VOICES FROM THE DEAN TEAM
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
MC and magician
Magic on the Edge
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.
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.