ITS THE INEQUITY, STUPID
Re: the Weeklys articles commemorating the 1992 riots [cover stories, April 26May 2]. Ten years after the riots, I reviewed my own involvement and the citys involvement. I was 14 when the riots happened. I, too, participated in the reckless looting without a thought as to why I was doing it. I wanted products. I wanted a VCR, a stereo and new clothes.
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The L.A. riots started about race Reginald Denny and Rodney King were about race. But thats where it ended. After that, it was about the byproducts of capitalism. If we construct a society that says you are not of value or whole if you do not have certain products, we should not be surprised when poor people and teenagers who were practically 100 percent of the rioters aggressively go after products. If you looked at the streets, it wasnt about Rodney King it was about consumerism. It was about economic inequity regardless of race, gender or age.
In Pat Alderetes take on the events in Los Angeles 10 years ago [California Gold], he makes use of Huell Howsers corny and supposedly benign cluelessness to point up the disparity of viewpoints toward the violence. It seemed that people saw the same things differently. Ill say. I happen to have a copy of the on-the-street interview Alderete describes, which was taped live by a channel-surfing friend. Alderete manages to get nearly every detail wrong: It was on the first, wildly out-of-control afternoon of the riots, not the third; Howser was not smiling he was visibly angry and upset, standing at a mini-mall at Melrose and Vine (barely two blocks from his home, a not terribly chichi address), and he described how he and several other men with him, whom he introduced, including men of color, were out to help keep their local merchants businesses from being ransacked. He spoke eloquently about the love he and his companions (formerly strangers) had for the Hollywood neighborhood, and how the people running amok at that very moment were not from their community, but were taking advantage of the situation to cause mayhem. The black youth, actually a young woman, was the only one smiling through the short interview; she mugged for the camera behind Howsers head as he spoke, laughing and making gang signs, and repeated He be lyin hes a fuckin liar! over and over. Id bet my VCR she had no idea what his name was. She certainly never said Fuck Huell Howser.
Just for the record.
A quick comment on John Powers On column in the May 39 issue [This Is a Town Where . . .]. I love the L.A. Weekly. I also happen to respect the L.A. Times, and the Times coverage of the 10th anniversary of the riots was far and above the best coverage I saw. Mr. Powers criticizes the rambling walk along Vermont Avenue reported by one of the Times writers. What did the Weekly counter with? Musings by Jonathan Gold. Um, yeah, deep. Ill show that article to my grandchildren.
So, a little humility, please. The Times can do a lot better a lot of the time, but they do not always stink. And the Weekly is not always a glorious beacon of divine knowledge. You are equally susceptible to ho-hum reporting.
PLANET GO BOOM
Stephanie Grobs article Teenage Cassandra [April 26May 2] was very moving and admirable. I, for one, fully support the sentiments expressed therein. My generation the baby boomers has largely screwed up this beautiful planet. Young people such as Stephanie will save it. Please give her a big hug and lots of encouragement.
Having read Teenage Cassandra by Stephanie Grob, I fear for our nation. The youth of this country need to understand that the Global Village is more like Dodge City in the 1870s, and G.W. is the new Wyatt Earp. Those young people who march in the anti-American rallies, like those that took place recently in D.C., are in effect helping the terrorists.
Wow! Stephanie Grob has sure got her head on straight. Her article about her experiences in the classroom was excellent. I think she would enjoy reading The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. I am 64 years old, and my 17-year-old son, Edward, introduced me to the thinking presented in this book.
CALL IN THE PMRC
Thank you, L.A. Weekly, for your theater awards ceremony. Its about time that the L.A. theater scene received the recognition that it deserves. There are artists in L.A. who are doing the work merely for the love of theater, not to showcase themselves. As a member of Sacred Fools and Zoo District, I am â
surrounded by artists who want to challenge the audience and move theater forward. I challenge Hollywood to do the same.
Thanks again. I always turn to the Weekly for solid news stories (even when Im staying in Florida doing a play!).
St. Petersburg, Florida
I attended the L.A. Weekly awards on April 22. First off, I want to say it was my first time attending and I think its wonderful the way you guys recognize small, underfunded theater in the L.A. community. Im a member of Open Fist Theater Company, and we were fortunate to have been nominated in a number of categories, and its wonderful to be recognized for all the work we put into it.
That said, the co-host, Ronnie Larsen, was a complete, offensive idiot. There are other ways to get laughs besides the constant use of the words cock, fuck and cunt. The Burglars of Hamm were exceptionally funny without resorting to meaningless profanity. I curse a lot, but cursing for cursings sake isnt funny. The woman sitting in front of me came with her young daughter and they left very early. That shouldnt happen. This was a night for everyone in the L.A. theater community, not a night for one guy to constantly proclaim how much dick he sucks.
THE COACHELLA PRODIGIES
Okay. Besides completely leaving out any mention of the mind-boggling display of turntablist prestidigitation from scratch genius Cut Chemist (who elevated the medium to a true art form with count em five turntables!) in the recent trio of articles on the Coachella Festival [Reach for the Sun, May 39], I cant believe you only relegated a paltry, nitpicky paragraph to the thunderous, rousing sets by electronic powerhouses Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy. Both groups pretty much eclipsed every act before them (as well as after poor Oasis!), if not by sheer magnitude, then surely by intensity and volume.
Sure, Prodigy are campy, cartoon caricatures of techno/punk/bigbeat/metal whatever. I think thats kind of the point. To flip off the whole dowdy, unwashed, stoner/hippie-DJ-in-big-baggy-clothes shtick. The Chemical Brothers, though not as flashy and in-your-face, cranked out the usual tight, powerful set. And from where I stood (actually watching the show, instead of rolling my eyes and clicking my tongue at it), both groups had the biggest, most enthusiastic crowds that entire weekend. Thats more than I can say for the emperors new Strokes.
The reference to Björks last song at the Coachella Festival as a cover of George Harrisons Blue Jay Way is wrong. The song was actually Pluto from Björks Homogenic CD.
Due to a production error, John Morthlands byline was dropped from his article on Pachuco Boogie in the L.A. edition of last weeks paper.