Speaking of Tongues

Speaking of Tongues As a regular reader and user of the L.A. Weekly, I am no longer able to find the Calendar section. Instead, there seems to be a section called “La Vida.” Since English is our unifying language in this country, I am disappointed to see this change. I am now hoping to see a section called “Dos Lebn” (sorry, I don’t have Aleph-Beis on this computer, so I have transliterated), since I am a Yiddish speaker. I hope you will include the same section in all languages to better serve all of your readers.

—Zelde Malevitz Los Angeles

On the Go Counter to a complainer last week [Letters column, “Please — No Go”]: Yes, yes, we can form our own opinions, but for heaven’s sake keep the GO. It’s essential to know what the Weekly thinks.

—Michael de Villiers Santa Monica

When did your critics become so easy to impress? Lovell Estell III’s praise for Waiting for Lefty [Theater section, New Reviews, June 24–30] is the most recent example of shockingly generous reviews for disappointing productions. While the ensemble fared well in various scenes of protest (the actors yelled well), the environmental staging of Clifford Odets’ polemic was often gimmicky (a Depression-era strike does not translate well on a sidewalk along Lankershim Boulevard). Otherwise, the acting was often mediocre, and the situations and the characters were woefully underdeveloped. Martin Barter’s direction, far from “skillful and stylish,” was uninspired and clunky. (Narration during scene changes that continues after the lights fade is not the stuff of genius.) Contrary to Estell’s endorsement, in this instance, do not pass “GO.”

—Aram Kouyoumdjian Los Angeles

Carolina Caricatured Erin Aubry Kaplan’s quaint journey into the “heart of darkness,” a.k.a. North Carolina [A Considerable Town, “Carolina in My Mind,” June 17–23], is precisely the kind of elitist, condescending claptrap that keeps our country divided into red and blue encampments. I wish Kaplan had done more research on a Southern state that, historically, has been a leader in the New South. North Carolina and Tennessee were last to secede from the union and first to be re-admitted. North Carolina is home to the country’s oldest, finest and best-financed university system, including the only state-supported conservatory for the performing arts. As well as being home to Jesse Helms, it is also home to the great liberal icons Sam Ervin, who helped bring down McCarthy and Nixon, and Terry Sanford, JFK’s favorite senator. North Carolina sits right on our country’s racial, economic and cultural divide. It is a modern success story, particularly in its significant reliance on arts and higher education to better its citizens’ lives. North Carolina is currently governed by a Democratic governor and a Democratic legislature. John Edwards was a senator from North Carolina, hailing from Chapel Hill, one of the most liberal bastions in our country. Asheville, Durham and Chapel Hill could give Berkeley a run for its money. While tobacco sales account for $564 million dollars annually, pharmaceuticals account for $4 billion. Ten percent of all biotechnology companies in the world are based in North Carolina. North Carolina is a pioneer in its billion-dollar, environmentally sensitive hog farming. The North Carolina film industry is vibrant, and the most successful in the South. So spare us natives the cartoon image of our great, moderate state. If Kaplan would like to know more about North Carolina, instead of scrawling these crude, obvious, clichéd caricatures in your paper, maybe she could take a remedial writing course at one of our back­woods, redneck institutions. You know, like Duke, Wake Forest or UNC.

—Andy Corren Los Angeles

Backstreet Brawl I would just like to voice my absolute distaste for the article written by Cintra Wilson about the Backstreet Boys [“They’re Back!,” June 24–30]. Not only has she broken the number-one rule of journalism by being blatantly biased, but also she took very uncalled-for stabs at Nick Carter and Howie Dorough! As a fan of nine years, I have never been so disgusted by an article as I have by this one. It is obvious that Ms. Wilson hasn’t listened to the album or paid any attention the past eight years as to how the band struggled to get where they are today! Their album shows definite growth, not only in their voices, but in the lyrical content. They didn’t reach No. 3 after a five-year absence for nothing. So, Ms. Wilson, I hope you are prepared to experience the backlash from your column, because the fans are still here and we still care about our Boys. (To see the opinions — if you still care for the people’s opinion — visit the thread about this issue here.) 

—Lauren Williams Los Angeles

I am writing to you about an article about the Backstreet Boys by Cintra Wilson. Speaking as a student journalist, I found this piece of “writing” quite unprofessional. I have been reading the L.A. Weekly for many years now, and I have never come across something as awful as this. Yes, the writer has every right to express her opiniontheir opinions, but to review an album and base most of the article on the artist’s looks and facial expressions in a photo, I find that absurd.

—Violet Amirkhanyan Glendale

Doe! Your HoopLA column in the June 3 issue featured a fact error regarding John Doe of X. Quite a shock to read Tom Poe became John Doe when he came here in 1979 rather than 1977. Does your staff bother with the facts anymore? You don’t mind deleting two of the most important years in the history of punk rock? Anyone on your staff know when X first formed? I photographed Billy Zoom on April 2, 1977. I’ve been told that’s before he joined X. I shot their first show on September 17, 1977, then what may be their public debut in fall 1977, then the Masque Benefit on February 25, 1978, and yes, 1979, when they were really blazing.

—Jenny Lens Santa Monica

It was a joke, Jenny. T’s don’t really fall over sideways from exhaustion and P’s don’t get dehydrated and sag. The truth is Doe (a.k.a. John Duchac) came to L.A. not in 1979 or 1977, but in 1976. (The band started in 1977.) Doh! In last week’s music section we inadvertently attributed quotes from John Oates to Daryl Hall. We regret the error, and apologize deeply to both Messrs. Oates and Hall.

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