Did you ever send us letters, dear readers. Millions of missives, it seems, over the years — sometimes laudatory, more often critical, and a few that were just plain weird.
December 21, 1978
I was walking down the corridor at school the other day when I noticed your newspaper. So I picked one up, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading your first edition of L.A. Weekly. The section called “Insights” was of extreme interest to me. Your newspaper is very unique, and a lot of fun to read. I liked the “Films” section and have never seen one like it. The “Neighborhood Movie Guide” was great.
I enjoyed all of the articles, and read the paper from cover to cover, twice. I think I can truly say that this is the first black-and-white newspaper I’ve seen that has color.
Keep up the good work.
A CSULB student
May 17, 1979
LONG LIVE THE DREAM
Thank you for the space, the thought, the eloquence and the authority that you gave to your review of the television adaptation of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Of course, part of my gratitude springs from selfishness, but please accept it and overlook the source. But the more important part of my thanks arises from the fact that you lent your eloquence and authority to encourage the television industry to offer America a fuller and profounder view of black life than it has so far.
It has been a dream of mine long deferred. I pray that what you wrote may prevent that dream from dying and shriveling “like a raisin in the sun.”
May 15, 1981
Thank you for having the courage and good sense to print “Don’t Read This Article” by M. I am a big-time academic (feminist theory, the politics of health care, capitalism and social control . . .) and a smalltime cocaine dealer (for my nose, not my pocket). I have been doing cocaine for three years, but have never tried freebase. After reading M.’s article, I believe I never will . . .
April 23, 1982
It seems schizophrenic to see your clearly leftist journalistic viewpoint interspersed with blatantly narcissistic ads promoting status and snobbery as virtues.
Why do you persist in depicting black people as simplistic Roots-like stereotypes? Grant them some humanity; let them be villains, too.
As for your astrology column — if you want to be taken seriously in the forum of reason, you couldn’t do much worse than parade medieval superstition across your pages, could you?
A progressive publication is foremost a credible one. By the way, I loved your recent cover cartoon, “Nuclear War?! . . . There Goes My Career!”
—Patrick A. Kittle
November 5, 1982
I am writing to compliment your courage. Greg Goldin’s article and your presentation of Central American facts well-known by all the media demonstrates two things. One: We need the L.A. Weekly. Two: We live in a country where a press, if not balanced, is at least “free.” Your value and interest to our community depends on a continued independence. Keep it up.
December 10, 1982
I would like the readers of the L.A. Weekly to know I deplore the idea that “I don’t care” about people who forge my artwork, as stated by Louis Walden in an article entitled “Bohemia L.A.: Inside the Casa Real.” Louis Walden’s use of my quotes from German art critic Rainer Crone were taken out of context. My statements in Mr. Crone’s book about my work were purely theoretical and were never intended to be interpreted as a “go ahead” to forge my work, as Mr. Walden implies. His technical adviser, Michael Jaeger, was never employed as an art assistant to me at any time, nor were any of the others in the story. Mr. Jaeger’s statement that his forgeries of my work hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is pure fabrication. Any attempt by these people, or any others, to market and sell forgeries of my artwork will be dealt with in the customary legal manner, with the proper legal authorities informed. I appreciate having the opportunity to correct the erroneous information contained in your article on Louis Walden. I appreciate the fact that your newspaper deplores such proposed illegal rip-offs of my artwork. I would be glad to authenticate any artwork by me in question.
January 28, 1983
This is to inquire if other readers have noticed a strange slant creeping into the Weekly’s once-excellent editorial coverage over the last year or so, something one might call “the cult of personality reporting.”
While other local rags contrive to publish interesting issues virtually devoid of star-status bylines, the Weekly seems determined to thrust its pet reporters — specifically, Ginger Varney, Michael Ventura and columnist Harlan Ellison — at us in a manner so brazen as to put even Ben Stein or Andy Rooney to shame . . .
As you can probably tell, I read the Weekly. I read it every week. And it makes me goddamn mad that some of it is very good while so much more is garbage.
Might I suggest a small experiment? Give your Strategic Triad two months off. Send them to look for yellow rain in Laos and Afghanistan. And while they’re huntin’, look around for other work from other writers. Maybe they’ll be sadly missed. But on the other hand . . .
August 19, 1983
40 AT LAST!
I am sicker than shit of hearing you people in your 40s belittle and feel unhappy about your age. What the hell are we who have just made 20 supposed to think about reaching 40? That age is supposed to be the time when you really cut loose. Fuck what men think, goddamn it! Be yourself and LIVE. Time is too precious and short and dangerous for you to be worrying about being 40. Do you realize that we all, at one time or another, lamented turning 20 (I did) because we thought our teenage years went by too fast and we’d no longer get away with being silly and foolish? . . .
August 19, 1983
THE “F” WORD
Thank you for Ben Pesta’s excellent review of New York George Restaurant. However, in many ways it worked like one of those Good News/Bad News jokes.
We’ll skip over the fact that it opened with a bathroom joke (can you imagine the Los Angeles Times starting one of their reviews that way?) and get right to the heart of the matter.
I can’t show it to my mother!
Even worse, she can’t show it to any of her friends. She has no idea that the discotheque my brothers and I were involved in was a major watering hole for hoodlums. Not her young Jewish princes, oh no! And then to quote me when I said, “Sometimes we fuck up.” Her son’s restaurant gets a review and it has an F-word in it! Unbelievable! . . .
a.k.a. N.Y. George
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry. Sometimes we fuck up.
February 3, 1984
BATTING A THOUSAND
Regarding the introduction to your “Silver Lake: Home of the Avant-Garde” shopping guide, a note to set the record straight.
Mack Sennett’s “Keystone Kops” studio was not located at Sunset and Hyperion; it was at 1712 Glendale Blvd., in Echo Park (which was then called Edendale). The original sound stage now houses the Center Theater Group.
Walt Disney’s first studio was located at 4649 Kingswell. It then moved to 2719 Hyperion, near — but not on — Rowena.
The famous piano stairs from the Laurel and Hardy classic The Music Box are located at 923-27 Vendome St., not on Micheltorena.
And it was Echo Park (then Edendale) which was called “Red Hill,” because it became a refuge for progressives trying to avoid the communist witch-hunts.
Sorry, but the inaccuracies did merit a reply.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Well, at least we spelled “avant-garde” right.
December 28, 1985
MORE LIKE EYE ON L.A.
I am writing to complain about the politically slanted features in your publications. I recently read a long article on Nicaragua by one Jay Levin. The article did not make even a pretense at evenhandedness, but instead spouted the usual trendy left-wing line about how awful American policy is and how wonderful the Sandinista regime is.
The raison d’être of your publication is cultural and social activities in Los Angeles, not the particular biases of your employees and writers. I urge you to correct the situation.
—Richard P. Sybert
EDITOR’S NOTE: Evenhandedness is no substitute for the truth. If you want to read evenhanded nonsense, try elsewhere. The raison d’être of the Weekly very much includes the biases of our writers, whose job it is to describe the world as they see it.
June 13, 1986
The only thing that overshadows the Weekly’s incessant claims of American imperialism is its overwhelming arrogance. Every time a letter rebutting one of your articles is printed, it appears with a counter-rebuttal giving the writer or editor the last word. More often than not, the reply is as slipshod and tripe-filled as the original article.
Suffer me an example: Donald Pelletier rebuts against an article written by Marc Cooper, which is followed by a rebuttal. What does Cooper have to say this time? Nothing new, but he does call Pelletier a name (“Only a fool would not understand . . .”). In fact, name-calling seems to be the bottom line at the Weekly.
December 26, 1986
I hope that in the future you will see the importance of verifying the letters sent to your attention. In the case of Rhody Davis’ letter, a thorough verification would have revealed that the letter was not, in fact, written by Ms. Davis and in no way reflects her opinion of Celeste Fremon’s article “The Great Sorority Rush.” You would also ä have discovered that it was written by Dan Halstead, a.k.a. Danny Cohen, a fledgling agent at the Bauer Benedek Agency. I think all your readers would rest easier knowing that the Weekly’s editorial page provides a legitimate forum for dissenting opinion — rather than an accessible stage for scorned ex-lovers to exact their petty revenge.
—The Real Rhody Davis
March 6, 1987
Okay, now they’ve gone too far, beating up on Craig Lee because he thought the Beastie Boys were immature assholes and non-musicians. Assuming that Craig Lee has gray hairs, listens to classical music and has never been to Disneyland! Well, let me set the record straight: Craig Lee has no gray hair, he has always listened to and loved totally weird avant-garde music of all kinds, including the kind of garage-band punk rock he pioneered in L.A. with his band The Bags. He had the normal happy-unhappy childhood and definitely went to Disneyland. I know because I took him. Looks like Mr. Couch is the grouch.
—Joanna Lee (Craig’s mom)
May 20, 1988
I often find the Weekly somewhere between humorous and hypocritical in its schizophrenic selection of content, a mix of Cosmopolitan and The Progressive. Although I suppose your fashion infatuation is directly related to advertising revenue, I find your use of 12-year-old Chloe from Elite on the cover of and in the April 29–May 5 “Spring/Summer Fashion ’88” issue sick. Children’s designer clothes are bad enough, but at least they are for children. Chloe is portrayed as an adult, modeling adult clothes, and therefore the Weekly is implicitly sanctioning the idea that a child may be treated as an adult. I am sad to see the Weekly condoning the trend in our society that robs more and more of its youths of their childhood.
July 15, 1988
THE BUCK STOPPED ELSEWHERE
It was with overwhelming shame that I read, in L.A. Dee Da, crack investigative reporter Dierdra Hoffman’s passionately detailed description of the loathsome behavior at the annual Water Buffalo Beauty Pageant and of my unforgivable behavior as a “judge” in what she so tellingly describes as a “voyeuristic debacle” — surely one of the worst kinds of debacles that can be imagined. “‘What a pervert!’ one of the contestants was heard cooing in the ladies’ room.” What a painful opinion to accept. What a difficult opinion to coo.
But hold! (as they frequently yell in Shakespeare). Having thought about this more carefully, and having checked through my jam-packed appointment calendar, I am amazed to find that I was not, in fact, a judge in the above-mentioned pageant. I was — you’ve guessed this already, I’ll bet — not even there. I was somewhere else entirely.
So if I wasn’t there, who was? Ms. Hoffman and her feverish imagination? Ms. Hoffman’s not entirely trustworthy informant? Lots of ladies’-room denizens cooing arbitrarily? What can it mean? Perhaps that Hoffman gal is just thrashing me on spec, not an unusual journalistic practice for one striding manfully toward a Pulitzer Prize.
January 19, 1990
We are angry and alarmed by the unbelievably insensitive decade-ending wrap-up issue. The editorial agenda seems to be drifting more and more toward straight white men’s navel-gazing regarding their nostalgic pining for the ’60s and monocultural pseudo-hip posturing. We don’t know whether to shout “SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!” or “LAME! LAME! LAME!”
The Weekly’s exclusion of a lesbian or gay person’s perspective in the “Blown Away in the ’80s” overview was especially insulting and outrageous. To ignore AIDS as perhaps the most overwhelming news story of the decade is not only rotten journalism, it dishonors more than 70,000 American men and women who actually were “blown away” by AIDS these past 10 years. It disrespects their friends, lovers and families who nursed them, buried them and now grieve for them.
The Weekly’s willful ignorance of AIDS in this issue, and its general inability to distinguish and cover other diverse cultural concerns and the lesbian and gay community, are reprehensible. Lesbian and gay people will not quietly or meekly become “disappeareds” in the pages of the L.A. Weekly.
—Ann Bradley, Bill Capobianca, Ayofemi Folayan, Cheri Gaulke, Mark Haile, Michael Kearns, Richard Labonte, Michael Lassell, Eric Latzky, Tim Miller, Paul Monette, Torie Osborn, Roland Palencia, Clair Peterson, James Carroll Pickett, Helene Schpak, Terry Wolverton
July 13, 1990
I was angered by your recent cover. How dare you print “Burn This Cover” on a picture of the American flag! Don’t you realize that the burning of all those Weekly covers will release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere and add to the solid-containment content of the basin’s atmosphere?
Please, in the future, ask your readers to recycle any flag pictures printed on newsprint that they feel compelled to get rid of.
November 13, 1992
SPUN OUT OF ORBIT?
Earth to L.A. Weekly. Bill Clinton is going to be a shitty president. You’re not going to be the thorn in his side. You endorsed him. He’s got your vote. I don’t think he cares about anything you’ll ever say or do. You’re endorsing the status quo. Picking among the evil of three lessers is no choice at all. There’s nothing “radical” or “liberal” or “bohemian” about it. While many voters are feeling disaffected about the Democratic Party and its attempts to distinguish itself from the Republicans, it’s nice to see the Weekly is still ä endorsing every moron with enough money to call him- or herself a candidate . . .
February 12, 1993
ID ON IDLE
Gloria Ohland’s “End of the Road” article really hit the nail on the head. I myself am currently living in my car, and let me be the first to tell you that it beats sleeping on the cold sidewalks of the city any day of the year . . .
P.S. I’ve been reading the Weekly for several years now. My favorites are: personal ads, Rockie Horoscope and movie reviews. I would like to find a girlfriend in there someday, but they all seem to be too damn materialistic.
October 8, 1993
OUCH! AND THANK YOU
The guts of your magazine have been entirely scooped out. It’s empty. I still pick it up for the movie schedules and concerts and museum events, but I don’t miss it if I don’t collect it, whereas formerly it was essential. I look at the L.A. Times more carefully, which somehow is a saddening experience.
Still, I wish you luck in restructuring because, simultaneously, the other big free paper, the L.A. Reader, has become even more boring than you in your new incarnation. This city deserves better, even if for no other reason than there are so many of us living here.
Fuck you and good luck.
June 17, 1994
WHO’D YOU VOTE FOR?
Thank you for providing me with your one-page tear-out voter guide. The endorsements were very helpful. I voted just the opposite.
February 28, 1997
IN THE WEE, WEE HOURS
Re: “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” with all the troubles concerning the MTA, the Simpson trial, the O’Malley family selling the Dodgers, the mayoral race, not to mention all of the goings-on with film and music, you pick a stale 32-year-old piece to run on your cover? What’s next: “Dean Martin Had a Cough”?
January 23, 1998
TRAGEDY AT ROSARITO BEACH
In response to the “critique” of Titanic by Manohla Dargis, I can only say, “Everyone has an opinion and everyone has an asshole!” I spent six months working on this movie epic as a model-maker for Digital Domain, and researching the Titanic disaster. I felt all those involved with this project were greatly moved by the end result.
The L.A. Weekly apologizes for any embarrassment and emotional stress caused to waitresses or employees of the Crest Coffee Shop for the reference to one or more of them as lesbians, wording that appeared in the January 20, 1984, satirical restaurant article by Michael Lassell. The reference was in error and totally without any factual basis.