From the cover "Put a Cork in It"
Photograph by Howard Huang

Letter of the week
Re "Put a Cork in It" [Tricia Romano, December 20–26]: Are you kidding me?
Ban bottle service? Who fucking cares? How about going to the other 90 percent of joints that don't require bottle service? If you're trying to get back to the "good ol' days" of not paying for your pathetic status, go somewhere else!

Look, people enjoy paying for their fictional "status" in the plethora of douchebag-friendly establishments in the city. Why ask those places to change their policy? I, for one, can do without. If you're not into paying for bottle service yet still want to be involved with a venue that supports it, sorry, but you deserve it. Quit your bitchin'.

Matt Klickstein

Pour folk
Re "Put a Cork in It" [December 20–26]: Kudos to Tricia Romano for telling it like it is. What a wonderful, elegant summing up of the state of partying in New York these days, and where we should be going. Let's do take back the night.

Douglas Singleton

In the name of New York's rapidly waning reputation for intelligent journalism, I beg you, implore you, beseech you: Please fire Tricia Romano. Or at the very least, promise you'll never grant this no-talent she-troll a cover story ever again. Her consistently grating and myopic coverage of non-stories like the state of bottle service in her pathetic hipster microcosm is the pseudo-journalistic equivalent of a fly buzzing in New York's collective ear.

We are all fully aware of her friendship with the members of Interpol, the proprietors of Motherfucker, Paul Sevigny, et al. And we also don't care. Perhaps the dying nightlife she constantly laments has something to do with the shallow preening of uncreative sycophants like her? Maybe you could, like, give Tricia a blog or something? I'm sure it would be, like, totally awesome.

Matthew Carlin

I found [Romano's article] to be entertaining, and it left me feeling optimistic about the future of NYC nightlife. It transcended the normal "this is why everything is fucked" gripes that I so often find in NYC lifestyle writing and presented the emerging next wave. Reading this piece will definitely get my grumpy ass out of my Havemeyer Street flat into the spots mentioned.

Bo Twiggs

Brat worst
Re Chris Ott's article on so-called hipster parents ["Beat on the Brat," December 20–26] : If your choice is between playing your kids easy-listening Cure or the new Lady Sovereign and you choose the easy listening because, God help me, "40-year-old men should not have complex opinions on Lady Sovereign," then you really haven't grown up enough. It's 2007, dude, not 1990. Nobody's checking your ID—not the kids, not the boomers, and not me.

And besides, 40-year-old men really ought to have complex opinions on everything. No excuses.

John S.
Eugene, Oregon

Brian's song and dance
Regarding Tom Robbins's superb exposé of union boss Brian McLaughlin's malfeasances ["The Sinner Within," December 20–26]: I've been a blue-collar working stiff since I was age 12. I'm now in my fifties, and I'm proud to say that not once in all those decades have I joined a union, carried a union card, or had union dues deducted from my paycheck.

What McLaughlin did is business as usual. When are you dues-paying idiots going to learn that union rank and file are always, always robbed and betrayed by their own union officers?

Paul Jeffery

As a longtime union organizer, I was saddened to read about what has become of New York City's Central Labor Council.

I have had the opportunity to talk and work with Ed Ott, the new president. He knows what to do to revive the labor movement in New York, and believe me, there is no labor movement without New York. Most importantly, Ed Ott is honest. Please let him lead. Our lives depend on it.

Ed Rothstein
Baltimore, Maryland

Feeling the beat
Just read "Lips Inc." [Derek L. John, December 13-19]. What talented writing. I'd like to hear more from Derek John and hope you plan to run his pieces on a regular basis. I'm sure your other readers will agree.

Caroline Leslie
Herrin, Illinois

Generation gasp
Re John Haskell's review of Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day ["Pynchon Me, I'm Dreaming," December 13–19]: Another example of a multitasking slacker-gen reviewer inadequate to the task he's been given. Can't anyone pay attention anymore? Maybe he's right, in his mayfly way: The reader Pynchon writes for no longer exists. If that is so, so much the worse for us—not for Pynchon, who is our Joyce and our Dickens.  

Louis Asekoff
Tivoli, New York

iPod people
This Jackson Pollis article [Fly Life, Tricia Romano, November 29–December 5] is the dumbest thing I've ever read. Leigh Lezark has nothing on Edie Sedgwick, and why the desperate comparisons? They're a bunch of losers: "Ultragrrrl," Jackson, the whole bunch. Let's glorify a bunch of stupid kids who play music off their iPods. Woo-hoo!

Harold Dutton

Savage hate
Great review of Gibson's Apocalypto ["Mel Gibson Is Responsible for All the Wars in the World," J. Hoberman, December 6–12]. Isn't it odd that Gibson's primitive people know the difference between a heart and a liver, as part of the opening dialogue suggests? And one of the most laughable lines is spoken as one warrior attends a comrade in arms fatally bitten by a snake. "He's f***ed," the warrior says.


Toward the end, I decided this film rated a C minus. Then in the final scenes, as the Christians arrived just in time to "save the day," I gave it a weak D. Pure fantasy with all the entertainment value of touring a meatpacking plant.

Barry Tobin
Boulder, Colorado

Great film. Reviewer out to get Gibson. Reviewer an idiot.

Jon Gindick
Malibu, California

I understand there are limited opportunities for aboriginal professionals in the film industry, but there must be some projects that are so offensive to Native history and culture as to cause actors of conscience to turn down roles regardless of the money or the director.

I'm referring to movies such as Apocalypto, a bad film that has some of the most grotesque images ever shoved before a stunned audience. From heads impaled on poles to hundreds of corpses rotting in a burial pit, director Mel Gibson does his worst to show Natives as so thoroughly savage that only a righteous cleansing by Christian invaders can save them from utter depravity.

The Native participants in this movie should have demanded a complete rewrite. They should have used their collective power to stop it from being made.

Imagine the universal protest if he dared show Arabs, Jews, or Africans in a similar barbaric way. We can only hope it does not slam the door on more worthy movies that might actually tell the truth as to who we were and are.

Doug George-Kanentiio
Oneida Castle, New York

The writer, an Akwesasne Mohawk, co-founded the Native American Journalists Association and was on the board of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Apocalypto was one of the best movies I have ever seen, and I have been watching TCM every day for years and have a house full of videotapes to prove it! If there was violence, there was violence for a reason. This was a movie about hunters and warriors and pagan cults, not about the "cool" sickos so beloved in Hollywood. It's a pity we don't have more Mel Gibsons to make worthwhile movies like this one.

Helen Hall
Memphis, Tennessee

Polar opposites
Regarding your glib and weak "review" of Happy Feet [Jordan Harper, villagevoice .com, November 14]: Yes, I agree that the filmmakers probably saw March of the Penguins. And they did so after they finished their animated film, as they started work on it years before the documentary came into existence. Your review does a real disservice to a smart film by a fearless and cliché-wary director [George Miller]. Are you so afraid of being called unhip by your peers that you have to casually disregard this good film? I don't think it's the greatest animated film of all time, but I know a good thing when I see it. Do you?

Hal Nine
Urbana, Illinois

You are as ignorant as they come. Robin Williams was the best part of [Happy Feet]. You obviously have no sense of humor. And what is wrong with sending a message? There are animal lovers everywhere trying to protect certain species that we humans are endangering. So what's so bad about putting that in a children's film that would help them understand that?

William Valderrama

Cause celeb

Nathan Lee ends his review of Blood Diamond ["Say It With Diamonds?" December 6–12] with the snarky comment that "Connelly is so ready for her 'I Am African' poster." As if caring about the AIDS epidemic that is ravaging Africa (the point of that campaign) is somehow jumping on a bandwagon. Since when is it a bad thing to care about, shed light on, and bring attention to Africa's plight?

I applaud the celebrities who donated their time and appeal to break through so that more people paid attention. Maybe you should check out keepachildalive.org and find out what "I Am African" is all about.

Jenna Moran

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