Letters to the Editor

Railroad tracks

Re: Your two-part series on the conviction of Fredrick Freeman ("Reasonable doubt," Metro Times, Aug. 1-8), it doesn't suprise me. In this country you're "guilty until proven innocent" instead of the other way around (which we were taught in school) — and god help you if you can't afford O.J. Simpson's legal "dream team." I've been subjected to this country's criminal justice system many times so I speak from experience. —Philip J. Brzezinski, Ypsilanti


A job well done

What an excellent article and great investigative reporting on the Freeman case. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. As a paralegal and former legal investigator, I know too well how much time and effort are involved in putting together a story such as this. Your article has given me a renewed sense of appreciation for investigative journalism.

Thank you again for a wonderful piece of reporting. Your dedication to high standards of professionalism is commendable. —Matt Matteson, Novi


Wrong about art

Detroit News reporter Jonnelle Marte strikes a very sensitive nerve in her recent story, "Detroit's art scene fades: Area leaders see young talent moving away and local galleries closing" (The Detroit News, Aug. 8).

Like sports and entertainment, art has become a big business where performance — too often mediocre in the long run — can be overly compensated, while honorable, hardworking aspirants toil their hearts out, not for the love of money but in answer to an unceasing calling.

Visual artists in general, the Detroit variety in particular, have few or no support structures to nurture their success, though galleries — such as Liberal Arts, Biddle, Biegas, CAID, Zeitgeist, 555, 4731 — and the underground art news media — such as Nick Sousanis, Bryant Tillman, etc. — are trying.

The artists pretty much are in it alone and, despite the individual artist's talent and desire, collectors, connoisseurs and other lovers of art are not sufficiently encouraged to purchase Detroit work. Certainly not by the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News — neither of which has an art critic — nor the Metropolitan Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, which could be promoting visits to the remaining galleries, studio collectives, art associations and other "cool cities" venues that, in the aggregate, are extensive and show the work of many fine artists.

The argument that Detroit does not create collectible art is nonsense. The artists who have moved out are selling the same work in other cities. What we don't have is a publicly recognized art champion, someone who can create awareness, differentiate the broad array of styles and interpret the chaotic, raw style indicative of the area.

Detroit is a tough town and not for the faint of heart, but oppressive conditions generally induce the creative class, whose output generally makes statements about those conditions (Tyree Guyton, Jack Johnson and Tim Burke come to mind). I remind that all art movements originated with an upset.

Because naive reporters, their followers and other do not accept or understand the Detroit art scene, does not mean it has vanished or is drying up. What has dried up are corporate opportunities and sales to wannabe collectors whose money is tied up in real estate.

There are many good artists in town selling at well below the tens of thousands of dollars commanded elsewhere. That a few high-end galleries cannot make sufficient profit, and some artists have relocated to the art districts of major cities does not a fading art scene make. —Victor Pytko, Birmingham


Fenway's fears

Re: "Nostalgia among ruins" (Metro Times, Aug. 8), I am curious as to how Jack Lessenberry can "cynically wonder" about the feasibility of Mr. Harwell's renovation efforts for Tiger Stadium, stating that "whatever that part of Detroit needs — and it needs a lot, economically and otherwise — it doesn't need another vacant lot," when he has no problem with the mayor's plan to demolish the stadium, leaving a vacant lot without any alternative plan in place.

Renovation is all about looking to the future, not about nostalgia. Lessenberry's energies would be better spent working to solve the 'vacant lot' problem, not mocking those who are trying to do the right thing. —Erika Tarlin, member, board of directors, Save Fenway Park!, Boston, Mass.


Burning questions

Why is it that the city of Detroit has no money to tear down the thousands of abandoned houses in the city but it has enough money to tear down Tiger Stadium? —Allen Salyer, Troy


Purple haze

This is Phil Attee, and I just wanted to send a little thank you for the shout-out in the article on "The Bang!" (Night Tripper, Metro Times, Aug. 8). In case anyone is wondering what it looks like when someone jump ropes in a "drunken purple blur," I've attached a picture that Jason Gibner took of me that night. I hope to see you folks at the next Bang! —Phil Attee, Ann Arbor

Send letters (250 words or less, please) to [email protected]. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.

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