There's no nice way to say this, so we'll just be blunt: Our theater critic, Steven Leigh Morris, did not like the National Theatre of Great Britain's production of War Horse, now playing at the Ahmanson ("Kingdom for a Horse," July 6). And some readers didn't like that one bit.
"Wow, that's the most cold-hearted, cynical thing I've read in a long time," Ashley M writes. "This play will stir your humanity, if you have it. If you're a jaded reviewer looking to make a splash with a counter-intuitive take, well, I guess we know what that looks like."
Guest agrees. "What a cold-hearted and cynical 'thing,' " he writes. "I can't call it a review. The 'reviewer' was apparently watching with his eyes/ears/mind/heart completely closed."
But reader Milton Justice thanks Morris for his "thing": "Thank you for your review of War Horse," he writes. "As my son and I fled at intermission, I thought there was something wrong with me. Talk about the emperor has no clothes!"
Suing the Schools
Readers also were riled up by our story about lawsuits aimed at forcing the L.A. Unified School District to give fewer protections to lousy teachers ("Grading, Firing the Bad Teachers," by Hillel Aron, July 6).
Writes Martha Infante, "If the problem is giving tenure to teachers who don't deserve it, the solution is to stop doing that. The solution isn't to strip due-process rights of hard-working teachers who earned them."
Chris Foster writes, "This article is pretty transparent. The author is either a paid shill for education 'reformers' or just shares their anti-teacher, anti-union ideology. And if the California Supreme Court held that all school districts have a constitutional right to equal funding, back in 1971 — which was 41 years ago, not 31 as the obtuse writer and editor claim — do the plaintiffs really want to open up this Pandora's box? Or will they try to argue with a straight face that the schools of the most affluent California communities are equivalent to those in Compton?"
Maria Arellaga of Venice has a bone to pick with last week's review of Savages ("High Fantasy," by Karina Longworth). She writes, "[Longworth] refers to Salma Hayek's and Benicio del Toro's characters, then immediately contrasts them with 'white' characters. What is this gringo/gringa obsession with (often inaccurate) color labels?!
"I am Mexican and white. My Japanese-American husband is lighter-skinned than several Caucasians (tanned or not) in our neighborhood. Ms. Longworth should instead have used 'Caucasian' or 'Anglo.' Millions of Hispanics are white, millions don't think of themselves as non-white, and millions are mixed, which doesn't make them one thing or the other, just Hispanics, Latinas/Latinos and human beings. Enough judging via labels (non-white, 'yellow,' 'red,' etc.) and group generalizations rather than by individuals and what one sees."
Mooning Over Metal
There was one piece that everyone loved last week: Jason Roche's cover story breaking down the subgenres of metal ("Death 'n' Roll").
Writes Melanie Pinkard, "Very nice job on that article! There's so many genres in metal, it can drive even a hard-core fan (like myself) completely insane. But obviously, your writer did his research. AWESOME."
We also heard from Mark S. Tucker, who did the unbelievable: He wrote a letter saying that, overall, the paper is kicking ass. We've edited out the parts about how some specific former writers suck — but the rest is all here.
"After years of holding off, thought I'd finally write and laud you bastards on what I was sure would be a disaster. Since the infamous takeover, I have to admit that the changes to L.A. Weekly have been all to the good. You got rid of a bunch of fifth-raters; sharpened up the art direction; cohered everything very nicely; etc. Damn! And here I was ready to rip you guys eight new ones! There goes my cynic's license — right into the trash, damn it!
He continues, "Oh, and y'all should make sure Jason Roche gets a Pulitzer. I've been a prolific critic in national print mags and on the 'net for 25 years, and I'm damned if I could ever figure out the trillion and one metal sub-genres. Hell, even Martin Popoff couldn't, but Roche comprehensively nailed it. Thanx, Jase, ya dun mankind a service!"
We failed to credit the photographer who supplied the image of John Kerwin chatting up Brandi Glanville in last week's A Considerable Town piece ("The Little Late Night Show That Could"). The photographer was Lucie Aleks.
Also, last week's cover story about the many genres of heavy metal misidentified a band in the subgenre of metalcore. The band is Carnifex, not Centinex. We regret both errors.
You Write, We Read
Please send letters to L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Or write us at ReadersWrite@laweekly.com. Full name and contact info preferred.