Going Postal 

It's no wonder

Thank you for the excellent article focusing on the struggles with the current state of Atlanta nightlife ("Live tonight! Atlanta nightlife battles back," May 5). Scott Henry's piece was well researched and executed. I am an old veteran of the nightlife scene here intown as both a former restaurant/bar operator and as a frequent patron of other establishments.

I am a firm believer that a vibrant nightlife scene is vital to any city. It is what makes a city a city. Think about the great cities of the world - New York, London, Paris - they all share amazing restaurants, nightclubs, music venues and the like. Atlanta may be smaller in scope than those places, but it sure has an equally great nightlife.

Despite the constant pressure from the city, a nightlife scene is indeed hanging on in Atlanta, but it seems to be in the crosshairs of a conservative and out-of-touch City Council. It seems like a whole sector of business is being penalized for traffic, parking and crime problems that really aren't entirely its fault. No wonder property values are on the rise OTP (and new businesses are opening out there).

- Jonathan Sheer, Atlanta

Pay with plastic

One cannot blame the Bush administration (Humbug Square, "Deadbeat nation," May 5). The credit card companies continue to offer the middle class, underemployed, senior citizens, college students and the fiscally irresponsible these "great offers." We judge people by the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, and which swim, tennis or golf community we live in. So we go out and "charge" what we want.

It is the same no matter which side of the House or Senate you sit on. The changes have to come from the grassroots, and obviously we are not ready to do that. Wait, that will come when we are in debt and cannot legally get out of it. Buy now, pay later, and maybe you too will win the lottery.

- Liz Mote, Acworth

If it ain't broke ...

I have been trying to figure out a way to incorporate some of Mary Grabar's suggestions about Java Monkey Speaks (Going Postal, "Unwelcome," May 5). We have been holding the event for almost four years now, and only seven events have featured a poetry slam. We have a weekly open mic, and anybody who signs up can read. The owners have told me the most consistent night for entertainment at Java Monkey is Sunday night. The biggest crowd for entertainment they have had, since opening, was for the Championship Slam held April 10. One of the good things about the location is that the entertainment has its own space, away from commerce and conversation.

Grabar wants us to have more conservative-friendly poetry. I am always open to improvement(?), so I have given this some thought. First, I don't want to censor poets and I want the event to be "open." I thought about telling people that no poems with liberal perspectives would be allowed, but that would be censorship. I thought about having a quota, where only so many poems with liberal views would be allowed, but that is also censorship. I thought maybe we could have a "conservative only night," but that would be exclusive and I don't want to exclude anybody. The Java Monkey owners are the only ones who support the event financially and they are currently building bleachers so we can accommodate larger crowds. The owners don't want to exclude anybody. I'm racking my brain and I just can't think of a way to please Mary Grabar that doesn't include censorship or excluding people. I want to keep it open. I guess if it ain't broke, there is no need to fix it.

- Kodac Harrison, Atlanta

In response to Mary Grabar's letter in Going Postal, I would like to set the record straight. Mary Grabar has had no contact with Poetry Atlanta and has not been excluded from anything supported by Poetry Atlanta. She declined to read or share her own poetry at the invitation of two poetry groups, so claiming that she's been excluded by any organization is ludicrous.

I am not a member of the executive board of Poetry Atlanta, as she claims. I am a member of the community board, and yes, it was me who spent countless hours writing the grant that got the funding not only for the slam team, but for other projects that we do for the entire community - another instance of Mary not doing her homework. I suppose I should be flattered that I am apparently part of the "clique of the poets in power" in Atlanta, but her penchant for twisting fact into fiction is more disturbing than anything else.

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