No Joke

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I’m appalled at the ignorant insensitivity spewed by Jessica Cassyle Carr in "Is the Journal Drunk? (I Certainly Am.)" [Thin Line, Oct. 30-Nov. 5]. Carr admits in her title she was drunk writing it, which she certainly shouldn’t be if she’s writing about a topic as serious as DWI. The result is a trashy article. My mother was killed by a drunk driver in 1989 on State Road 44. She was hit head-on by a man with a .14 BAC, almost two times above the legal limit. My then 9-year-old brother, the lone survivor in the crash killing three, suffered broken bones, physical and emotional scars, and spent a month in the hospital. Countless others endure this senseless tragedy from DWI. Carr’s wrong perspective lacks maturity and empathy toward this devastating act. Any efforts put forth by this state with one of the worst DWI problems in the nation (ranked No. 2) to reduce the high number of fatalities and injuries is well worth our tax dollars. It is far from an "unusual fascination" with drunk driving. Carr’s words are unusually offensive.

What New Mexico has is an enormous drunk driving crisis destroying hundreds of lives each year, inflicting pain on innocent victims. DWI is disgusting and plagues our state. Perhaps Carr’s misguided view could change with education and some sensitivity from attending a MADD panel. If everyone viewed DWI as the embarrassing, shameful, dangerously selfish act it is, perhaps lives would be saved. I am astounded that anyone could compare criminals who cold-heartedly kill and maim people with their vehicles to "the guy who masturbates at girls on the street, or the burglar who wants to break in and steal all of my booze and pretzels." If a criminal in this DWI-ridden state does affect your life, hopefully all that’s taken is your precious booze and pretzels.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinion expressed in this commentary dealt with public shaming of those convicted of DWI via the publication of their photos in the Journal , not the gravity of DWI-related cases. (JCC)

Letters The Last Word?

[Re: Feature, “The Definitive KiMo Ghost,” Oct. 23-29] While the presence of ghosts will probably be argued forever, I would like to comment on one area of the authors’ research.

Yes, the Saturday-evening performance of
A Christmas Carol was a "wonderful performance" as quoted by one of the actors, but that afternoon’s matinee was not. The play opened on Friday evening and the doughnuts were removed immediately after that performance at the director’s insistence.

The Saturday matinee started late because the child actors had forgotten about it and all gone to a movie. Once the afternoon show finally started, it experienced even more problems. Individually, most of those problems have rather ordinary explanations, but for all of them to have occurred within the short span of a single performance was extremely unusual.

Immediately after the performance, a member of New Mexico Rep’s backstage staff was given some cash by their management expressly for the purpose of buying two cases of doughnuts, which they promptly placed everywhere backstage before the evening show. If their director chooses not to acknowledge some events of that day, I will not second-guess his personal motives.

There may or may not be physical evidence of ghosts, and I would certainly be skeptical of any presented to me, but I will just as certainly assert that the KiMo Theatre has its own energy and “spirit.” Much the same as the tangible difference in feelings you get when sitting at your favorite table in your favorite restaurant with all your best friends or walking alone down a cold hospital corridor.

If the authors of your cover story wish to discount that spirit, I can only mention that on that specific afternoon in ’86, I was at the KiMo and they were not.

Letters Getting Offcentered

I have been in Albuquerque for an extended visit and have been delighted to discover some unexpected treasures in the city, including the KiMo Theatre and the shredded beef burritos at Little Anitas! However, the OffCenter Community Arts Project on Park Avenue has really impressed me most. This is genius at work!

OffCenter mounts nonjuried shows that change almost monthly and has a shop featuring local artists’ work. Most impressive is the space itself, which is an art-making space with diverse materials available to anyone who cares to walk in the door! And on any given day, 30 people do stop in to make a little art. Adults and children alike are welcome to collage, make cards, sew, make prints, use the metalworking bench, paint or go wherever the spirit leads, including taking free guitar lessons on Wednesday and Thursdays! I’ve never seen anything like it!

Specially priced workshops are often offered on Saturdays. Groups such as Girl Scouts and birthday parties are welcome to reserve time for badge work and crafting.

OffCenter has as its premise the hope of offering art-making opportunities to low-income members of the community and so has no fee structure in place but rather depends on good karma donations of materials and money. Recently, a box has appeared suggesting a $5 donation per art session, but this is left to the discretion of the visitor. This money goes toward materials and the expenses involved in providing a place to work such as rent, utilities and remuneration for helpful managers. Seniors, college students and kids alike can be found happily engaged here.

However, these daily donations aren’t enough to keep this wonderful project funded. OffCenter is frankly in need of financial help to stay afloat. The OffCenter Project is a 501(c)3, which makes your contribution tax-deductible.

I hope Albuquerqueans will sustain this unique project with a donation and will visit OffCenter to make a little art. It is a treasure worth visiting and supporting.

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