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Constructive complaints

This week I thought I'd air some nasty complaints and rumors I've heard about our local arts community and, in all fairness, give the subjects of the complaint (or rumors) a chance, as it were, to respond. This isn't meant to be nasty; it's meant to make everyone healthy, happy and, above all, regular. Think of it as a kind of high colonic for the irritable bowels of local culture. So here's how it works: I deliver the complaint, the complainee responds, and you, readers, make the call. Jolly good, then.

Rumor: Kimballs Cineplex hates film festivals/ is too greedy to host film festivals, and won't show the Pikes Peak Lavender Film Festival films because Kimball Bayles is a homophobe. Sounds titillating, but owner Kimball Bayles points out that he only has two theaters, and is under contract with most of the film distribution companies to continuously screen the films he acquires. So he can lose not only money, but also the privilege of being able to show films that wouldn't otherwise come to Colorado Springs at all. He also says he is currently considering expanding his business at: the old Tiffany Square theaters (off of Woodmen Road and Interstate 25), at the old dollar theaters at Citadel Crossing or by building an all-new theater complex downtown. If, and when, this happens, Bayles said he'd be more than happy to consider hosting local film festivals.

Complaint: KRCC is a stale, boring, obsolete radio station that rarely plays local music and doesn't host any local talk shows, news shows or programs that specifically serve the local community in any way. Simply put: It isn't a college radio station, but an institution run by a bunch of cloying insiders who are too lazy and entrenched to change anything. Mario Valdes, director of KRCC, responds: "It's a ridiculous accusation. We play local music in our music shows. We don't have a local news staff; we don't have a local art show -- true. We're offering the programming that people want and are willing to pay for. There haven't been college DJs on during the day since 1984. We have to have people here during the day, and they're in class." Valdes added that KRCC (91.5 FM) has "no expectation of any changes in programming in the near future."

For as many great local and national acts that 32 Bleu has brought to Colorado Springs, it can take 20 minutes to get a drink at a show, underage kids often complain that they can't see their favorite acts, and the food is overpriced and mediocre. Rumors of bankruptcy are flying. Jason Spears, co-owner and talent buyer at 32 Bleu, responds: "No bankruptcy! We're fine. All shows are all ages now and have been for the past six months. In terms of service time, we shoot for excellent service, but when everyone shows up to the show at the same time it's going to be a little slow. We're always trying to improve the consistency of the service, but we're still pretty new and people have got to hang with it."

Rumor: TOONS Video and Music (at 802 N. Nevada Ave.) not only smells like soiled cat litter, it never gets new movies, no longer carries new music, and is wasting space with dead music stock that's been collecting dust for two years. Owner Eric Verlo responds: "We get new movies pretty regularly, but it's not the Blockbuster stuff. It's more of a matter of getting what we can of international titles and things from festivals. As far as music, I'm trying to refine our used stuff. I've been putting more attention to that in the last month or so. We're thinning and sorting out the new stock we have. A lot of titles we can sell online. As far as the smell, we thought it had to do with a sewer problem, but now we think it has to do with the restaurant next door. It's been happening for as long as we've had the place. We thought it might have been an animal that died underneath the floor. But it usually comes out when it rains and it's a really lamentable situation. But it's something that we have to deal with and it doesn't seem to be under our control."

And there you have it, ladies and gender-men: straight from the horses' pie-holes. Don't you feel better? Now, let us all once again enjoy the fellowship of jovial conviviality and never again wag the forked tongue of gossip. Goodbye for now, chums.

-- nblack@csindy.com

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