On February 2, I attended an open-mic session run by Ellis Kell at Mojo's Café in the River Music Experience. My tour through the music museum beforehand was both enlightening and entertaining. Earlier that day I had read in the Reader of both the center's change in focus and the subsequent change in directors. (See "Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes" and "River Music Experience's New Direction Dashes Dreams," Issue 513, January 26-February 1, 2005.) I couldn't help but sadly think that some of the negative aspects of those changes are indeed true.

Virtually unknown, it seems, to the great showman Ellis himself, and totally unrecognized by the museum, was the fact that 45 years ago to that very day, the Capitol Theatre down the block had hosted what was called the Winter Dance Party. On the bill that night were, among others, Bobby Vee, Waylon Jennings, Dion DiMucci, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly.

The very next night saw those performers playing farther northwest in Clear Lake, Iowa. A plane crash afterward took the life of the last three men, an event recalled in Don McLean's verbose hit "American Pie." Years ago, I saw Bruce Hornsby play an upstate New York gig, a much-appreciated show by a fine all-around artist. But when Bruce closed the show with a Buddy Holly song, the change in the audience was simply astounding.

They rushed the stage, and their joy in the music of some long-gone, gangly, bespectacled Texan was truly transcendent.

I cried back then, as I cried the other night after leaving Mojo's, listening to my footsteps echo down Davenport's deserted streets. Beyond them, I could almost hear the cold, excited kids as they stood waiting in line for the show. I could hear all those many tunes that have formed part of the soundtrack of my life, pouring from the now darkened doorway of the Capitol.

I remember you, Buddy, and all the rest, just as that audience had. Don McLean was wrong. February 3 wasn't the day the music died. It's still very much alive. And because of the music's healing properties, I hope the museum somehow, soon, can do an even better job of keeping it that way.

Mike Liquori
Annawan, Illinois

Where's the Outrage?


On President Bush's State of the Union:

Where is the outrage? I was stunned with President Bush's remark on the need for an amendment to the Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. Has this man no shame? As he goes on and on about America being the world's cradle of freedom, as he goes on and on about America bringing freedom to the Middle East, he then inserts his support for an amendment to the Constitution to deny marriage rights to all gay, lesbian, intersexed, and transgender citizens. With his vice president sitting directly behind him. He calls for an amendment to the Constitution to deny his VP's daughter and her partner the same rights as other loving coupes.

Where is the outrage? How can this just slip by the mass media, as if it means nothing?

Janice Josephine Carney

Get Nussle Out of Congress


Please do not send Jim Nussle back to Congress. He is embarrassing to watch, nothing but a grandstander. He's a Bush yes-man. He wants to destroy our Social Security system. He wants more money for the rich, less for the poor and middle-class. I've been watching him on C-SPAN. He cares nothing for our country. Please, send him back to his small business.

Dan Lavielle
Seattle, Washington

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