein, Berkeley

Jam Bands Suck
"Using the Vault, I discovered that Carlos Santana could really wail — I just thought he was that annoying guitarist for Matchbox Twenty. I also listened to my first Dead set ever. Not bad, even if it did sound a lot like Phish and the String Cheese Incident." Funniest line I read all week. I am still chuckling. Truth be told, all jam bands suck! I once lost a ticket to a S.C.I. concert that my friend insisted that I attend with him. He was so pissed at me that he wanted me to buy another ticket from a scalper; I obliged. Of course, thirty minutes later while in line to enter the show, I realized that not only had I lost one ticket, I had lost the second as well. Funny thing is that they sucked just as much listening from the fire escape as they probably did from the orchestra pit.
Pat Taylor, St. Louis, Missouri

Right on the $
Your article was right on the $! Just as outrageous are Neil Young and Robert Plant. I can see the Stones and Page suing, but I would think that the Dead, Young, and Plant would be above it. Thanks fo' yo' point of view.
James VanDevanter, Prince Frederick, Maryland

It's Unfortunate
It's sad, but the truth is that the surviving band members have actually succeeded in screwing a lot of people in recent times. Remember Doug Irwin who made Jerry's guitars, and after Jerry's death, they were supposed to go back to him? Well, the band sued him, claiming that they actually belonged to the band. Let's not even go into the fight that band members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Phil Lesh got into a few years ago over the band's tape vault. I guess none of this is actually news if you read a lot of the credible books put out since Jerry's death that say that this wasn't even that uncommon when he was alive. Now don't get me wrong, I AM a Deadhead, but it is unfortunate that the band has to be this way.
Jerry Smith, Tacoma, Washington

"Magic Touch," Film, 1/10

File This Under Horror
We strongly disagree with your opinion of Pan's Labyrinth, and we know that it received wide critical acclaim in the US. We can only conjecture that this is due to America's love for gore and horror movies. The gratuitous violence is not only entirely unnecessary (we already know that the Capitan is evil, and blood spurting is not poetry unless you are a closet sadist), it seems to have been included simply for the entertainment of audiences who appreciate gore. The assertion that "kids would surely appreciate it" is just plain wrong. My eight-year-old is quite used to seeing foreign films as well as cartoons, but certainly would have walked out of it in the very first scene. To compare a horror film to the sublime beauty of Spirit of the Beehive, which my eight-year-old loved, as did all of our close friends, is like comparing Chez Panisse with KFC. Sure, they both serve dinner, but what kind of dinner? File this movie under gore/horror, not drama. And don't bring a child, not unless you are trying to acclimate him or her to a world of brutal sadism.
Biff Stockton, Oakland

"Major Labels' Hyphy 2.0," Music, 1/10


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