By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
Congratulations to the L.A. Weekly and to Sara Catania for highlighting, in the article “It’s Not Easy Being Green” [July 28–August 3], the need for additional trees in Los Angeles. However, this otherwise informative article is flawed by some unfortunate misconceptions re the City Street Tree Division. The Windsor Square Association has found Chief Forester Gonzales outstanding in his support of our local effort to encourage tree planting and responsible tree care. The Tree Division staff — and particularly Supervisor Troy Galleros — are appropriately fanatical in their opposition to chain saws used to overtrim trees. If you overtrim or hat-rack a street tree, you may expect a prompt citation. The overburdened city staff’s dedicated efforts deserve our praise and support.
Earlier this year, many of your writers — such as John Seeley, Joseph Treviño and, especially, Harold Meyerson — wrote powerful pieces on the L.A. janitors’ strike. Being transplanted from Detroit, I assumed the L.A. Weekly(as with most free weeklies with any political writings) to be a strong leftist, pro-labor publication — much needed in towns like L.A., where papers like the Times, which dominate, are part of corporate-owned media empires.
As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, then, I’ve been shocked and disappointed by the lack of coverage of our strike against the advertising industry. I would think any ambitious writer would be fascinated to see an old union like ours basically take on the entire corporate world. I don’t expect any positive coverage from the larger media outlets, since they are owned by the same people we are fighting. But I would hope a paper like yours would investigate the skewed numbers and propaganda that have been used to fight us.
Our fight is wreaking havoc on the film industry. We have more or less run most commercial shoots out of town (and into Canada). The strike is beginning to be felt financially by many people in the industry (some of them workers and business owners who claim to be wounded, innocent bystanders, but when this strike started — and it looked as if it would be “business as usual” with scab actors — they were all eager to take part, and now that the work has dried up, they are crying “Foul!” at us).
With more labor problems looming in the entertainment industry and with the town already bracing for possible strikes by SAG and the Writers Guild because of problems with television and film contracts, this will be a story too big to ignore (especially when high-profile shows like Friends are interrupted — then the Weekly will be fighting with Entertainment Tonight for a scoop and an angle).
As this strike continues to make an impact, I look forward to reading about it on your pages and seeing what your crackerjack team of writers makes of it. But please, don’t ignore it any longer.
AD HOMINEM AD NAUSEAM
I was very upset when I read the opening line of Miriam Jacobson’s review of my play The Tangled Web [July 28–August 3]: “Eyal Alony shows his contempt for mankind in general and for women in particular in his misguided one-act comedy about abusive relationships.” I cannot argue with Ms. Jacobson’s opinion of the play itself, as it is just that — her opinion. However, as regards her assertion that I have contempt for women, nothing could be further from the truth. The play is about the circle of victimization in relationships between men and women, and there is absolutely nothing in the show that suggests that I am a misogynist. Yes, there are chauvinistic jokes in the play, made by a character who does not respect women. However, that character gets his comeuppance in the end, as he is spurned by his lover in much the same way that Nora slams the door on her dominating hubby in A Doll’s House. Would anyone accuse Henrik Ibsen of having contempt for women? Give me a break. I suppose that if I wrote about the KKK, that would make me a racist, or if I wrote about Jeffrey Dahmer, that would make me a cannibalism enthusiast. The Tangled Web has been produced at three different theaters in Los Angeles, and never before have I been accused of having contempt for women. Not only is the statement not true, but it has no place in a professional theater review. Ms. Jacobson’s job is to comment on the play itself, not to make false and defamatory statements about those involved. Clearly, Ms. Jacobson has issues of her own, but she should learn to curb her anger when she’s putting someone’s name in print. It wouldn’t be amiss for the L.A. Weekly to do some better editing as well.
Writer-director, The Tangled Web
Re: Paul Cullum’s “Absolut Art Guise” [August 4–10]. The Art Guys have unfortunately failed in their postmodern attempt to alchemize the commercial and the artistic. They have fallen prey to the power of advertising to co-opt everything in its path, because they failed to learn a basic thematic lesson that Warhol and Duchamp transmitted in their work: The Art Guys failed to immunize themselves against their own magic. More plainly put, they have fallen victim to the very fantasy system they are trying to use. They remind me of a commercial director I worked with who confused the beer campaign we were shooting with a road movie.