BEHIND THE MUSIC
In [Alan Richs] article about the play on the murder of Klinghoffer [A Lot of Night Music, January 1622], there is a glaring omission. Namely, neither he nor the play mentioned the ethnic cleansing of a little under 1 million Jews from Arab/Muslim lands. Hell, even before the founding of Israel, there were horrific massacres of Jews by Arabs living in pre-Independence Israel, such as occurred in 1929 in Hebron.
Unfortunately, these facts dont fit the ideological, anti-Semitic filters of the modern left, who have joined the racist right in attacking Israel and indeed Jews in general. Perhaps someday the left may acknowledge that Israelis are human beings deserving of equal human and national rights, but Im not holding my breath for that day.
Rich responds: Similarly, my reviews over the years of John Adams/Alice Goodmans previous play (opera, actually) on Nixons trip to China did not touch on the subterfuges by which Nixon rose to political power. My concern with Klinghoffer was with the balance with which an opera on a difficult subject had achieved a balance of conflicting ideas, and the success with which a work already 12 years old has been re-created in a new medium. I noted that the work survives in an aura of hatred. Mr. Sol underscores my point.
Mr. Richs profound love and knowledge of serious music come across in every review he writes. His daring [recent] column, in which he contemplates the filming of John Adams opera The Death of Klinghoffer, is a moving and impressive example of open-minded appreciation of the people who created this operatic effort. And when he closes this article with words that describe his admiration for librettist Alice Goodman, such as she comes off in the video as someone youd love to meet, I immediately thought, Alan Rich, thats something I have also been thinking about for a long time. However, it is he, Mr. Rich, who I have so far silently admired.
RETURN OF RADIO
Kate Sullivans Corporate Radio Doesnt Suck (January 1622) was much appreciated for the information it provided. The format of the new radio station has sounded too, well, formatted to actually be independent, such as its name would suggest. The name that has been given to 103.1 co-opts and undermines what truly independent radio stands for: a place for communities, like-minded or not, to share and exchange experiences, opinions, music and other forms of culture free from the constrictions of a company interested in dominating culture and discourse in the pursuit of financial gain. I personally dont care if Entravision controls the programming while Clear Channel merely sells ad space. Those 12 ads an hour will be sufficient to support its other ventures. If Clear Channel continues as it has, its Indie 103 profits will help buy billboards, music venues, radio stations, and lobby the FCC.
Sullivan obviously knows the points of debate over corporate sponsorship. It was a sad thing to read as she turned away from those issues in favor of assisting Entravision as a potential devotee. Becoming a fan of Indie because of the freakishness of the station as a thing is shortsighted. Just as her reference to Ralph Naders candidacy in the 2000 election ignores the more serious issue of Floridas unscrupulous voter-purge lists that denied numerous people the right to vote, so too does her focus on station playlists ignore the danger of media conglomeration.
Ive been maniacally spreading the word about 103.1 to every parched listener I know in hopes of warding off the stations inevitable demise at the hands of Clear Channel or some Hispanic radio company. So, while learning that both such entities are behind this wondrous station (and why) should make me cynical, Ill take the music where I can get it. As Kate Sullivans opening paragraph so aptly captured it, rock & roll desire, well, its kinda one of the best feelings around, isnt it?
ALL OVER BUT THE
Thank you for running the informative article about Dennis Kucinich [Open City, January 1622], by Steven Mikulan. Its nice to see Congressman Kucinich getting some much-deserved media attention.
Mikulan hits the nail on the head when he says, Dennis Kucinich embodies everything American progressives say they admire but has been conspicuously ignored by them in favor of the safer, mainstream liberal, Howard Dean. In the end its all about winning . . .
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the Average Joe/Jane will jump on the winning bandwagon, even if it means going against their principles and against their own best interest. Others of us refuse to settle, in this case for yet another big-money, centrist Democrat. Been there, done that, didnt like it.
Many believe that Kucinich is the best Democratic candidate to challenge Bush in November, because he best represents the combined interests of the Anybody But Bush crowd and of those who voted for third parties in 2000. Besides, as Kucinich said in an Iowa debate: Well, you know, Im electable if you vote for me. In other words, democracy works but only if We the People believe it can.
Thank you for your very informative article [Ten Years After, January 915]. I was referred to it by my friend Miles West, father of DArcy West. Miles has suffered greatly from the loss of his daughter. He e-mailed me to notify me of your column, with the comment, Sarah, this article mentions my daughter DArcy. Thought you might be interested. Obviously, I have mixed feelings about it. Obviously, that is an understatement, but honestly, I think your words were a help.
My sister, DArcy West, loved the Campfire Girls! She loved the music, the boys, the friends who made Bar Deluxe. Mike Semple joining Andrew Clark and Christian Stone makes heavenly sense, as if life were a chessboard navigated by angels, and the success of the Campfire Girls is sweet redemption for DArcys swan song of a band. Well-beloved. Thanks for writing of her so gloriously in her home rag. Well-beloved and well-deserved. Rock on, Girls!
I am not in the movie business, but I do go see a lot of movies. I have seen 21 Grams three times now. And everyone else I have talked to thinks that it is a good, if not great, movie. And I am fairly certain that many critics (even though I dont always agree with them) thought highly of it as well.
Needless to say, I was shocked when I saw the review by Scott Foundas [Taking Measure, November 2127]. How could somebody that shortsighted write for such a large publication, and in L.A. no less?
I wont go so far as to say that 21 Grams is undeniably one of the best movies of the year, because everyone shares different opinions. However, if you are going to have someone who is a movie critic review movies for L.A. Weekly, I would think that the editor(s) would want to make sure that person knew what he or she was doing.
In short, Foundas was having a bad day, he missed the point, or he has no business reviewing movies of quality and substance.
After reading your review of Torque [New Reviews, January 1622], I must conclude that your reviews are written solely to extract those 3- to 10-word quips printed on the box of the video. Where else could the distributors find anything good to say about this movie? Dude, you were the only critic who liked it.
St. Cloud, Minnesota
DREDGING UP THE FACTS
In Scoring the Clubs [January 28 ], Dave Cotner eloquently and incorrectly states that the band Dredg is a sometime side project of members of Incubus. Im guessing he did not come to this conclusion by looking at the bands press kit, official Web site, or by doing a simple Google search. Im sure the band appreciates your publications recognition, but not at the expense of its reputation.
In Trauma and Triage [January 1622], the director of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee was incorrectly identified as Ted Watkins. The director is his son, Tim Watkins. Ted Watkins is deceased.
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