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Moscow on the Patapsco

Posted 2/12/2003

In response to Blake de Pastino's article about the upcoming Vivat! St. Petersburg festival: Let's see. . . . Baltimore will be flexing the full muscle of its well-established and respected arts community to celebrate the 300th anniversary of a magnificent center of modern culture, luring curious patrons to local museums, galleries, and stages ("Russian Roulette," Feb. 5). Somehow I fail to understand how such an event could possibly be a bad thing for Baltimore. The fact that it will bring Washingtonians and other out-of-towners should help reinforce the notion of Baltimore as a major cultural center. Although it may seem like a hard pill to swallow for Baltimore's anti-establishment crowd, to have tourists and "contrived" festivals featuring magnificent art will always be better than efforts to keep Baltimore as it is seen through such shows as Homicide or The Corner. Personally, I look forward to the Russian avant-garde exhibit at the Walters Art Museum. City Paper should embrace Vivat! and make us feel welcome.

Robert J. Kogan
Washington, D.C.

Blank Check

Regarding the "The Big Payback" interview with Raymond Winbush regarding reparations (Feb. 12), I have several questions . . .

How much money are we talking? Enough to buy a Lincoln Navigator? Enough to buy a house in Montgomery County?

Would reparations be enough money that my bus driver would quit her job and my bus wouldn't show up? Would getting reparations be like winning the lottery?

How black would you have to be to get reparations? What if people do a reverse Michael Jackson and darken their skin to get some reparations?

Will future generations be eligible for reparations? If so, how many generations into the future will get the reparations?

Is the federal government the only entity big enough to pay reparations on a massive ongoing scale? And if the United States breaks apart à la the old Soviet Union, who will pay the reparations?

What if the fat cats in Washington do decide to pay reparations, using old Confederate currency instead of Federal Reserve notes?

What if we don't build a Star Wars missile defense in time to prevent a sneak nuclear attack by the Russians and Chinese and all the big cities full of people who want reparations are wiped out?

Just a few questions I'm trying to squeeze into the "debate" regarding reparations in this pre-apocalyptic period.

B. Brestel
Baltimore

Grace Note

Thank you, Bret McCabe, for writing about Radiant Pig and its wonderful new release, Daily Grace (No Cover, Feb. 5). I share your admiration of Liz Downing's talents. But, yikes! You talk about Radiant Pig as if it were Liz's solo project, rather than the playful, outrageous, sophisticated, and mysterious combination of Liz Downing and Michael Willis' writing, singing, and performing. It's like reviewing Abbott without Costello. As a longtime friend and colleague of the duo--i.e., Liz and Michael, not Abbott and Costello--I felt compelled to set the record straight. Thanks.

Diana Froley
Baltimore

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