Reviewing the critic
It was a dark and gooey delight to read John Mendels(s)ohn's assessment of the current Madison music scene ("How We Sound," 1/25/08). I laughed out loud several times and recalled with muddled nostalgia the articles and reviews he used to write for Rolling Stone, Creem and other mags.
Mendels(s)ohn was known in the day for taking the Kinks, the Who, and other Mod heroes to task. To the local artists he criticized, remember - even bad press can be useful.
It should be noted that prior to his writing career, Mendels(s)ohn was the original drummer for Halfnelson, the band that evolved into Sparks (he was kicked out), and also the founder of Christopher Milk, a glam/pop group whose one 1972 Warner Brothers LP received its (some think) justly due share of negative reviews. I hope we'll see more of John Mendels(s)ohn's entertaining writing in Isthmus.
To the formerly famous Mr. Mendels(s)ohn (whom I'd never heard of): There's an old saying here in Madison: Those who can, do. Those who can't, write for Isthmus. What instrument do you play, and when can we hear you play it?
John Mendels(s)ohn's comment that our music scene "doesn't have much sex appeal" brings to mind a quote from poet Brendan Behan: "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves."
Ray L. Rideout
So let me get this straight. John Mendels(s)ohn comes to Madison, finds out what everybody around here already knows, and you find that newsworthy?
Randy Green, Randy's Recording, Cottage Grove
Dear L.A. reject: Welcome to the farm league. How bad of a writer do you have to be to be sent to "flyover country"? The local nutbars at Isthmus might be impressed by losers from L.A. with "credentials." But I'm not.
Do your homework. Go to some shows. Figure out what you can do to make the scene better. Meet the musicians. Don't use your beloved connections to David Bowie to get a cover article. In short, shut the fuck up!
Please extend my thanks to John Mendels(s)ohn for mentioning me. How flattering that a self-described "formerly famous music critic" would take notice of my little performance.
For years, those who have seen the MadCabaret - not to mention my family and friends - have described me as some variant of "fervently obnoxious," but to see those words in print somehow seems to validate my work.
More important, I am delighted that my colleague Ivana Getchacokov (Francie Phelps) is finally receiving the praise that she is due. One would be hard pressed to find a more captivating performer in all of Madison.
I offer a hearty welcome to Mr. Mendhels(s)ohn. I hope he finds Madison as welcoming as I have.
Pierce Bottoms (Martin Price), Milwaukee
Regarding Rick Berg's analysis of Ron Paul: Spewing lies seems to be his stock-in-trade. Referring to Ron Paul, a legitimate and principled candidate, as a curmudgeon and bigot exposes Berg as just another shill for the appointed frontrunners ("Be the Decider," 2/1/08).
Ron Paul is the only conservative candidate who has never voted for a tax increase, never voted for an unbalanced budget, voted against going to Iraq, calls for the end of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security, and wants all troops brought home from over 700 bases in 137 countries. Of course, had the readers relied on Berg, they would not know these things about Ron Paul.
It was nice that Isthmus promoted Gail Ambrosius' chocolate ("Consumed With Passion," 12/21/07). It is with great enthusiasm that I suggest featuring other local chocolatiers.
David Bacco, a true artist and perfectionist, will be opening his own place, David Bacco Chocolates. Nilda's Chocolates is a hidden treasure on East Johnson Street. She teams an exquisite toffee with chocolate.
The chocolate pioneers in our area are Claude and Ellen Marendaz of the Chocolate Caper in Oregon. They have lived, breathed and made outstanding chocolates and pralines since 1984.
There are also delicious hand-dipped chocolates from Maurie's on Monroe Street; he has shown the love of making chocolate since 1993. James J. Candy Kitchen has been in business for 17 years.