PEE-WEE'S BIG ANNOYANCE
Last week's cover story on the return of Paul Reubens, aka Pee-wee Herman ("Pee-wee's Big Comeback," by Steven Leigh Morris, Jan. 13), inspired — if that's the word — a strange collection of comments, as noted by Jennie B from L.A.:
"So, one of the most learned and articulate theater critics does a major piece on the rise, fall and journey back of a gifted comedian. And some comments from people reflect a quarrel with the structure of one sentence, furniture cleaning in theaters, sophomoric play on the writer's middle name and a desperate cry for attention.
"Come on, people, we are better than that. I am challenged and provoked by Mr. Morris; I am annoyed and disappointed by the level of some of the response."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Jennie B. Thanks.
One writer did have something to say, and she is Dawna Kaufmann of Los Angeles: "Oddly, your Pee-wee Herman Show coverage left out my name as the person who brought the concept to Paul Reubens, and my contributions as producer of the early stage show. It also omitted all the legal battles Reubens and I have waged over the years. I'm sure that my exclusion was a demand by Reubens."
For the record, it was neither mentioned nor demanded, and writer Steven Leigh Morris was unaware.
"Silly of me not to have bought huge ads in each Weekly for the last couple months, as Reubens did."
"A story of — dare I say it — operatic proportions!" writes Kathleen from Sunland, in reference to Joseph Mailander's piece on L.A. County's bailout of Placido Domingo's opera company ("L.A. Opera's $14 Million Imbroglio," January 13).
"The people come to the rescue of high art and its prancing, resplendent prince! The Heroes! The Villains! Even a walrus and Blue Meanies! Thank you for this entertaining and equally edifying story. It's almost enough to enthrall those of us who can't afford a ticket to the pricey proceedings at La Chandler."
But then, notes Megan from Los Angeles, "Overextension by art organizations has been a common theme in the last year:
"L.A. Opera — Needs a $14 million bond to stay afloat after pursuing grandiose Ring plans and other far-flung adventures we will be paying for over the next few years.
"MOCA — Essentially sells its soul to Eli Broad after profligate spending on exhibits and perhaps mismanaging its endowment.
"Autry Museum — Preens and struts about some $100 million monolithic building expansion in Griffith Park, naively thinking if it can only move the Southwest Museum's collection into its museum it will finally have credibility in the museum world. It all crumbles to dust when Autry management is unable to raise sufficient funds, and public outcry to preserve the Southwest prevails at City Hall.
"Perhaps we are past the days of financially irresponsible art managers and their boards overextending, living on credit and seeking to build some monument to themselves.
"If someone had thrown a bucket of 'reality water' on these idiots sooner, we would not have wasted so much effort having to fix and redirect the mismanaged art organizations of Los Angeles."
And this fine suggestion by Eric from L.A.: "If we bailed out the Opera (again), how about they put on a free show for the people at the Rose Bowl as a thank you?"
STILL SEEING RED OVER RED-LIGHT CAMERAS
Michael Goldstein's article on the gift that just keeps on giving — to L.A. County ("Los Angeles' Red-Light Ticket Ripoff," Dec. 30) — just keeps on getting comments from poor saps like Ronnie Cohen of Los Angeles:
"Tomorrow morning my wife and I go to court in Inglewood. Both of us, within eight hours of each other, got caught by a camera in Hawthorne rolling through a right turn at a red. There was no traffic whatsoever and I slowed down, but no full stop. Now my wife and I owe the city $1,000. I live paycheck to paycheck. $500 a pop seems excessive to me. What's that, twice the per-capita income in Egypt?"
Furthermore, writes Cohen, "I've been driving for almost 40 years and have only been involved in one accident. (I was rear-ended.) Yeah, so what? Right? I can only hope the judge will show some mercy. How about cameras for people who don't bother using their directionals? Or who weave in and out of lanes? Now that might be something."
Couldn't agree more, Mr. Cohen. Please let us know what happened.
And then there is James P. Segel of Encino, who "forked over a total of $520 for fines and the test to clear my record. Now I approach each camera-equipped intersection with my foot on the brake pedal. And I hope the driver following me will avoid a rear-end collision if I stop suddenly. I am now a nervous driver.
"I was seven-tenths of a second in the red! After a three-second yellow. This will get out of hand unless we do something. What should we do? Write letters? Harass our council members? Would that do any good?"
Hell if we know, Mr. Segel. Have you thought about taking out an ad in the Weekly?
PREGUNTALE SEÑOR ORO
Last but not least, Ben Jones sends us this from Madrid, Spain: "I was shocked to see Jonathan Gold's photo in a profile published last week by the Spanish daily El Pais. I'd always assumed that running photos of star restaurant reviewers is just not done, especially after that issue was addressed in another profile of Mr. Gold in The New Yorker several months ago."
Yes, Ben, in Spain, among other strange customs, the rain stays mainly on the plain, and criticos gastronómicos get their mug in the paper. Apparently, people are more relaxed there. They probably don't have red-light cameras, either.
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