Drag, Gift from GodDear Stranger: Many thanks for the story on Jackie Hell ["Unhiphop," by Adrian Ryan, July 29] and that amazing photograph. I wear my Boy George drag every day, and am often a victim of homophobic hatred from people who don't want "that faggot shit" in "their" neighborhood. Often, when walking to work, I'll bow to fear and wear a soft coral lipstick and discreet beret -- until I hit Capitol Hill. Then the beret comes off and my turban and crimson lipstick goes on.One thing that disturbed me in Adrian's superb article was the statement by Jesse Vault [manager of Foxes Tavern]: "This kind of shit went out in the '70s." Violent homophobia has never gone out of fashion. [For] those of us who are visibly queer, [homophobia] is something we live with every day. For me, such hatred is a valid reason for confrontational drag. Perhaps that's the old geezer punk rocker in me: The more they protest, the more outrageous I become. I simply refuse to live in fear. Drag is a gift from the gods -- it gives me solace, peace of mind, and joy.

Your Deviant Sister-Thing,

Wilum Pugmire, Seattle

SAM, Most Beautiful Building EverTo the Editor: Matthew Stadler's article, "Delirious Seattle" [July 29] is persuasive advocacy for Rem Koolhaas' ability to design a library responsive to the city's needs. Having seen only a few photos of Koolhaas' work and read only a few words he has written, I don't have an opinion.This letter is not primarily about the library. It is about the following quote from Stadler's piece: "Eric Scigliano warns that Koolhaas may deliver a Robert Venturi-like SAM disaster, all crazy ornament and visual trickery." Now I do have an opinion: The whole sequence of SAM's three perforated and ornamented street frontages is a major piece of architectural art, one of the best things Venturi has done, and an extraordinary gift to the city. It rewards study, and is always a pleasure to look at. It is, I believe, durable. It rates as number two on my list of downtown attractions, after Henry Moore's "Vertebrae!"

Ted Bower, Ted Bower Associates Architects, SeattleSteinbacher, CRANKY OLD MANDear Bradley Steinbacher: Although I did not attend the Flaming Lips show you wrote about in the July 29 issue ["Cut the Crap!"], I feel I must defend the notion of music as an expression much freer than your tiny perception of it. It seems like you, and all other pop-rockers alike, want to see something you've seen a million times before. If something is new or different, or defies the bounds of your comfort zone, you've got to shove it into some category and compare it to something identifiable (in this case, Styx). If a band plays something unsafe and unfamiliar, your instinct is to call it "pretentious." What I find "pretentious" is your boxed-in, preconceived idea of what "music" is supposed to be.As far as showmanship goes, it sounds like you need to lighten up. Do you go see a band in order to relive something, or to experience something new? Overall, your article seems like one my parents might have written; how very unfortunate for The Stranger. This lack of sensitivity and overabundance of cynicism is like a trend or disease that's claiming most of my generation.

"Human Being," Belltown

Vlad, Sick, Sick FuckDear Stranger: I read with salivating interest Rebecca Brown's delightful "Spookier Than Thou" [July 29]. I was especially entertained by her discussion of those two great classics The Castle of Otranto and The Mysteries of Udolpho.One small detail does, however, bear correction. Ms. Brown refers to the 15th-century Wallachian Vlad Dracul as someone "who impaled the heads of his enemies on sticks" -- implying that Prince Vlad was in the habit of displaying on sticks the post mortem decapitated heads of his victims. In fact, Vlad Tepes ("The Impaler"), nicknamed Dracul, used impalement as an exquisite means of torture. The intended victim was first skewered alive with a long stake, then hoisted aloft, as the opposite end of the stake was planted firmly in the ground. Slow, excruciating death ensued, the process ordinarily lasting several hours, and sometimes a day or two.

The namesake of Bram Stoker's Dracula was no mere pompous collector of cephalic trophies, but rather a practitioner of cut-rate crucifixion, his one-stake impalement saving the state the cost of the transverse beam used in traditional Roman crucifixion. Vlad Tepes' method also provided the populace with hours of free entertainment. Thanks for respecting the memory of this great Balkan prince.

Willie Smith, Seattle

EYES WIDE SHUT, DUMBTo The Stranger: Thanks for your Mudede review/revelation of the genius and many meanings in Eyes Wide Shut ["Stoned Love," by Charles Mudede, July 22]. How wrong I was in seeing the film as stupid, self-indulgent, outrageously long, and amateurish posing by Mr. and Mrs. Beautiful, in a simpering and sophomoric flop by people who lack the nerve and talent to do PORN. Duh? Garbage. Quote me.Gordon Anderson, Seattle

Mudede, Genius Spleen VenterDear Mr. Mudede: BRAVO!! Your article in the last issue of The Stranger expresses what thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of us feel ["The Greatest Death of All," July 29]. I have never been able to understand the public's fascination with the Kennedys. The death of John Kennedy was a tragedy, but no greater than that of any other young person whose life has been cut short.I have sent copies of your article to a number of my friends in other parts of the country. Each has been in complete agreement with the sentiments you have expressed. For me, it's the most meaningful thing I have read in The Stranger. I feel I have, through you, vented my spleen on the subject, and feel much better for it.

Bill Snyder, Seattle

Cobain's Newest Funeral, Not as Good as the FirstDear Kathleen Wilson: I am writing about your article "Art Imitates Death" [July 29] -- an interesting event to be deemed art, in my opinion.I was asleep when my mother called me and told me to turn on the television that April day six years ago. I remember standing among the crowds at the real memorial, seeing all the idiots around me, and feeling comforted (and even proud) that I was one of those idiots. I was sickened when I heard about the "reenactment," as I was the first time I heard the song "Imagine" being used by a cell phone company.

Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic made a statement, saying they were saddened that some of the kids involved in the fake memorial would think [the two] were involved with the movie, [A Leonard Cohen Afterworld]. KNDD's "Steve the Producer" read the statement during the station's "News You Can Use" program and scoffed at it. This conglomerate station was present at the [fake memorial].

I wonder if when Woodstock '99 is broadcast on television in the next week or so they will show scenes of the numerous rapes reported to have occurred. Do you know how much money was involved in that weekend? Of course, the arson and rioting will be overlooked as just [kids] "getting out of hand." It will still be broadcast and it will not publicly be looked at as a disgrace. Rape will be edited out, and no one will fully understand what happened there, or the power of money in avoiding retribution.

Eddie Vedder said in [the documentary] Hype! that he wished something would change in the industry and in society so all this bullshit would be worth it.

I just hope they don't edit out the rape.

Joshua Thompson, Seattle

Savage, Messenger of LoveTo The Stranger: Love and kisses from Dan Savage! Here I am, working to help stop the anti-gay initiative in Spokane and get a Democrat elected from the Ninth District to break the tie in Olympia, and my dear friend Dan takes time from his busy editorializing to mention that I am not running for Seattle City Council ["Queerless in Seattle," Aug 5].Actually, there are some very good people running for Seattle City Council, and I am confident that they will see ALL the people of Seattle as their constituents. There is no such thing as a gay seat, or an African-American seat, or a downtown business seat. All elected seats are public seats, and whoever is elected to them is responsible to all of the public. Let's stop the divisive rhetoric and start working on our united interests.

Hugs, Janice Van Cleve, Seattle