The Other Side of Sidelines
I recently read the "Night Watch" feature column ("Sports Bar Score") written by Tara Nieuwesteeg that appeared in the March 26, 2009, issue of New Times. As director of marketing for Sidelines Sports Bar, I must first thank you and Nieuwesteeg for the great deal of coverage (a full page) that was afforded to her column about her recent visit to Sidelines.
I am disappointed, however, at the tone and content of the article. I only wish that Nieuwesteeg had contacted the owners of Sidelines or me prior to her visit. I think she would have penned a more balanced and truer depiction of Sidelines, not the "spontaneous ass-shaking and lip-synching" gathering of "fruit flies and figure skating" lovers she supposedly witnessed. She did not accurately convey the reality of the bar. The owners and management of Sidelines have spent a lot of time, energy, and money since our opening three years ago to brand Sidelines as a gay sports bar that strives to provide a fun, friendly, and relaxed environment for gay men and women who enjoy all kinds of sports, such as football, basketball, softball, soccer, and, yes, even figure skating, to name a few.
As a result of this article, I fear that your readers may walk away with an inaccurate perception of what Sidelines Sports Bar is, but more important, overlook the growing awareness of how gay life has changed and evolved. From a wholly gay and lesbian perspective, most of us are not the stereotypical limp-wristed, ass-swishing men and truck-driving, feminist dykes of the '70s and '80s that a large percentage of this article emphasizes.
I invite you and any of your staff members to come to Sidelines again. During one of professional sport's major events, you will see gay and lesbian sports fans cheering on their favorite teams, high-fiving each other, or maybe jeering the bad calls made by the referees and, yes, hugging and even kissing one another. It is, of course, a fabulous gay bar!
Jennifer Morales, Fort Lauderdale
Deserter Deserves the Worst
What an arrogant little prick this guy is ("Florida Dreamin'," Michael J. Mooney, March 12). He joins the Marines with a war raging and then bitches when he thinks he might be going. Then he tries to justify his conduct by saying the war is illegal (a legal conclusion capable of being rendered by judges only) and saying the government lied without giving any examples of the lies. Iraq is not Vietnam. Those deserters were drafted. Lamarche volunteered. He should have said he made a bad choice and must now pay the consequences for his stupid act. In my opinion he deserves some hard time.
Tom LaSalle, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea
Getting Realism Right
Thank you for such an insightful review of the Duane Hanson exhibition ("Getting Real," March 12). I've always appreciated your reviews, Michael Mills — and am flattered when you credit me with getting it right.
You got it! Exactly! This is what, as curator, I tried to say in the exhibition through the isolated placement of the Hanson sculptures, the wall text, and the quotes chosen for the wall panels and the gallery handout.
You are exactly right about the vast majority of viewers — they just can't get past the wow factor or the wax museum-like attraction. For many who don't know art history, they might simply say to themselves, "So what? If I want to see hyperrealism, I could go to Madame Tussaud's wax museum." Unfortunately, I think the general public equates Hanson's work with an artist like Mark Sijan, whose kitschy hyperrealist figures are at outdoor art festivals. But that's what a museum exhibition and the exhibition's wall didactics are for — to take the viewer further, to educate.
Hanson's sculpture is a reflection of his political and cultural assessment of American society. Perhaps that's what makes the work important artistically and historically, and why he is arguably the greatest realist sculptor of the 20th century. Thanks for the article.
Wendy Blazier, Senior Curator, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton