Re: Christine Pelisek's article “Clouds Over Sunset” [August 2026]. As a local resident and member of the Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance, I have worked closely with Michael McKinley since 1989 to produce the fair. Ms. Pelisek gives her readers the impression that she has scoured the neighborhood for information, yet she never once contacted me. She claims she spoke with someone named Sean Carrillo, who claimed to be a member of the fair's steering committee during the early 1990s. No one that I have ever worked with over the past decade in conjunction with the fair has ever heard of this man.
Ms. Pelisek also quotes El Cid restaurant owner Jack Heywood. Contrary to what the article claims, Mr. Heywood has never offered Sunset Junction any support. He lugs around a large volume of rambling, incoherent letters that he has written over the years to various local officials complaining about the fair. Within five minutes of an encounter with Mr. Heywood, it becomes evident that he nurtures an irrationally angry fixation on Sunset Junction Street Fair. Then Ms. Pelisek turns to Edie Isshi, the proprietor of a “fetish” shop who complained about fencing near her business. The fences put up around the fair perimeter are required by the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. In the case of Ms. Isshi, we arranged the fence, as we always do, to deliberately include her business within the fair.
These are the leading critics Ms. Pelisek relies on to make her case — people who have no credibility, nor do they have any direct experience with the current operation of the fair that would give their views any hint of objectivity.
From the outside, people look at the fair and see a major income-producing event. Ms. Pelisek has apparently spent a few minutes picking through Sunset Junction's finances. Since Sunset Junction is a legitimate nonprofit organization, its tax records are a matter of public record. Anyone is free to dig through them at will. The Street Fair is truly a monster of an institution, with a life of its own and an insatiable appetite for money. However, under Michael McKinley's direction, the fair's budgets have remained tight, expenses have remained low, and fortunately, we have been able to come away each time with enough money to hang on one more year. Expenses in an event of this nature have a tendency to spiral out of control. Money is encumbered and spent before it is even collected. Yet Michael McKinley has managed to keep the fair alive financially, and the surrounding neighborhood has managed to preserve the fair's unique character and personality.
Your attack on the integrity of Michael McKinley was vicious and unfounded. The financial records of the Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance, a nonprofit organization, are open to the public. Perhaps a little research would have been better journalism than the muckraking methods you have recently adopted.
How about a follow-up story featuring interviews with the boys and girls whose lives have been favorably impacted by McKinley's youth programs? Let's give him credit rather than abuse.
Thank you for blowing a whistle on Michael McKinley, the Evil Queen of Sunset Junction. His arrogant antics are astounding, and his “answer to nobody” attitude is a slap in the face to our entire community. While it's true that the fair itself is widely supported, the majority of those attending and participating could give a rat's ass about Michael McKinley. It's about time he stopped using the fair and the neighborhood kids as a front for his own egomaniacal, greedy agenda, and showed us who the man behind the bad tie-dyed shirts really is.
MEDIOCRITY, PERILS AND PLEASURES OF
Re: Kristine McKenna's “Show and Tell” [August 1319]. I can't decide which is more disgusting, the piece of garbage that adorns the cover, or the photograph of the woman gazing at it as if it's something worth contemplating. An appropriate caption would be “The Glorification of Mediocrity.”
Re: Curators and their favorite works of art . . . So, lemme get this straight. Nobody liked Dogs Playing Poker on velvet?!
San Fernando Valley
As I read Tom Provenzano's review of Miss Desmond Behind Bars â [August 27September 2], I kept hearing Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) bragging to Laura (Gene Tierney) in the film noir Laura that he dipped his quill pen in venom before he wrote his critiques. Either Mr. Provenzano is Lydecker's kindred soul, or he did not see the same musical play I did. What a pity! Miss Desmond was, for me and rest of the audience, a pure delight! Frothy, yes. Escapist, yes. But “overwhipped”? Please, Mr. Provenzano. Loosen up.
If Steven Leigh Morris hates musicals as much as he says he does in his review of Jane Eyre and Play On [“Frigid Eyre, Cool Duke,” August 2026], why the hell was he reviewing two of them? In future, spare him the agony and send someone who's not already prejudiced against the form.
Re: Steven Leigh Morris' article on Tennessee Williams [“The Kindness of Strangers,” August 612]. I decided to see John Patrick Langs' play Desire. What surprised me was that neither in Morris' review, nor in Langs' playbill notes, nor in your regular review of the play, was there any mention that Desire is taken from a Williams short story, “Desire and the Black Masseur,” found in his book of short stories One Arm.
In the playbill, Langs writes that Desire “is not the truth as it happened but an emotional journey . . . inspired by the language and images of one of America's greatest writers.” I think somewhere along the line someone should have given credit to the Williams story, from which entire lines have been lifted for the play; otherwise, the whole things smacks of plagiarism.
In John Patterson's “The Smooth and the Hairy” [August 2026], I was pleased to see the spot-on tribute to the good, neglected actor Stanley Baker. But Patterson makes a woeful mistake in reviewing the contemporary British male screen actor: Why concentrate on the uninteresting and overexposed, when every film critic knows the best male lead performance so far this year is by Om Puri in My Son, the Fanatic! Or do nonwhite actors not count when speaking of British films?
I recently had a chance to read the article by Jonathan Vankin about Scott Duncan [“Vintage Computers,” August 2026]. I think a person like Scott, like his computers, is a rare find these days — someone who is not just interested in the technology, but in helping usher us into the high-tech world we live in today.
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