We Were Wrong

City Pages writers look back on 25 years of arts criticism, and the sentences that still make us cringe


At press time, Sixteen-Oh-Sixty hadn't yet been acquired for distribution, although it's only a matter of time before industry bigwigs start hailing [Vinicius] Mainardi as the next Tarantino. ("Reeling in the Apple," 10/18/1995)

When a film critic gives up alcohol, nicotine, and orgasms in the same six-month period, he or she might faint during movies, prefer Persuasion to Kicking and Screaming, and predict Pulp Fiction-size success for a caustic comedy about the class struggle in São Paulo--a picture whose Brazilian Marxist director has barely been noticed in a decade. Still, hailing Paul Verhoeven's 1995 sex-bomb as "less a lap dance than a mind fuck," I was absolutely right about Showgirls. --Rob Nelson

James Dankert


[Pat Travers] deserves to be remembered for more than simply "Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)." (Night & Day, 3/29/1995)

If it takes a big man to admit he's wrong, then I'm a wee music critic staring into the kneecaps of Jiminy Cricket. I've written a boatload of opinions that remain more dubious than ever in the face of subsequent conventional wisdom--and I continue to believe almost every one. I'll still take Ice-T over Ice Cube (as rapper, lyricist, or actor); think Sonny Rollins is a more enthralling saxophonist than Bird or Coltrane; regard Beck as an emperor with no clothes; claim Amy Grant has more sex appeal than Foxy Brown or Lil' Kim; and maintain that among hip-hop releases from 1993, Salt-n-Pepa's Very Necessary is a superior disc to both Dre's Chronic and De La Soul's Buhloone Mindstate.

But in the A-List section of this particular City Pages issue (then known as Night & Day), obviously coping with some severe life crisis or monster hangover, I scribbled something that not even I can pretend to defend. Though it shames me to repeat it, I did indeed write that Pat Travers, now perhaps most charitably described as a Bob Seger wannabe during the late '70s, "deserves to be remembered for more than simply 'Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights).'" There's not enough space to explain the 73 ways these words are stupid, so let me just say that "Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)" is by any measure--rational or irrational--an indelible blotch on anyone's résumé, and case-closed reason enough for its creator to be permanently forgotten. If championing "Boom" wasn't bad enough, I also thought that the likes of "Rock N Roll Susie," "Heat in the Street," and "Snortin' Whiskey" offered further cause for Travers to lay claim on a few of your brain cells. Obviously, I was in error. If Pat Travers ever resurrects his sorry career to the point where he's third on the bill at one of the local casinos, he owes me a beer. --Britt Robson

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