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July 15-22, 2009

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Letters to the Editor

Back to the Future

YES, IT WOULD be nice to "Ditch the Plastic Forks!" (Bullhorn, July 8), but I think part of the problem is cultural.

I lived in China for a couple of years and there is no such thing as "to go" drinks and food--you consume it on the premises, with almost no packaging. (Although this is changing and China is a very heavy user of bottled water--because their water must be boiled first.)

There are also no salad bars in China, which I missed. But here I do wish I could use a tray and recyclable bowl (i.e., wash it) at my favorite salad/soup bar in Santa Cruz, like cafeterias of old.

I don't know about "cool," but maybe we need to return our culture a bit to a time--before there was a MacDonald's and everything was used exactly once.

Maybe someone will figure out to make old "cool" again.

Jim Rothstein,
Santa Cruz

No Grey Area

CURTIS CARTIER in "Sound Off" (Currents, July 1) wrote a piece about Franklin Williams. Like Curtis, we at Grey Bears believe that Franklin is a one-of-a-kind activist with a really big heart. Why he is looking for a new home for his stereo memorabilia is because 95 percent of the equipment belongs to him personally. If the equipment belonged to Grey Bears we would have no trouble finding the proper home for it. Four months ago, the office space essentially became a well-meaning storage unit on Grey Bears' property; it wasn't the stereo component store that we had intended it to be. Now we want to use the space for used medical equipment so that we can better serve people who have limited access to the equipment they need. Franklin has been very helpful with this project, making some important connections for us.

Just to get the facts straight, Franklin is neither a Grey Bear employee nor does he run the thrift store. He is employed by the National Council on Aging to develop employable working skills. NCOA is a great program for low-income seniors because it gets people out into the community doing useful tasks. We were fortunate to have Franklin with us for almost a year and he has done some really good work for us. Unfortunately the program runs out soon and Grey Bears, like many nonprofits in the county, is experiencing funding cutbacks which precipitate a freeze on hiring. We choose to cut back on staffing rather than cut back on services.

Lynda Francis,
Executive Director, Grey Bears

Fighting Widespread Ignorance About Jug Bands

WHILE I WAS happy to see the Firecracker Rag Jug Band Jamboree at Don Quixote's Music Hall in Felton listed in the Weekly's Beatscape section (July 1), I was disappointed to find that writer Paul M. Davis seemed to know nothing about jug band music, its place in the context of American music history or its relationship with the blues. Rather, the language he used in describing the music mostly seemed to trivialize and ridicule it and those who perform it. How is this supposed to inform readers who may also know nothing about jug band music, much less encourage them to go out and see it performed?

Yes, jug band music is fun to play and to listen to and it is essentially party music. Back in the 1920s and early '30s, jug bands entertained in town squares in the South as well as at backyard fish fries and barbecues, in saloons and even at the garden parties of affluent residents. Though jug bands played many of the popular styles of the day, they were also the first blues bands. Later in the '30s, jug bands faded out but interest in the music revived during the early to mid-1960s and several jug bands formed and recorded, including Jim Kweskin's Jug Band (featuring a young Maria Muldaur) and the Even Dozen Jug Band.

While mention of musical performances is appreciated, it really helps everyone if the writer makes the effort to learn about the music that's being presented and then writes with awareness and respect for the subject.

Bruce M. Engelhardt,
Santa Cruz

Failure to Detect Awesomeness

WHILE I WAS happy to see a listing of the improv troupes scheduled for the Improvfest ("Might of the Improv," A&E, July 8), I was upset and offended by the way you summed up "You Had to Be There." These five men are brilliant performers who deserve more than just a casual two sentences that mentioned "shoutouts" and other incredibly basic descriptions of generic improv. Your article read like the writer had never even seen You Had to Be There perform. For shame! As one of the five brilliant performers mentioned above, I invite you to come see our Aug. 8 show at the Actors' Theater, maybe then you can write something about our troupe that has substance and reflects how truly awesome we are. How truly awesome I am. I am awesome. Thank you.

Bob Nasr,
You Had to Be There

An Appreciation

JUST WANT TO SAY thanks for Stephen Kessler's sensitive and honest remembrance of Greg Hall ("Bard Under the Radar," A&E, July 1). I appreciated reading these words.

David Cummings,
By email

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