Sunday, @#$%* Sunday
Ah, yes. The L.A. Weekly has finally figured out how to pan a live stage show without actually bothering to see it: simply make fun of the show’s title in the calendar listings! Like most, I have read my share of negative reviews in which the title of a show was turned against the production itself. (You know those clever critics!) But to skewer the show’s name while forgoing attendance altogether? What a bold, sardonic cut!
For those Weekly readers who don’t usually make it to the calendar listings, on page 102 in the August 17–23 issue the “insipid title” of the Groundlings Sunday Company show, Sunday Wicked This Way Comes, got a bad review: 10 lines of bile, when most show listings only get two lines of dates, times and prices. But what of the actual performance? Who knows! No matter the quality of the new material performed in our sketch show — it does change every week, year-round — at least we know: The title is a corny pun!
Among the long list of mock titles for the Sunday show offered by the Weekly, the most spiteful by far was “Son, Day Jobs are Important Because a Career in Improv Won’t Pay the Bills.” What kind of vituperative discharge is that? Of course most Sunday Company members are relatively green (pick on the young ones, right?), and I guess we don’t have prostitution ads paying our bills, but you’d be surprised at how well a weekly improv and sketch comedy show works as a sort of ongoing audition in this town.
I would suggest that the calendar editors go watch Ratatouille again, look into their own souls and pay attention to the part at the end where the bitchy critic realizes that the only worthy role of a critic is to seek out and recommend exciting new talent that would otherwise go unnoticed by the public. But you know what? Don’t bother. You get it. Hey, you’ve already got the job! Just stay at your desk, Google the details and keep shitting out whatever comes to mind. Cowards.
A Real Idea Man
The article “Children of the Revolutionary” [August 24–30] was superb. Watani Stiner is a real American hero, and we need to hear more about him and what he stands for. Next let’s have a story on his beliefs, which led him to make the sacrifices for his family that he did.
L.A. to New York: Drop Dead
Can someone please tell why the writers of any Los Angeles–based television series or film feel the need to debase the city by which his or her story is the key? We poor sun-baked Angelenos understand how hard it must be for an erudite New York writer to pen a story about a city as low as Los Angeles. Case in point: Showtime’s Californication, about a poor misunderstood novelist who has to accept the fact that his novel has been made into a film he hates [“Cock and Bull,” August 17–23]. What a shock. You can fit the writers who love the films from their novels in my Prius, with room for three more (J.K. Rowling would be very lonely). We get it, every writer hates Los Angeles. How many scenes must we endure of David Duchovny lamenting his plight in this horrible city while enjoying every perk it has to offer?
I don’t know about any other Angeleno, but I for one am tired of Southern California being the brunt of every joke from those “in the know.” I’ve been to New York; it smells like urine.
I happen to like where I live. and I’m sure most people here would say the same. Los Angeles, the Valley, Pasadena, Santa Monica, West L.A., South-Central L.A., East L.A. and any other city in Southern California . . . deal with it or leave it!
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I saw the play Trying in August as a result of a Los Angeles Times rave review calling it a “moving dramatization of old age.” I too found it moving, perhaps as I am an aging man myself, and identified strongly with the main character, Francis Biddle. The L.A. Weekly review recently came to my attention — it largely dismissed Alan Mandell’s performance as being played (and written) for laughs [New Theater Reviews, August 17?–23]. Laughs were certainly there, but your reviewer was totally insensitive to the drama of old age, which was there both in the writing and acting, as I and others experienced it. She complained that it “glosses over the respected dignitary and the grieving father his crotchety character used to be. (These things are talked about but never explored.)” This is a poor criticism, in my opinion, as this is not what the play is about. To explore them would have diluted the dramatic focus and effectiveness of the play. The two-person play is about the present, not the past, especially about this old man’s relationship with his secretary. Perhaps plays about old men, few as they are, should be reviewed by old men.
Philip Shulman, M.D.
For more on the play, see Steven Leigh Morris’ review [“Aging Disgracefully,” August 31–Sept. 6].
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