Letters

Maple Leaf Rag

I am writing on behalf of the Joyce Theater Foundation in response to Christopher Reardon's article, Felix Ruckert's Proposition".The Joyce Board of Trustees is deeply concerned about statements made in the opening paragraph of this article, which imply that Linda Shelton, the Joyce's executive director, and by extension, the Joyce Theater Foundation, used public and private funds inappropriately to see Felix Ruckert's "Hautnah"in Montreal in May of this year."

For the record, it is the Joyce Theater's practice, when feasible, to see work by new companies that are being considered for presentation at the Joyce Theater or Joyce Soho. These business trips are paid for out of the theater's general operating budget. Ms. Shelton and/or Martin Wechsler, director of programming, make these trips on behalf of the Joyce. Having never seen "Hautnah", Ms. Shelton felt it was important to take the opportunity to go to Montreal, where it was performed for the first time in North America. Given the unique nature of "Hautnah", a visit was essential to see the dances, meet the artistic director, and assess its technical needs to determine if Joyce Soho would be an appropriate venue for the piece."

There are a number of inaccuracies in the first paragraph that misconstrue Ms. Shelton's trip as possibly being an inappropriate use of funds. Ms. Shelton went on a business trip-not an "escapade." The performance was held at L'Agora de la Danse, a legitimate theater-not a "cheeky nightspot." She selected a performer based on a bio she had read-not a "stranger"-and negotiated a $20 "performance fee" as part of the theatrical experience. She attended a reception hosted by the Goethe Institute after the performance where she did have a glass of wine. "

The Joyce board holds its fiduciary responsibility very seriously. As a nonprofit organization, the Joyce Theater Foundation raises support from public and private sources to fund specific programs as well as its general operations. This trip was funded out of the general operating budget, 50 percent of which comes from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies. Mr. Reardon's statement that Ms. Shelton is "leaving taxpayers and private donors to foot the bill" paints an inaccurate picture of how the Joyce does business.

David D. Holbrook
President, Joyce Board of Trustees
Manhattan

Christopher Reardon replies: Holbrookis absolutely right that Shelton's trip was both an integral part of her job and a proper use of public and private funds-and the story I filed made it clear that Shelton had done nothing wrong; that she should be commended for helping to bring Felix Ruckert's troupe to New York; and that she's been doing a fine job at the Joyce. Without my knowledge,however, the article, which had been written for the features section, was trimmed to fit last week's dance page. In the process, the opening narrative-a carefully phrased, 275-word parody that mirrored the subjective nature of Ruckert's work-came to resemble a 77-word smear. If I were Holbrook or Shelton, I'd be upset too.


Can the Klan

In response to Donna Ladd's article "The Great Hate Debate", it must be pointed out that in spite of sellouts like the Anti-Defamation League, which believe anti-Semitic and racist speech should not be banned from the Net, there is one Jewish group that is fighting to shut down hate sites. That is the militant Jewish Defense Organization (JDO), and we are publically blasting the ADL, and its director, Abraham Foxman, for pure undiluted hypocrisy and deception on this one. The JDO's Web site has humiliated Foxman by name for cowardice on these issues, and for never taking a principled stand to ban neo-Nazis, which his predecessors, to their credit, did do.

Let the facts speak for themselves. Dangerous neo-Nazi and KKK types are using the Net to threaten Jews, blacks, Latinos, and Asians- all of whom have recently experienced murderous skinhead and neo-Nazi violence inspired by sick ramblings on the Net. The JDO says loud and clear that Nazis have no rights and that free speech ends when bigotry begins. That is why our Web site (http://www.jdo.org) is now on a campaign to shut down all Nazi-linked and KKK sites permanently.

Mordechai Levy
National Director, Jewish Defense Organization
Manhattan


Shrink Rap

As a counterweight to William Bastone's article ["The Charlatans," October 19] about Dr. Phillip Romero's downfall, I would offer my own observation that for many years Dr. Romero served me and several others I know in an attentive and professional manner.

I believe that his success as a therapist derived from his eagerness to work with the best part of the patient's psyche and soma: He offered much in the way of clarity and was judiciously optimistic and encouraging in helping a fellow human being overcome the kinds of things that bedevil us all at one time or another in our lives.

It is ironic that in pursuit of the gift he wanted most (the art of painting) he allowed the one he already possessed (the art of healing) to be jeopardized by addiction and its ensuing ruinous judgment. I'm sorry that Mr. Bastone didn't discover why Dr. Romero had such a following: He was inspired. He was also human, and we all know what happens when a bit of hubris is added to the mixture: The story of Dr. Romero is one of tragedy rather than venality.

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