The South Shall Rise Again

Great article recently by David Zahniser, regarding the gentrification of Los Angeles [“Welcome to Gentrification City,” Aug. 25–31]. As a resident of South “central” L.A., specifically in the area of Figueroa and Vernon, I would like to point out that our communities are changing as well. Although I would never agree with forcing elderly residents out of living situations anywhere, I also do not agree with extensions of Section 8, on-going project living and other systems that seem designed to trap the less motivated into a lower class or continued poverty. It certainly does not help to motivate residents for independence.

What has historically been an area of black American residents is now changing into a Latino majority. The change and variety are good, providing a nice mixture within the community.

I also agree with one of the residents quoted in the article that we need more of a variety of businesses in our “South of Exposition” communities. At this point in time, comparable businesses appear to draw primarily from the close-by convenience of the USC community. Hopefully, this will change as the community potential continues to grow.

As a teacher and school counselor, I must say, I have many great neighbors young and old in and around my area. Some have sold out during this gentrification period and others have held on. However, everyone has had the chance to cash in. Sometimes it just takes stepping out and meeting some other folks to find out what we all have in common and quell some “social conditioning” fears.

M.J. Parker

Los Angeles

As the Pirate Ship Turns

I thought your feature “Terror in the Aisles,” [Sept. 8–14] was interesting and informative. My comments are regarding Pirates, and you do get it — that despite your and your friends’ feelings about the movie, so many other people enjoyed it immensely. It was clearly going to be the middle movie of the trilogy, and middle movies don’t seem to do well with critics. It is epic and ambitious in an entertaining way.

All critics seemed to say (in unison!) that Dead Man’s Chest is too long and they don’t understand what’s happening. I have never read any critic’s review of this movie that talks about how stellar the production values were, the gorgeous cinematography, or how exciting (at least to this kid at heart) the action set pieces were, and the visual effects. You would not know, for example, how much I enjoyed the Captain Jack Sparrow flirting with Elizabeth Swann scenes . . . the dice game . . . the three-way sword fight and the kraken!

So, it’s not a movie that is for everyone, but a billion dollars’ worldwide box office does tell me that Dead Man’s Chest was entertaining and diverting — I attended quite a few screenings where there were whole families laughing and enjoying the action. We don’t look to compare this movie to Citizen Kane or Lawrence of Arabia, but I, at least, do care about what will happen to the characters in the third movie. Will Elizabeth end up with Captain Jack or with Will? Will Davy Jones find redemption? These are things that I do care about — things that critics couldn’t know or don’t care to. I loved that it is two and a half hours of escaping to a world of fantasy pirates, and it makes me feel good.

Sandy Martin

Beverly Hills

Menacing Phantom

Re: “Phantom” by Paul Malcolm [Confessions of a Video Store Burnout, Sept. 8–14]: I’m so glad someone other than me digs this film, possibly more than F.W. Murnau’s other popular films. I love Faust and Sunrise too, but that’s all I ever hear about. It’s about time someone like Malcolm stepped up to the plate and recommended this! Why isn’t there more talk about what a great story there is of the brilliant Thea von Harbou, who wrote great things like this, yet stayed and worked with the Nazis even after her Jewish husband, Fritz Lang, ran for his life? I guess the “brillant” can be very cold.

Jerry Lentz

Los Angeles

LA Weekly