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FAMILY MATTERS

I very much
enjoyed F.X. Feeney’s review of Kenneth Tynan’s diaries [“Poww!”
February 15–21]
, but since the Weekly is the paper I rely on for
most of my news, I thought I’d write to set the record straight. My brother,
Matthew, and I felt strongly that our half-sister Tracy was the rightful heir
of Dad’s diaries. It is not true, however, that our mother held on to them because
she found them too disturbing to see published. (She entered into a contract
to have them published before she died.) Further, she incorporated not just
“some” but virtually all of the significant information about Dad’s emotional
and sexual life in her excellent biography of him. She dealt with his S/M honestly
and at length, as well as the ups and downs of their marriage. The bio deserves
a bit more of a defense. It is neither “overlong” nor “worthy” — a backhanded
compliment that makes it sound dull. It is, in fact, a witty, elegant and astonishingly
honest portrait of the man, and essential reading for those interested in his
life and work. Having said all that, it was wonderful to read such a good review
— one that I hope will interest new readers in his work, and one that might
help my siblings and me get his work back into print.

—Roxana Tynan
Los Angeles

 

SOFT CELL

Great piece by Alec Hanley Bemis on the new Amoeba Records store [“Queasy
Sick Wonderful,” February 15–21]
, which will be the first place I visit
when I arrive in L.A. in April. Glad to see Meltzer still collects records.
(When I visited his apartment in NYC in the 1970s, he was collecting parrot
guano.) Sorry there was nothing in the story about one of the main reasons many
people collect and prefer vinyl: It sounds better. And it need not sound
“crackly.” Vinyl is still the greatest!

—Michael Fremer
Senior contributing editor
Stereophile
Wyckoff, New Jersey

Why couldn’t you have just called Alec Hanley Bemis’ article “A Story We Ran
About Amoeba Music (Who Happen To Spend a Great Deal on Ads in Our Periodical)”?
Oh, because then you would have jeopardized your journalistic credibility? Maybe
if some of the other, smaller stores that don’t run four-page ads yet still
have highly collectible vinyl (see Aron’s Records’ www.rareroom.com,
for example) had been mentioned, it wouldn’t have looked so bad. But I guess
you have to pay if you want any coverage. It’s great to see alternative newsmagazines
become just as bullshit as the mainstream ones. Maybe if I pay for an ad, this’ll
get published.

—Jonathan Myers
Los Angeles

I opened up the L.A. Weekly last week to read an article
about record collectors, only to find myself reading about a day in the life
of an Amoeba record buyer. Frankly, it makes me sad to read a story about record
collecting in Los Angeles that only mentions Amoeba. There’s no doubt the opening
of Amoeba in L.A. is an exciting event for record collectors, but record collecting
is a hobby that entails drawing from a variety of sources, from ebay and gemm,
to swap meets, to trading with other collectors. Most important, collecting
involves shopping at a variety of record stores, since no store can have everything
and any store can potentially have something. There are many, many record stores
in L.A. which, though smaller than Amoeba, do get new stuff in every day. Many
of these stores specialize in certain areas like jazz or punk and (gosh!) may
have stuff Amoeba doesn’t have. Also, they might pay more for records that fall
into their area of specialty. Amoeba is a truly great record store, but it falls
short in some areas — it’s experimental vinyl section is pretty small, and its
7-inch collection leaves something to be desired. Of course, no record store,
no matter how large, can have everything. Which is why it’s good to remember
that Los Angeles has a lot of independent record stores, many of which have
been serving the local record-buying population for years. Although Amoeba is
also “independent,” it is still a monster of sorts and is potentially
threatening to the mom-and-pop stores of Los Angeles, who need to continue to
buy and sell good records to survive ,and whose survival should be essential
to anyone who loves to collect records.

Nicole Bazar
Los Angeles

 

 

BUSTED

Thanks for running Ben Ehrenreich’s story “Busting
Unions” [February 8–14]
, about the Fund for Public Interest Research’s scandalous
labor-law violations in its Santa Monica Greenpeace office. I was among those
Greenpeace workers who were not only illegally denied the benefits that were
part of our contracts, but ultimately laid off just because our immediate supervisors
took action to get those benefits for us. The undisputed (and illegal) reason
for the firing of the directors is that they had contacted the labor board.
The Fund has failed to deny this and has failed to provide an alternate reason.
The people there know they are in trouble, they are scared, and they should
be.

—David Callaghan
North Hollywood

My name is Daniel Mangiagli, and I was fortunate enough to
play a part in the campaigns of the former L.A. Greenpeace office. And like
my co-workers, I was also denied the health care that was promised to me by
the Fund for Public Interest Research when I was originally hired. For half
a year I had kidney stones making their long and painful journey down my urinary
track. For the majority of that time, I was eligible for health care under Fund
contract, but the organization ignored the many requests made by our office
for the Fund to fulfill their obligation as our employers. I couldn’t sleep
well at night because of the pain. Kidney stones are not smooth. Ever try to
drink a McDonald’s shake? Apply that to pissing and you might get an idea of
what it was like. But every week I still stood on corners petitioning, fund-raising
and trying to convince perfect strangers that we all have to do something to
help the world. And by December, I was urinating blood. My directors contacted
the Fund about the urgency of the problem. Excuses were the only reply. You
can imagine how relieved I was to hear, in January, that our health-care packages
were on their way. On January 22, our office (the highest-grossing in the nation)
was shut down, and our directors were fired with no clear explanation given.
But they did bring our health-care papers. I’m covered by the Fund through the
end of February. Too bad it takes a month for the coverage to kick in. I guess
I’m lucky they don’t have a 401K — then I’d really be screwed.

Daniel Mangiagli
Santa Monica

 

PRINCIPAL VS. COLLATERAL

In “Naturellement”
[On, February 15–21]
, John Powers repeats the same tired claim that the
U.S. media favor Israel. In point of fact, there are constant murders of Israelis
that get little or no coverage in the U.S. Just recently, longer-range missiles
were shot at Israel, an advanced tank was blown up and a suicide bomber killed
two Israelis and wounded dozens. Only spectacularly large attacks that kill
more than 10 at a time get coverage. Also, Powers failed to note that Israel
targets those attacking and killing Israelis; the Palestinians murder Israelis
indiscriminately.

—Richard Sol
Los Angeles

 

CAPITAL MATTERS

A correction re: Sara Catania’s “Indecent
Executions” [February 15–21]
. She avers that “In 2001, there were 98 executions,
the most in any single year since 1951.” Actually, there were 98 executions
in 1999, 85 in 2000 and 66 in 2001. That said, I congratulate Ms. Catania for
the exquisite attention to detail that has characterized her recent submissions
concerning the case of Stephen Wayne Anderson. I also thank L.A. Weekly for
giving her the opportunity to illuminate the vagaries of a system designed to
sanction state-sponsored homicide.

—K. Bandell
Norwalk

LA Weekly