By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
In response to Michael Musto's August 24 column: You secretly adore Michael Jackson, Mr. Musto, and feel that you must belittle him to hide your deep affection. But writing that you "would like to gossip about how fascinating that recently surfaced picture of Jacko's pallid son was . . . this adorable little Jack-off looks precious little like Daddy, though maybe he's already had his pigment scrubbed!" was pathetic.
There is no humor in defiling children, and using the media to make such hideous insinuations is a vile abuse of everyone's rights.
I leave you to polish your pitchfork and mend the snag in your red cape.
To Michael Musto: They falsely accused Michael Jackson of being a child molester, but the real child molesters are journalists like you, Mr. Musto, who molest a two-year-old child with cruel, unsupported gossip! In the future, before writing, you should check that your brain is connected to your pen, and realize that children who are affected by vitiligo or have multiracial parents just might just might read what you are writing. For the luck of the future of this world, a two-year-old kid knows better than you that skin is only a surface, and when he looks at his father, who suffers from vitiligo, or at his white mother, he sees only what is inside them. Because in spite of what you are experiencing, in this world there are still people with big hearts inside.
B Back When
It was with a mixture of nostalgia and whimsy that I read Norah Vincent's "B Is for Bistro: The Bittersweet Transformation of Avenue B" and "Boho Bohoo" by C. Carr [August 17], two fine articles about my former Lower East Side neighborhood.
I agree with Carr's insight that bohemia always looks better in hindsight and that the Golden Age is always waning. But allow this "old fart" to wax nostalgic for a moment. I arrived in the Tompkins Square neighborhood in 1965. I had a spacious apartment on the top floor of a building on East 5th Street one of the few old buildings that was left on that street. I paid less than $70 a month for this jewel and furnished it in fun gothic style from uptown throwaways.
Shortly after my arrival, I became a representative for the then emerging Tompkins Square Press, Ltd., publishers of Down Here, "a magazine from the East Village." We were also an avant-garde bookstore that specialized in publishing the Vest-Pocket Poets series, which received good press. The bookstore and Press were located at 97 Avenue B, across from the park. Some of the finest talent in town was published in our magazine. Ray Bremser's Angel ("The work of one night in the dark/solitary confinement, New Jersey State Prison, Trenton") was first published by Tompkins Square Press. Other poets and writers we published included (to name a few) Ted Berrigan, Mike Disend, Jay Bail, Robert Richkin, and John Wieners. Tom McNamara's extensive correspondence with artists such as Charles Bukowski and Harold Norse added a delightful touch, as did the photographs of Anna Kaufman.
The Lower East Side in the '60s was a marvelous place to be young and burning with a zest for life. Now in my sixties, I share my East Village stories with my two daughters, who are awakening to their own waning Golden Age. Indeed, change is the only constant.
A Dance To Brooklyn
I was quoted out of context in the article "Boom in Brooklyn?" by Odile Joly in last week's issue, and I feel that my views were inadequately represented. While I conveyed to the writer many of my strong reactions to the status quo and limitations of the Manhattan performing arts scene, as well to people's fear of Brooklyn, I just as strongly expressed an excitement and a positive outlook toward the growing and diverse performing arts scene in Brooklyn which, unfortunately, were not represented in the article.
All of my views come from my strong loyalty to Brooklyn. For example, I currently live in Clinton Hill and have lived in Brooklyn all of my nine years in New York. I have performed in venues in three different Brooklyn neighborhoods and rehearse there on a regular basis. I understand the need to keep articles focused and interesting, but I feel that my views, expressed in a lengthy interview with the writer, were spliced in such a way that my intent was distorted.
I was seriously misquoted by Odile Joly in her article "Boom in Brooklyn?". We discussed the move of my studio and several other issues, but we never discussed any questions that would have provoked an answer such as "there's more little tushies to fill those theatre seats here than anywhere else" as I was quoted as saying. My goal is to unite the dance community in all of New York City, regardless of location.
Broadway Dance Center
Manhattan Odile Joly replies: In quoting Maureen Brennan's observation that "somebody's going to have to take the risk" of bringing dance to Brooklyn, as well as citing her wish that she could take that risk herself through the purchase of a Fulton Avenue building, I intended to convey her optimism that, with a little initiative, Brooklyn could house an active dance scene. As to the letter from Allison Ellner, while discussing her studio's move, she touched on New York's role as a center for dance, and illustrated it with that offhand comment, which I quoted in the article and which remains in my memory.