As you may know, Mark Guest, one of the leads in the Vortex Theatre's most recent production of Moliere's Tartuffe, was taken ill at the beginning of the run and died this past final weekend. I cannot imagine what went through the cast's mind or that of director John Hardman, whose task was to take over Mark's role, no mean feat under the circumstances.
I didn't know Mark very well except to see him at some auditions. I cast him once in a play that never got done. I don't know how outstanding his work was over the years or if any other actor had a Mark Guest moment to unfold. I only wish I had spoken to him when Hardman had the original auditions for Tartuffe.
Mark's death underscores the hard truth of the actor's calling in that it is the most gossamer of creative acts. For all the time Mark worked on the stage here, what will be remembered? Actors supposedly are not about courting memory but living only in the present moment. It is also the ultimate truth in life, and the irony for Mark was that as an actor, he had to engage that truth over and over while living a life that wasn't so spiritually neat. Watching the final show this past Sunday, I realized once again that all actors participate in the same truth as well as, on occasion, the same despair. It is a most worthy calling.
On the way home that night, I thought of a Mark moment ... him playing Toby Belch in the Vortex's Twelfth Night. Bulging eyes, bulging stomach and an absurd sportshirt ... all surrounded by a gleeful laugh. I guess that's not a bad legacy. Mark, we'll see you at callbacks.
Frank Melcori Albuquerque
Just read your article in the Alibi [Thin Line, "Is Albuquerque that Dangerous?," Dec. 8-14]. You are right on. According to my statistics, we're 14th in the nation out of 360-some cities. The police department is doing a valiant job with what they have to work with. It's the jackasses, some city councilors and other politicians, who haven't got the stones to do anything about the crime that, in my opinion, is out of hand. Keep plugging and expose the shams for who they are.
Kevin S. Smith, President North East Alliance of Neighborhood Advocates (NEANA)
The Nitpickin' Boogie
In reference to the paragraph that you printed in your Dec. 15 issue under the "Music To Your Ears” column beginning with the phrase "More Room for Music at The Blue Dragon," I would like to clear up some of the points regarding that.
Yes, the pool table is "removed" but is not gone. It will rise again in an honored position repaired, refinished, resurfaced and with ample supply of well-maintained cue sticks and fresh chalk as the center stone to our new game zone.
It was never my intent to "separate the music" from the rest of the café as music is an integral part of the Blue Dragon. Our new sound system will broadcast the live music through the café and to the outside alcoves at appropriate volumes to provide a unifying ambiance for the whole environment.
The issue of "kitchen noise"—to this I wish to say, that in my humble opinion, from my kitchen comes the sound of good healthy foods and well-crafted drinks prepared by my intelligent and caring staff. When I listen, what I hear is not noise, but rather is the music of life.
As to patrons having "to fight their way through a crowd to order food," to my knowledge even though our food in many opinions is worth fighting for, I've personally never witnessed such an event. Furthermore, we have plenty of food to go around and are more than willing to serve our patrons regardless of our patrons' pugilistic skill or lack thereof.
In the future, our new space will allow some performances that require a "cover charge," but the rest of the restaurant would remain open for others who come to study or visit with friends. But as to the phrase, "the always free Blue Dragon," we who live in a real world know that nothing is ever free and that things come at some cost one way or another, and one should remember that ... the only constant is change ... for better or worse ... time will be the judge.
One more thing I wish to impart: More than a dozen seasoned performers have told me that I have created the best music space, acoustically speaking, of any commercial music venue in town. l assure all that it has never been my desire to be judged better than others but only to make a space that would be respectful to the performers and my customers, as they are so deserving of this. Lastly, I sincerely apologize to all my performers and customers for the delay in the new music and game rooms as they were planned to be up and running early in September, not November/December. I am sorry that goal was not achieved on time and I promise to do better in the future.
Norman Everett Blue Dragon's music agent, kitchen manager and business partner
Big League Bone Heads
(RE: Letters, "Curve Balls and Hatchet Jobs," Dec. 15-21) It's been fun watching apologists for Gov. Bill Richardson try to pooh-pooh the revelation that his long-heralded claim of being drafted by a big-league baseball team is phony.
Despite the discomfort to Richardson and his sympathizers, it's hardly "character assassination" (as Stephen Fox claims) for the Journal to surface a simple fact that popped the Gov's balloon: That's what newspapers do. Plus, you know it's not just partisan sniping when non-conservative pubs like the New York Times and Time Magazine pick up the story.
Fox wants us to dismiss the whole thing on the grounds of it being less significant than "really big lies" about Iraq. Of course, the baseball issue in itself is trivial. The real issue is personal integrity: What can we expect from Richardson in sticky situations at the state and national level when his approach to something as inconsequential as a baseball draft 40 years ago was to perpetuate his myth and hope nobody would pick up on it?
This whole fiasco was an issue only because Richardson made it an issue. It could have been put to rest years ago with a simple phone call from the guv to "his" team asking for clarification—if his priority had been getting at the truth instead of keeping up the big-leaguer could-a-been image.
Jim Crowther Albuquerque
Letters should be sent with the writer's name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to email@example.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.