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Letters

VOICES FROM THE DEAN TEAM

In “Yellowcake Rising” [July 18–24], John Powers rightly criticizes Democrats for showing up late to the anti-war game, but then appears to quote Howard Dean as an example of this. In fact, Dean alone was criticizing Bush’s war back when it (should have) counted — before we invaded Iraq. Dean said on February 7, 2003, “I firmly believe that the president is focusing our diplomats, our military, our intelligence agencies and even our people on the wrong war, at the wrong time, when our energy and our resources should be marshaled for the greatest threats we face.”

As a longtime Dean supporter, I’m glad the other Dems are finally “discovering” Bush’s lies. But my boy demonstrated his bullshit detector long ago.

—Damian Carroll
Sherman Oaks

 

John Powers’ coverage of the once-cowering congressional Democrats now suddenly emboldened in the face of Mr. Bush’s arrogant and stupid “guerrilla war” (and that’s quoting one of his generals, not his secretary of defense) was truthful and accurate. As for Howard Dean, it should be noted that he is no Johnny Come Lately to the anti–Johnny Got His Gun crowd. In fact, the meteoric rise of Dean’s popularity is precisely because he stood against the war, and not — à la Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lieberman — against war after hypocritically voting for it. Mr. Dean calls for Mr. Bush to be accountable. Will the media now rise to the occasion, or will they once more be Mr. Bush’s passive flunkies?

—Dave Coleman
Van Nuys

THE GOOD OLD NEW BEVERLY

Paul Cullum’s piece on the New Beverly Cinema [“The Last Picture Show,” July 18–24] is an urgent alarm for the Los Angeles film community. Cheers to Cullum, Julien Nitzberg and owner Sherman Torgan for getting the word out before it’s too late.

The New Beverly is more valuable to the L.A. area than the well-funded museums and film schools simply because the price of admission is low enough for everyone to enjoy its offerings. If it closes, then thousands will never get to laugh at the Marx Brothers alongside giggling 10-year-olds, will never drop a flask in the dark during The Third Man, will never be able to ditch class to see a Peter Sellers double bill. The loss of the New Beverly would render extinct the precious ritual of seeing classic movies in public.

Where are the millionaires and corporate sponsorships when they’re actually needed? If the big bucks don’t come through, we need a massive outpouring of grassroots assistance. I urge all members of the philanthropy class to skip the radio pledge drive this year and divert some money to a real public service that is in danger of closing down.

And to all my young peers: Don’t buy it on DVD. See it at the New Bev.

—James Adomian
Long Beach

 

The New Beverly Cinema has been my celluloid nepenthe since I moved back to SoCal in 1996. I know of no other flick house in the U.S. that comes close to the New Bev. A hearty thanks to Los Angeles cine-geek know-it-all Paul Cullum for inking the article.

—Emmy Collins
Pearblossom

 

Although every word Paul Cullum wrote about Sherman Torgan was right on target, he overlooked one salient point: Adherence to the schedule is a religion to Torgan. In all the decades I’ve been patronizing the New Beverly, I have never walked in on the wrong half of the bill or had to twiddle my thumbs for 20 minutes or more waiting for the film to begin. For that, I’d say Torgan deserves a special Oscar, and I’m sure lots of other movie buffs/regular attendees are just as appreciative of his track record as I am.

—David R. Moss
Los Angeles

DON’T FORGET THE PANANG CURRY

Re: Jonathan Gold’s “Fajita Pitas, Octopus Tacos and the Birth of California Cuisine” [July 18–24]. This is my childhood! How many kids at the age of 14 are taken to lunch at Ma Maison? I’ve eaten at every single restaurant on this list. I celebrated my 21st birthday at Angeli Caffe. I still remember the John Dory with vanilla sauce I had at Fennel. And I think we would all agree that the noisiest restaurant we’ve ever been to was John Sedlar’s Saint Estephe in the Santa Monica shopping mall. I will cherish this article.

—Nancy Rowe
Burlingame

While I am a longtime fan of Jonathan Gold and am always awestruck by the eclectic range of his palate, I was surprised that in his very comprehensive coverage of the 25 most significant developments in eating in L.A., he left out one that I know is near and dear to his heart — the evolution of Los Angeles as (arguably) the best place to eat Thai food outside of Bangkok! Twenty-five years ago, there were only Chao Praya and the Tepparod to satisfy a craving for pad Thai and satay.

“Little Thailand” on a stretch of Hollywood Boulevard has been admirably reviewed by Jonathan, whose support and encouragement have undoubtedly added to the development of first-rate restaurants throughout the city, where the fare is not only “authentic” but wide-ranging. And it was Jonathan who first brought to my attention the fabulous entertainment provided by the “Thai Elvis” (who is actually Filipino).

—Ruth Kramer Ziony
Los Angeles

SHINE ON

Re: “Timothy Leary’s Endless Party” [July 18–July 24]. I was overjoyed and enlightened by Judith Lewis’ review and am pleased to feel how Tim’s worldview and irrepressible spirit continues to ‰ shine on. Thank you for your kind and well-chosen words.

—Maurice Kaehler
Los Angeles

ROUGH MAGIC

In your recent profile of former Pixies drummer David Lovering and former Possum Dixon front man Rob Zabrecky [“Rock Magicians,” July 18–24], John Albert took a couple of cheap shots at “most magicians.” Albert went on to type: “Most people think of magicians and envision some tanned über-nerd in a Miami Vice suit doing flashy illusions to a melodramatic song like ‘Dream Weaver.’ They are the show-biz equivalent of the smug car salesman — you know they’re getting over on you, yet you continue to watch as if hypnotized, and then slink out feeling like a world-class rube.”

Albert’s ignorance of postmodern magic veritably yawns off the page. Although magic may indeed have fewer hairstyles than rock, punk, protopunk, grunge punk, demiyoyopunk and all of its other microbranded products, today’s crop of magicians can boast its own fair share of edgy artists: Ed Alonzo (the Magic Castle’s Magician of the Year last year) doesn’t saw a lady in half, but instead happily dismembers a bunny. Todd Robbins hammers a nail into his own face. Beno and Bosco perform Needle Through the Tit. Zach Dubnoff, a.k.a. the Wizard of Hollywood, swallows 20 razor blades and a length of thread, and then pulls the blades from his mouth tied to the thread. The list goes on.

Magic lovers are a cross section of the populace, reflecting the diverse passions and points of view of America, something that a couch potato like Mr. Albert will not discover simply by sucking his thumb to Fox Television’s latest über-Blaine. Sure there are octogenarians and traditionalists in the magic world with retrograde points of view; music has its own fair share, as well. (Ever hear of Wayne Newton?) But as with any cross section, the gene pool is also teeming with iconoclasts, rebels and Weather Underground radicals.

It’s easy to ooze sarcasm — as I am this moment proving, and as Mr. Albert proved with such remedial grammar and composition in his so-called article. What’s more difficult by far is to write with authority and knowledge, rather than engaging in the much simpler task of typing without a clue in your head, only a couple ounces o’ ’tood.

—David Groves
MC and magician
Magic on the Edge
San Dimas

SHORT-LIVED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

In “Another Day in Paradise” [July 25–31] Steven Leigh Morris errs when he says the play Oh! What a Lovely War never appeared in the United States. It had a short-lived Broadway production in 1964, produced by David Merrick.

—Richard LeComte
Reno, Nevada

CORRECTION

Nancy Updike’s story on the Israeli security barrier [“Fences Make Bad Neighbors,” July 18–24] contained an error. The Green Line is an armistice demarcation, not a border. Israel has internationally recognized borders with Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.