Letter of the Week
Rock 'n' Rollover
I mulled through fellow "one-upping self-seeker" Robert Christgau's narcissistic romp through the Big Apple's music scene "A Month on the Town" [July 26August 1] more as a matter of principle than interest. I suppose Christgau has earned his license to be self-indulgent, but the average reader must wonder if the gobbledygook that comes out of his pen isn't the onslaught of Alzheimer's. Between the barrage of colorful club and band names, not to mention references to obscure musicologists and their theories, we hope that divining good and bad out of this chaotic scene requires more than the rewriting of the jottings and scribblings in the reporter's notebook that occurred every time his nut sac involuntarily moved. Or is it sacrilege to say that these clubs aren't what they used to be and, well, often suck? CBGB might be a hallowed venue because the Ramones and Talking Heads played there, but there is such a thing as ebb and flow. George Romero proved there's also something called zombies, who go through their old routines without thinking about it.
We read your recent Dahn Yoga article ["Dying to Do Yoga," July 1218] with great frustration. Even after working closely with your reporter, Kathryn Belgiorno, providing factual information and names of people she could contact, the article was highly sensationalized and one-sided with multiple, even reckless, factual errors.
The story relies heavily on a "witness" whose motives, reliability, and credibility were seriously questioned by police investigators in the final sheriff's report. Yet your reporter, who obviously had a copy of the report, does not mention this pivotal fact in the article.
Ms. Belgiorno intentionally disregarded the truth in other important matters. For example, the official, final autopsy and toxicology report on Ms. Siverls concluded that there were absolutely no drugs of any kind in her body. We provided a copy of the official final report to Ms. Belgiorno and had several conversations with her on this point. Yet she maliciously ignored the final report and continued to imply that Ms. Siverls may have been drugged by our organization. One can only conclude that the medical examiner's facts would have spoiled a more dramatic fictional story line. The facts would also have lessened the impact, and relevance, of your cover depicting a skeleton doing yogaa cheap shot without any journalistic basis.
Bottom line: Your "journalism" falsely impugned and maliciously defamed Dahn Yoga Centers, a respected business that provides healthful benefits to thousands of satisfied customers at 148 Dahn Yoga centers in the U.S., while you exploited the Siverls family tragedy.
Director of PR & Communications
Editor's note: We stand by our story. Belgiorno adds: I used information not only from Julia Siverls's family and friends, a detective, and the autopsy reportamong other sources and documentsbut also from eight current or former Dahn members, five of whom were quoted directly in the piece.
You got played
I live right next door to the subjects of Maria Luisa Tucker's article "How Not to Pay Rent" [July 1925], and her depiction of Jamal, Puge, and Kevin as downtrodden victims struggling to make it in the big bad city is simply hilarious. If chain-smoking all day while learning how to play the theme to The A-Team on your guitar (not making this up), while your roommate contemplates his torturous lack of employment during his eight-month vacation in Thailand, qualifies one as struggling, then we should all be so unfortunate. Please don't complain to me that you can't make your $620 rent because of your self-imposed poverty. Perhaps these boys just need to move back in with Mommy and Daddy, because their parents clearly failed in preparing them for the real world with these three simple words: Get a job. They admit that the inspiration for their rent strike was that they were tired of carrying their equipment up the stairs. The limited elevator hours were made known to all when we moved in, so to bitch about it in hindsight is ludicrous. There are thousands of people in this city who are living below the poverty line, and are in real jeopardy of losing their homes to gentrification. And unlike the heroes of Tucker's article, their plight was not a lifestyle choice. The fact that the Voice would waste ink on these cake-and-eat-it-too crybabies is shameful.
Ask a white boy instead
Re Gustavo Arellano's Ask a Mexican [villagevoice.com, July 20]: This column is racist. "Got any questions about Mexicans?" Are you kidding me? I'm not even Mexican and I'm offended. The question seems to take for granted that your paper has few if any Mexican readerswhich is a huge and damaging assumption to make. And how dare this guy Gustavo claim to speak for all Mexicans when he says, "Real-life Mexicans not only don't care about stereotypes, they embrace them." Why don't you create an Ask an Anglo column?
Some where in Florida
This is in response to Thomas Beard's "No Real Choice" [Letters, July 1925]. What better place to list the Chicks With Flicks Film Fest, which is a major platform for women's voices in downtown Manhattan, than The Village Voice? As the listing stated, women directors are making films despite the odds. The eighth annual Chicks With Flicks showcased a collection of films dealing with a variety of interesting subjects. The quality and caliber of the films were outstanding. You would know that if you had attendedmaybe next year.
FounderFestival Director Chicks With Flicks
Last week, the photo of Dominick Fernow that accompanied Christopher R. Weingarten's music review was miscredited. The photo should have been credited to Giulietta Verdon-Roe.
Due to an editing error, the incorrect photo ran with last week's Fly Life column. The photo that ran was from a recent Basement Bhangra event at S.O.B.'s and was not part of the Metropolis in Motionsponsored dance protest that took place in front of Mayor Bloomberg's residence. The correct photo is available at villagevoice.com. We regret the error.
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