By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Thanks again for taking a stand on an issue that needs to be addressed more frequently.
Re Michael Feingold's "Tea in Our Harbor" [July 6]: My sentiments to a "T." Isn't it funny how we are still paying homage to England? Always England. We want our chocolates, watches, blonds, and prestige from Europe but our sensibility always floats to "Mother England." We trust and value precious little artistically from America.
As a playwright with an Off-Broadway production under my belt, I definitely relate to audiences being teased by the allure of anywhere but here. South Africa as opposed to Detroit. Ahhh, the sweet-smelling memory of those lovely "township extravaganzas" . . . Such exotica, such high-stepping musical teens and their charming harmony. I can still hear their lilting patois.
Pity the poor New York playwright who has to live through year after year of maximus-in-your-face-inferioritis. And if it wasn't for Hollywood stars looking to gain that obligatory theater credit why, heavens to betsy even the dramas wouldn't be there.
Who won the friggin' revolutionary war? But we've been apologizing ever since, haven't we?
Franklin Ibáñez Soults ["Spanish Class," July 6] seems to have a problem with the fusion going on in today's "crossover" albums. He has overlooked the fact that Latin music doesn't have to come in "Tejano," "merengue," or "salsa" forms. Latin American countries produce everything from classical to classic rock.
When I was growing up in Puerto Rico, my parents were into merengue and salsa, while I was more into Menudo and New Kids on the Block. I've always listened to "Spanish" music, and I do tend to enjoy music in my native tongue. Still, I feel the Anglo community has a stereotypical outlook on Latin America, which makes acts such as Ricky Martin, Chris Perez, and Jennifer Lopez harder to swallow than "English" acts. Why is there always such a big deal made when Latin music sounds like English music? Is there really that much difference?
J.A. Lobbia's "Poisoned Politics" [June 29] makes me wonder just what it is City Council Speaker Peter Vallone learns as he sits in Mass each morning. I'm outraged that, because of the city's cozy relationship with landlords, the children of poor and working-class people of color are steadily exposed to lead paint dust, which causes illness as well as learning and behavioral problems. These same children are blamed and penalized when they do poorly in school or disrupt classrooms or go on to engage in criminal activity.
Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Gary Dauphin missed or dismissed the nasty misogyny of The General's Daughter [June 29], a film that masquerades as a tale of rapists brought to justice. Among the images the camera lingers on are a naked woman spread-eagled, once for a brutal gang rape and then for murder. These are the money shots, the soul of a movie that revels in male sexual brutality. No amount of byzantine plot twists can erase or justify the bitter taste this film leaves you spitting.
San Diego, California
Re Lynn Yaeger's "Big Deal" [July 27]: The fashion industry's inability to understand that the average American woman finds little to relate to in the super-skinny models shows how insulated from reality they are.
There are millions of women cheering for the new crop of plus-size models who represent all that is natural, wholesome, and full of life. The constant message that we must continuously diet to meet some artificial measure of beauty compels women and young girls to hate their bodies. Let us move forward to honor the diversity of woman.
Praise to Kenji Jasper for writing such a great article regarding Big L ["Of Mics and Men in Harlem," July 13]. The media didn't spend enough time on his brutal murder. Meanwhile, rappers and other entertainment artists are being constantly assaulted and fear for their lives. In order for you to make headlines these days, the media only cares whether or not your album is platinum.
I hope Big L will rest in peace in the arms of the Lord.
Witch Is Real
Re Anthony Kaufman's "The 'Blair Witch' Directors on the Method to Their Madness" [July 20]: On opening day two friends and I decided to see The Blair Witch Project. We had seen the Sci-Fi Channel's program about the Blair Witch legend and were not aware the movie was just that, a movie. In the theater, Heather Donahue's screams of terror sent chills through my bones. Most of the people I talked to believed it was a true story. We were terrified to go to sleep until a friend called to say we should read Kaufman's article suggesting that the film was fictitious. I feel The Blair Witch Project was an excellent movie, given that we were led to believe it was real. Orson Welles, adapter of The War of the Worlds, would have been proud.
Magie Dominic's article "No Relief" [July 27], about life as a poor artist under Giuliani, was exquisite. Her ability to write such a lucid and succinct account of her experience is astounding.