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Never Heard of That?

Posted 8/26/2009

No wonder Baltimore is in the shape it is in (Councilmania, Mobtown Beat, Aug.19). I find it absolutely incredible that, number one, City Councilwoman Belinda Conaway (D-7th District) does not know who Little Melvin Williams is, and, number two, that she did not know the MAIN use for flavored tobacco wrappers. Or as anyone past the age of 10 would say, "blunts." How can you represent a district when you have no idea about one of the most famous (some would say notorious) residents of your own district? How can you represent a district when you don't even know a common, basic urban ill that children even know?

This is proof positive that ALL future and present councilmen and councilwomen should be made to view The Wire so they will at least know the culture of the city they govern. Make them take a test to show that they know where they are and that way they can at least fake some local knowledge. Un-fucking-believable, the folks who are dragging this city down.

Sherman Stephens

Too Big, Too Bogus

Anyone who is "totally a fan of the Jonathan Borofsky sculpture in front of Penn Station" is suspect ("Public Artist," Feature, Aug. 12). To Gary Kachadourian, who is leaving the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA), I say good riddance. It might occur to this gentleman that being an artist and "making art" are two separate pursuits. Reading your interview, with its plethora of buzz words and over use of the word "like" was tiresome.

I'm weary of public art that's only reason to exist is to get into your face. The "Male/Female" monstrosity is a perfect example. Unlike Kachadourian, I doubt it will be a well-loved object in 50 years--hopefully by that time it will have been relocated. So much public art is an intrusion only for the sake of enriching its creator. Rarely is thought given to the community into which one of these horrors is dropped! 

A number of years ago, Richard Serra inflicted a metal abomination on a park in New York City. It was of no concern that the structure (I won't dignify the object as "art") took away a vest-pocket green space where workers enjoyed eating lunch or getting a breath of fresh air. Mercifully, it was moved to a more suitable location (unfortunately not the bottom of the North River) after enough locals petitioned to have it moved. The art community was in a snit and deplored the great unwashed failure to appreciate Mr. Serra's "public statement." 

Just because something is "jarringly big and noticeable" that does not make it art. The same can be said for the gold fences that encircled the parks of Mount Vernon Place. This, too, was "public art" and it definitely made a statement. Again, Baltimore's art establishment applauded the effort and no doubt the young "artist" has been enriched many times over for his contempt of the neighborhood. 

Gary Kachadourian's rendering of a trash can exemplifies my impression of "public art." Good luck to him as he continues in his calling--just don't foist it on the rest of us who understand the difference between art and "making art." 

Rosalind Nester Ellis

Bob and Weave

I must admit I was excited when most of the black TV shows were canceled, because I was sick and tired of seeing those bad weave jobs trying to fit in with white culture on TV ("Hair!" Social Studies, Aug. 12). I remember my daughters and I being upset that Angela Bassett had a horrible weave job in her movie with Bernie Mac. I watched the movie Boomerang recently and found myself missing the days when sistas wore different styles. Lauryn Hill's look disappeared and bad weaves took over. I remember one day a white female coworkers noticed how black women care more about their hair than their bodies where white women are raised to be vain (braces, skinny, etc.). Please Mrs. Obama, stay natural (perm allowed) and leave the bad weaves on the horse.

You should hear how often I hear, "Do you wear your hair short and natural because you're lazy?" Can't I refuse to put chemicals in my hair? I must be lazy in this fake and phony culture. Tell Chris Rock to ask his wife why being light-skinned with long hair has taken over the black female mind.

Sharon Wright

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