By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Khalling All Cars
Re your coverage of the Million Youth March:
I was disheartened by the excessive show of force by the New York Police Department. It was unnecessary and disrespectful to the youth who came together in search of guidance. While Khallid Muhammad's fiery rhetoric may not appeal to everyone, the youth had a right to hear it and decide for themselves. They did not deserve a police force primed for a riot.
What message did your mayor wish to send? His actions make me question his commitment to improved race relations in New York.
Re Peter Noel's article "Rage Against Muhammad" [August 25]:
In all the recent coverage regarding the black Hitler Khallid Muhammad, one thing stands out. The Jewish Defense Organization and its leadership rallied loudly and clearly with one powerful demand: ''Arrest Khallid Muhammad."
The fact is that even before his anti-Semitic, anti-white, anti-police riot, Muhammad was already making some very heavy threats to start a pogrom in Crown Heights. The JDO was the first Jewish group to rally both at City Hall and in Rego Park, Queens--the scene of a recent vicious bias attack and beating of a Jewish woman from Uzbekistan by four young black anti-Semites, possibly inspired by Khallid Muhammad's message of hate.
Currently, the JDO has launched a campaign to get all those Jews and non-Jews who give money to the American Civil Liberties Union to cut off every penny and quit. It was the ACLU and its head fool, Norman Siegel, who went to bat for Khallid Muhammad to get his permit for the recent anti-Semitic, so-called ''Million Youth March'' in Harlem. (Let it never be forgotten how the vile ACLU defended the neo-Nazis' attempts to get a permit to march in Skokie, Illinois, in 1978.)
Without a doubt, if the police had not used force, then G-d forbid there would have been riots triggered all over New York City, especially in such bastions of liberalism as the Upper West Side, where Norman Siegel lives, and perhaps the suicidal ideas of men like Siegel and other self-destructive Jews who make a career of defending our enemies would have gone up in flames.
Jewish Defense Organization
Sasha Frere-Jones's "Words Worth" [September 15] was one of the best articles I've read about the rapper Canibus. His attack on the mike has me addicted. The only thing I doubt is his knowledge of the body. It is extensive but lacks clarity. Canibus's street knowledge is better than most, but as a chiropractic student, I feel his science and anatomy skills could be slightly improved.
Even though his new album lacks the vicious attitude he displayed on mix tapes and other artists' albums, his metaphors bring me back to the times when Rakim was tearing down the speakers in my house. If Canibus gets a strong producer/DJ--like Premier or even DJ Evil Dee--he might take rap to another level.
Paterson, New Jersey
"The River Wild" [August 25] leaves me wondering where wild Guy Trebay wandered and why it took him three days (and three changes of footwear) to cover ''190 blocks from Battery Park City to the George Washington Bridge."
In my book, Walking the Hudson, Batt to Bear, reviewed in the Voice by Karen Cook, I describe how anyone can walk along the Hudson from the Battery to the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge, with or without a Hudson River Park. It is an exhilarating trek that takes five to six hours.
Regarding Westway--that ''benighted scheme to plunk a superhighway on 200 acres of riverside landfill''--Trebay says it was defeated in the mid 1980s by ''community advocates and environmentalists, chief among them the saintly Marcy Benstock.'' Actually, a petulant federal judge killed it. If Westway had been planned to be built in and not on top of landfill, we would most likely have a five-mile park similar to Battery Park, under which traffic moves in tunnels so that their noises and fumes are contained. Instead, we will have a smaller riverside park from Chambers Street to 59th Street.
Yes, Guy, the Hudson is in better shape than it was 50 years ago. It is much cleaner because of the container revolution, the deindustrialization of the river, and the $40 billion spent on sewage treatment plants. Not only that, but there are probably more plants and fish in the river now than when Henry Hudson sailed in 1609. This productivity is caused by the tens of millions of people living in the Hudson drainage basin who contribute their fertilizing urine--making the phytoplankton smile.
Trebay's phrase ''landscapes are fictions'' is true. Most of what we see along the shore was created by humans, not nature. And yet I find shorewalking beautiful, natural, and fascinating. We all want parks. Shorewalkers, an environmental and walking group, has been fighting for shore parks along Manhattan for 16 years. I hope to see some semblance of an ''emerald necklace'' around this rocky island before I die.
Cy Adler, President
Re Michael Feingold's "Another Bow" [September 15]: As the Artistic Director of the Chekhov Theatre Ensemble, it has been my experience that theaters spend little time discussing what their audience needs, as Feingold stated. I vividly remember participating in a roundtable discussion in which several artistic directors discussed their seasons, and not once did anyone mention the audience.
It is true that ''artistically-minded affluent liberals'' still make up the majority of theatergoers in some institutions, but not all of them. We were founded as a ''professional theatre in the community service.'' Links to the people who experience our work are critical to the way we think. Part of our mission is to help kids who have not responded to traditional educational models. Comprehensive support services, such as in-service training for public school teachers, study guides, preview workshops, and discussion with our audiences about their goals and needs, are all part of what we do. We use our theater pieces to provide opportunities for the audience to make thematic links with their lives. We don't assume that everyone should love a certain play because we do or because it is held to be a masterpiece.
The theater must compete with movies in SurroundSound and Dolby. We can compete only if we find the courage to think of theater as something more than entertainment. This means that we, as a theater community, need to broaden our own field of vision to encompass people with experiences and ways of looking at things that might not be like our own.
Chekhov Theatre Ensemble
Dead On Arrival
Re Barry Walters's ''They Live!'' [September 15]: It's nice to know that somebody enjoyed the resurrection of Bauhaus. I saw the quartet in Boston and found it to be the most disappointing (if not depressing) show of the year. I guess Peter Murphy's entrance via a wide-screen TV for ''Double Dare'' should have clued me in that this was to be a phoned-in performance. The lack of enthusiasm and nonexistent chemistry displayed by the band made me feel as if I were watching two bands thrown together to make a quick buck instead of one group playing together because they enjoyed it.
But what did I expect? The last time I saw Peter Murphy before that, his grave was being dug by a little-known opening act called Nine Inch Nails--a kick in the eye, indeed!
Re your special section last week on the White House sex scandal:
The coup d'etat launched by moneyed conservative interests is cresting. Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr has released a wealth of salacious details into the feeding trough of cyberspace. In a country with competing strains of puritanism and sexual hypocrisy, such an action is guaranteed to provoke a visceral reaction.
Now we are swept into impeachment hearings in a charged, nonreflective atmosphere, with the congressional party in power determining the meaning of high crimes and misdemeanors without a net and without concern for due process. One branch of our government is trying to topple a president who was twice elected by the will of the people--people who had not been unaware of his sexual peccadilloes. Notice that there was nothing about Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, or any of the other original pretexts for indictment in the released report. They will bring him down by all means necessary.
Why not leave the question of Clinton's fate to the American people? We can exercise our democratic right in the November congressional elections. Voters who want to see Clinton impeached can vote Republican. Those who prefer to see the investigation come to a speedy close should vote for Democrats. By making the elections a referendum on Clinton, the voters can best decide what should happen.
Dr. John Chittick
I guess Jesse Berrett is old enough to have been a teenager in the early '40s, seeing how in his article ''Swing, Kids!'' [September 8], he basically called neo-swing bands a bunch of poseurs.
The bands Berrett speaks of are fun to listen to and see live. I've seen Amazing Royal Crowns and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies in small bars around L.A., and they're great. Let people enjoy this music for a while.
Los Angeles, California
AMID THE WAVES of witty banter that make up the Voice music section, I much appreciated Craig Seymour's piece ''The Boy Is Whose?'' [August 4] on ''Brandy vs. Monica.'' He delivered. I was astonished by Seymour's far-ranging familiarity with rap, r&b, and hip hop, and persuaded by his reasoning that Monica's CD is the better. Go, Voice, for printing such informative criticism.
Self-victimization passes so frequently for feminist critique that it's usually not worth noting. However, Rebecca Spence's response to J. Hoberman's review of Neil LaBute's Your Friends & Neighbors, claiming that the film was ''one of the most misogynistic films to be released in recent years,'' was beyond the pale.
A film that portrays a loathsome, narcissistic, woman-hating bully is no more likely to be misogynistic than a World War II movie portraying Hitler is likely to support the Holocaust. For this to be the case the film's point of view would have to empathize with the character or condone his actions. The fact that Jason Patric's character verbally abuses his victims into acquiescence and even cinematic nonexistence is self-evidently damning to him, not women. Perhaps Patric's brilliant embodiment of his character has you mistaking art for insult.
James Ledbetter'S departure from the Voice will surely leave a void. I'm sorry to see it happen. Good luck, Jim. To whoever picks up the Press Clips column: stay vigilant.
A screening of Citystate: The Media and the Mayor, a documentary by Liz Mermin featuring the Voice's Wayne Barrett covering the 1997 New York City mayoral campaign, will take place at the Tribeca Film Center, 375 Greenwich Street, on September 24 at 6 p.m. Barrett will take questions following the film. Tickets are $20. For information, call 212-673-7771.
Park Slope Safe Homes Project will host the fifth annual Remembrance Vigil, in memory of those who have died as a result of domestic violence, on October 2 at 6:30 p.m. at 9th Street and Prospect Park West, Brooklyn. For information, call 718-499-2151.