No Hip-Hop Hurrah

I was so proud when my co-worker told me that Filipino-Americans were the cover story of the L.A. Weekly [“The Fil-Am Invasion,” August 10–16]. Editorial coverage on Filipino-Americans is a rare occurrence as it is; to learn that the L.A. Weekly chose to shine a light on successes from my community certainly made me excited to read the story. Unfortunately, Sam Slovick’s article was inconsistent and lacked a clear focus. I’m so disappointed that you chose to run the article at all.

I am a 30-year-old Filipina-American, born and raised in Southern California. I have watched from the sidelines of L.A.’s dance floors as this Fil-Am “party scene” phenomenon worked its way from Santa Monica Boulevard to downtown L.A., eventually taking its first steps onto Hollywood Boulevard. This was no “invasion,” as you saw fit to run in your headline. The scene grew over the years; Slovick even celebrates that fact by quoting its pioneers. I’ve known L.A. Weekly to champion progressive thought and sensitivity to “alternative news items”; this headline reflected little of either.

This was a perfect opportunity for readers to learn about Filipino-Americans’ contribution to L.A.’s hip-hop party scene and hip-hop in general. I expected to read why Filipino-Americans have been able to thrive within hip-hop. Instead I got a crock pot of misspelled names, awkward assumptions about my Philippine Island heritage, and ridiculous vanity quotes from promoters. I thought the L.A. Weekly took the time and care when bringing culturally specific stories to your multicultural audience.

Eseel Borlasa

Long Beach

I am an avid reader of the L.A. Weekly and a proud Filipino-American. I would like to commend you and your staff for writing the cover article on Filipino-Americans in mainstream hip-hop. However, I would like to point out that Filipinos have been playing a vital role in hip-hop for the past 20 years. I find it interesting that your article portrays Filipinos as just entering the scene fairly recently. In fact, articles were written years ago about this phenomenon in many periodicals, namely the L.A. Times and S.F. Chronicle. So I ask: What took so long for the L.A. Weekly to get with the program?

Joe Bernardo


More Monkey Business

Thank you for your article “Monkey Madness at UCLA” [Aug. 10–16]. My organization, Americans for Medical Progress, is watching with growing concern the activities of the militants in the animal-rights movement. The day is indeed coming when someone — a scientist, an activist or a first responder — will be seriously injured or killed. As a cheerleader for the violence inherent in the militants’ campaign, Jerry Vlasak seems to have set aside the Hippocratic oath he swore to as a physician.

Jacqueline Calnan

Alexandria, Virginia

In response to the article “Monkey Madness at UCLA”: The public should demand not only transparency about what UCLA researchers are doing to animals, but also vigorous reduction and replacement of animals for research at the university. Numerous examples exist of researchers and clinicians being led down the wrong path because results from animal experiments did not apply to humans. Many nonanimal tools exist, including clinical, in vitro and epidemiological research using the latest computer-simulation and imaging techniques, that are more humane and scientifically more reliable than animal models.

Sandra Malone

Los Angeles


The article “Monkey Madness at UCLA” (August 10–16) erroneously reported that animal-rights activist Dr. Jerry Vlasak practices surgery at Parkview Community Hospital, San Antonio Community Hospital and Community Hospital of San Bernardino. Vlasak has never practiced at those facilities. Vlasak holds medical staff privileges at Riverside Community Hospital, where he hasn’t worked for about 18 months, according to Norene Bowers, senior vice president of patient care services.

Apologies to Carolyn Freppel, who played the “cackling Grandmother” in Outskirts of Paradise; a theater review in the August 17–23 issue misattributed the role. Another glitch appeared in that issue’s Nightranger column: The curator of the “Golden Gals Gone Wild” show at World of Wonder gallery is Lenora Claire.

Finally, a correction to J. Hoberman’s article on Ingmar Bergman [?“When Giants Roamed the Cinema,” August 10–16]. The director did not win a Palme d’Or in 1957 for The Seventh Seal, though he did win a Special Jury prize that year.

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