Christine Pelisek’s mini-exposé “I’m Your Biggest-Paid Fan” [November 30–December 6], on deceit inside Hollywood’s hype machine, shouldn’t come as a surprise to observers of the changes in the corporate entertainment business over the last decade. It’s all “entertainment,” a justification for grotesque falsification of anything and everything. How is it that the audiences for MTV and other awards shows are stocked, especially up front near the stage, with attractive young people who seem to be as (mindlessly) enthusiastic about creative icons like Eric Clapton and Sting as they are about walking synthetic Coca-Cola commercials like Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys? Or that regardless of genre — from hip-hop, to mindless pop pap, to metal, to classic rock — they’re all jumping around wildly as though their actual favorite group of all time had just come onstage? Give ’em Celine Dion or Eminem or Limp Bizkit, and it’s all equally fabulous.

Next Pelisek should shock us by telling us how few major “singers” have their microphones turned on when they do their live shows (not to mention TV shows). It’s all (corporate) show biz — and pretty soon people won’t care if the show goes on or not. Unless someone is paying them to cheer.

—Roland Charest Los Angeles


Thanks so much for Christine Pelisek’s article. It was sad and yet enlightening. I used to be a fan of the alternative-rock group Creed until I received an e-mail from their fan club (of which I was a member) saying I could have a free ticket to see them in Los Angeles on Sunday, December 2, as long as I was under 30 years old and did not look any older than 25. Being both older than 30 and looking over 25 — I guess that means I am no longer welcome as a fan.

—Inge Webb (39, and proud of it) Phoenix, Arizona


Re: Marc Cooper’s “Fifth Lady Down” [November 30–December 6]. Great story, well-written and -researched. Interesting and sad as well. Loved it!

—Jay Homel Simi Valley


I read with interest Marc Cooper’s “Fifth Lady Down,” the story of the Desert Inn and of the Strip. The guy is a great writer, but he made a glaring factual error. The Dunes was not imploded to make way for the Mirage. It was the Castaways that stood where the Mirage is today. The Dunes made way for the Bellagio.

—Jerry Fink Las Vegas, Nevada


If Marc Cooper had visited Las Vegas recently, he would know the Desert Inn was not imploded. One tower has been demolished, and the balance of the structure — more than 75 percent of the original — will be incorporated into Steve Wynn’s newest hotel, expected to outdo anything else on the Strip.

—Dick Doye Las Vegas, Nevada



Erin Aubry Kaplan’s Cakewalk column is the first thing I turn to. Her recent column on the African-American view of our war over the recent terrorist attacks [“Peace of Me,” November 9–15] was timely, insightful and extremely relevant to the current debate. I laughed out loud while reading this week’s musings on feminism [“The Feminine Mistake,” December 7–13] in response to the Weekly’s recent cover story “Girls Gone Wild” [November 9–15]. I hope you’re paying her more than the 70 cents on the dollar that most businesses pay women versus men in comparable positions. She’s worth it, and then some.

—Diane Bliss Los Angeles


Re: John Powers’ “Desert Foxes” [On, November 30–December 6]. On September 11, I watched television all day (as did most Americans). Whenever Ashleigh Banfield appeared on MSNBC, she was reporting from ground zero, not “performing.”

—Carol Anne Sundahl Seattle


Powers is off his rocker if he believes — really believes — that Cokie Roberts is an example of femme news brainpower. The woman has said nothing fresh, perceptive or original in 10 years.

—Robert Gregory Tulsa, Oklahoma


Re: Manohla Dargis’ notes — in her review of Behind Enemy Lines [“See Owen Run,” November 30–December 6] — on Hollywood and Washington’s agreement to promote the armed forces. As we speak, the Hollywood war effort has moved forward with the six primary networks committed to producing and airing their own public-service announcements featuring a parade of stars rallying behind U.S. troops. This is the first step by a 40-plus-member committee that has been formed under MPAA tyrant Jack Valenti in the aftermath of a meeting between Hollywood bosses and top White House adviser Karl Rove. Thanks, Manohla, for not rolling over.

—Matt Hader Los Angeles


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