Raves, Red Medicine and Another Year — three topics that sent readers to keyboards last week. Our story about the dangers of megaraves at publicly owned venues drew the most responses, and our review of Another Year brought a sharp arrow or two. But the most interesting comment of the week arose from Jonathan Gold's essay on the issue of anonymity for restaurant critics.
Gold's piece was in response to the boorish behavior of the management of Red Medicine, the restaurant that tossed the L.A. Times' restaurant critic from its premises, then outed her by posting her photo on the establishment's Tumblr site.
The Weekly article inspired Beamdog to hold up something of a mirror, describing in detail how he and a partner had gone to Salt's Cure recently and had experienced that most irritating of all restaurant fates: slow service. They ordered a salad and a soup, a pork shoulder and a bacon cheeseburger. And they waited and waited and waited before finally being served.
"It wasn't until we got up to leave that I finally realized why it was taking so long for the kitchen to fill orders in a partially full restaurant," Beamdog writes. "There right in front of us was a less-than-anonymous food critic having a great chat with one of the chefs behind the bar.
"Mr. Gold had been there when we arrived and I suspect he was there long after we were gone.
"My recommendation to your readers is: If you arrive at a restaurant and spot one of L.A.'s food critics, turn on your heels and head back out the door or expect the service you get to suffer as the staff focus their attention elsewhere."
Gold's piece argued that a critic doesn't need to remain anonymous to do his job today. True enough. But maybe it's best for other diners?
His essay also draws this amusing reply from Michael Zeleny: "In the heyday of the U.S.S.R., a weary traveler could find photos and coordinates of local whores posted on the 'wall of shame' maintained by provincial law enforcement agencies. It's good to have gastronomic pandering refined by extending this grand old tradition to foodie wags."
And the mysteriously monikered Famous Blue Raincoat writes of Red Medicine: "They were enacting a revenge scheme. Some would say sanctimonious. Some would say childish. Some would say way heroically punk. All are probably true."
DEATH AT MEGARAVES
The responses to Dennis Romero's examination of the dangers of huge raves at publicly owned venues was divided between readers who believe the city should stop hosting the events and defenders of the raves, who variously blamed young teens who overindulge, parents and the Weekly (for biased reporting).
Reader Pat comments: "Let's see if I get this straight. The Coliseum Commission wholeheartedly approves officially sanctioned, commercial megaraves where Ecstasy and other illegal drugs are sold to mobs of young people who sneak in or gate-crash, overdose and pass out once they're on the premises, and either are rushed to the ER for heavy-duty nursing or to die from Ecstasy poisoning. Meanwhile, this same Commission denounces the smaller, non-sanctioned and far safer warehouse raves as a lethal danger to young people. Is it just me or is there something horribly, horribly wrong with this picture?"
Gabriela De Angelis offers this thought: "I've been to five Insomniac Events, including Electric Daisy Carnival [at the Los Angeles Coliseum] this year. Forget the girl who OD'd. Remember the L.A. Weekly videos of people being crushed, stampeded and bloodied? I was in that! You can't see me, but I was stepped on for 10 minutes, unable to get up, and my shoulder was bruised and fucked up for five weeks."
Wade Randolph Hampton offers an opposing view: "This isn't about the events. This is about the parents of a 15-year-old, who need to get their shit together. Keep writing your tall tales of how we are different somehow than the jet-setters whoofing down blow in the bathrooms at the Bowl or the Greek at a show for a traditional band."
Adrian writes (all typos his): "If you get hurt cause your on drugs I'm pretty sure its your own fault. It's stupid young kids thinking their invincible thinking they can take whatever and it will have no negative effect on their body. And if your child is under 16 and you don't know where they are at late at night on the weekend your are fuckin' up as a parent."
Mig Knob writes: "Everybody who likes Electric Daisy, let's just agree to stop lying that raves aren't about drugs. Let's stop saying it's safer than being at home. Why is the state subsidizing drug abuse to make promoter/pushers more money?"
Film Editor Karina Longworth's review of Another Year (she didn't much like it) inspired this response from reader Todd M: "Best film from anyone in years and most topical and she compares it to Human Centipede. Do better, or do something. Take vacation, or learn how to play bass."
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This column originally mixed up Blue Valentine and Another Year. The Mike Leigh film actually was the one that drew the comment cited.