Great to see an article about local house concerts ("Bringing Down the House," Dec. 15) in your latest issue.
As a musician who's done them all over the country for 15 years, I can tell you what a great benefit they are from the artist's point of view. You get to see your audience (impossible in a big hall), they're attentive (attempt that in a noisy bar), the pay is good (try getting that anywhere) and we can create a venue where normally there isn't one (just try snagging any other gig in Rochester, Minn.). I book the "public" venues first, then search out house concerts to fill in the empty nights. My fan list has been an enormous resource, some producing house concerts for the first time. And yeah, it's just like throwing a party only you get great live music too.
Thanks for the insight
In the article "Goodbye to the Sunset Man," (Oct. 6) Lee Smith's reflections on her late son's life raised awareness of mental health in our communities. His story showed us a passionate man whose mental illness challenged and shortened his life. After reading this, we can no longer say that we have not been affected by mental illness in our communities, because we have seen it steal one of our members.
Mental illness strikes a large number of Americans each year. The Surgeon General's report on mental health (1999) found that 22 to 23 percent of American adults, about 44 million people, have a diagnosable mental disorder. It said 5.4 percent of adults have a more serious mental illness that causes difficulties in normal social functioning, and 2.6 percent have a "severe and persistent" illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
However, according to The National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI), the best treatments are highly effective, and between 70 to 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms when pharmacological and psychosocial supports are implemented.
As explained by the Wake County affiliates of NAMI, the Fountain House Model Clubhouses offer a place for people with mental illness to find this psychosocial support by finding a place to belong, work, and become reintegrated into society.
Radio and rights
It has been a month since WUNC-FM refused to say the phrase reproductive rights when announcing Ipas' work ("WUNC's Semantic Headache," Dec. 1). Ipas protects women's reproductive health and rights around the world to end preventable deaths and disabilities from unsafe abortions. Ipas (as other pro-choice organizations) defends women's rights to make decisions concerning their own bodies, including abstinence, contraception as well as abortion, and child bearing. If a woman decides to have an abortion, she has the right to have a safe and legal procedure.
Yet WUNC-FM has caved to the right, asking Ipas to modify reproductive rights because for some people it means abortion. But isn't abortion legal in the United States (today, at least)? And how many women must die until WUNC-FM is held accountable for reinforcing gender inequality?
Over 200 women die of unsafe abortion per day. One pregnant woman succumbs to unsafe abortion every 7 minutes. Unsafe abortions account for 13 percent of global deaths by pregnant women. Ninety-five percent of unsafe abortions are carried out in developing counties and as much as 50 percent of the hospital budgets in some developing countries are diverted to treat complications related to unsafe abortions.
Long-term heath problems caused by unsafe abortions include chronic pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal blockage, infertility, ectopic pregnancy and poor outcomes in subsequent pregnancies.
How many more women must risk their lives or health to end an unwanted pregnancy before WUNC-FM reconsiders their position?
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