HURRAY FOR SEGWAY!
In recent discussions about the Segway scooter [News clips, "Gangway for Segway!" March 7], its close relationship to electric-powered wheelchairs (or powerchairs) has been ignored or forgotten. It's significant that the inventor [Dean Kamen] first came up with the Ibot stair-climbing wheelchair. As a powerchair user and designer, I was thrilled to hear about [Ibot's] existence—and certain it would not be available to buy anytime soon, if ever. The powerchair market will not support a $20,000—$25,000 per unit leap of technology, no matter how wonderful it is. I knew [Kamen] would have to use the technology in something else first to get the economies of scale that would bring down the price—enter the Segway.
The future of my mobility, and of millions of others, is tied to the success of the Segway. Not only could it someday allow me to go up and down stairs, but how it's received publicly will result in a world that is either more friendly or more hostile to small wheeled mobility devices. I would love to be a regular pedestrian who doesn't need a "crutch," but it ain't gonna happen. And please, if you really want to defend the sidewalks, fight the real culprit—the automobile.
GIVE 'EM THE AX!
I love that City Council members are looking to give the ax to high-paid city employees ["Chopping Block," March 7], especially given the fact that they recently voted themselves a pay raise (they prefer to call it a cost-of-living increase).
Christopher Frizzelle is a jerk. While his article on "the sorry-ass state of Seattle's spoken-word scene" [Spring Books, "Step Away From the Mike," March 7] goes far in credentialing him as a pseudo-intellectual, it does little to serve readers. Blanket disrespect for an entire local arts community was almost amusing, say, 10 years ago. These days it is neither entertaining nor informative. It's been done to death [and is now] the province of hack self-styled critics at second-rate newspapers jonesing to fill 32 column inches before some deadline.
In fairness, Frizzelle does make a few valid criticisms. Local poetry readings are frequently so well attended that it can be hard to find a seat; however, poetry types are usually pretty friendly about sharing table space in crowded coffeehouses, so I can only assume it was Frizzelle's abrasive personality that cost him a chair. He also made the point that long preambles to poems are boring, and I agree; however, he presented that "ritual" as the rule rather than the exception at open mikes, which it is not. Long preambles also detract from letters to the editor, so I'll summarize. . . .
I have been performing poetry in Seattle for four years and competing in the Seattle Poetry Slam for more than two. Most amateur poets have day jobs, and we still take the time and energy to write from our hearts, fine-tune it, and perform it for free for the community. People can come hear some truly magnificent poetry on a weekly basis for little or no money. What does Frizzelle do magnificently on a weekly basis? Certainly not write [articles]. Maybe he should try poetry.
His article might have been more compelling if he had dared to get up on stage and present something. This challenge is still open to him, and as per his request, I promise not to clap if he sucks.
DEFENDING THE DICKS
In the Feb. 28 Seattle Weekly, [there was] an article about an art opening featuring work by Patricia Ridenour at Benham Gallery ["A Well-Hung Show"]. I was there. What I saw was disturbing, but much of what you stated about the artist's behavior was, by my measure, grossly exaggerated. I saw that Ms. Ridenour was upset. I never heard her raise her voice or "fly into a rage." She did state that the gallery owner [Marita Holdaway] was spineless. [Holdaway said she wouldn't] show "the big dicks" in her front gallery, even though that was where she had hung the show originally and where those of us who know the caliber of Ms. Ridenour's work expect to see it. I also saw many other people who were disturbed that the show had been downgraded to the back room, but I never saw anyone who appeared "bewildered" by Ms. Ridenour's actions. I am of the opinion that the average art viewer is not so much an "innocent" and is probably interested in the human experience. The gallery's cowardice was a supporting statement of Ms. Ridenour's artistic goal with this show to challenge our society as a patriarchy where we are willing to show women in any exposure and not willing to look at men.
Laura M. Cospito
I'm a photographer, and I know [Benham Gallery owner] Marita Holdaway. She makes a big contribution to the photography community of this city. She offers quality gallery space to emerging photographers as well as established artists.
I don't know Patricia Ridenour but know of her, and I'm familiar with her work—including the recent big-dick photos ["A Well-Hung Show," Feb. 28]. I have not had the success as a photographer that Ridenour has had. But as a former sales manager, and owner of a business, I know something about people and business.
You quote Ridenour as saying "hopefully we'll look back on this like we do on Manet's Olympia scandal and think it's silly." I wish her luck! She threw a loud tantrum in a most inappropriate place at a most inappropriate time. She bad-mouthed a business owner in her business space before customers. Her charge of censorship because her work was moved from one room to another as a business decision by a business owner who tried, but was unable, to contact her about the move before doing so doesn't wash very well. Her "scandal" smells of self- promotion. She has achieved notoriety that I believe she will come to regret.
There are far more photographers than art galleries. I assume that gallery owners, like most people, don't like dealing with people who promote themselves at their expense. Marita is a nice person. Perhaps she will be more tolerant of Ridenour's behavior than I would be. I think that [Anna Fahey's article] was fairly written.
George P. Hickey
PATHETIC, INFANTILE, POINTLESS
Having accidentally stumbled upon Brian Miller's review of We Were Soldiers ["The Warriors," Feb. 28], I must confess his grasp and use of the English language is as pathetic and infantile as his views on the quality of this film. His obvious disrespect and lack of knowledge of the events surrounding this battle make his attempts at intelligent, objective review as pointless as his vulgar use of adjectives. Was he a temp hired for the day? In the future I would suggest writers with at least a rudimentary grasp of the subject they write on.
William W. Roberts
MONEY FOR MONORAIL
In last week's story on the monorail, "Bridge Bombshell," Erica C. Barnett wrote that the "final cost estimate" for the system's two water crossings (to West Seattle and over the Ship Canal in Ballard) was somewhere between $110 million and $160 million. Those figures actually represent an initial range and are expected to change as cost estimates for various stages of the project become clear; a cost estimate for the entire system will be released in August. Seattle Weekly regrets the error.
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