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Letters

FAMILY MATTERS

I very much enjoyed F.X. Feeney’s review of Kenneth Tynan’s diaries [“Poww!” February 15–21], but since the Weekly is the paper I rely on for most of my news, I thought I’d write to set the record straight. My brother, Matthew, and I felt strongly that our half-sister Tracy was the rightful heir of Dad’s diaries. It is not true, however, that our mother held on to them because she found them too disturbing to see published. (She entered into a contract to have them published before she died.) Further, she incorporated not just “some” but virtually all of the significant information about Dad’s emotional and sexual life in her excellent biography of him. She dealt with his S/M honestly and at length, as well as the ups and downs of their marriage. The bio deserves a bit more of a defense. It is neither “overlong” nor “worthy” — a backhanded compliment that makes it sound dull. It is, in fact, a witty, elegant and astonishingly honest portrait of the man, and essential reading for those interested in his life and work. Having said all that, it was wonderful to read such a good review — one that I hope will interest new readers in his work, and one that might help my siblings and me get his work back into print.

—Roxana Tynan Los Angeles

 

SOFT CELL

Great piece by Alec Hanley Bemis on the new Amoeba Records store [“Queasy Sick Wonderful,” February 15–21], which will be the first place I visit when I arrive in L.A. in April. Glad to see Meltzer still collects records. (When I visited his apartment in NYC in the 1970s, he was collecting parrot guano.) Sorry there was nothing in the story about one of the main reasons many people collect and prefer vinyl: It sounds better. And it need not sound “crackly.” Vinyl is still the greatest!

—Michael Fremer Senior contributing editor Stereophile Wyckoff, New Jersey

Why couldn’t you have just called Alec Hanley Bemis’ article “A Story We Ran About Amoeba Music (Who Happen To Spend a Great Deal on Ads in Our Periodical)”? Oh, because then you would have jeopardized your journalistic credibility? Maybe if some of the other, smaller stores that don’t run four-page ads yet still have highly collectible vinyl (see Aron’s Records’ www.rareroom.com, for example) had been mentioned, it wouldn’t have looked so bad. But I guess you have to pay if you want any coverage. It’s great to see alternative newsmagazines become just as bullshit as the mainstream ones. Maybe if I pay for an ad, this’ll get published.

—Jonathan Myers Los Angeles

I opened up the L.A. Weekly last week to read an article about record collectors, only to find myself reading about a day in the life of an Amoeba record buyer. Frankly, it makes me sad to read a story about record collecting in Los Angeles that only mentions Amoeba. There’s no doubt the opening of Amoeba in L.A. is an exciting event for record collectors, but record collecting is a hobby that entails drawing from a variety of sources, from ebay and gemm, to swap meets, to trading with other collectors. Most important, collecting involves shopping at a variety of record stores, since no store can have everything and any store can potentially have something. There are many, many record stores in L.A. which, though smaller than Amoeba, do get new stuff in every day. Many of these stores specialize in certain areas like jazz or punk and (gosh!) may have stuff Amoeba doesn’t have. Also, they might pay more for records that fall into their area of specialty. Amoeba is a truly great record store, but it falls short in some areas — it’s experimental vinyl section is pretty small, and its 7-inch collection leaves something to be desired. Of course, no record store, no matter how large, can have everything. Which is why it’s good to remember that Los Angeles has a lot of independent record stores, many of which have been serving the local record-buying population for years. Although Amoeba is also "independent," it is still a monster of sorts and is potentially threatening to the mom-and-pop stores of Los Angeles, who need to continue to buy and sell good records to survive ,and whose survival should be essential to anyone who loves to collect records.

—Nicole Bazar Los Angeles

 

 

BUSTED

Thanks for running Ben Ehrenreich’s story “Busting Unions” [February 8–14], about the Fund for Public Interest Research’s scandalous labor-law violations in its Santa Monica Greenpeace office. I was among those Greenpeace workers who were not only illegally denied the benefits that were part of our contracts, but ultimately laid off just because our immediate supervisors took action to get those benefits for us. The undisputed (and illegal) reason for the firing of the directors is that they had contacted the labor board. The Fund has failed to deny this and has failed to provide an alternate reason. The people there know they are in trouble, they are scared, and they should be.

—David Callaghan North Hollywood

My name is Daniel Mangiagli, and I was fortunate enough to play a part in the campaigns of the former L.A. Greenpeace office. And like my co-workers, I was also denied the health care that was promised to me by the Fund for Public Interest Research when I was originally hired. For half a year I had kidney stones making their long and painful journey down my urinary track. For the majority of that time, I was eligible for health care under Fund contract, but the organization ignored the many requests made by our office for the Fund to fulfill their obligation as our employers. I couldn’t sleep well at night because of the pain. Kidney stones are not smooth. Ever try to drink a McDonald’s shake? Apply that to pissing and you might get an idea of what it was like. But every week I still stood on corners petitioning, fund-raising and trying to convince perfect strangers that we all have to do something to help the world. And by December, I was urinating blood. My directors contacted the Fund about the urgency of the problem. Excuses were the only reply. You can imagine how relieved I was to hear, in January, that our health-care packages were on their way. On January 22, our office (the highest-grossing in the nation) was shut down, and our directors were fired with no clear explanation given. But they did bring our health-care papers. I’m covered by the Fund through the end of February. Too bad it takes a month for the coverage to kick in. I guess I’m lucky they don’t have a 401K — then I’d really be screwed.

—Daniel Mangiagli Santa Monica

 

PRINCIPAL VS. COLLATERAL

In “Naturellement” [On, February 15–21], John Powers repeats the same tired claim that the U.S. media favor Israel. In point of fact, there are constant murders of Israelis that get little or no coverage in the U.S. Just recently, longer-range missiles were shot at Israel, an advanced tank was blown up and a suicide bomber killed two Israelis and wounded dozens. Only spectacularly large attacks that kill more than 10 at a time get coverage. Also, Powers failed to note that Israel targets those attacking and killing Israelis; the Palestinians murder Israelis indiscriminately.

—Richard Sol Los Angeles

 

CAPITAL MATTERS

A correction re: Sara Catania’s “Indecent Executions” [February 15–21]. She avers that “In 2001, there were 98 executions, the most in any single year since 1951.” Actually, there were 98 executions in 1999, 85 in 2000 and 66 in 2001. That said, I congratulate Ms. Catania for the exquisite attention to detail that has characterized her recent submissions concerning the case of Stephen Wayne Anderson. I also thank L.A. Weekly for giving her the opportunity to illuminate the vagaries of a system designed to sanction state-sponsored homicide.

—K. Bandell Norwalk


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