It was a treat learning the latest about "Hounds" ("Newshounds in the 'Hood," 5/6) with whom I'd shared assorted acquaintances. Terry Denton was the one who turned me on to James Bush's grasp of community affairs and his ability to report them in a manner that's unmatched by any other Seattle writer.
His report on the tenuous state of neighborhood publications was not so happy. They've represented a struggling industry for many decades, but this modern era of chain consolidations and radio-TV competition seems to have robbed them of the chance to prosper and serve their communities in the fashion John Murray and Flaherty managed to take advantage of.
Thanks for another fine article and Mr. Bush's apparent ability to maintain your integrity in this day and age of deranged mediocrity.
Committed to community
Kudos to James Bush for telling and showing the story of community newspapers in the Seattle market ("Newshounds in the 'Hood," 5/6). His insights and observations accurately reflect the realities we face and the reasons we persist.
That story could be told elsewhere with similar implications, and would still reflect the single-minded commitment weekly publishers share. As Diana Kramer (WNPA executive director) points out in the story, big city dailies are ill at ease when they visit the grassroots. That's ironic, since most Americans live there now.
The risk is worth it, we think, for several reasons. First, where people live seems a likely place for news. Second, the changing market is notoriously fickle. Third, sometimes you believe in a community because that's how communities themselves endure.
Thank you for James Bush's piece on community newspapers ("Newshounds in the 'Hood," 5/6). I would like to correct one item, however: The quote attributed to me regarding the redesign of The South District Journal should have been attributed to our editorial director, Mike Dillon.
Thanks again for the good work you do.
Pacific Publishing Co.
OTB cult of personality
As a member of the art community, I have to take exception to Roger Downey's one-sided article about On the Boards ("Does OTB Have a Death Wish?" 5/6). His article perpetrates the stance of one group that believes an artistic administrator can do no wrong.
Mark Murphy and Sara Pasti are both arts administrators. They were asked to resign because they were not doing their jobs—primary among which was working together.
The unattributed implication that Pasti was somehow power hungry after raising $4 million borders on slander. Ms. Pasti has a national reputation. Before being recruited to apply for the OTB job, Pasti worked at another world-class presenting arts organization, the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Prior to that, Pasti worked for a range of arts organizations in New York City. She proved herself quite capable of working with strong artistic leaders. Pasti is not a new kid on the block.
Let's read between the lines here. The continued reference to the art community being up in arms belies the fact that the board of directors of OTB is part of the art community. Several are artists, in multiple disciplines. Many artists—myself included—have been involved in volunteer efforts to move into the new building, and have witnessed episodes of unprofessional behavior, over an extended period of time. Can it really be that the board members, wrestling with a situation for six months, were all hoodwinked and manipulated into asking for two resignations? Is there any chance that Murphy may not have been doing his job as an administrator? That Pasti could not do her job as managing director? That the restructuring made by the board was called for?
As professional artists and administrators know, the board of directors of a nonprofit holds that organization in trust for the community—for all of us, not just the local dancers whose careers have been helped. I applaud the board for taking its brave action. Far from a death wish, the reorganization should enhance and maintain what the art community has built. And that goes beyond the cult of personality.
The arts prevail
As Mr. Downey knows, Terry Edward Moore was fired from the co-artistic director position of Seattle Shakespeare Festival two years ago, under very similar circumstances to the OTB debacle ("Does OTB Have a Death Wish?" 5/6). The major difference was that the SSF board would not admit to having fired him (supposedly for PR reasons), right before its season, and asked him to keep it a secret. Most people still do not know that a direct precursor to the Mark Murphy dismissal occurred not so very long ago, at a smaller theater. It is wonderful that, in the OTB case, the cruelly inept workings of the typical nonprofit theater board, as run by non-artists, did not prevail. Huzzah for the arts community that stood by this artistic director in his, and the community's, hour of need.
Former Casting Director/SSF
I got a real kick out of Michael Hood's article "Sherpas? Cuisine?" (5/6). Though I haven't been to the new Himalayan Sherpa Restaurant, I've eaten in plenty of places in Nepal, and judging by Mr. Hood's description, this one is authentic to its roots. What set me to giggling was his admirable attempt at explaining the unexplainable "ranch dressing, baked potato skins, Parmesan cheese, carrot sticks, and Himalayan chicken salad" on the menu. Anyone who's done the tourist thing in Nepal recognizes these as typical items on a Nepalese menu. In a country where tourism makes up 70 percent of the economy, the Nepalese have fresh salads ("washed five times in 2 percent iodine solution"), CNN, and reggae music.
Mr. Hood's article has me looking forward to visiting this new Himalayan Sherpa Restaurant and recapturing that adventurous expatriate feeling of my time in Nepal.
I think Ambrosavage is one of the best cartoonists ever. His wry humor is unmatched. I spotted his cartoon in earlier issues and have since found them again by doing a search on your Web site. I never can find them from your front-page links, however. Is his work still being used by Seattle Weekly?
I haven't seen any J. Ambrosavage cartoons since early April. Is he on vacation?
Ned van Alstyne
Cartoon editor: Ambrosavage's illustrations for Media Culpa ceased when Mark Worth retired that column. But his cartoons still appear on the SW Web site, www.seattleweekly.com. And we always want to know what cartoons you'd like to see in the paper (even if we don't have room to run them all).
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