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A Playwright Examines Theater Critics, and more

A Little Help, Please

I really miss the handy tear-out voters’ guides [you used to include] — not just because they really are handy, but because I liked how the Weekly always went through every issue/person and took a position. This is one of the reasons I am a faithful reader. There are plenty of Web sites telling me what I can do on the weekends.

Annie ZarcoffLos Angeles

Defending the Rogue

As an award-winning L.A. playwright, I have learned to turn a blind eye to those self-important typewriter thumpers who, unfortunately, pass for critics in this town. Regrettably, there are scant few who possess the needed combination of literary skills, empathic sensibilities and passion for live theater required to fulfill the high duties and grave responsibilities of theatrical critics. Among the sparse ranks who meet those demands, Neal Weaver, Steven Leigh Morris, Steven Mikulan, Les Spindle and Madeleine Shaner stand out. For those with suspicious natures, of that group only Mr. Weaver and Mr. Mikulan have reviewed shows of mine. However, among those who I feel fall beneath the bar is Lovell Estell III (and yes, Mr. Estell did pan a show of mine back in 1995). Be that as it may, the issue here is not one of belated sour grapes, but a response to Estell’s recent review of The Compleat Female Stage Beauty, currently at Theatre/Theater. Typical of Mr. Estell’s critiques is the scant attention given to the production itself. Of the approximately 200 words employed in his evaluation, 163 are given over to a synopsis of the play, 12 comment on the author Jeffrey Hatcher, four are given up to name two individuals involved with the production, which leaves a mere 22 with which to curtly dismiss the show overall.

Both theater and production are deserving of more. Since 1982, Theatre/Theater’s stagings have been both innovative and provocative. The Rogue Machine, in choosing as its premiere production The Compleat Female Stage Beauty, has announced its arrival with an audacity that is to be celebrated. Rather than opt for the “safe harbor” of putting onstage some Movie of the Week and passing it off as theater, the Rogue Machine has dared to attempt a multicharacter historical tale set in the English Restoration of Charles II. It is a thinking man’s costume drama verging on pageantry. The Rogue Machine embraces all the challenges such a piece makes with ingenuity and resourcefulness. The company achieves, not in the least suffering or lacking for the constraints put upon it, a spectacle on a shoestring. The experience, far from being “ponderous,” is a sensual delight.

This is the brand of theater L.A. needs, bold, breathtaking and defiant of all barriers. Especially now, at a time when the city’s former standard bearers for new, cutting-edge theater have retreated into the financial sanctuary of Neil Simon and revivals.

Ernest KearneyLos Angeles

The County Seat

Re: “The Déjà Vu of Parks vs. Ridley-Thomas [May 30-June 5]. Why is so much money being poured into the county-supervisor election? Because there’s even more to be made by the winning candidate. Just ask Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and her shady husband, Bill. How much were they worth before Burke’s cronies on the L.A. City Council started him off with his monopoly on the L.A. Marathon? Now they’re millionaires and living in Brentwood.

Via comments at laweekly.com by TwistedPosted Friday, May 30

Democrats used to stand for the citizens. Since Bill Clinton, the Dems have gotten too many centrists. The only thing worse than a right-winger is a centrist.

Via comments at laweekly.com by Red RockerPosted Saturday, May 31

Hollywood, UFOs and the Occult

Re: “The Impending Something,” A Considerable Town [May 30-June 5]. Hollywood is nothing more than the mouthpiece of Wall Street, so if they’re pushing something, it’s because they want us to be thinking about that particular agenda. Distracting people from corruption in high places and rumors of wars with tales of aliens only serves to keep everyone’s eye off the bouncing ball.

Via comments at laweekly.com by A. MagnusPosted Monday, June 2

Clarification

In last week’s story, “California’s Poison Pills: Propositions 98 and 99” [May 30-June 5], a comparison of Prop. 98 and L.A.’s “rent-control lite” needs clarification: Like L.A.’s rent-control provisions, Proposition 98 allows landlords to raise rents to market levels only if the current tenant moves out. Prop. 98 differs from local law in that if the current tenant moves, that unit is no longer subject to city or other local rent controls.

In addition, due to an editing error, the story stated that Los Angeles rent control affects only units built after 1978. The rule affects only units built before 1978.

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