Thank you for finally giving Me'Shell Ndegéocello the space necessary to understand a little bit about this gift of a woman; Ernest Hardy's "Darkness Audible" [September 1016] is simply the best, most complete article published about her to date. Me'Shell is more than a musician or a songwriter or an artist; she's a thinking, feeling person just like everybody else, which is the reality America's whole star culture is afraid to acknowledge.
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I have endless respect for Me'Shell Ndegéocello, and Ernest Hardy's article simply gave me millions more reasons to admire and be inspired by her. I certainly hope that she ignores all the clueless people (especially critics and record execs) who haven't figured out for themselves how vital her music and her sentiments are to people, to our culture, to our planet. Thank you, Me'Shell, for your perpetual integrity and creativity.
The article on Me'Shell Ndegéocello was simply beautiful. I was very pleasantly surprised at the depth and length of the article, compared to what other entertainment magazines and Web sites would have given it. Me'Shell's complexity required such length, and I am glad that you went with the multilevel vibe she was giving. Take care, and stay focused.
Anointed Believers Baptist Church
I hope Me'Shell Ndegéocello never becomes anywhere near as popular as Puffy or any of the other hip-hop ho's and pop-music mercenaries mentioned in Ernest Hardy's article. Had she enjoyed such massive sales, or an aggressively supportive record company, it is doubtful that she would have experienced the growth that is apparent over the course of her three albums. And those of us who know would be worse off for it.
In a town full of funk fakers, Ernest Hardy is the truth.
Re: Hope Urban's "Silver Lake Snarl" [September 1723]. As a car commuter and recreational cyclist who lives in Glendale and works at Wilshire Center, I was enticed to take public transit one morning and ride my bicycle home precisely because of the Silver Lake bicycle lanes. Count me among those who view the lanes as an opportunity to be part of the solution, not the problem.
Re: "Silver Lake Snarl." We need to preserve safe and pleasant neighborhood settings, instead of making it easier for cars to speed through our communities. Bicycles and bike lanes are part of the traffic solution, an alternative to driving, a means of reducing congestion and smog.
Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
Thank you, Hope Urban, for addressing Silver Lake Boulevard's new traffic-congestion problem. Like the resident you cited, I find 15 minutes has been added to my own already infuriating morning commute, and you are absolutely correct in calling it "a virtual one-lane, one-mile-long parking lot." I feel that the idea for a bike lane was fantastic in theory, but in reality an in-depth study of the neighborhood's traffic patterns should have been done before this "fantastic" idea grew into the nightmare of every Silver Lake commuter's day. I realize that very few people showed up at the meetings you mentioned, and that is probably because, to neighborhood residents, the idea of a bike lane sounded extremely innocuous, hardly the sort of thing that would ultimately end up causing the kind of major headaches that it definitely has created.
In regard to Marc B. Haefele's item "Trusting the Wetlands" [City Limits, September 1016], what Mr. Haefele missed -- and what I thought I had successfully articulated to him, but obviously failed to, during our phone interview -- was that the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust does not intend to acquire all of the wetlands by asking people to break open their piggy banks and give what they can to buy the land. As much as we wish it were, this isn't It's a Wonderful Life. Instead, it is necessary to coordinate an acquisition plan that utilizes a variety of sources, including public money, mitigation funds, ã private donations, private-foundation money and landowner tax incentives.
The Ballona Wetlands Land Trust is working on identifying acquisition funds, fusing relationships with government representatives who support our position and ensuring that the wetlands are protected to the fullest extent of the law. Already, a litany of acquisition funds have been identified, including over a billion dollars in port mitigation funds, millions in state and federal wetlands grants, millions in private grants, and now $29 million in public acquisition money devoted to Ballona thanks to Assembly Speaker Villaraigosa's California Parks bond bill, which passed the California Legislature early this month.
Call us idealistic (and I know many of our opponents do), but the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust is confident that the owners of the land at Ballona will eventually come to the realization that it is in both their best interest and the community's best interest that the land be placed into the public trust for the benefit of all. We will continue working at convincing the landowners that selling the land for just compensation to the public is both feasible and desirable.
Ballona Wetlands Land Trust
Playa del Rey
The September 1016 issue of the Weekly had an article by Johnny Angel titled "Left Meets Right in Granada Hills" in the OffBeat section. I spoke at the meeting of the Granada Forum about water fluoridation. My name is Doug Cragoe, not "Don Kreigel." (Since I sat in the small audience for some time after I spoke, Mr. Angel could have easily asked me how to spell my name, instead of just guessing.) I was not introduced as "head" of Citizens for Safe Drinking Water, so I don't know where he got that idea. He also wrote that I "passed out copies of the Impeachment Roll Call and [recounted my] recent journey to Area 51 and a subsequent UFO sighting." This is false. I spoke only about fluoridation, then I sat down.
Johnny Angel writes well about the lives of criminals, and I think he may want to stick to that, since making things up and getting the story wrong may matter less in that type of writing.
CHECK THE FACTS MA'AM
In Skylaire Alfvegren's review of a recent Ted Nugent show at House of Blues [Music Reviews, September 1016], she manages to spell drummer Tommy Aldridge's name wrong ("Aldrich") and list his credits as Rainbow and Black Sabbath, when he was never in either of those bands. The fact that he played in Whitesnake (another Deep Purple "splinter" act) and with Ozzy Osbourne (former and current singer of Sabbath) makes this a "close but no cigar" situation. Please be more careful.
I just wanted to write in appreciation of John Morthland's wonderful article on our CD set The West Coast East Side Sound ["Poquito Soul," September 39]. I am sure that Eddie Davis would have been proud to be remembered in this way. I would, however, like to correct one statement: "These four CDs are drawn from old 45s rather than master tapes." This is simply not true. Our disclaimer reads, "Every effort has been made to use the best source material available. In those cases where original master tapes did not exist, disc transfers were used. Therefore, sound quality may vary."
Thank you again for a great article and review.
--Hector A. Gonzalez
Owner, Rampart Record Group
I would like to thank Siran Babayan for her mention of Hatikvah Music in "Back to the Source" [September 1016]. However, I should point out that while Jerry Leiber did work here (when the store was called Norty's Music), Mike Stoller did not -- although they did originally meet here.
Hatikvah Music International
Thank you for running the article on Ardis Munck and Doberman Rescue ["Dog Ma," September 39]. Ardis has been a close friend ever since my husband and I got two of our dogs from her (neither of whom, by the way, is a Dobie), six years ago. I would also like to commend John McCormick for capturing the spirit, courage, humor and good common sense of this amazing woman. It's my hope that your article will expose people to the incredible work that Ardis and other rescue people do, as well as to the deplorable situation for so many abandoned companion animals, who have been so frequently disappointed by those whom they've trusted most, their owners.
THE THORN IN THE ROSE
In her otherwise incisive review of American Beauty ["Blue Velour," September 1723], Ella Taylor confounds the reader with her reference to "one unfortunate scene that implies it's okay to sleep with an underage slut but not with an underage virgin . . ." Summoning every critical faculty I possess, I am still at a loss to understand this interpretation of the scene. True, Lester doesn't act on his initial intentions in this scene, but it's not because he's reluctant to deflower the "American Beauty" he believes will redeem him from his own inertia; rather, Lester withdraws because the reality of Angela's identity (as opposed to the "Everyman's Lust Fantasy" persona she markets as a survival mechanism) snaps him back into the reality of his own inner core of decency. With his tender decision in this scene, Lester resurrects something of the nobility we know he once had before it evaporated into an evanescent suburban haze. As in classical tragedy, this realization comes too late to save Lester, but it's important to recognize the scene as a vehicle of Lester's self-revelation, not as an "unfortunate" take on the hackneyed "madonna-whore" prototype.
--Mary Beth Culp
Part of the credit for last week's Best of L.A. cover, featuring the artwork of Matt Groening and the folks at Futurama was omitted in many of our papers. It should have read: FUTURAMATM & © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
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