'Up Your Ass,' Rudy
Thank you, Judith Coburn ["Solanas Lost and Found" January 18], for shedding light on the late Valerie Solanas and her newly produced play, Up Your Ass. Solanas has been entertaining to me ever since I saw the movie on her life, I Shot Andy Warhol, starring the charming Lili Taylor, and then bought a copy of her SCUM Manifesto. It's great to see her finally getting produced.
The SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto was actually a serious survey of her time. In 1977, Solanas herself admitted to Howard Smith and Brian Van der Horst in the Voice's Scenes column that SCUM was a literary device not to be taken zealously (thank god). I am tempted to go to San Francisco just to see Up Your Ass, even though transsexuality lost its edge for me back in March 1997, when dickie boy Giuliani dressed up like a Marilyn Monroe drag queen at the annual City Hall press/politico burlesque.
Death Row Records
Good to see Jennifer Gonnerman's article "Kids on the Row" [January 11]. However, I think her figures are off on percentages of racial groups on death rows nationwide. Gonnerman lists 56 percent of those on death row as being white, whereas Death Row U.S.A., put out by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, lists (as of September 1, 1999), 46.51 percent white; 42.59 percent black; 8.58 percent Latino.
Department of Philosophy
Jennifer Gonnerman replies: My story should have stated thatsince the Supreme Court permitted the death penalty to resume in 197656 percent of the prisoners executed have been white and 35 percent African American. Thanks for the clarification.
So according to your "Film Critics Poll" [January 4], Robert Bresson places two films in the top 30 of the century, but Charlie Chaplin doesn't make the cut? Boy, you're a fun-loving bunch! I know that a lot of critics don't think that a film has to be enjoyable to be good, but I'd have thought that some of you might have heard rumors that the purpose of motion picture film is to record motion.
Being a photographer, I doubt that I'm blind. So I must ask, why wasn't Wim Wenders mentioned in your film poll? Considering his vast and consistent body of work, it should go without saying that his films have been some of the best! Perhaps his relative existentialism has left him out of touch with your critics, although I doubt it.
Comfortably out of touch,
Cary Whittier Jr.
Re the "critics poll" and the films of the century: Anybody ever heard of Ingmar Bergman?
Editor's Note: Films by Bergman, Chaplin, and Wenders were named by individual critics but did not finish in the top 30 "Films of the Century" published in the paper. Complete results are available at www.villagevoice.com/take/one.
Stage is Dark
It was nifty to see someone grasp the coincidences relevant in Tori Amos's and Trent Reznor's music, but Jane Dark's January 4 Sugar High column ["All's Well That Ends Well"] was pointless and her sardonicism was trite. Doesn't Ms. Dark have anything better to do than poke fun at two of the most influential and creative individuals in this poor excuse of a music industry?
Palisades Park, New Jersey
Nice piece, except that the "decade in Modern Rock" referenced in Dark's first sentence had so many more players than Trent Reznor, Courtney Love, Tori Amos, and Marilyn Manson. Dark made it sound as if the entire modern rock movement ebbs and flows according to the apparent sociosexual gesticulations of these four artists.
Amherst, New York
Jane Dark writes that "[Tori] Amos nailed [Courtney Love and Trent Reznor] in 'She's Your Cocaine' (1998), detailing 'the way she makes you crawl,' electro-banging over a murky boom. 'Prince of Darkness?' she fumes as Act III ends, 'Try squirrel of dimness.' "
The actual line is ". . . squire of dimness," Jane. A little lower than a prince. A lot different than a squirrel.
Kannapolis, North Carolina
Jane Dark has way too much free time. Statements like these churn rumors.
Quispamsis, New Brunswick
Jane Dark replies: It's such a pleasure getting responses from thoughtful and committed readers. Having relinquished the column, it's something I'll miss greatly.
I don't understand why there are so few classical music reviews, and why they are so irregular. I appreciated the few words by Leighton Kerner in the January 11 Choices section, but there should have been a full review of The Great Gatsby. Kerner is one of my favorites, and you have others who write well about contemporary music, but you need to devote more space to the subject. I know I'm not the only person who reads the Voice and attends classical music events who would like to compare my impressions to those of someone knowledgeable, who has written them down.
I'm a Donna Ladd convert. She's a brilliant muckraker whose writing is meaningful and socially significant. Thanks for printing her.
John Bartelt, Ph.D.
Mark Schoofs's series of articles about AIDS in Africa has been a wake-up call, probably saving countless lives not only here in New York, but throughout the world.
Linda Belle Pedowitz
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