I read Howard Blume's article entitled "The Full (Bel)Monty" [March 511] with great interest. I would appreciate your informing your readers that the list of board members who opposed the project does not include my name, because I was not on the board when the Belmont project was approved. In fact, I was told by a colleague that the vote was taken before I took office. I would like to challenge the potential inference that I was the fourth vote, when, in fact, it was my predecessor, Mark Slavkin, who cast the deciding vote.
--Valerie FieldsLos Angeles Board of Education
Re: Greg Burk's piece on Horace Tapscott ["Dirt and Sky," February 26March 4]. Just a note of thanks for one of the best pieces I've ever read about the soul of music, the importance of community and how the two might relate. Reading how Horace Tapscott's music and life were woven so tightly with this city that is so quickly dismissed as having no soul made me feel better about being here.
--Herb AgnerLos Angeles
Mr. Tapscott is a great man, and Greg Burk mainlined directly into the reasons why. Not just an electrifying musician, but a man with a deep and direct connection to his roots and his community. I live far from L.A., in the New York metro area, so it was my pleasure to see Tapscott play only once, at the Village Vanguard a few years ago. A couple of us came by on Wednesday; the room was full of pianists who'd come to check him out. Everyone expected avant-garde fireworks and were pleasurably shocked to hear him open with, as he put it, "either 'Now's the Time' or 'The Hucklebuck,' depending on your credentials." Those thick, multidimensional left-hand clusters still stay with me, as does the sheer physicality of the single-note right-hand runs. As with Monk and as with Randy Weston, every note rang its own affirmation.
--Marcel-Franck SimonUpper Montclair, New Jersey
MEANWHILE, BACK IN LALO LAND
So I caught Lalo Lopez's Oscar form letter [Mexiled, March 511]. As satire, it didn't work, and it sure isn't funny. As social commentary, it's worse.
Okay, I am a white guy who works in "the biz." (Not at the Oscar level, just yet anyway.) First off, the Oscars are simply a high-profile industry awards show. Let's not read too much into them, shall we? The Academy voting involves about 5,800 professionals, much older than the average moviegoer, and their particular preferences in movies. Sometimes they're right, sometimes they're wrong, sometimes they're close.
But to screech about ethnic representation is completely backward. There are only five nominees per category (and only three for some). There are far more than five "worthy" professionals for each category each year. A lot of people, of all hues (including white), are left out in the cold.
Look, the Academy obviously has a hard-on for English costume pieces circa 15001900. Which 1) gives greater weight to a film like Elizabeth and 2) undeniably shuts out a bunch of nonwhite performers -- the effect of the Anglo in Anglo-Saxon, you know. (That bias, along with a bias against comedy, works against Jim Carrey and There's Something About Mary, too -- all white folks.) I think Denzel Washington was worthy of a best actor for He Got Game. But I also think a bunch of other white guys were, too. So don't play the game -- as some will -- that "Denzel got shafted because he's black." Hey, a bunch of guys got shafted, and a bunch of guys got their due.
In a perfect world, it all works out. The best work is produced and rewarded in percentages that exactly match those of the population at large. But it ain't a perfect world. So what's your priority? Mine is simply the best work. It's done by five white guys? Fine. By five people, none of whom are white males? Fine. You got a problem with that? You shouldn't. Get over it, for crying out loud.
--Paul GiorgiLos Angeles
Lalo Lopez must have had quite a bit of fun coming up with his parody of people who blame immigrants for America's environmental problems ["Mexiled," February 1926]. We only wish his aim were better. Since his imaginary organization, the "Cierra Club," is clearly a takeoff on the Sierra Club (with a pretty impressive knockoff of our letterhead!), he is perpetuating the myth that we support limiting immigration. We do not have, nor have we ever had, such a position. Our members voted overwhelmingly last year that we would take no position on immigration policy.
No sincere environmentalist doubts that global overpopulation is one of the most serious threats to our environment. But what our members also recognize is that â moving people around, or keeping them from moving, will do nothing to decrease the total number of people on the planet, or rein in the overall birth rate. We believe that the answer to overpopulation is birth control, not border patrols. We are fighting for empowerment and education for women in developing countries, and guaranteed access to family planning. We are also fighting to curb wasteful consumption, and to hold politicians and polluters accountable.
None of this changes the fact that there are too many Americans, whether misinformed, xenophobic or just plain racist, who do spout the sort of anti-immigrant nonsense Lopez is mocking. One could debate whether Lopez's parody helps educate your readers about this problem or simply perpetuates some ugly stereotypes. Either way, connecting the Sierra Club to blatant racism, even as a parody, is not fair to us, nor does it give your readers an accurate impression of the club's work, our position on immigration or our campaign to stop the global population problem.
--Carl PopeExecutive Director, Sierra Club--Armando Soto MayorChair, Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Council
I've been a fan of Lalo Alcaraz's L.A. Cucaracha for a long time. His cartoon "Finally! The Monica Interview" [March 511] took the cake, or should I say it blew me away?
--Robby MorrisLos Angeles
SO KRISPY, SO KREMEY
Just a few quick words on Jonathan Gold's not-exactly-enthusiastic review of the new Krispy Kremes in La Habra ("Automatic Rounds," February 26March 4). Mr. Gold is obviously not a true doughnut epicure. Otherwise he might have realized that comparing a delicious Krispy Kreme to a hot Winchell's glazed is like comparing a classic '68 Mustang to a souped-up Geo Metro. The lines around the outside of the building aren't because we like the fluorescent lights, buddy. Krispy Kremes just happen to be the best doughnuts on the planet.
--Molly RysmanLos Angeles
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