RE: "Keith Hennessy/Circo Zero: Turbulence" [TBA Blog, Sept 12], a rather appalled response to one of the most controversial performances in this year's Time-Based Art Festival.
DEAR MERCURY—Totally agree with your review of Turbulence (A Dance About the Economy). The entire performance was riddled from beginning to end with art-school clichés, such as: dramatically taking all your clothes off; running laps around the audience; speaking in tongues; pretending to be hippies; wrestling; screaming, "I'm Zazu!"; telling the audience, "Well, whenever you want to leave is okay." Who is validating this middle school-grade "art"? Halfway through the night, during a group discussion period about debt and the economy, someone in the audience yelled out, "I want to hear a woman talk!" Julie Phelps then made a tasteless joke in which she lifted up her dress, pointed to her vulva, and said on the mic, "Well, I'm talking and I'm a woman." Guess what, Julie? In Portland we don't define gender by genitals! This regurgitation of Burning Man missed the mark.
RE: "Hope No More" [Feature, Sept 13], in which author Andrew R Tonry attends and reflects on the Democratic National Convention.
HI—I appreciated Obama's message in his convention speech. He did lose US Congress to the Republicans, not because of any fault of his own, but rather because America has developed a tendency to make a scapegoat of our leaders, and as soon as a new one assumes power we tend to swing away from that administration. The public generally cannot be trusted to make decisions for itself because we desire instant gratification over gradual progress. In Obama's case, I don't think he is stupid enough to disregard these facts. Only time will tell, but Obama seems to be smart enough to know that America needs to face some hardships in the immediate future if we are going to adapt to what is appearing to be a global economic meltdown. My hope is that we have finally elected a leader that is smart enough to know that he should spend his last four years in office preparing us for what may be the most difficult century the world has faced yet.
DEAR MERCURY—As a yearly visitor over the last 14 years, I think Portland should be ashamed of itself. Seeing the amount of homeless people begging for dimes and food on street junctions is an absolute disgrace. This is a fine city, progressive in lots of ways, if only the powers that be could and sort out this problem. Portland should show the rest of the USA what can and should be done to help and sort out people's lives. How long before the city (to quote Bruce Springsteen) takes care of its own?
RE: Up & Coming [Music, Sept 13], in which Anthrax's performance at the Roseland Theater is previewed with tepid positivity.
DEAR MARK LORE—Cons: They are partly to blame for horrible, horrible nu-metal. Anthrax side project S.O.D. is better. Pros: They are totally not responsible for the domestic terrorism incident of late 2001. Last year's album was really good.
RE: Up & Coming [Music, Sept 6], in which Willie Nelson's performance at the Sleep Country Amphitheater is previewed with a list of heroic factoids about the musical icon, including that he once hid his guitar, "Trigger," when the IRS tried to "repossess his shit."
TO THE MERCURY VIA VOICEMAIL—Hi Erik, my name is John Neff, and I have a studio over here at Sonic Media Studios. I got a kick out of your write-up on Willie Nelson, but one point was wrong, in that his guitar "Trigger" was in fact seized by the IRS. I know that because I had a studio in Maui with Walter Becker at the time, and Willie came up to record there, and I loaned him two of my guitars for about six months, one of which he signed in payment.
WOW, JOHN, you already have the best prize of all, but we offer you two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater anyway out of respect for your bragging rights. Use 'em before the IRS can get their mitts on them!