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Singin' in the rain

Went to both 4th Fest and I-4 Fest, it was a little disappointing with 4th Fest `"Fourth and goal," Music, July 1`. The rain did not help. It was a little too spread out and the crowd was sparse. Headed up to Austin's, where they canceled one act due to rain outside. The hippie chicks came out with their hula-hoops and people danced in the rain. Went inside, where it was busy, to catch Matt Butcher finishing up his set (a little to much reverb on his mic). They kicked it off outside again with the Token Gamblers and as the sun set, and the drizzle continued off and on, the crowd grew to a packed parking lot. Overall a good day out on both fronts, but the vibe, people and bands made Austin's the place to be.

"Sarah" via

Crying in the dark

This past week I had just finished painting the Dick Tracy logo on canvas via acrylic when I opened your paper to find your article ("Hey, Remember Dick Tracy?", Film, June 30). My first thought was to reply, "Yes, I do, and plenty of other people as well." Unfortunately the corporation that birthed it has gone on to bury it itself. When I visit Disney's Hollywood Studios, I make it a point to check out the Dick Tracy logo sign barely peeking out behind boxes on the second story of the former Loony Bin location (now a Toy Story gift shop). All you can see is the red and blue circle. It's an ironic gesture at a theme park that celebrates the nostalgia of Hollywood that even it would hide this epic film (flop or not) from its past.

I am 29 and I grew up in this movie's heyday. I remember wearing a yellow trench coat for Halloween (alas, I could not get my hands on a Tommy gun to complete the motif). I mention Dick Tracy in the same breath as Hook and Toys, other early '90s films that had a connection with childhood wonder and production design but failed to reach the heart of audiences. Yet the answer as to why eludes us non-film critics.

A few of my friends noted that many of the interesting villains are killed off in the first sequence. You suggest that Al Pacino, Madonna and management killed it, while I feel Pacino is doing what he does best — chewing scenery. Madonna's chops onscreen aren't as vile as Swept Away, but the movie's soft-spoken dialogue allows her to breeze by. Maybe it's the simplistic moral universe you note, or the action didn't meet up to the Batman crowd's standards. Yet I pop it in every now and again and can't imagine that it did not honor even a cheap-o production notes on its DVD. I did get it for $10 the week it was released though, so it was quite telling the studio had long lost its flavor for it. Maybe Warren Beatty's ego, budget disputes and studio turmoil caused them to never look back?

Dick Tracy, much like its corporate owner, resides in a time when blockbusters didn't have to be so dark. Sure, it had gangsters, shootings and explosions, but it had jumpy Sondheim themes (some of which I can't find on CD), and much of the action's edge was dulled by Disney. In other movies this would cast a shadow, but I felt it left some charm that no blood had to be spilled.

There was an element of fun to the colorful proceedings that is lacking in today's cinema. I can't imagine Brad Pitt donning a yellow overcoat, but then again I think Batman & Robin killed all efforts to make goofy, fun and nostalgic films on past intellectual properties.

Sad to say, Dick Tracy remains a favorite of mine but the company that made it does not.

Bryan Bindman



In our July 8 issue, the review of I Am Love was incorrectly bylined. The review was written by William Goss.

Also in the July 8 issue, the Police Beat column contained incorrect incident dates. We've rapped the writer's knuckles and we're hiring a copy editor.

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