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It’s Billy’s world

Billy Manes’ recent Blister column `April 24` on the Mills Park art opening and the future of the Orlando art scene – or rather, this being a Billy Manes piece, Billy Manes writing snarky comments about Billy Manes being at an art event that Billy Manes attended with a lot of people who know Billy Manes – was a lighter-than-air puff piece even by the Weekly’s standards. Did I think the show was groundbreaking? No. Did I think the show was a bad thing? Absolutely not!

The artists involved in the event took advantage of a developer’s offer that allowed their work broader exposure. They attached value to what they produced rather than just giving it away. They organized an opening to bring together those who might appreciate their work. To Manes this is a symptom of the scene’s corruption, more evidence of Orlando’s provincialism. Gimme a break. 

If only filthy lucre were corrupting Orlando’s pure artistic impulses, because that would suggest not just that there were actually people in Orlando purchasing art, but that there was a cohesive art scene to corrupt in the first place. The problem isn’t that Orlando artists have forsaken the “spiritual” for commerce, as Mr. Manes suggests, but that they cling so desperately to that kind of sentimental bullshit thinking. All that the models based on it have left Orlando with is a string of half-thought out art events with no longevity or legacy.

If our art community’s ambition ends with a display on a restaurant wall, if it insists on equating “integrity” with the devaluation of its own work, it will remain in perpetual infancy. Perpetual infancy is no doubt attractive to Mr. Manes, but for Orlando artists it is truly, to borrow his words, “no future.”

Tom Hope, Orlando

Who needs downtown?

Your article on the status of the downtown venues `“Don’t worry,” April 17` hit all the right points that people need to start thinking about. Central Florida has become very diverse with each area having its own entertainment, restaurants and cultural connections. The mayor of Orlando would like you to think that Orlando is the center of this diverse culture, when the reality is that people do not want to come downtown in the evenings to eat dinner and take in a movie. They can do that from the comfort of the area in which they live without the worries of paying for parking, crime, or the approach of someone asking for money.

The commercials written by Steve Kodsi and Craig Ustler in Mail Sack `April 24` which basically promote their businesses should never been printed since their comments were self-serving. Their businesses are largely locally based and do not attract people outside of Thornton Park.

The city and county cannot afford these venues and with the slowdown in the economy and the reduced monies from the capital, the money for these projects is not there. I guess we do not want to call it a tax, but at the end of the day we all will be paying for the egos of others.

Fran LaVallette, via the Internet

Count them all

Michigan and Florida defied the Democratic Party’s rules by moving their primaries to January in an attempt to leapfrog other states’ primaries `“Fiasco,” March 20`. As a result, the Democratic National Committee is planning to deny seats to the delegates from these two states at the Democratic National Convention.

In spite of all this, a legally binding primary was held in these two states. It is only a matter of time before someone who voted in these primaries will file a lawsuit because their vote must be honored.

If anything the DNC and the Michigan and Florida Democratic Committees should have learned this from the 2000 presidential election. You must count every vote that is cast on the day, place and time that it is cast. Otherwise we run the risk of putting in jeopardy the foundation of our nation. Unfortunately, this issue will once again have to be resolved by the courts because party leaders tried to get cute with the process.

Joe Bialek, via the Internet

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