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PULLING THE WHATSIS OVER THE WHATEVER, AND OTHER DOGTOWN LEGENDS


DEAR EDITOR:

Joe Donnelly’s cover story “The
Ghosts of Dogtown” [August 24–30]
was some of the best reading I’ve found
in the L.A. Weekly in my seven years living in Los Angeles. Having grown
up in the Midwest, I can attest to the impact the Z-Boys had on Middle America.
On my refrigerator today, you will find a picture of me pulling a full tail-tap
over the coping on my Wes Humpston Dogtown Skate! Clearly the images of Tony
Alva, Stacy Peralta and Jay Adams turned skateboarding from “doing 360s on the
sidewalk” to “popping aerials and inverts.” Every month, we would mimic the
tricks of the Dogtown skaters on our ramps. That is, of course, once we got
over the disbelief that these actions were possible.

Thanks for rekindling these images. Now I gotta find the Peralta film from
Sundance . . .

—Headplant Eddy
Hermosa Beach

 

DEAR EDITOR:

Great story on those bad boys of skateboarding; it rekindled my own memories
of outlaw skating. Grew up in the Valley — not exactly rich, but not exactly
the unsupervised ghetto environment described in your story. Skateboarding in
those pre-Cadillac-wheels days was vastly different than today. As high-school-age
“Vals” (1969 to 1972), we roamed the coast looking for waves from North County,
San Diego to Ventura, and on days when it was flat or we didn’t have the time,
we skated.

We eventually all graduated and moved on in our lives, and are now generally
successful, middle-class professionals. But we all get a genuine kick out of
seeing our sons trying to emulate their skater-heroes of today, all the while
razzing us “old” men for our old-school maneuvers, which we still sometimes
try to show off to them.

Anyway, thanks for the well-written article that generated this trip down
memory lane.

—David Echt
Los Angeles

 

DEAR EDITOR:

Congratulations on such a fine piece on the legacy and continuing impact of
Dogtown. The energy of Dogtown is still being felt today, and for that I am
truly grateful. These guys deserve all the recognition they are receiving —
recognition that is long overdue.

—Michael Brooke
Author, The Concrete Wave
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 

DEAR EDITOR:

I just finished reading last week’s cover article on “The Ghosts of Dogtown,”
which I thoroughly enjoyed. I can’t help, however, pointing out a rather silly
explanation that Joe Donnelly made regarding the Z-boys’ “localism” at their
local surf break, The Cove. He attributes the hassling of non-locals (“kooks”)
to some twisted effort to prevent these guys from hurting themselves in the
water at an unfamiliar break. Nice try. As anyone who actually surfs would know,
the only reason for localism is to keep “outsiders” off your break so you can
enjoy it for yourself. Given the seeming rebellious nature of the Z-boys, I’m
not sure why he tried to whitewash the localism issue with an explanation that
any surfer would deride.

—Glenn Karpf
Los Angeles

 

DEAR EDITOR:

Joe Donnelly’s piece on the Dogtown and Zephyr team skaters was a strong,
comprehensive article. It is sad, though, that the part that struck me most
was the apparent nonchalance with which Donnelly described Jay Adams’ assault
at Oki Dog. The fact that “a gay couple, one guy white and the other black,”
yelled back at Adams and crew seems, in the article, to be more of a crime than
the fact that those same guys were “met with typical catcalls” and that one
of them was eventually beaten to death by a bunch of homophobic punks. When
an incident such as the Oki Dog assault is breezed over in a way that practically
endorses this behavior, it makes me incredibly sad.

—Dan Monick
Los Angeles

THE BARTMAN

DEAR EDITOR:

John Powers’ “Do
the Bartman” [August 24–30]
wasn’t merely droll and devastating, pointed
and nastily elegiac, urbanely venomous and unbelievably dead-on, it was also
a textbook case for screamingly tight writing, the sort of model even pros envy.

—Marc S. Tucker
Manhattan Beach

 

DEAR EDITOR:

So Powers says that entertainment journalists are whores . . . This is news?
The real story is that the two systems — press and industry — are integrated.
Bart did nothing unusual. The stuff and the language described is everyday usage.

—Tom O’Hanlon
Los Angeles

 

DEAR EDITOR:

What’s wrong with Peter Bart that a little PR couldn’t cure? I can’t believe
we live in a society where you can’t use a few swear words to get your employees’
attention. Who cares if you use labels and unflattering words to describe those
you work with? What does â that have to do with being biased or unbiased? I’m
sure the ever-growing multitudes of former Variety employees are just
trying to get back at him.

It’s all about sour grapes these days. Do you really need a reason to get
rid of someone who so much as looks at you funny? The answer, obviously, is
no.

—Alan Smithee
Los Angeles

 

ENDORSED (SORT OF)

DEAR EDITOR:

Hooray for your endorsement of a fresh voice in City Hall! Denise Munro Robb
is way cool. What you failed to emphasize, however, was that despite all your
hand wringing, this is only a primary election. If nobody gets 50 percent, there
is a runoff in six weeks. Therefore, it is all the more important for your readers
to get their asses up out of bed this Tuesday and vote for the choice of the
L.A. Weekly, Denise Munro Robb. Don’t wait until after work. Wear your
“I’ve voted” sticker all day. And tell them whom you voted for and why.

Meanwhile, shame on Harold Meyerson for insisting that we choose among millionaires
for local representation. What’s become of his once-progressive values? I can’t
believe the Weekly would publish such a weak “dissent.”

—Casey Peters
Los Angeles

 

DEAR EDITOR:

Harold Meyerson confuses me greatly. One week he lauds Santa Monica for its
forward-thinking commitment to the living wage
[Powerlines, August 10–16]
. The next week he gives his City Council endorsement
to a woman who won’t make that same commitment [Powerlines,
August 31–September 6]
. Mr. Meyerson, if your friend Beth Garfield is such
a proven protector of L.A.’s workers, how come she’s so timid about extending
a living wage to L.A.’s working poor? It wouldn’t have anything to do with her
campaign contributors, would it?

If a living wage is good for Santa Monica, it’s good for L.A. Denise Munro
Robb apparently knows that. Beth Garfield apparently doesn’t. Shouldn’t Harold
Meyerson tell her?

—Patrick Meighan
Los Angeles

 

DEAR EDITOR:

Yes yes, thanks to her hubby, Wally, Beth Garfield has great labor support.
However, what troubles me about her running the 4th District is her support
for the death penalty and other status-quo anti-crime measures. Her stands on
these kinds of issues make it clear that she prefers to protect her white homeowner
friends over the civil rights of the disenfranchised. It is just that kind of
thinking that got us into the LAPD mess we are in today.

—Joe Zefra
Los Angeles

 

PARADISE

DEAR EDITOR:

I thought Jennifer Price’s long article on the L.A. River [“Paradise
Reclaimed,” August 10–16]
was fabulous. I hope she makes it into a paperback
book that we can put in our backpacks and take along when we go exploring.

—Aggi Raeder
Los Angeles