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Jerry Hadley

I remember Jerry Hadley so well and his beautiful singing. Why oh why did he leave us? Ms Süllwold writes so beautifully and even restraining herself she breaks my heart. Thank you Scene4 Magazine for publishing this wonderful tribute.

Molly Trincicz

read Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article

A Writer's Writer

Dear Arthur, I would like the name of your "ghost" writer. Anyone who can pour out the kind of prose that waves under your banner belongs on my side of the media fence. We'll pay him double and then some. Lay you odds he's not from this planet just like your "bard" Will.

Lou Laird

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Talent Wasted

Here in Sri Lanka we look forward to Scene4 each month it comes. This month it comes with sadness. The place that Phillip Seymour Hoffman lived and the startle-drawing by Mr. Feldman. It is a problem isn't it, a terrible problem. Here it is a tragedy also. Thank you for showing it all.

Harsha

see Elliot Feldman's cartoon
read Griselda Steiner's article

Good Night, Sweet Prince

Thanks to Griselda Steiner and Scene4 for the moving and intimate view of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He was truly a Prince and many of the eulogies and tributes didn't quite bring him back to us. Yours did. Very special. Thank you.

Andria Jacobs

read Griselda Steiner's article

Postcards from NOLA

This is New Orleans as I remember it and as I know it now. Katrina, the politicians, and Bobby Jindal can't destroy it. Jon Rendell's photographs are wonderful. N'awlins should make him its official photographer.

Richard Venoitre

view Jon Rendell's photography

Lawrence

Enigma or not, Lawrence triumphed where everyone else failed and he nearly pulled off the "birth of a nation" without being part of a gang that wanted in when they were out. Right man, right time always is a winner.

Michael Aptrow

read Patrick Walsh's column

A true writer speaking

Beautiful and archetypal, your story of how writing started early in life, and stayed with you. Mine started just like that, with a poem at age 6 that stated (in German and in rhymes) "I want to see everything, everything, and never be against." Against what? Mystery... All of writing is a mystery. Mine ran into a nasty teacher at age 10 who detested my passion of seeing and saying everything. It went underground, surfacing again over early paintings of Kandinsky. Maybe that's part of the reason why Scene4 is my magazine of choice: writing paired with art and exquisite design. Yours is a unique vision of bringing writing into the world -- and keeping it there. A labor of love for all of us to enjoy.

Renate Stendhal

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Unusual Mix

David Wiley and Kandinsky-an unusual mix and yet an exceedingly interesting one. Wiley is still alive and they both live through their paintings. Beautiful, thanks.

Flo Pierman

read David Wiley's article

Bettencourt and Thomas

Try as I may and try as I might, I can't get over the feeling that both Mr. Bettencourt and Mr. Thomas are 'sweet' cynics. Cynics after their years in the theater and sweet to be in Scene4. It's a refreshing encore but only when you're in the mood.

Stanley Bergas

read Michael Bettencourt's column
read Nathan Thomas' column

Ms Renaud, Ms Welty, Ms McCullers & Mr. Capote on a Summer Day

After reading the first few sentences of Ms Renaud's evocative story "Summer Day," I was transported to a white veranda where I was joined by the author, Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers and Truman Capote. The magical word choices, the descriptive passages, the names of the characters, and the setting all carry on in such a genuine way, the story-telling tradition of the guests on that veranda.

Thank you for this beautiful, poetic story, which through its simplicity, is truly epic!

Hans Gallas

read Harriet Halliday Renaud's story

Monsieur Ambivalence

A rare treat, Judy Moritz, to read your comment. I thank you for making me laugh as I am the type of writer who would rather do anything than be selling anything! But as you so kindly suggest, I'll give it a try. How about a peek at my brand-new Scene4 Archive? 10 years of blissful and sometimes hilarious collaboration with the excellent Arthur Meiselman. All now in neat categories, with dates and easy one-click access... You'll find it at the bottom of my March article, Monsieur Ambivalence. There, I've done it. Are you buying it?

Renate Stendhal

read Renate Stendhal's review

Renate Stendhal/Monsieur Ambivalence

Every writer needs at least one intelligent reader, and as the publisher of 'Monsieur Ambivalence' by Thomas Fuller, I was overjoyed how thoroughly you 'got' the book, a book that requires some pretty special equipment to get. I'm trying to reach Tom Fuller, a recluse, with the news...I'm sure he'll be extremely pleased.

Brooks Roddan

read Renate Stendhal's article

Observations

Nathan Thomas' exploration of men in a women's world (April 2014) not only strikes a chord and a hurrah for bald men but for all men, and boys, who plumb the mysteries of how and why women costume themselves and the resentment they encounter when they affect an answer. I have yet to feel comfortable "shopping", "wandering" in a women's lingerie department. The silent accusations thrown at me by the darts of raised eyebrows loudly resonate as: "he's looking for an enticing gift for his girlfriend, but it's really to dress her up in his latest fantasy;" "he's a cross-dresser shopping for his latest affectation;" "he's a pervert looking for handjob gloves;" "he's his wife's mama's boy." Even if Mr. Thomas wore a large badge that proclaimed him as "Costumer for Such&Such Production" he'd never escape the little stabs in his back. Used to be a time when store detectives would usher a man out of women's lingerie unless he were accompanied by a woman and even then they watched for any deviant looks on his face. Today, women are liberated and men are too, I think, maybe.

Paul Kevlin

read Nathan Thomas' article

Sillywood

I would guess that Elliot Feldman's stinging cartoon (April 2014) comes out of a long acquaintance with LaLaLand. The faces are oh so familiar, the words oh so stupid, the attitude oh so much 'attitude'. Dismal but very funny.

Lou Laird

view Elliot Feldman's cartoon

Arts&Gender

This is a great issue (April 2014), an unusual 360 degree perspective of how far we've come and how little we've accomplished. I was especially taken with Michael Bettencourt's "Magic Towel" article. It's instructive and enlightening and should be twittered relentlessly. It's a tale for our times.

Rachel Tyler Dormath

read Michael Bettencourt's article

Gender?

I for one believe that gender is misapplied to human beings based on physical differences and is a persistent promotion of racism. In this fine issue of Scene4 (April 2014), (Michael) Bettencourt and (Arthur) Meiselman both shine their lights brightly on this ugly distortion that has plagued the entire history of life. There is only one gender - human.

Petra Dischban

read Michael Bettencourt's article
read Arthur Meiselman's article

Jon Rendell's Humor

With his usual remarkable photography (April 2014), Jon Rendell smiles and smirks at gender and genders and the silly and often astonishing rendition of human perception as it strives to understand why the universe doesn't revolve around us. Thanks for the mirror, Jon.

Mark Moore

view Jon Rendell's photography

re: Yeats and Politics

I think that, today, W.B. Yeats would finally follow in the footsteps of Shaw and Joyce and head over the not-so emerald hills of the Irish republic to a more "sober" place to rest.

Everett Brody

read the prior letter
read Patrick Walsh's article

Not so modest

Arthur Meiselman's proposal in "And In The Beginning..." (April 2014) is far from modest. Raucously humorous, yes, but at the same time disturbingly insightful. My modifications are: out with men, if I can join the women. Or better yet, merge! Not neutral, omni-sexual, or poly-sexual, or inter-sexual which we already have. Eliminate child-bearing? Is that even a question? Here's to test-tube babies and the medium that nurtures them.

Michael Aptrow

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Ralph Fiennes

Excellent review of the work and status of this top of his form actor. Not only an actor that audiences love to hate, but also one audiences love to love. I have seen Mr. Fiennes in some second rate films but I have never seen him give a second rate performance.

Barry Morrics

read Miles David Moore's review

In Defense of Melody

Daniel Crafts is a magnificent composer, and I'm delighted to see him getting this long-overdue recognition. It has been a great privilege to write lyrics for his music and to have my poetry set by him. In particular, he has inspired some of my best work--the Spider Woman song for "From a Distant Mesa" that he commissioned from me. I hope that his steadfast determination in combination with his brilliance helps change the whole direction of modern classical music.

Adam Cornford

read Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article

Dan's a fine fellow

Thanks for this enlightening review of Dan Crafts life and work.  I'm sending it on to my friends and acquaintances who haven't had the pleasure of meeting and knowing him in person.

Mike Ballard

read Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article

A Writer's Life

I love this cartoon. It's the story of my life, funny, insane, depressing, reality. The artist (Elliot Feldman) makes us all brothers, and sisters, if you will.

Sasha Lauren

view Elliot Feldman's cartoon

Neuroself or is it Selfneurosis?

As the writer (Michael Bettencourt) says: "...giving thanks for finding a way to win the losing battle against my demons". That's the ticket isn't it? His poignant and initimately self-perceptive look at himself is an often blocked way for all of us to look at ourselves. Thanks for opening the window and letting us see with our eyes open.

Sasha Lauren

read Michael Bettencourt's column

Rock&roll is dead? Come on.

(Patrick) Walsh is so wrong. Rock&roll is fucking alive! It's the greatest American music ever with the greatest musicians ever. It's everything that the United States is, the heart and soul, all through the world. The old music is dead. Walsh is dead and if he listens hard and dances harder, maybe I'll say "long live Walsh"!

Danny Millingham

read Patrick Walsh's column

Everyone will be Hitler

Great cartoon! Right on the nose and in the gut, Elliot. Hard to laugh at it but important to laugh at it. Thanks for the laugh sad as it is.

Sam

see Elliot Feldman's cartoon

Awesome!

So talented you are, Elliot!

Stacy Payne

see Elliot Feldman's cartoon

Aux Barricades!

David Wiley's piece Aux Barricades! (January 2014) is but another example of his outstanding and continuing genius. I am privileged to be his friend and to have shared the adventure with him of my own writing and art. Bravo!

sondra olson

see David Wiley's art

Shelley

The beauty of Martin Burke's libretto is that it reads like music. The words flow into the ears as well as the eyes. Beautiful. Is it an opera or ballet yet? It is a composer's dream.

Arian delGado

read Martin Burke's writing

Happy Eating

"The pleasure of it all is to eat when we're hungry and to eat when we're not." Julia Child would have loved this, especially: "Food is a very happy thing." Mr. Meiselman's journey from Copenhagen to Hanoi is a delightful culinary tale. He should write a cook book. Julia did.

Rosebeth Moore

read Arthur Meiselman's column

re: Rock&roll is dead? Come on.

If rock&roll is 'the greatest American music ever with the greatest musicians ever" then American music is dead! White anglo-saxon music that is. Rock is at the bottom of the heap that defines the great art of music -- drummers who can't keep time, singers who can't keep pitch or demumble lyrics, guitar players who strum the strings and have noithing to say unlike most jazz guitarists. As for songwriting in the world of pop, the American songbook closed its covers 40 years ago. Millingham must believe that Eric Clapton is a great guitarist and Bob Dylan is "the" poet of the 20th century. Pity that. Rock is not music, it's a scene, it's a video-game to wave hands in the air and pretend that you and I are the awkward, bouncing, gurgling performers on the stage, on the screen. The final burial rites of pop music is rap--can't sing like most of us? then grunt and moan in a drudging monotone and call it poetry. Rock isn't dead music, it was never music, alive or dead.

Michael Aptrow

read the prior letter

read Patrick Walsh's column

Art and the City

Many thanks to Renate Stendhal for her colorful and picaresque writing about my beloved Barcelona. I question, however, some of her feminist allusions to flamenco music and dance. Flamenco is more than 'man versus woman'. It's roots are Gypsy and it's heart is both the King and the Bull, both of which are now under attack in Spain by the mindlessness of the younger generations.

Tomas Enzopeña

read Renate Stendhal's article

Riding Shotgun With Courtney Joyner

Excellent article, filled with interesting stuff I knew nothing about, the best kind. I have to read this book now. It reminds me of the movie with Yul Brynner in 1973 called Westworld. Brynner was a robot and it is the only western I've ever liked that had anything "Supernatural" about it. But Yul Brynner was an icon. I don't think anyone else could have pulled it off.

Kenneth Sibbett

read Les Marcott's column

War and Peace

William James aside, I would point you to the late, lamented Christopher Hitchens, a liberal often radical left-winger, a great warrior for "peace in our time", who supported the Iraq invasion and war. He cajoled and warned that the fundamentalist Islamic jihad is unlike any other terror in history in that it has no political goals, only the destruction of all modern civilization and the return to the time of the 7th century caliphate. He argued that regardless of the concocted premise under which the Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal promoted the Iraq war it was a necessity (perhaps too late) to stem the inevitability of the mindless Islamist radicals acquiring nuclear weapons. As he said (and so did Harry Truman and others), anyone who is willing to destroy himself as he destroys you is a threat beyond the evolution of history.
And he was right!

Louis Laird

read Michael Bettencourt's column

On this Stein, you have built

Karren, Once again you have done your excellent poet's synthesis of Stein facts and Stein words! Another just tribute in this centenary year of TENDER BUTTONS.

Hans Gallas

read Karren Alenier's article

Gertrude Stein, right-wing intellectual...

Artist and precursor to the Heideggerian, post modern fascination for identity politics, she hated FDR's 'New Deal' and praised Marshall Petain's  Vichy government. Pound was of her ilk, politics and talent. Perhaps, this is what is meant by the title:  "Gertrude Stein and Moral Rightness".

Mike Ballard

read Karren Alenier's article

The Death Penalty

(Miles David) Moore's portrait of Ruth and Judd's "cinematic afterlife" is a stirring, well-written article, particularly the note about the "tabloid sensationalism" in showing a photo of Snyder's exceution on the front page of a newspaper. I would suggest that there should be more of this today. We should see actual photos of the so-called "humane" lethal-injection executions, even videos. The Death Penalty has been proven not to be a deterrent, which is why it has been discarded in most civilized countries. Are State executions "cruel and unusual" punishment? If they are then they should be public events shown in all their gory detail and then maybe, just maybe they may prove to have some deterring impact on crime. They used to be staged like circuses in England, France and even the USA. Ever wonder why they stopped doing that?

Barry Hazellof

read Miles David Moore's article

Sometimes Moral Rightness Can Kill You

I appreciate Mike Ballard's factual framing (Stein hated FDR's 'New Deal' and praised Marshall Petain's  Vichy government) around the provocative title "Gertrude Stein and Moral Rightness."

As to Pound and Stein being of the same ilk--yes they were both Modernist poets and geniuses with right-wing views and you could say both were cock sure of themselves like willful children. However, Stein was a Jew living in Nazi occupied France trying to survive. Initially the French people supported Petain because he was a World War I hero. Stein participated in WWI and was given a medal for her service. By the end of WWII, Stein and her right-winged neighbors no longer supported Petain and they were all participating in the resistance.

Pound, an anti-Semite exercising his American right to free speech, had a radio show in Italy where he lived all during the war. He promoted the authoritarian regime of Mussolini and was paid for these broadcasts by the Italian Ministry of Popular Culture. People who knew Pound said the payment didn't matter to him, he would have said the same thing without the money. 

Let's put it this way, sometimes moral rightness can get you killed. In wartime, people tend to bend the rules. Did Pound's behavior look like a survival tactic?  And Stein, bending the rules was always an agenda with her. I believe she was politically naïve. A lot of geniuses, including Stein and Pound, have done things that do not sit well with ordinary folks.

Karren Alenier

read Karren Alenier's article

Convicts and Cons

I've read about some of these men and besides Carter, I really think the artists themselves were conned by the Cons. They don't call them "cons" for their ability to tell the truth. It's their ability to lie, and lie with a straight face that fools many people. Many of these guys practice conning people, and some consider it an art form. Think of all the serial killers marrying beautiful women and keeping their commissary money full. Charles Manson still gets marriage proposals and he must be near 80.

Kenneth Sibbett

read Les Marcott's article

Belly of the Beast

Les Marcott strikes a teling chord at the end of his article,concerning Norman Mailer: "...the folly of believing that sinners and criminals could invariably be saved by art... ." It can be powerfully applied to history and today: the folly of believing that humanity itself could be saved by art.

Ben Straithorne

read Les Marcott's article

George Carlin

George's list got really expanded way beyond 7 dirty words. With political correctness it's probably in the 100s. And George didn't die, he faked a heart attack and ran away to a hill somewhere, maybe Montecito, California or New Jersey. No, as George would say, fuck that! As a hip cartoonist, Elliot rules!

Brother Bone

view Elliot Feldman's cartoon

San Francisco

This story excerpt beautifully evokes the sad nostalgia of the decline of the City-by-the-Bay. Though it is a 'romantic-mystery-thriller' (if I may tag it as such), the evocation of a city and its spirit that is fast disappearing into the low-hanging fog of Google-land is both heart-rendering and eye opening. It's a compelling read and choicely written. Now to wait for the rest of it. When do you think that will be?

Michael Aptrow

read Arthur Meiselman's story

On Pairings

Thanks to Ms Honig for an outstanding review of the Paris coming together of these great artists' work. There's an overall "pairing" to be gleaned from her review -- the sculptor, the photographer, the choreographer, the dancer. Actually many "pairings" and many insights.

M. Madeiros

read Catherine Conway Honig's review

Diggin' the Scene

This is nice, nostalgic purvey of an exciting place and time in American music. I was there and not as a tourist. Les Marcott sketches the gathering and ambience deftly. Though he touches on the messy downside, Manson et al, there was a hefty helping of the bad with the good. Laurel Canyon still lives in the fun-loving music and as a perfect example of the irony of change in la-la LA.

Lou Laird

read Les Marcott's column

Wifred Owen

Wilfred Owen is not forgotten but sadly unknown to so many of the rising generations. His was a powerful voice: "I feel my own life all the more precious and more dear in the presence of this deflowering of Europe." This should be a banner flying over the whole world - Europe, America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa - the whole world. His life and words are remembered. Thanks to Patrick Walsh for that.

J. Patric

read Patrick Walsh's column

Kathi Wolfe

Kathi is the Queen of Pop Culture Poetry, moving pop culture to the highest artform.

Grace Cavalieri

read Kathi Wolfe's column

Gay Photography Book Review Shines

After reading Renate Stendhal's review on Kathryn Hamm's books replete with some sex wedding photographs, I was shocked at how far we have come. From the traditional poses to traditional ceremonies, today our community strongly embraces public displays of affection as well as thinking "outside the box" when planning a wedding. Renate has a very strong voice and makes it easy to see the fruits of our community's labor. It is incredibly encouraging to see couples not only in love but proudly professing their love for all to see. Both, The Invisibles and The New Art of Capturing Love give a unique look into the old world and the new. Tales of love set in the mysterious and erotic underground of the first half of the 20th century to today's modern world above-the-surface visibility shed light on a love that has always existed but is becoming more prominent as the years (and laws) continue to pass. Renate makes clear that times are changing (as shown in her own books and works, namely Love & Marriage: A Love & Sex Forever Kit, a guide book to all married and soon-to-be married couples), and the LGBT community is at the forefront of celebrating love and unity. 

Bella Granados

read Renate Stendhal's article

Critical Junction

This is a fine story. The writing seems deceptively effortless and laden as it is with equally deceptive wry humour. Mr. Bhatnagar is obviously an up and coming maker of literature and his biographical note, "Professional Seafarer", is intriguing. Please tell us more. I also hope you will publish more of his work.

Anee S. Waterson

read Sandeep Girish Bhatnagar's story

Racing Extinction

Glad to learn about this film. Thanks for your thoughtful review.
Zoe Waldron

Is there anything more important than this view and its project. So happy to read about it.
Jeff Timden

Thanks for the exposure you give this project. Let's hope we learn something from it.
Anna Segal

read Griselda Steiner's article

The Poet Robert Stock

Thanks to David Wiley for his sensitive and perceptive piece on Bob Stock. I knew Bob in San Francisco, 1966 through 1968, approximately, before he moved to New York. He held weekly poetry nights -- Thursdays, if memory serves -- in his family's Mission district flat. I was a regular. I remember Bob first for his perseverance, second for his erudition. Thanks again. Robert Stock will be remembered. I hope his poetry will get the recognition it deserves.

David Sligar

read David Wiley's article

Peter Benchley

Peter Benchley was a remarkable man in the way he used his celebrity and expertise to promote the salvation of our oceans, It is a tragedy to see his incredible effort come to naught as 2/3 of our planet and an underwater world we barely know seems destined to deteriorate and fade into our history. To be sure if it does, our history will fade away with it. Thank you Patrick Walsh for your personal and perceptive profile of a great man.

Tovah J. Rubin

read Patrick Walsh's column

My Choice Too, Holy Rollercoaster

I loved this piece on Chaminade. "The Nade" as we refer to it nowadays was quite the trip was it not? I chose to leave public school to go there and I still think I made the right decision. Going there did prepare me for an Ivy League education that I would never have caught a whiff of if I didn't make that fateful choice as an eighth grader. Whether we agree or not on our Chaminade experience value - yours is a great retrospective piece that captured the "US and THEM" mentality that was most definitely a hallmark of that school.

Tony Greer

Patrick Walsh's column: "My Own Damned Fault"

A Fly on the Wall

Oh to be a fly on the wall in every Oval Office of every president before the technology was invented. I would love to hear the drunk and crooked Grant on tape. Perhaps to listen to Andrew Johnson in one of his reported tirades at any and everyone. I think all presidents, even the saintly Carter, have said things they would not want reported. But Nixon was probably the worst, because even with all his successes he felt people were out to ruin him and his paranoia brought down a president and rocked a nation.

Kenneth Sibbett

Les Marcott's column: "Watergate Remembered"

How Now Copyright?

I read, with interest, Arthur Meiselman's piece on copyright. My response to the writer, since I am cited by him as a spur to his article is this:

I am not against copyright, that is, not against having some form of protection for created work, for the "property" of the creator.  I would just dial back the protections to the original terms of the Copyright Act of 1790, which gave a creator 14 years of protection, with an additional term of 14 years if he or she was alive at the time of the renewal.  (The original law only protected books, maps, and charts; other items, like music and paintings, were added later.)

I also don't have a problem with copyrights being treated as commodities and passed along/sold to other parties, as long as the time limits don't reset during the exchange: If my father in his will passes along to me the copyright to his wildly successful book, and thus its profits, in the 27th year of its copyright (renewed after 14 years), I get the profits for one more year only, and that's it.  Then the book goes into the public domain.  (Whatever publishing rights companies have do not trump the copyright term limit -- once the property passed into the public domain, they no longer have exclusive access to it.)

I would also support a provision that doesn't make copyright automatic once a work is created.  Copyrights would have to registered, with a small fee to do this, in order to start the clock ticking on the first 14 years.  If a copyright is not registered, then that work does not have copyright protection and is automatically added to the public domain.  (We'd have to work out some window during which a creator can register so that the created work has a provisional or contingent protection, a "pre-copyright" protection, in case they're on walkabout in Australia when the inspiration comes.)  This would also allow people to forego copyright if they didn't want it (today known as "copyleft") without having to go through the hoops of the Creative Commons licensing procedures (but this would also mean that the creator would have no say in how the work gets used in the public domain).

The logistics of this are too complicated for this limited space, but they are mostly legalistic in nature once the umbrella concept of a time-limit for a registered copyright is established (e.g., can someone "own" something in the public domain, such as a Picasso painting hanging in the Metropolitan Museum, or "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in its new Japanese manga version?).  This doesn't make them easy but it does make them doable and possible.

My desire is to get as much material, actual and virtual, into the public domain as possible as quickly as possible without too much interference from the dead hand of the past or the greed of corporations and creators -- as the original act said, in order "to encourage learning."  Twenty-eight years seems enough time for a creator to make his or her money.  My desire is to cut back all the kudzu that has smothered copyright to the point where, now, anything after 1923 is out of bounds, with absurd restrictions like a book not going into the public domain until 70 years after the death of its author.  To me, that's racketeering.

Of course I will not win this argument -- there is too much money at stake.  But it's an argument that still needs to be made.

Michael Bettencourt


I agree with most of Michael Bettencourt's arguments. But the implication of his strong desire toward "public domain" is what concerns me. I don't care about the financial provisos of copyright: protect the creator and the creator's heirs, all for a reasonable time, and then the hell with it... let the bucks be made by the buck-makers. What I do care about is the content, the creation as the creator conceived it. Within most current copyright protection, while the creator is alive, his/her permission is required to change one comma, one note, one choreographic movement, one anything. Once the creator has been de-created, my admonition is that the permission is no longer available. Nothing should be changed. If a creation is to be adapted, write a new version based on the original, but do not, do not use the original words or notes or strokes. If you want to do "Rome&Juliet" Mr. Luhrman (after you find actors who can speak English), write your own. I cite George Bernard Shaw who sent a sheriff with a cease&desist court order at the Broadway opening of one of his plays: do it the way he wrote it or don't do it. If you want to do a Balanchine ballet, do it as he conceived it, or choreograph your own. The argument against my argument is: hey, that's not the way show business works. My answer: Tough shite! Shaw understood the business of show better than almost anyone alive today. Of course, he's dead and his creations? Unprotected.

As I calm down here, I'm fully aware that it is the Internet which has unleashed an irrevocable shattering of copyright protection. The "mashup" is the worse thing that has happened to artistic creation since the invention of television and free agency in baseball. And, as Rebecca Solnit noted in Harper's: The Internet will also "create elaborate justifications for never paying artists or writers." She also notes: "...2014 has turned out quite a bit like [Orwell's] 1984."

Arthur Meiselman

Michael Bettencourt's earlier column: "Dear Mr. Beckett"

Arthur Meiselman's current column: "On Copyright And Cats"

Rain Reigns

In her review of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's "Rain", Catherine Conway Honig manages to take the reader into the performance, its process and into its dance heart. Not a common result one gets from many dance reviews. Ms Honig beautifully captures the pain and joy of making dance and shows us why concert dance remains so alive and full of wonders.

Armin Remault

Catherine Conway Honig's review: "Rain in Paris"

How Now Copyright? - A Response To A Response

Response to Arthur's Response

Citing the "mashup" as "the worst thing that has happened to artistic creation since the invention of television and free agency in baseball" is to forget that the "mashup" is how any art gets made.  No inventor creates something in the way that Athena burst forth from the head of Zeus when Hephaestus cracked open his skull, that is, something without antecedent, without an origin story, without some debt to (dare I say it?) to the "public domain."

This is precisely the point Nina Paley made in stripping her wonderful work, Sita Sings The Blues, of all copyright restrictions: "From the shared culture it came, and back into the shared culture it goes."

For me, the more things there are to mash up into new forms, the better off everyone will be, not just in the arts but in all aspects of intellectual study -- "mashup" is just a synonym for "the free market of ideas," and the public domain, where everybody has a library card to borrow the materials, is where this market can play out the trading that results in new ideas, new practices, new directions.

This fertility -- its power to nourish and propel -- is why we can't follow my colleague's advice and do only "archival performances" (my term, not his) of past work.  Shaw had every right to issue his cease-and-desist then, but I don't think anyone can make a defensible aesthetic argument that his work is well-served by issuing one now on his behalf, and there's certainly no legal basis for it either.

Perhaps Shakespeare is more to the point here, since competing versions of some of his plays defy citing any one manuscript as definitive, Arthur's "the original words."  (Kenneth Branagh, for his film version of Hamlet, simply mashed together every version he could find into one script, which is why the film runs for four hours with an intermission.)  There is no ur-Shakespeare text, and certainly no ur-Shakespeare performance (we have no settled picture of what happened on an Elizabethan stage), and thus no ur-Shakespeare to which we must always remain faithful.  

And even if such a thing did exist, doing R&J in 2014, even following every jot and tittle, will not be the same as a production done in 1614: we can mimic the practice but we can't access the spirit and mind-set of that time.  We are different people living in a different world, and our R&J will be an automatic betrayal of the original.

Rebecca Solnit's point about "the Internet" is a good one in terms of its effects on artists' livelihoods.  However, it's not "the Internet's" fault but the way people use and abuse this vast infrastructure for sharing information -- a subject too large to parse here but one which touches upon the ethic of the public domain and a regulated commons.

But it certainly has thrown into disarray old notions of ownership and control and property and contract, which, to me, is a very good thing since many of these notions were restrictive, exploitative, and rent-seeking, and needed to be challenged.  Going back to a situation where "the permission [to change things] is no longer available" is to go back to the very practices that "the Internet" has up-ended.

The "mashup" is how stuff gets made.  The source material for the mashup is both the universe of all created artifacts and the cultural "air" we all breathe as citizens of some collective.  Given the capitalistic way we have chosen to arrange our current collective, it makes sense to define creation as "property" and afford it some of its protections.

The debate is over the extent and power of those protections, and my contention is to give them a statute of limitations that balances inventors' abilities to make some money off their efforts and the public domain's need for new stuff to mash up.  I believe this is a fair trade, given how the public domain seeds everything of value created by anyone who lives in its midst.

Michael Bettencourt

Warren Travis

I know Warren from the days at PCPA when he was a designer and I a composer. So wonderful to read and see this scintillating discussion. There's mention of many things that are dear to my heart and soul: Joan Mitchell, Frank O'Hara, and other poets as well. I'm writing a song cycle on five of Frank O'Hara's poems.
It's just great to know that Warren is still doing what he loves.
Thanks

Larry Delinger

Read Lissa Tyler Renaud's article: "Surrender and Salvation: John Warren Travis On Painting Poems"

Lake Merced

I love Lake Merced. It is one of the most beautiful in-city lakes in the world. It offers a mood both serene and enigmatic in the ever-changing, disturbing changes of San Francisco. Jon Rendell's photographs capture this. They are beautiful. Thank you.

Samuel Goldberg

Jon Rendell's photographs of Lake Merced

Ode to A

I like this kind of teaching best. No preaching, no saintliness, a bit of cynical fun, and a lot of knowledge to take us on a snappy, fabulous tour de monde réligieux. Ode to Arthur Meiselman, also known as Arteur Editfleur, the writer and the maker and shaker of Scene4. Happily riding on his coat-tails as a contributor, I can't even imagine how much work it must be to bring out this sumptuous magazine (sans ads) every month. We owe you a lot, Arthur, and gratefully wish you a prosperous, poetic new year. Sing, pray, love for the continued charmed ride of this magazine!

Renate Stendhal

Arthur Meiselman's column: "Heaven"

Different Drums

Miles Moore's observation about Birdman losing its steam in the final half hour was confirmed as I checked my watch, for the first time, toward the finale of the film. The ending actually made me feel wonderfully alive! I think the movie is one of the best I've seen in a while. The percussion accompaniment was exquisite and at the end when it slowed down it was the human heart beat. Whiplash is in my Netflix queue. I only hope I can watch it through because I've experienced some "Fletchers" in the music world and elsewhere. Thanks for the superb reviews!

Nancy Allinson

Read Miles David Moore's reviews: "Different Drums"

Stealing 'Big Eyes'

I enjoyed Miles Moore's always astute and sensitive film reviews in this issue but...
Talk about stealing! Gertrude Stein's artist friend Marie Laurencin (so-called girl friend of poet Guilliame Apollinaire) was the first to do those big eyed kids.

Karren Alenier

Read Miles David Moore's review: "Paths to Glory"

Gérard Philipe

He truly was one of the most beautiful men to ever appear on screen as beautiful as anyone in Hollywood including Tyrone Power. If the quality of his acting in film is a judgment, then he must have been wonderful on stage. How sad his career was cut so short.

Terence Bittern

read Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: "Le Grand Prince"

Ai Weiwei

Jon Rendell does (should I say?) great justice to Ai Weiwei's magnificent art. His photographs are perfectly composed as usual. One great artist meets another.

Becky Mendahl

view Jon Rendell's photography: "@LARGE: Ai Weiwei on Alacatraz"

The Documentaries of Ken Burns

This was a nice review of a portion of Ken Burns' work, but I do not agree that everyone is equally fascinated by his documentaries. I find them truly hard to watch, even tedious. Maybe one reason became clear to me as I read this piece: The documentaries reviewed are very male-centric. Only one woman is mentioned in the whole article, Doris Kearns Goodwin commenting on Baseball. Burn's documentaries reflect his interests as well as our history as a country, and reflect the fact that for so long men ran things and were the ones written about. However, I don't think that applies to the more recent ones about the Roosevelts, which I actually found interesting, full of humanity and actual human interaction on a different level.

Christa Watters

read Patrick Walsh's column: "An American Treasure..."

Re: The Documentaries of Ken Burns

Ms. Watters takes my list of commentators out of context. I mention various interviewees in Baseball - a list prefaced with "for example"-to illustrate the eclectic range of people Ken Burns marshals in all his films.There are admittedly less women involved in Baseball than in other Burns documentaries, but Doris Kearns-Goodwin is by no means the only female interviewed. In fact, Burns devotes much time and several chapters to women involved with the game, notably Jackie Robinson's equally heroic wife, Rachel, as well as those who actually played or owned teams, including segments on:  the formation of women's baseball teams at women's colleges in New York and New England  female pitching great Jackie Mitchell  the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, with interviews of former Rockford Peaches players Dottie Green, Marie Kelley, and Mary Pratt Effa Manley, owner of the Newark Eagles and the only female owner in the Negro Leagues
The documentary series Jazz contains many more female voices. Not only are there more female commentators (Margo Jefferson, Helen Oakley Dance, Phoebe Jacobs, Mercedes Ellington, Chan Parker, Joya Sherrill, Norma Miller), but a number of women comprise the art's most central figures, such as Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. Still, celebrated historian Jacques Barzun (a Parisian by birth and childhood, mind you) famously and rightly counseled: "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball."
Part of what informs his comment is that baseball, like Jazz music, serves as a perfect microcosm of American life.Sadly, a big part of that story is injustice. Baseball's most glaring injustice was the Color Ban, a conspiracy which kept black Americans out of the supposedly "National Pastime" for nearly 70 years. But both Ken Burns and I would be quick to point out another terrible injustice: on June 21, 1952, Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick banned the signing of women to professional contracts. With the stroke of a pen, Frick snuffed out an entire league and an era. (My article, "Will women ever be welcome on the baseball field?" appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday, April 5, 2009.)
If, however, you find the documentaries of Ken Burns tedious, then I am forced to that say the onus of responsibility sits entirely on your shoulders; as Wynton Marsalis says in Jazz about all great art, you have to rise up to its level, it won't come to you.

Patrick Walsh

read his column:
"Ameriican Treasures: The Documentaries of Ken Burns"

Ken Burns Documentaries

Just read this excellent article on Ken Burns. A revelation to me living where we reach for the hurley  or the cricket bat , but it puts in search of his work for the next dark and rainy evening. Apropos of the author's Gerald Early quote: I recall something said of Clint Eastwood around the release of his Charlie parker film bird - Americas two great art forms:  Jazz and the Western and Clint has contributed to both.

Garrett Fagan

read Patrick Walsh's column: "An American Treasure..."

Nostalgia

Being a quintessential baby boomer, Mister Walsh takes me along on a great fun ride down a nostalgic road, when music and the lyrics were truly memorable. His knowledge and appreciation of that eara is wonderful.

Jimmy Guldin

Patrick Walsh's column: "A Ramble Through The Vinyl"

Pro-99 Status Quo supporters are misguided

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Salyers and other Pro-99 supporters who think theatre in LA will die if small theatres are required to pay minimum wage. One major issue not being brought up is the law. The California Labor Commission has turned a blind eye to the 99-Seat theatre world for decades but is now receiving pressure to enforce minimum wage because of the national outcry regarding labor practices in general.
Equity has to cover their butts. If the state enforces minimum wage requirements and Equity hasn't gotten in front of this mess, small theatre owners and producers could turn around and sue Equity for the monies claiming they followed what the union advised. Litigation will happen. Also, there are dozens of small theatres that have been using the 99-Seat plan for years. If your company can manage to produce plays regularly, then you should be making the effort to raise funds to pay everyone involved, not just tech directors, directors or writers. Vocal proponents of maintaining the status quo, such as Tim Robbins or Ed Asner, are the very people who should be trying to improve working conditions and helping setup funds and lobby wealthy LA patrons to support theatre.
You know why the Geffens and Ahmansons and all the other wealthy benefactors support large theatres, LA Opera, LA Master Chorale, LA Philharmonic and  LA Museums, but not 99-Seat theatres? Because most, not all, but most are a jumble of dilettantes throwing together mediocre fare at best.
The term "Los Angeles theatre scene" is an oxymoron. Yes, there is lightning in a bottle on a occasion being produced in these small venues, but most prove the adage, "You get what you pay for." Unfortunately too many actors over the years drank the Kool-Aid and believe that great art equals great sacrifice and that volunteering to work for nothing is honorable or a way to work the acting muscles. I call bullshit. Value artists' work and give them a wage. This isn't even a living wage, but it's a start. And maybe changing the plan will shut down a bunch of theatres or maybe those theatres will work smarter and harder to find the funds they need. Hollywood is full of rich people who throw their money away on countless things. No one can say that the money isn't around, they just haven't worked hard enough to acquire it. 

Lia Beachy

Nathan Thomas' column: "The Ninety and Nine Seats"

The man with the hammer

Michael Bettencourt hits the nail squarely on the head. Because the entire damned internet has become an entire pool of "clickbait." It's a disgusting use of the dumbing down of information for the sake of, well, dumbing down. Also, I would suggest that since we are coded entities as he suggests, we need to start offering up our dna to the highest bidders in one great catalog like shoes and dresses. That would be like selling our souls, right?

Everett Bradesly

Michael Bettencourt's column: "Viral"

The Be in 'Not to Be'

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's perceptively written article on the "Romantics and Italy" is a testament to what digital has done to the existentz of art. Though Scene4's graphic display is excellent, one cannot truly experience the painting of an artist such as Turner in a photo on a monitor. To experience painting, one must "experience" painting in the presence of the work itself. The same is true of literature. How does one read Shelley or Byron on a computer monitor? The poets wrote with pen and ink on paper and their poetry was printed with ink on paper. And to hold that printed paper in one's hand is the same as standing in the same air of a Turner painting. There is no classical art on the internet, there are only gateways, beckonings to experience the real thing. Thankfully, Ms Verdino-Süllwold and her magazine beautifully provides one of those beckonings.

Sandor Heuritz

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: Siren Songs of the South: The Romantics and Italy

Holocaust Terror

I cannot begin to express the horror, the pain that comes from reading "The Jew in the Box" and Celine Nally's stirring portrayal of Edith Stein. My family was there and their memory is part of the heritage I pass down to my children, as terrible a memory as it is. Both of these should be preserved forever in a recording or on film. They should never be forgotten.

Harriet Sherman

Arthur Meiselman's column: Second Reunion

Celine Nally's play: Into the Light

Stan Freberg

I loved Stan Freberg (R.I.P.). He was an 'original' and paved the way for a lot of today's comedy. Kathi Wolfe, in her usual offbeat-upbeat way, honors him nicely and places him just where we should see him. She's an original too.

Ari Kaufman

Kathi Wolfe's column: I'll Be Back...After These Messages

Naked Clothing

I hope the PC police won't be jumping all over Michael Bettencourt for his man-in-the-street view of how terrible some people dress and especially how terrible some ladies dress. With some mild tongue-in-cheek and hitting the marks where the marks should be hit, Mr. Bettencourt is an astute observer and a fine essayist to boot.

Bevly Meerasch

Michael Bettencourt's column: "To Clothe Their Nakedness"

Jenner and Stein

What a powerful, insightful, educational analysis Alenier writes for us.

Grace Cavalieri

Karren Alenier's column: "The Genderqueerness of Bruce Jenner and Gertrude Stein"

Hanging Out With Chekhov

It's amazing and wonderful how Chekov the man and his writing has endured for so long and is yet so influential. There are problems with translating some of his work, but isn't that true of many writers, great and small? Mr. Thomas gives us a thorough and resounding view of what that all entails. Thank you for that.

Pierre Benedette

Nathan Thomas' column: "Vanya"

Stein, Jenner and Vanity Fair

Now that Caitlyn Jenner has debuted on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, there is yet another link to Stein who was featured in the magazine off and on for almost 30 years!

Hans Gallas

Karren Alenier's column: "The Genderqueerness of Bruce Jenner and Gertrude Stein"

Link 'Tween Stein Jenner Vanity Fair

Thanks Hans Gallas for making that connection between two gender puzzling icons and the magazine Vanity Fair. Both people really want/ed the 'gloire' of being recognized. This really puts a lot of weight on the word 'Vanity'!

Karren Alenier

See prior letter

Caitlyn Jenner

You and Vanity Fair are publically taking part in the denigration of dignity in the human species and natural order. The Caitlin story glamourizing a very troubled being, will seed the way for more gender confusion in our youth, and has minimized what it is to really be a woman. It takes a lifetime to become a beautiful woman, not just a surgeon, some satin and a stylist. The irresponsible propagation of sexual confusion, needs to stop. Thank you.

DD

Karren Alenier's column: "The Genderqueerness of Bruce Jenner & Gertrude Stein"

The More Things Change...

re: Michael Bettencourt's column: "To Clothe Their Nakedness"

More than a decade since I've been on the subway and yet the scene you paint is very familiar... my responses back then were less measured, alternating with trying not to see but knowing I needed to pay attention. A native New Yorker, most of what passes as okay today is comparatively discomfiting, as with the death of my parent's generation, so went the last mass semblance of decent presentation. It bugs me to see the street boy fashion you describe, replicated by these upstate country kids who don't even have sidewalks to walk on. Thanks for the laugh!

Regina Howe

Foggy Frisco

Actually there's only one season in San Francisco but Rendell has managed to capture the often terrible plight of living through it. Thanks for the wonderful photographs.

Piri Ascherman

Jon Rendell's photo essay: "The Four Seasons of Foggy Frisco"

The Four Seasons of Love

What a fascinating bristling article with insight and nuance--facts we'd never have reason to know. I maintain. Once again, Karren Alenier is America's foremost Gertrude Stein authority, and scholar, and I'll testify to that in court!

Grace Cavalieri

Karren Alenier's column: "Seasons of Illicit Loves"

Griselda Steiner

Ms Steiner's article "Projecting Change on the Empire State Building" is excellent. Very informative and makes me want to get up and out there to help many of these beloved animals. Thank you, Griselda for sharing such important information in such an understanding, sympathetic way.

Judy Lawne

Griselda Steiner's article: "Projecting Change On New York's Iconic Empire State Building"

That Frikkin Thing

I always enjoy Claudine Jones' monthly columns in Scene4. This one takes the cake, literally, and she bakes it. Her views on the world around her and on her life hit me right in the mind and heart. Her style is an art form in itself and belongs in this arts magazine. My only regret is that I don't live next door to her. Thanks Ms Jones for sharing what you have to say.

Dianne Lange

Claudine Jones' column: "Sometime"

Griselda Steiner

Yes, I agree completely. The Empire State projection was wonderful and Griselda puts it out there in a meaningful and helpful way.

Tom Tryor

There should be a way to do this on many buildings. That ought to wake up sleeping consciences, Thank you Griselda.

Erica Stolzer


Griselda Steiner's article: "Projecting Change On New York's Iconic Empire State Building"

That Frikkin' Thing

Hillary and Carly HP could learn a lot from Claudine Jones. What the hell, maybe she should consider joining the fray and running for president. We could use a woman's woman.

Erica Stolzer

Claudine Jones' column: "Sometime"

Pebbles and Potatoes


"With the torrential downgrading to the lowest common denominator, so-called 'elitist' pursuits as cursive handwriting and elocution have disappeared from American public education. We're inundated with children who cannot write with their prehensile thumbs and mumble through their numbed noses." This cultural commentary by Arthur Meiselman made me laugh with the recognition of a non-American who's forever puzzled by young or youngish people writing with their fists and mumbling to the point where nobody could ever accuse them of a commitment to speech.

Renate Stendhal

Arthur Meiselman's column: "Pebbles and Potatoes"

Harriet Renaud

Very well written. The sense of foreboding, the change from cruelty to kindness, the surprising change in Ms Peskin, the house falling metaphor, all signs of accomplished craft.

Ormond Otvos

Harriet Halliday Renaud's Story: "Summer Day"

Joseph Bellacera

David Wiley quotes Ruskin on Turner: "His paint brush is the mind's tongue, tasting and probing into the rock heart of things," and tributes Bellacera with that, and rightfully so. I've seen Bellacera in a number of locations and I even own one of his remarkable works. But viewing his paintings as photographs on a computer page is so defeating (even though the quality of display in this fine magazine is excellent). One must come into a physical rapprochement with Bellacera's paintings, the sensuality, the cuisine of his paint. He takes us into dimensions, into dreams.

Mendel Bortman

David Wiley on Joseph Bellacera

Warfare Indeed

Nathan Thomas lays bare his inner and outer lives with honesty, temperance and courage.He speaks to all of us, all of our secret wishes and he invites us to join him in not only the good life, but the good life well lived. His essay in this issue of Scene4 should be posted and pasted in every classroom, everywhere.

Hans Stefner

Nathan Thomas' column: "Trench Warfare"

Je Suis Elliot

The hilarity of Elliot (C.H.) Feldman's attempt to keep his place in America's melting pot is a brilliant piece of cartooning with a lot more subtle shades than on first look. It should be called: "Quick, Seal The Borders!!!"

M. Bevin

Elliot Feldman's Cartoon: "Hard To Be A Jew"

In Search of John Keats

It is truly wonderful to know that there is still a place for the wonder of Keats' poetry in our society, a society that so many evil people want to tear down and destroy. Thank you to Ms Verdino-Sullwold's passion and touching writing about John Keats and the love he created.

Melinda Kirber

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: In Search of John Keats

Je Suis Elliot

I have to agree that this is "brilliant cartooning" and much more subtle than it appears on its surface. Mr. Feldman points to a time of sickness: there is something wrong in the kingdom and the king doesn't know what to do about it.

Beth Lynn Heller

Elliot Feldman's Cartoon: "Hard To Be A Jew"

Prostitution at the D'Orsay

Much Praise to Catherine Conway Honig for a beautiful profile of beautiful and still controversial art. I was struck by her commentary on Degas and the lecherous perspective of his painting. Seems not much has changed since he viewed from above and flew down to hide behind the curtains.

Beth Lynn Heller

Catherine Conway Honig's Article: "Splendeur et Misère"

John Keats

Ms Verdino-Süllwold once again gives us a touching, personal portrait of a man, a poet, and a time when romantic peace thrived surrounded by the time's misery and anguish. So today we have misery and anguish inundating the world, where is our Keats?

Sandor Heuritz

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: "In Search of John Keats"

The Blacklist - Who Cares?

I care, because as Meiselman so obstreperously and defiantly notes, the Blacklist never ended. Look around us at the bombast of Donald Trump and the teeth-nashing parade of his right-wing colleagues, at the ugly profiling and hate-calls for anti-immigration measures, at the hypocrisy and anxiety of the fading White majority, at the thundering gallop of the Four Horseman of Capitalism, at the silencing and repression of dissent. The "blacklist" has always been with us, from Jefferson to Obama. What the Hollywood Ten experienced was a generational replay of a "film" on a continuous loop.

Dirk Herrbeck

Arthur Meiselman's column: "The Blacklist"

Art Basel In Miami Beach

Elliot Feldman's cartoons comprise some of the best commentary out there and this one tops them all. If you've ever been to the Miami Beaches of the world and seen these "art" exhibits then you know what he means by his hilarious riposte: "Comicon for rich assholes." We should all do what he did. Thanks for the aggravating laugh.

Milt Stinton

Elliot Feldman's Cartoon: "Art Basel In Miami Beach"

Fundamentalism

It was there when the United States was founded and it created the Civil War. It murdered Lincoln and Kennedy and it dissipated Obama's presidency. Now it's a permanent fact of American politics and it threatens to end the dream. When will the people wake up? Before it's too late I hope.

Mia Bremstern

Arthur Meiselman's column: "Wishing you..."

Vermont

I love this line....Women walk with the sound of their children's lives....

Lois Michal Unger

Griselda Steiner's poem: "Vermont"

De Ja Vu

With the Academy Awards it's not only de ja vu all over again, it's dejavued from year to year as Mr. M. so pointedly points out. I sympathize with him re Kubrick, long gone, the likes whom never to be seen again. Never is a vague word, so are the words Academy Awards. Thanks Arthur.

Michael Aptrow

Arthur Meiselman's column: "2016 Dé Jà Vu All Over Again"

The Promise of Mont Saint Michel

A lovely, lovely story. Heart-rendering and at the same time uplifting. Ms Verdino-Süllwold's writing is deceptively simple at first and then embraces the reader and remains in the mind long after the story ends.

Leah Dupre Simmons

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's story: "The Promise of Mont Saint Michel"

Off To Work

Socialistic democracy hasn't been espoused for a long time in American politics and Michael Bettencourt's take on the sickness of capitalism and the rise of Dr. Bernie Sanders is a telling tale. As Billie in A Year of Living Dangerously so repeatedly and poignantly pleaded: "What shall we do?"

Michael Aptrow

Michael Bettencourt's column: "It's Off To Work I Go"

Sarah Palin's House

Dear Elliot,
Love your cartoon as always. But you got to show that the moose-lady's house isn't in Alaska any more, it's in Florida now right behind The Donald's palace.

Sid Siegal

Elliot Feldman's cartoon: "Sarah Palin's House"

Passing Stones, Passing Thoughts

With his usual clarity and style, Mr. Bettencourt draws me in for good conversation and some precipitate thought. This sentence: "But the body is the only thing that matters - without it, nothing else happens, and without it in good form, nothing good will happen." is a tattoo for the mind. Thank you for that.

Maurice Blanc

Michael Bettencourt's column: Passing Stones, Passing Thoughts

On The Beach

Even though Stephen Hawking has joined the seti search with his tiny, near-the speed-of light bots, I'm afraid that it is all too little too late. I'll take your first option and dig deep I will. Or maybe I'll take the third very human option. Kramer's 57 year-old picture is still astonishing and hilariously depressing.

Michael Aptrow

read Arthur Meiselman's column: On The Beach

The N-Word

It is always good to hear Karren Alenier's intelligent elucidating
comments on any subject. The racism Stein/Trump piece is especially thoughtful.

Grace Cavalieri

Karren Alenier's column: The N-Word: Trump Versus Stein

The N-Word

I found this article absolutely fascinating! Thank you for writing it.

Kelly Cherry

Karren Alenier's column: The N-Word: Trump Versus Stein

Rendell's Bunnies

Jon's pics are great as usual and the bunnies are just what SF needs to chase away the Google jackals.

Eric Rizoner

Jon Rendell's photos: Bunny Invasion

Trumpelstiltskin

Right on Elliot. Now who for Hillary, Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel?

Sid Siegal

Elliot Feldman's cartoon: Trumpelstitskin

Who We Were and Still Are

Ms Carla's (Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold) article is a penetrating look at Edward Curtis' near-pioneer work and the hypocrisy that surrounded it and his life. The poignancy of this perspective is all about the sin&blood that founded the USA. It's so true that the curse of African slavery is at the heart and soul of the American consciousness and is still embedded in that heart today. Yet deep at the point of that burning dagger is the genocide, slavery, human trafficing, and destruction of Native America (the so-called American Indian). Yes White and Black and Asian and Brown Americans, there still is a Native America and it is different and its suffering is different from you. Hopefully the swamp-thing racist Trump may jar the citizenry's awareness of this. Frankly, I doubt it.

M. Aptrow

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article

Legacies

What do Ted Williams, Billy Jack, Black Eagle, HAL, the great Yuan Yuan Tan, and Edward Curtis have in common? They're all in this issue of Scene4 (June 2016) and the title of this issue should be: "Legacies". Seems like we're spending an awful lot of time lately "legacying" and forgetting as soon as we remember. I don't know about the "we".

Michael. Aptrow

A Stein Acolyte Delivers a Cautionary Tale

This article is a masterful blend of deep knowledge of Gertrude Stein's work, a deeply-considered book review (Scene4 June 2016), and a fascinating author interview which is the result of savvy questions.  Alenier asks the questions we want to know the answers to, and also the questions we should have wanted to know the answers to.  There's so much here to ponder and continue pondering.  Out-of-the-box work, thanks!

Teri Rife

Karren LaLonde Alenier's column: "Stein Acolyte Delivers A Cautionary Tale "

Inbox Zero

Though both disturbing and thought-provoking, Mr. Bettencourt masterfully leads to a vexing question in his column this month (Scene4 June 2016): "What exactly does recollection do for us?" The answers to that question would fill an inbox to bursting.

Nelda Mandel-Rizick

Michael Bettencourt's column: "Inbox Zero"

Citizen Trump

There was an eerie moment in Donald Trump's acceptance speech last week, a massive plagiarism, if you will, right out of Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane." Trump standing in front of a huge portrait of himself as Kane stood in front of a huge portrait of himself.

trump-Kane.jpg

Said Kane prophetically: "Until a few weeks ago, I had no hope of being elected. Now however, I have, something more than a hope!" Eerie isn't it? Welles would have loved it. Or would he be as scared as I am?

Martin Greenman

A New Opera on Stein's First Love Affair

This article has much to recommend it: a young composer to follow, news of a chamber opera on Stein which can be viewed on YouTube, mention of an Aaron Copland song cycle set on Dickinson poems, which was unknown to me. Catnip for lover of Stein, opera, song and poetry!

Teri Rife

Karren LaLonde Alenier's column: A New Opera on Stein's First Love Affair

Janine Yasovant

I must say the article very nicely written and crafted. The small details from the artist's work and how they beautifully relate. Also the little background about the places is very professionally handled.

Imran Muhammad

Janine Yasovant's article: Srisilp Emcharoen

Elliot Feldman Is Good

When I look at his drawing, I remember, so much.

Dan Philips

Elliot Feldman's cartoon: Hooray!!! I just moved back to California

The Wafer

Cliche praise--this is a timely and gripping play. It may image the Hispanic world but I can see it in Africa and Asia as well, especially Africa. Sadly, it could never make it on television or even Netflix. The portrait of a conflicted revolutionary is too reminiscent of "Him" that was and still beguiles a huge congregation. I don't think anyone would touch it for film either. It's a drama for only the theater and the writing is magical.

Louis Laird

Arthur Meiselman's play: The Wafer

The Wafer

Beautiful. A classically constructed drama with modern trappings. Very E. O'Neillian. It would be fascinating to see a Part 2, a sequel that shows us what happens to a self-immolating leader. Does he become a saint, a savior, the next Christ? We Atheists would like to know.

Michael Aptrow

Arthur Meiselman's play: The Wafer

Watson Heston

Thanks for the clue to Heston. He sure would fit in right now and probably get pilloried by Trump and his gang and probably enjoy it. Good luck with your project!

Mia Bremstern

Michael Bettencourt's column: Watson Heston

Bad Hair Day

Definitely for the rest of the world! Another great cartoon, Elliot, as always. Keep it going!

M. Bevin

Elliot Feldman's Cartoon: Bad Hair Day

Humble Lily

Jon Rendell's photos of this humble flower are masterfully shot and produced. As displayed in Scene4, they are overpowering--not only their size but also the depth and layers of the images. And yet there is a quality of sadness in all of them. The display is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Peter Lin

Jon Rendell's photography: The Humble Lily

Hillary: The Movie

You struck a loud chord with this: "General John Allen. Something like, Do you think American soldiers will accept her, a woman, as their Commander-In-Chief?" He calmly and firmly dismissed the issue. And that's all that Hillary need do." So true. She really can't let herself get dragged into the pernicious swill that comes out of Fox and its friends. As for "the First Laddie", yes, I heard it too and it was First Laddie Clinton who said it.

Piri Ascherman

Arthur Meiselman's column: Hillary In The Movies

The Charioteer

A beautiful poem which has heart and lasting messages.  Ms. Steiner creates poetry which is professional, worthy of your publishing and look forward to more.

Itsi Atkins

Griselda Steiner's poem: The Charioteer
 

On The Beach

Arthur Meiselman's essay appears to be straight from the heart. I found it very moving and close to my own point of view. I too abhor the idea of warfare of any kind. Somehow, I just cannot bear to think of people dying for any cause, whatsoever it might be. I am so glad he wrote this inspiring piece. In fact, I feel this kind of work ought to appear on CNN and other channels that have wide coverage.

Sandeep Girish Bhatnagar

Arthur Meiselman's column: On The Beach

Red Emma

Thank you for reviewing this play. In your concise writing, you bear down heavily and rightly so on the infuriating parallels between Emma Goldman's time and our Trump-time today. I hope this production will be available soon and also published. There are so many people who need to be awakened before November.

Emily Osterman

Karren Alenier's column: Red Emma

Balled Feet

The adventures and memories of Claudine Jones are a continuing source of inspiration for me. She makes life in San Francisco seem glorious which it isn't any more, but she sure makes it seem so. Ms Jones writes with a joie de vivre and a frisky style and that's how I read her.

Erica Stolzer.

Claudine Jones' column: Balled Feet

Pratuang Emjaroen

I like this article a lot. Pratuang Emjaroen is a Thailand treasure, truly. He is a great painter and a man of good humour. I love the interview with him. Thank you so much.

Timo Sunchai


Janine Yasovant's article: Pratuang Emjaroen

Vanessa

Santa Fe versus the Met, tells us a great deal about where the depth of our culture is. As Ms Stendhal says: " (Barber's Vanessa...may just provide the modern romantic inspiration we've been waiting for." Bravo for romanticism! Barber and Menotti are indeed a welcome oasis in the face of all the modern, weak offerings, sans passion and often sans lyrical music, Oh, and don't forget Puccini.

Will Paul Winer

Renate Stendhal's review: Samuel Barber's Vanessa

Why I Love My Wife

This is a rare thing. A love letter to a wife of 16 years. Beautifully written and beautifully felt. The truth is in the adoration.
Marisa Perotti

Touching, revealing but not saccharin in any way. Mr. Bettencourt writes so privately in so public a way in a revelation to those who go crazy struggling with relationships.
Peter Genot

Mr. Bettencourt has the uncommon skill to turn an essay into poetry, an ode to be read often down through the years.
Oriana Salzez


Michael Bettencourt's column: Why I love My Wife

Jane Eyre

Your comparison of Orson Welles and Michael Fassbender is unfair. Mercy please, Welles was a genius actor and director and Fassbender is: a good actor who can't get out from underneath the director.
Also you're flat-out wrong about horses. I love horses and they love me. We both don't wear sleeping shirts. You never say whether you do or not. Do you?

Lou Laird

Arthur Meiselman's column: Bits&Pieces

If I Say So

Ms Verdino-Süllwold lays out before us a feast of an exhibit and invites us in. So far up north in Maine, I hope it travels, I would love to see it. One of my interests is that that it covers 100 years of art and art concepts beginning just at the edge of the Fauvists and after the Pre-Raphaelites, both of whom struck an earlier rebellious and irrepressible art-world tremor.

Macin Arbenot

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: Portraits Without Faces

Hello and not Goodbye

A wonderful play. I saw it when it was originally staged in Seattle (and mangled in LA). HIV is a character, a metaphor reminiscent of Camus' The Plague. The characters are heartfelt, beautifully drawn and inside the humor the theme of reconciliation is still so relevant today.

Lou Laird

Arthur Meiselman's play: Hello And... Goodbye!

About Scene4

Your magazine is slick, as elegant as they come. It's a delight to the senses to page through it. But it's the photos, and artworks, and especially the writing that makes this journal a collectible. Since it's on the Internet it will be there forever, and that's a good thing. My preference of course would be a print edition as well. It would be beautiful in that format. But this wish and the reality of publishing don't mix. Thank you for this edition.

Ben Gefflen

Quotes from Gertrude Stein

Let sanity prevail! A thumbs-up from Dallas for Karren Alenier's perspicacious article.

Teri Rife

Karren Alenier's column: Quotes From Gertrude Stein In This Election Season

All about life and death

There's a lot to admire about this screenplay's structure and visualization. A tightly drawn film, claustrophobic, great dialogue, action- "and" character-driven. Yeah, another prison film, another condemning of capital punishment, but the ending is a kicker. There's something else happening there. As the intro says: it's not a docu-drama.

Michael Aptrow

Arthur Meiselman's screenplay: Jody Thomas Doesn't Want To Die

N.C. Wyeth

Another grand presentation. Ms Verdingo-Süllwold writes so effortlessly it's almost as if the painter is speaking through his paintings. And what's going on up there in Maine that the rest of us are missing? Not just the snow and the faraway culture. Something rich and rewarding I think. What intrigues me most is the three generations of Wyeths launched by N.C. Iconic indeed.

Macin Arbenot

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: The Private Universe of N.C. Wyeth

Autumn

A simple story enhanced and heightened by the clarity of Mr. Bhatnagar's writing. The mystery that shrouds it is the writer's doing as a master puppeteer. I look forward to more of his work.

Tara-Ann Nguyen

Sandeep Girish Bhatnagar's story: Autumn

Prognosticating

Michael Bettencourt stands on his wind-swept mountain and proclaims: "The Trump voters bought themselves a pig in a poke, just as the silent majority bought one with Nixon and the "morning in America"-hopers bought one with Reagan and the evangelicals bought one with Bush II. They will soon find out the value of what they have purchased - the 2018 elections will tell that tale." It's a good prophecy and a good bet. But I think he's over-optimistic. After all, it took eight years for the faithful to realize that Obama, the cool, Harvard man, was not an agent of change, was politically naive, and turned out to be a pig in a poke in a poke of pigs. We've got another housing collapse coming and some bad military adventures coming. Mr. Bettencourt needs to focus his steely eye on eight years from now when the U.S. will face its worst depression ever and will drag down the rest of the globalized world with it. It's the story of our history, America, the home of the binge.

Jay Salkind

Michael Bettencourt's column: What Is It That They Think They're Rebelling Against?

Anthony Hopkins

You captured the Master though I think he's been phoning it in lately even on this exciting series (Westworld). What is important is that Sir Anthony's nonchalance and casual work ethic is so singular, so head and shoulders and heart above anyone else that it's exhilarating to just watch him in the closeups. I have to say that as much as I like Westworld, I have problems with some of the writing, especially when Lisa Joy contributes. And on that note, she shouldn't be allowed to direct another episode. Hers is the weakest and most misdirected of the series.

Michael Aptrow

Arthur Meiselman's column: Awake With Anthony Hopkins

Faces In Black and White

Thanks for the lovely tour of this new exhibit. The photos you share are beautiful and gripping and as you say, "disturbing". In the upheaval year that's coming, a show like this should tour the whole country.

Melinda Kirber

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: Finding Resolution Through The Image

Inspiration

It follows that Rendell (Jon) would have a San Francisco garage as his latest muse. He may not be a painter but he has as good an eye as Monet.

Rimsta Marsjcoc

Jon Rendell's photography: Inspiration

re: Anthony Hopkins

Agree with you regarding Lisa Joy. It's very apparent when her pen is on the screen and it's equally apparent when Nolan is writing (and directing). He can write as he's done so admirably for his brother. Joy is a "Host" and a market tested one at that. Don't agree with you regarding Hopkins. He is such a master that maybe to you it looks like he's "phoning it in". His ease and what you call nonchalance is his remarkable simplicity in conveying the complexity of a character when, so often, the dialogue isn't there.

Laird

Arthur Meiselman's column: Awake with Anthony Hopkins

Gertrude and the Critics

Dear Ms Alenier, you are a blessed avatar for dear Gertrude. She would love you for all the attention and scholariness you pay to her. Keep it going, please.

Marcus Goldberg

Karren Alenier's column: Critics

La La Land

Taking umbrage with Miles David Moore's excellent review, this movie (not a film) is a mega social media style block n' buster. The two "stars", Stone and Gosling, can't sing, can't dance, and are truly limited actors which is okay for this piece of overdone cake. The fact that the movie has so many accolades, even an incredible and outrageous sisterly hug with the masterpiece, "Singin' In the Rain", tells us much about the flight of talent, taste, and perspective that travel bans won't ever correct.

Laird

Miles David Moore's Review: "Dreams and Disappointments"

Kiss Me Again, Paris

Wow! With the speed of light I am at the Opera in Paris and cannot wait to know what happens between the two women. The writing is breathtaking and marvelous. Bring on the next tasting.

alvin hirshen

Memoirs can be such troubled things. From the excerpts, however, it seems that Ms Stendhal has a strong hold on her past and a deep strength from her present. Beautifully written.

Kinda Pellicer

Rich, lively and worth sharing. Thanks for taste.

Michael Aptrow

If the Met were anything like Ms Stendhal's Paris Opera, I would haunt its corridors nightly despite its exorbitant ticket prices.

Ginnie Goldman

Excerpts from Renate Stendhal's memoir: "Kiss Me Again, Paris"

About Culture

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to RECENT LETTERS in the Culture category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Country Western is the previous category.

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