I'm a faithful reader of the Flyer and have been picking it up every week since its beginning. In fact, it's the only paper I read. As an artist I have always loved the Flyer aesthetically -- the design on the front cover, the paper it was printed on, the different inks and fonts. It was like a collage -- so alive and creative. I felt that the Flyer -- aside from the contents, which are great -- had a personality and juiciness that I don't experience with this new design. For me, it has lost its personality and aliveness, and I miss that.
After getting my first look at the Flyer's redesign, I can't help but notice that visual arts is now getting even less prominence than before. I also noticed that you managed to keep the three regular music efforts: Music Feature, Record Reviews, and Local Beat, not to mention that the After Dark music listings are now before the Calendar of Events, which is where most of the visual arts listings are relegated.
What will it take for the Flyer to notice the visual arts? At least we're still listed before the porn.
Elizabeth Alley Memphis
I just finished reading John Branston's article "Riding MATA's #50 and #56" (September 8th issue). The article did not mention that a large number of the increased riders on the fixed-route buses are people with disabilities. When the fixed-route fare increased from $1.25 to $1.40, the fare for MATAPlus Paratransit went from $1.50 to $2.25, sending people with disabilities looking for cheaper transportation.
I am a travel trainer for the Memphis Center for Independent Living and a wheelchair user. My job is to teach people with disabilities to ride the fixed-route buses. Even though most routes are accessible to people with mobility devices, MATA is still not considered accessible, because most drivers will not call out the transfer points along the routes. When they fail to do this they are breaking the Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal civil rights law.
Several of my trainees are blind and are greatly affected when transfer points are not called. MATA drivers do not seem to understand that when transfer points are not called, many people are affected. People who are blind, people who are illiterate, and tourists are all affected. Until MATA drivers fully comply with the federal law regarding transportation, they are failing in their job and letting Memphis citizens down.
Betty AndersonMemphis Center for Independent Living
In Jackson Baker's Politics column about state senator Rosalind Kurita's visit to Memphis (September 8th issue), Kurita attacked Congressman Harold Ford for missing a few votes in Congress by saying, "I'm going to be there and show up for the important votes every time." The problem with that statement is that it is just false.
The fact is that Senator Kurita missed the vote on Senate Bill 2315, or the state budget, because she was attending a fund-raiser in Memphis. That arguably was the biggest vote of the year in the state Senate. She may portray herself as a straight shooter, but her rhetoric simply doesn't match the facts.
Chris D. JacksonVice Chairman, Lawrence County Democratic PartyLoretto, Tennessee
As the person wielding the laser pointer in the first paragraph of the furry article ("My Furry Weekend," September 15th issue), I would like to thank you for publishing a more balanced and accurate portrayal of furry fandom than most media have tended to do. The line near the end, "They are open-minded, good-natured, and accepting people, and all we've been doing is searching for furverts and freak shows," has been pretty much the standard way furries are treated.
I am glad your reporter had a good time, though I suspect that her search for evidence of weird nookie may actually have hampered her enjoyment of what are actually the best parts of any furry convention. Besides providing an entertaining weekend, the Memphit Fur Meet also raised thousands of dollars for various charities. There was a cross-section of people there, making friends, learning new things, and honing skills in art and performance. Furries are vibrant and fascinating people, and I'm glad to see the rest of the world is starting to realize that.
John "The Gneech" Robey