New Year's Steve

PETER BRAUNSTEIN nailed MTV's laziness covering the premiere of 54 and J. Hoberman was right about the screenplay's oversight of the preppie regulars [''Safety Dance''; ''Behind the Music,'' September 8]. Anyway, contrary to what is portrayed in the movie, here's what actually happened on New Year's Eve 1979:

Steve Rubell didn't speak, no one OD'd, and the raid by the Organized Crime Strike Force of the U.S. Attorney's office had taken place one year earlier. Baskets hung over the balcony with guys in rooster outfits dumping confetti and streamers. There were four costumed stilt-walkers (one was a big pink sheep), a magician-juggler, and face painters. Clips of '70s newscasts and movies ran on two overhead screens. The last song of 1979? Festival’s ''Evita'' medley. Then everyone sang ''Auld Lang Syne.'' ''Vertigo/"Relight My Fire'' chimed in 1980 and aired four more times that night;later, ''Brown Sugar'' played three times in a row (let one of today’s DJs get away with similar repeats, but at Studio it worked).

My gang (average age 23) was once lampooned as ''a bunch of UVA grads working at Chemical Bank.'' At Studio we inhaled Rush so that our highs would coincide with the sax break in Suzi Lane’s ''Harmony,'' and occasionally snorted coke, but generally preferred screwdrivers. We danced with a theater critic for a major newspaper chain, a dentist who always wore a red bow tie, numerous aspiring chorus boys, HBO secretaries, a couple of well-known drag queens, a middle-aged peroxide blond of indeterminate gender, and a closeted Dutch boy and his girlfriend. The girlfriend later made the cover of New York magazine for having been murdered and stuffed in a trunk (not by the Dutch boy).

Mark Christopher’s movie was a cute two stars, but there are a few Studio stories remaining to be told.

Charlie Carson

Down On Jamaica

RE JAZELL ANDUJAR'S ''Jam Session'' [September 8]: Call me cynical, but I don’t see how anyone could describe Jamaica in such a favorable light.

In the eight years I have been riding the Long Island Rail Road through Jamaica, I have seen an obviously blighted place. There are people living in sickening squalor under bridges or in houses made of garbage. On one side of the tracks is a recycling plant with a shard mountain of broken Heineken bottles, and dozens of ugly metal warehouses with locked gates. You see mean-looking men hanging out and guard dogs chained to back stoops. There are ubiquitous mounds of garbage, not to mention a livestock market in one residential neighborhood I pass, where chickens, sheep, and goats are stuffed into stables waiting for some asshole to slit their throats.

Am I angry and disgusted that this ''beautiful'' place exists? Yes. But I'm angrier that through the years it hasn’t changed much since, as Ms. Andujar puts it, it was purchased from local tribes for ''eight bottles of liquor, blankets, and a few guns.''

Teri Bollweg
Long Beach, New York

Jazell Andujar replies: Dear Cynical, The people of Jam are quite aware of the ignorant, stereotypical judgments made by commuters like yourself. Statements like those in your letter are based on fleeting observations made looking out of dirty train windows as you head into the city and back to the suburbs.

Christ Almighty

AS A LONGTIME Voice reader, I was appalled to see Michael Sofronski's blasphemous photo of a man wearing a T-shirt with the words ''JESUS IS A CUNT'' in your publication [Street Style, September 8].

As a Catholic, I take personal offense at this derogatory material, which publicly disrespects our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only is this photo an offense to all Christians, but the Voice is freely accessible to younger people who may be wrongly influenced by this demoralizing depiction of our Christian faith.

It’s not cool to be anti-Christ.

George P. Choma

Come Again?

IN DAN SAVAGE'S August 18 column, he misinforms readers about the transmission of gonorrhea and genital warts via oral sex.

The exchange of bodily fluids, such as semen, is in no way related to the transmission of genital warts, and it is not a prerequisite for the transmission of gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is an easily transmittable bacteria that lives on the opening at the tip of the penis and along the surface of the urethra, not in semen, like HIV.

In other words, if you go down on your partner and he or she has the clap, you can get the clap whether your partner comes in your mouth or not. In most cases, gonorrhea can be easily treated, but if left unchecked it can lead to sterility and/or heart disease.

Halley Low

Dan Savage replies: In addressing the harmful effects of ingesting semen, I listed a few of the sexually transmitted diseases one can contract through unprotected oral sex. The paragraph was a little convoluted, and, I admit, confusing.  

Brat Pack

IN EDMUND LEE'S article ''Asiatown'' [September 8], he writes, referring to Korean and Chinese kids who roam around Flushing in large groups and don’t like to socialize with anyone who is different from them: ‘‘If you’re an outsider, they notice. You don’t look right. They ignore you.'' As a Chinese girl who doesn’t dress in ‘‘tight-crotched, bell-bottomed jeans’’ or ‘‘tank tops,’’ I often receive dirty looks from girls who think I am inferior to them. Their ‘‘wolfpack’’ logic tells them to ignore and look down on people who don’t dress, look, or talk like them.

Unfortunately, Lee’s article was true. I applaud him for speaking his mind about this subject.

Melissa Wong

Minnesota Flats

RE J.A. LOBBIA’S article ‘‘Hell’s Kitchen Is Burning’’ [September 8]: Erich Giebelhaus, formerly of Minnesota, thinks he found a deal in Hell’s Kitchen. A studio for $1200. And he looked for this? Does he have any idea what his neighbors are paying?

Erich proves the theory that rents in New York City have been driven up not only by greedy landlords, but by the endless parade of out-of-town yokels who pay these often illegal rents. These gullible rubes fuel landlord greed and shrink affordable housing. Then they move back to the sticks.

Some New York tenants don’t know they are in rent-stabilized apartments. Many others are being illegally overcharged and don’t bother to do anything about it. I bet they all blew in from Bonehead, Minnesota, just like Erich. Real New Yorkers know better. Remember the words of Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls: ‘‘A chump will buy anything with varnish on it.’’

Eliot Camaren

Haven And Hell

J.A. LOBBIA overlooked a most relevant point in her article ‘‘Hell’s Kitchen Is Burning’’: No one must pay $2800 rent. Tenants choose their living arrangement of their own free will.

Manhattan renters conveniently forget that New York is a city composed of five boroughs. As a licensed real estate broker, I know that before the imposition of rent regulations there were hundreds of safe, affordable neighborhoods all over our great city. As a result of rent regulations, some lucky tenants pay bargain rents for luxury apartments, while others elect to pay top dollar for much inferior apartments.

Sid Miller, Director
Haven Heights Group


Great Repression

KAREN COOK’S brilliant commentary on President Clinton’s failure to turn his disaster into a productive public conversation about sex and hypocrisy was a delight to read [‘‘To Tell the Truth,’’ September 1].

I disagree, however, with the commonplace that all men are sexual sociopaths just beneath the surface, and that Clinton, through proud confession, might blow the lid off an ongoing hypocrisy.

This is several degrees too hip for the House. These people are getting off on the dirty, smelly, adolescent getting-away-with-it all. These guys get primed by repression.

John Leone
Del Mar, California

Suits Me

JESSE BERRETT’S impressive critique of neo-swing bands [''Swing Kids!'' September 8] missed one point that I felt it was important to raise.

His comments on the Squirrel Nut Zippers were unduly negative, but more important, incorrect. An attentive listener will realize that ‘‘Suits Are Pickin’ Up the Bill’’ has nothing to do with ‘‘sneering’’ at their audience. In a Zippers interview on National Public Radio’s July 7 Morning Edition show, they commented on this song, explaining that it is about recording moguls who smilingly take a band out on the town, only to later deduct the expenses from their pay. The Zippers are big brains in the strangely narrow world of neo-swing, and deserve fairer treatment.

Aaron Curtiss
Sacramento, California

Cold Rudy

RE SHARON LERNER’S ‘‘Cold Turkey’’ [September 1]: As an opiate-dependent person, I’m outraged that my life is apparently so dispensable in the eyes of Mayor Giuliani that he would keep me from receiving my methadone medication in a safe and legal fashion.

Why is the mayor adopting a policy that, as Lerner notes, ‘‘flies in the face of mainstream medical opinion’’? Is it because he figures methadone-dependent people aren’t central to his political aspirations? Do 36,000 New Yorkers in public and private methadone clinics not make up enough of a constituency for his consideration?

I find it hard to believe that the mayor does not have the foresight to see the trouble that would seize our streets if people who are receiving methadone are forced out of clinics. The streets are exactly where Mayor Giuliani wants drugs and drug-dependent people so that he can continue to bolster his crime-fighting statistics.


Soon Mayor Giuliani will be heard declaring that once again with this step he’s cleaned up the streets and made New York a safer city. Safer for whom? Certainly not for people in methadone programs.

Jerry Jack Brass

Phairly Accurate

ROBERT CHRISTGAU hits the nail on the head regarding the new Liz Phair album Whitechocolatespaceegg [‘‘Confess Nothing," August 18]. My only disagreement is with his statement ‘‘Guyville was at once permanently sui generis and rather trad.’’ Sui generis you betcha, but not a trad moment to my ears in concept or execution.

Francis Kwok
Brookfield, Connecticut


AMY TAUBIN’S review of Saving Private Ryan refers to the soldiers as ‘‘grunts.’’ During World War II, the soldiers were referred to as ‘‘dogfaces.’’ Grunts is a Vietnam-era term.

Drew Biondo
Stony Brook, Long Island

Gay Orientation

The Lesbian and Gay Community Center will host its first orientation session on September 28 at 7 p.m. at the center’s temporary space, 1 Little West 12th Street, Manhattan. For further information, call 212-620-7310.


The photograph that appeared with the article ‘‘It Takes a Village’’ in last week’s Voice Literary Supplement was miscredited. It should have been credited to Gilles Peress/Magnum Photos.

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