By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
'My film is a simple drama about real people, free of the gimmicks and pretenses often found in films today. This reviewer comes across as jaded and intolerant.'
Re Sean Gardiner's 'Bad Cops Get Tough Talk' [Runnin' Scared, April 23–29]: Police officers, like judges and lawyers, are paid to uphold the law. If an officer "crosses the line," there is no jury of peers to sit in judgment. The city's Civilian Complaint Review Board should be given the power to investigate, prosecute, and sentence.
Returning the favor
Re Vadim Rizov's review of 'The Favor' [Tracking Shots, April 30–May 6]: As the writer/director of The Favor, I feel compelled to respond to this dreadful review of my film. There are ways to critique a film without being so nasty about it, and it is not productive to have critics such as this one ripping the debut efforts of young filmmakers to shreds. My film is a simple drama about real people, free of the gimmicks and pretenses often found in films today. This reviewer comes across as jaded and intolerant, and his comments about being reminded of screenwriting classes at NYU reveal that he himself wanted to be a filmmaker once upon a time (and obviously failed). As to his claims that I don't know how to write, I happen to be teaching screenwriting to graduate students at NYU, and it is precisely my writing that has been praised by lots of other reviewers.
Rebel with a cause
Re Alexis Soloski's 'Nat Turner's Come and Gone' [April 3–May 6]: Soloski's sentiments on the play Emancipation are precisely why the dialogue must continue regarding the legacy of slavery. Soloski wrote: "Certainly the practice of slavery invited brutal recompense, yet the play never clarifies why Turner would lead his band to murder 57 whites, some mere infants."
In the near-dozen combined readings and workshops done of this play, there was invariably that one person (though I'm sure there were many others who felt the same way) who just couldn't understand why Nat Turner would rebel or who just felt that a "threshold" (in the play) hadn't been met for him to have responded so violently to the malignant, immoral, and wicked institution of slavery. The counterargument is rarely acknowledged: What did people of color do to invite the untold number of blacks—some "mere infants"—who were slaughtered, murdered, castrated, raped, dismembered, and decapitated over hundreds of years?
Same old story
Re Tony Ortega's 'Former Scientologist Actor Wants His Confessional Files Back' [villagevoice.com, April 29]: Scientologists have been exploiting and scamming people since before Ortega was born. You reinvent the wheel yet, Tony?
I hope that Jason Beghe gets the closure he deserves. Thank you, Tony Ortega, for helping not only Mr. Beghe directly, but also the many, many others who have been harmed by this cult, however indirect that help is.
A stone's throw
Re Vadim Rizov's review of 'Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts' [Tracking Shots, April 16–22]: However your reviewer feels about this film, I feel it is hardly necessary to encourage stalking behavior by inviting the reader to figure out where Mr. Glass's house is. I found it most unsettling that this careless dig—which could easily result in some personal harassment for Mr. Glass—was allowed. Shame on you.
Some cheers for Kelly
Re Nat Hentoff's 'Kelly for Mayor? A Voters' Guide' [April 30–May 6]: I don't know if Ray Kelly would make a good mayor, and I am no booster of his, but you didn't mention that, in March 2002, he issued a strongly worded order to his top commanders against the use of racial profiling as a tool in making arrests. You also didn't mention his stint as head of U.S. Customs in the Clinton administration, a job in which he tried to eliminate racial profiling. (In the interest of full disclosure, I've been an NYPD officer for 21 years. But I have no association with Commissioner Kelly and have never met him.)
Re Christopher R. Weingarten's review of Atmosphere's When Life Gives You Lemons [April 30–May 6]: I find it funny that there's always some reviewer who, when he doesn't personally like an album, decides that indie is too indie and lumps it into the "tries too hard and ends up being a pretentious wannabe" category. Indie is indie. Criticize the music—don't turn your review into a veritable grab bag of clichéd musical references and hipster rhetoric.
Re Tom Robbins's 'What Sean Bell's Legacy Needs to Be' [April 30–May 6]: Robbins makes the same error that others have made in condemning Judge Arthur Cooperman's not-guilty verdict of NYPD officers indicted in the matter of Sean Bell. Cooperman's verdict is correct because the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.