The recent article PitchWeekly ran on the BMX tracks in Kansas City has had quite an impact (“BMX-ing the Metro,” May 18-24).
On Monday, June 5, I attended a Louisburg City Council meeting and learned that the proposed BMX track in Louisburg is getting more serious study due to the many facts presented in Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell’s well-researched article. The city council is studying this new information and will no doubt make a much more informed decision because of her article. Warren McCandless, the mayor of Louisburg, commented he thought the article was very balanced and middle of the road and offered some good information. Even Gerri Grove, the track organizer, had to agree. Steve Pragman, city councilman, provided copies to all of the city council members and told them that the article was required reading before making any decisions on the BMX track in Louisburg. The proposed BMX track has now been postponed until at least December due to previous commitments on the land where the new track site is proposed to be built.
The next day, I learned from a friend who used to work for the Raytown Park Department that the City of Raytown is getting lots of calls from angry Raytown city residents wanting to know more about their city government’s involvement in the BMX track in the Raytown city park. There are apparently many questions being raised about what financial contributions the city made with taxpayers’ money to help build this track in addition to the free parkland and what impact it is having on their community. According to my friend, the Raytown city officials are scrambling to read the Pitch article too. I gave him a copy to take to them. If you have any spare copies of that issue, you may find a home for them at Raytown City Hall.
It is very refreshing to see this kind of journalism being practiced in Kansas City on local issues of importance to our citizens. It is this kind of well-researched contribution to the facts that makes the Pitch article stand out when compared to the poorly researched and confrontational approach taken by The Kansas City Star. What a contrast! Keep up the good work. And give Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell a big raise. She has earned it.—Larry Robinson
Kick it up a notch
I’m interested in knowing whether New Times plans to do anything about the dearth of good news and feature material in the Pitch lately. I’m not complaining about the stories you are printing; I’m complaining about the number of stories you AREN’T printing. Since the Pitch was sold to New Times, I have watched the number of hard-hitting news and feature stories dwindle to two or three per week (including the cover story), plus letters.
Jeezus, guys, isn’t there anyone else in KC who’s interested in reading something other than entertainment stories and kinky sex ads? Maybe I’m the only reader complaining, but I doubt it.
Come on, scoop The Star. Stir up some shit. Piss off everyone at city hall before your newspaper turns into an alternative weekly shopper.—William Peck
Kansas City, Missouri
A baadasssss era of film
I was a bit disappointed with the news that many on your film review staff had been canned. I actually liked them — especially Dan Lybarger, a nice guy who really knows films — and met them on many occasions. That said, let me tell you that the new format you are using in film reviews is a bit long and sometimes rambling, but the recent review of Shaft had me scratching my head (“One Bad Mutha,” June 15-21). Jon Niccum said in the review that the term “blaxploitation” was a negative term.
Now, having met and worked with people from the “blaxploitation” era of film, I can tell you that some love that term and some hate it, but I, for one, think it was fitting in that era. The ’70s were full of such exploitation films as Big Doll House, Caged Heat, Chatterbox, and Ilsa — The Wicked Warden, but the films at the time made for drive-ins from black filmmakers and black actors were black exploitation films. They were made, in many cases, by black artists for black audiences at that time and dealt with some very strong issues for their time. The term distinguished those films from ordinary exploitation films, not as a bad term, but as a good one.
As I sit and write this I am watching Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde with Bernie Casey, a great film and one that I feel entertained audiences. I agree that most films today made for black audiences always have to throw in some angle about racism, but it is odd that these films from the ’70s don’t; they tackle issues that they feel are important, but unlike today, they are not so concerned with being p.c. and making some big statement against others. Rudy Ray Moore attacked dope pushers and gangsters no matter what color they were — black, white, Asian … it didn’t matter. Bad and good people come in all colors. I saw Tales From the Hood and liked it — but almost every story in this Tales From the Crypt rip-off had to make a racist statement. Almost all the villains were whites who wronged a black person in some way. I understand this is the post-Spike Lee era, but as Rudy Ray Moore told me when he was here in town doing my film Violent New Breed, those were great times for black film actors and directors. It was the first true outbreak of black film in this country, and there has never been one like it since.
I grew up going to Kansas City drive-ins every weekend, folks, and seeing Blackenstein, TNT Jackson, Black Belt Jones, Dolemite, Blacula, and all these great films was a great treat. They all had different themes, different ideas, and GREAT music. It is sad that the black directors today don’t actually WATCH these classics and learn from them. I suggest finding the book, What It Is…What It Was; The Black Film Explosion of the ’70s in Words and Pictures at your local bookstore and buying it for more info on the scene; it is nostalgic and fun. Also, many of the older films are on video, and I suggest watching them. I was a crazy white kid in the suburbs of Kansas City North, yet I found them diverse, fun, exciting, and culturally enlightening. Maybe you all can enjoy them as much as I did.—Todd Sheets
Kansas City, Missouri
Trim bodies, great mullets
“Sand-bagged” by Scott Wilson mostly isn’t worth responding to (Reverberations, April 13-19). He’s welcome to his worthless opinions, though why he thinks everyone else should like the same things he does, I have to wonder. However, I must protest his describing artists he doesn’t like as being fat, even though that’s far from the case. This heterosexual female REO Speedwagon and Styx fan is well aware of the trim bodies of the band members.—Ellen Kozisek
Kansas City, Kansas
Blinded by the light
I wanted to comment on the article Shawn Edwards wrote for the Pitch (“Is the Jazz District Dead?,” June 1-7). I reside around the 18th & Vine district, and in reading his article, I discovered some things I never knew. I never knew that Tariq’s Deli was located in the Lincoln Building. After reading the article I became upset with how the city has made no attempts to better this area while the Plaza and Westport are continually being revived.
My true comment is that I would like to see this area brought back to life, but how can I become involved in that effort? As stated, there are not many businesses to patronize, so I know that is really not an option. So how can I get my hands in the grind and help where I can? If you have any information or know the people I can contact, I would greatly appreciate it.
I really enjoyed the article, and you really shed some light on the situation. It opened my eyes to what’s really going on.— Joy Prim
Kansas City, Mo.
Behind the music
I appreciate the two-dimensional article Andrew Miller wrote about the Streetpunk 2000 festival (“Skin Deep,” June 8-14). It was insightful, for once, to let someone from “our side” talk about how it really is and to not let “us” look like a bunch of idiots with messed-up mentalities. It isn’t like that at all.
Thank you for letting us have a voice in the matter!—Name withheld on request
Springville, UtahDan Henry said it would be like this
I wish to register my extreme displeasure with your recent “Around hear” item, “Jeter loves me, this I know…” (The Note, May 25-31). Not only was its title unforgivably blasphemous, but the article was so riddled with error that I must presume your scribe Robert Bishop only pretended to understand the lilting, brackish patois unique to my region of the country (Wyandotte County).
Either that, or he’s gone and done the same fool thing as my Uncle Jimmy, who plunged a plug of Redman deep into his ear canal one day instead of between his cheek and gum, and thereafter would grab his beechwood cane with the head of Teddy Roosevelt on top and start thrashing my little brother every time Ma said, “Supper’s ready,” ’cause he thought she was telling him to “Scupper Eddie.” Now Eddie’s doing ten big ones at the James Naismith Memorial Correctional Facility outside of Chanute for arson, extortion, and misuse of the mails (an intricate Ponzi scheme targeting only local former television personalities — Mother Nature, Colonel Billy, Dan Henry, Janie from Milgrim’s, etc. — went drastically, tragically awry, and when it was all over, a young man’s life was broken and half the River Quay was in flames). Some scars never heal.
And, how come every time someone says, “Let’s go out to the Experimental Farm in Johnson County and look at the mutant cows and chickens; they’re huge,” I go out there, but they don’t look any different from normal cows and chickens?
And furthermore, Clay Chastain? Puppy mills? Tech N9ne? Crohn’s Disease?
P.S. Any errors in spelling or punctuation will be excused, as my hands are swathed in bloody tea towels, owing to a recent threshing mishap.
P.P.S. Tracy Quan Cherry is da bomb.— Big Jeter
Kansas City, KansasNot livin’ la vida local…
One of the reasons I read the Pitch is to see what the local (film) reviewers I respected and have grown comfortable with had to say. The Pitch is losing its local feel and its very loyal readers like myself.
I hope your publisher rots in journalistic hell.— Ryan P. Dolan