Regan DuCasse
Studio City, California

I read Jennifer Gonnerman's "Barbershop ban" and felt I had to drop a letter to the person who had written this. What she wrote is simply the perfection of journalism—clear, factual, unbiased, investigative, admirably humane, contemporary, wide-ranging, and well written. This story moved me as much as it informed me of the cruelty of our so-called modern world. Gonnerman really paid homage to the great man that Marc LaCloche was—an inspiration for us all to fight for justice, especially on behalf of those who can't. By writing LaCloche's story in this fashion she gave him a decent "gravestone with his name." She did what Antigone tried to do for her brother—honor his memory in a time rife with injustice. It's so anticlimactic that this grand work should appear in a gray-papered, ad-laden, free newspaper upon which thousands of New Yorkers may tread every day without concern for its contents. It's great that there is at least one paper—not just in the city, but in the world— on which I can rely for critical, intelligent, humanistic articles.

Peter Marquis

"Barbershop ban" embodies what I hope to find in The Village Voice—journalism that shines a light on obscure lives and, at the same time, on issues that should be everyone's concern; not hagiography, not box-thumping, but personal and informative conscience-rattling. Thank you for letting me know who Marc LaCloche was.

Andrew Draper

Readers respond to 'Barbershop Ban'

After the story "Barbershop Ban" appeared in last week's Voice, many readers contacted the paper and offered to help pay the burial costs for Marc LaCloche. For the last four years, LaCloche had fought a one-man battle for the right to cut hair. The state prison system had trained him to be a barber while he was incarcerated for robbery, but after his release in 2001 the state refused to grant him a barber's license.

LaCloche died broke and alone at age 40, after a long battle with AIDS. As of last week, his body was headed to potter's field on Hart Island, where it was to be buried in a ditch with 149 others. After the Voice story appeared, one reader offered to pay the total cost of LaCloche's burial, which came to nearly $1,200. LaCloche's friend Ezell Turner made the arrangements, and LaCloche will soon be buried at Rosemount Cemetery in Elizabeth, New Jersey. —Jennifer Gonnerman


Due to an editing error, in Michael Feingold's review of Sweeney Todd [November 9–15], the name of performer Manoel Felciano was misspelled.

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