By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
THE MATRIX REVEALED
Use spoiler warnings! Jeez. Stuff at the end told me things I wanted the movie to tell me, ya jerks. Otherwise, cool article.
LET'S TALK ABOUT TEXT
Thank you, Michael Feingold, for your review of Long Day's Journey Into Night. Your discussion of theater and what it should be articulates so well everything I always believed that theater must be. To my mind, theater begins with the words. (Mr. Feingold refers to the "text.") The playwright, through words, melds our private passions and thoughts with his or her own visions. In a sacred and public space, these words are given expression through the mouths and gestures of the actors. We see our own secrets made public. Maybe we are awedor drained. Maybe we see we are not so alone in this universe. We are enlightened.
This Buffalonian may just book a train ticket to see that play.
Buffalo, New York
BEYOND THE FOG
Re "The Clarifying Fog":
Week after week I sit down to read Michael Feingold's dramatic reviews. Often, they are enlightening, providing facts from theater's history, and advice for theater's future.
However, I wonder if he realizes that his voice can only be heard by theater people. For instance, when you spend a third of your article talking about fog in Connecticut, you send the average human being to sleep. If I hadn't seen this pathetic revival of Long Day's Journey, and I wasn't a theater person myself, this review would solidify the boredom that is in store for me when I arrive at the Plymouth Theatre. Feingold adores O'Neill, so he advises us to see this production. Director Robert Falls, however, either didn't understand the script or chose not to read it. Therefore, O'Neill's talent becomes irrelevant.
Feingold needs to be more careful with his strong and certain voice. By sending folks to second-rate theater, we run the risk that they might never come back. If he was attempting to serve his community (in a way he continually states that theater artists fail to do), he would provide ego-free, entertaining, and intelligent advice about why we should not spend over $100 on this production. Sometimes us theater people are better off going to the Drama Book Shop.
Lisa Marie Black-Meller
Michael Feingold replies: I can't tell whether Black-Meller is complaining about O'Neill's play, Robert Falls's production, or my review. I strove to make the last both intelligent and entertaining, but can regrettably do nothing about the ego, which tends to be involved when one writes. As regards consumer advice, my recommendation was considerably more measured than those emanating from most of the standard sources. And it has had an excellent result: Black-Meller has seen one of the 10 greatest plays of the past century, albeit in a so-so production, and discovered that she is incapable of appreciating it. Too bad for her.
I just read Tom Robbins's article and I have to say how sad I feel for Fred Sawyers, and the way Russell Harding brushed him off when it sounds like he really needed a friend the most. I was glad to hear that Sawyers is cancer free, but again I was sad to hear that he will be losing his job. Maybe the city should think about offering him some aid in coming here to live and work if that's what he truly wants to do. Harding should be ashamed of what he's done, not just to Sawyers, but the whole city of New York. It is people like him who give New York City natives the reputation of being mean and coldhearted.
GUITAR FOR DUMMIES
George Smith echoes my own frustration regarding the state of "rock" music today.
The music industry champions bands with little musical talent because to set the bar higher would greatly limit the pool of packageable, made-for-MTV video fodder upon which the current industry thrives. As Keith Richards's 40 seconds of brilliance in "Sympathy for the Devil" prove, one does not need a degree from Berklee College of Music or a million notes per measure in order to propel even a great song to new heights. Whereas it was revolutionary in 1976 for the Ramones to release an album of two-minute songs without one guitar solo among them, to rely on the same tired approach in 2003 is equally counter-revolutionary.
My advice to tomorrow's guitar slingers: Forsake the hairspray and the mirror for now and type the words "Mel Bay" into eBay's search engine. Once you've gotten beyond the basics, then you can bust out the comb . . .
Re "Jump on the Grenade":
I generally agreed with George Smith's assessment that most new "hard rock" bands have guitar players or musicians unworthy to lick the slime off Angus Young's stool, but to include . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead in this group was confusing to me.