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Turning Back the Clock 

The Weekly has reached a new high in its reputation for muckraking with the recent criticism of Ira Yellin and the Grand Central Market restoration ["Grand Central Stalemate," March 27–April 2].

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DEAR EDITOR:

The Weekly has reached a new high in its reputation for muckraking with the recent criticism of Ira Yellin and the Grand Central Market restoration ["Grand Central Stalemate," March 27–April 2]. Sandra Hernandez does a fine job of selecting the message she wants to convey and slanting the facts to fit it. She speaks of raised rents pitting "merchants against the developer." These are harsh words for the man who could have easily let the Grand Central Market, the Million Dollar Theater and the Bradbury Building languish like the remainder of Broadway. The tenants of the Grand Central Market complain of higher rents and join together to seek relief from the building management. Their actions are appropriate and should be commended. However, I have bad news for them if they believe rents will stay the same along Broadway. If buildings are going to be saved, rents will go up. If we want a restored Broadway, someone will have to foot the bill. The tenants of Grand Central don’t like it? Too bad. If I have to choose between seeing the Grand Central end up in rubble like the McKinley Building, or seeing some tenants move to cheaper quarters, I opt for the latter.

—Joel J. Rane

Librarian
Los Angeles Public Library

DEAR EDITOR:

I just finished reading the article on Grand Central Market. With all the money that developer Ira Yellin spent in renovating this historic landmark, one would figure that he would have at least paid some attention to detail. If he had, the giant Roman-numeral clocks adorning the outside of the building would have been set correctly and not backward, as they are now.

—Frank J. Aldana

Los Angeles

TRADING PRESUMPTIONS

DEAR EDITOR:

Re: A Lot of Night Music of March 27–April 2. To be honest, I don’t know what Robert Ashley’s been up to for the last 20 years. I do know that he composed two rather compelling (yes, even lovely) pieces of music — "The Park" and "The Backyard" — back in 1977 that were released on the Lovely Music LP Private Parts. If Ashley does nothing else in his entire career of note, these two pieces would be sufficient to earn him a place in my list of notable 20th-century composers. It is difficult to ascertain the depth of a creative life on the basis of a couple of works, so I will refrain from issuing glowing statements about Robert Ashley. Mr. Rich, however, would be well advised to consider that his dismissal of the artist may be just as shortsighted.

—Lance Glover

Venice

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WHAT NOT . . .

DEAR EDITOR:

I thought Steven Mikulan’s attack on Heather Woodbury’s What Ever ["Imitation Life," April 3–9] was hilarious. Nobody has to see the entirety of any work of art if he doesn’t want to, but it’s silly to describe what is deficient in a piece after having seen only one-quarter of it, and downright comical to discuss what you haven’t seen as an example of something wrong in modern theater. For the record: What Ever is not "some monologues stretched over four evenings"; most of its scenes are multicharactered. What Ever has no "stream-of-consciousness monologues"; it is all narrative. What Ever has 10 interlinked plots with explicit thematic interrelations; it is demonstrable that Woodbury at no point "just turn[s] characters loose on a stage."

If Mr. Mikulan wants to use What Ever as an example of something he hates, he really ought to check and make sure it actually is such an example. The funniest thing about his attack is that both Woodbury and I agree with his criticisms of the state of solo performance. It’s because we share his artistic values that we did a work based on them, and did all the things he said we didn’t do.

—Dudley Saunders

Director, What Ever

BUT WILL HE KNOW WHAT HIT HIM?

DEAR EDITOR:

The tone of Sara Catania’s excellent cover story ["Last Rights," April 3–9] bothers me a little. I keep flashing on an 11-year-old kid who has just saved the life of his little-girl companion, lying in the road begging for his life . . . Tell you what, in the ’60s Kelly would have been elected mayor after the far left read your article.

—Robert Guillaume

Los Angeles

DEAR EDITOR:

Sane? Mentally ill? Sara, honey, who cares? Horace Kelly killed three people! Put him to sleep and save my tax dollars, for pete’s sake.

—Alice La Brie

Los Angeles

COMPARED TO WHAT?

DEAR EDITOR:

My, how soon we forget — and how smug we can be. Your OffBeat item on Glue L.A. [March 27–April 2] smacked of neoconservative condescension. What kind of "progressive" publication describes another progressive publication with phrases like "radical fringe," "fishwrap" and "’60s holdover"? All we get in the centrist, feeble Weekly these days is excuses and apologies for the Clinton administration, plus ads for hair removal and genital enlargement. Maybe in this 20th year of your paper, it would be appropriate to look back on your progressive ambitions and ask where they went. In the meantime, I hope Glue L.A. sticks it to all the bogus "alternatives" in town.

—Lynne Bronstein

Santa Monica

PRIORITIES

DEAR EDITOR:

Yesterday, while flipping through the L.A. Weekly for the first time, I was initially impressed by the array of articles and resources available in the paper. Then I was struck by a more significant impression: how many of the advertisements focus on self-improvement. Be it information on the latest nutrition trips/tricks; problems with excess cellulite, weight or hair (anywhere); the need for a date; loss of potency; or merely a desire for some laser vaginal rejuvenation, there was some advertiser who wanted to help. I swear, I have never seen so many "before and after" shots in one place.

How perfectly these ads symbolize Los Angeles. Is there any other city on Earth so consumed by superficial images and surface impressions? How sad that so many people are under the false impression that their lives will be happier and more fulfilling if they only endure a bit of cosmetic surgery.

—Jennifer Wolf

Los Angeles

DEAR EDITOR:

Not that I think this will have any impact whatsoever, but just what is the deal with your ads these days? Penile enlargements, laser vaginal surgery, liposuction, fitness shops, gyms, implants, hair removal, colon hydrotherapy, laser vision correction, weight medication, endermologie (?), cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening! You should consider promoting yourselves as having "the most insecure readers in the nation."

So let’s see, first you go see stars in the movies to prove how inadequate you are, then blow a wad on self-mutilation, then blow your wad on hooker and phone-sex services, then cruise over to the bankruptcy, counseling and drug-treatment section to pick up the pieces of your sorry life. Oh, and don’t forget that AIDS test!

—Allen Rubinstein

Venice

DEAR EDITOR:

You have a fine paper. I just wish it was stapled.

—Taylor Jenson

Burbank

CORRECTIONS

An April 17–23 story on the campaign for governor incorrectly identified Ron Unz’s initiative to end bilingual education as Proposition 226. Actually, the Unz initiative is Prop. 227. In the same issue, due to an editing error, a story on medical-marijuana activist Todd McCormick stated that he awaits trial on charges of growing pot for sale. In fact, he is charged with simple cultivation.

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