April 7, 2014

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

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

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


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

April 6, 2014


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


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


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

March 18, 2014

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

March 7, 2014

Shirley Temple

This is a nice tribute to Shirley Temple. She was a super-star in her time, an amazing thing since there was no social media then and no internet. It's interesting that she grew up to be a not so good actor as a teen-ager and worse as an adult. Probably why she retired early. It seems to be a common occurrence with many famous child stars.

Pauline Warkowski

read Kathi Wolfe's column

Monsieur Bivalence

I buy it. Nicely done. What a body of work. 10 years you say? More like a lifetime. I hope you'll keep adding to it for another 10 years. Now for that book that Scene4 should publish and you should sell. I'll buy it.

Judy Moritz

see Renate Stendhal's archive

March 6, 2014

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

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

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

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

March 4, 2014

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


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

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

March 3, 2014

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

What's In A Name?

Your January Special Issue, Arts&Politics, was a great bit of timely and absorbing publishing. You should have have titled this issue: "Arts&Politics-2". Maybe you should change the name of the magazine to "Arts&Politics - Scene 4" and then Scene 5 and Scene 6, etc. It's what's happening isn't it?

Michael Aptrow

On Lawrence

I'm not sure I agree with the previous writer. Lawrence was an enigma and some of his core principles were counter-productive. Lean captured this beautifully in his film. I don't think we can afford the Lawrences of this world any more, even though they are still very active in South America and Africa. Lawrence and his thinking flourished in the days of the British empire and those days are thankfully gone, maybe.

B. Kendell

read Patrick Walsh's column

March 2, 2014

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.


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

Monsieur Ambivalence

Pascal and Fuller - what a combination and (Ms) Stendhal once again puts her keen eye and vibrant pen to full force. She could sell me anything. P.S. to Scene4: You sold me (Ms) Stendhal why don't you sell the book too?

Judy Moritz

read Renate Stendhal'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

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

On Lawrence

Thank you Mr. Walsh. Yours is a very perceptive and informative view of the brilliance of Lawrence. Well written. And mixed with your military experiences it offers a clear and present view of the danger and mess we have gotten ourselves into. You should be in the Pentagon hammering your treatise on the wall. They need voices like yours.

Thomas M. Donaldson

read Patrick Walsh's column

February 19, 2014

A Great Cartoon

Mr. Feldman not only captures the crisis in Detroit he strikes at the state of arts in the U.S. as well. The "Reznicks" have been purchasing art like this for decades. That's why Andy Warhol is so much more valuable dead than he was alive. He and all the rest of the "match my decor" artists are a perfect match for all the smartphone and touchpad users with empty minds and empty souls.

Maris Lynn Astor

see Elliot Feldman's cartoon

February 3, 2014

On Scene4 in Print

It was sad when I realized that there is no print edition of the magazine. It's way too beautiful to be confined to the digital dustbin.

Sasha Merkay

That's a shame, because it is beautiful art.

Ann Hart


Thank you Karren for breathing life into an important literary occasion in American Letters which may have gone unnoticed and certainly benefited from your verve and passion for the arts.

Grace Cavalieri

read Karren Alenier's article

February 2, 2014

Orson Welles

Have to disagree re credit due to Welles. There isn't a director or critic or film historian that I know of who doesn't acknowledge Welles' pioneering innovations. As you say, he was a genius and still recognized that way today.

Michael Aptrow

read Les Marcott's column on Welles


This issue is indeed Special. It belongs on every desk in every school room in America and everywhere else for that matter.

Lou Laird

see Arts&Politics-the January Special Issue

Right to the Heart

Great cartoon! It almost hurts to laugh at the pathetic situation in Detroit and the "Reznicks" everywhere.

Sid Siegal

view Elltiot Feldman's cartoon

A Man Ahead of His Time

Orson Welles was obviously a genius filmmaker, but he doesn't get enough credit for the technology and camera work he invented. Overhead shots and tearing out floors to get ground level shots were first done by him, along with hundreds of other things. A genius, indeed.

Kenneth Sibbett 

read Les Marcott's column

January 20, 2014

Johnny Cash

American Icons are used far to much in this country. But Johnny Cash was an American Icon, and also an American success story. Fighting off a decades long drug addiction and still having a career is hard enough, but to do it and still be as admired as he was is almost impossible. The Man in Black will be missed, but his music, especially his later recordings done with just him and his guitar, will live forever.

Kenneth Sibbett

read Les Marcott's column

January 5, 2014

Yeats and Politics

I wonder what the great poet would make of Ireland's condition and politics today? No doubt he would be amazed. Would he be dismayed?

Timothy Predom

read Patrick Walsh's article

Kathi Wolfe

Kathi is a national treasure and one of the best American Analyst/Poet/Commentators we have.

Grace Cavalieri

read Kathi Wolfe's article

January 2, 2014

Never To Be Forgotten

This is a welcome memory and a very emotional one and like "The Music of Terezin" it should never be forgotten, it should be repeated over and over again. It is such beauty in the middle of such cruelty that gives us hope and keeps us from going mad. Thank you Ms Steiner for a beautifully written tribute.

M. Schnee

read Griselda Steiner's article

Once again

Jon Rendell pierces the heart with his images. While the one percent at the top celebrates the New Year with vintage champagne, the other one percent suffers in the shadows, forgotten by nearly all. 

Catherine Conway Honig

see Jon Rendell's images

December 18, 2013

What Is An Economy For?

"The Borg of Capitalism", a perfect phrase. It's one of the best labels I've seen concerning our global economic plague of buying and selling run riot. It says it all. Time to revisit Star Trek and ask Picard how to finally defeat it.

Estelle Kaplan

read Michael Bettencourt's column

December 9, 2013

Thai Arts - Pitchit Paidan

Amidst all the trouble and problems now in Thailand, it is so uplifting to read about and see the beautiful art of Pitchit Paidan. His painting is a wind of tribute to the culture of my country and reveals so much hope for the future. Thank you to Janine Yasovant and Scene4 for the wonderful article and display.

Saa Phungdorkmai

read Janine Yasovant's review

Camille Claudel

This review is exquisitely, thoughtfully and beautifully written. It carries the sorrow woven through the life of this gifted, tragic woman. Catherine Honig's writing conveys the tragedy without ever falling into pathos. I was deeply moved and grateful for such a lovely piece.

read Catherine Conway Honig's review

December 4, 2013

A Poet on (Mass) Distraction

The topic is welcome and familiar indeed. I remember reading a poem in the same spirit, called "Quartered," in the poetry collection, "A Dreamer's Guide to Cities and Streams." It turned out to be by the poet Joan Gelfand, whose comment precedes this one.

Kim Chernin

read Renate Stendhal's column

December 1, 2013

Weapons of Mass Distraction

Great title. A few answers to the questions Stendahl poses: 1: Facebook is like the neighborhood bar - twitter also - I go on to see what people are chatting about, to start my own conversation - to check in briefly - not hang out. 2: This is why we still need our SALONS - and people do love being invited to someone's cozy home for a chat about art/books. Yes, it is hard to organize people's time - but it is one possible way to fight the electronic anonymity.

Joan Gelfand

read Renate Stendhal's column

November 28, 2013

Water-shed Moment in Opera

In this beautiful, passionate second part of her essay, the author has captured one of the water-shed moments of opera, not just Wagnerian opera, when opera entered modern psychological and cinematic sensibility with Patrice Chéreau's Bayreuth "Ring."  It's worth repeating here what she says: "The éclat that Peter Hofmann occasioned when he burst upon the Heldentenor scene in the Patrice Chéreau Centennial Ring at Bayreuth in 1976 was nothing short of cataclysmic. The production with its bold, sweeping staging, brought Wagnerian music-drama into the living present, and it introduced a whole new generation of singers who transformed opera into communicative speech-song, replacing grand theatre with cinematic reality. Of these none made a greater impression than Peter Hofmann as Siegmund.  His voice which possessed true heroic proportions and uniquely beautiful coloration, coupled with the white heat of his acting did for the Heldentenor tradition what Maria Callas did for bel canto."

Callas had Visconti as a guide; Hofmann (and all the other superb cast members) had Chéreau. Without him, this break-through might not have happened. Thankfully, the extraordinary Ring production is preserved in a DVD that shows the genius of the French director, who was also a cinematographer. It preserves the unusually androgynous, erotic presence of Peter Hofmann as Siegmund and his look-alike incestuous twin sister Sieglinde (Jeannine Altmeyer) -- a casting and performance that would have made Wagner's most ardent dreams come true (and brought tears to the eyes of Thomas Mann.) Thanks to Bayreuth 1976, we can enjoy an operatic evolution with actors/singers like Jonas Kaufmann or Anna Netrebko (see the review of Euene Onegin in the same issue) and with live in HD opera productions at the Met that have taken up the cinematic challenge at a surprisingly high level of consistent excellence. 

Renate Stendhal

read Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article

November 10, 2013

George Orwell

Thanks to Patrick Walsh for this exposition of one of the most honest, and inspiring writers in the English language. Sadly, too many people, especially the "bloggers" and so-called "journalists" don't realize what a major influence he was and still is.

Borsin Neumith

read Patrick Walsh's column

November 4, 2013

50 years... a historic blink of the eye, and the eye is blinded.

Arthur Meiselman's column on the brutal futility of war, wars that are often set under an umbrella of elephantine sour justifications, are comments that bruised my heart. As I age with some knowledge of the global hypocrisy of killing equations, I don't want to fall into the trap of "this is the way it is", when it comes to the brutish justifications that nations use to sell war to their peoples. Yet I know that many peoples are fed up to their necks with the killings going on. One of the few resources we have to counter the brutishness is open ridicule, vigorous satire, and most of all, using organizations like the U.N. to cut through the agonizing bull-shit supporting wars. Time, history and caring, are still on our side; and that is a nudge in the direction of outwitting the schmucks who multiply the death traps.

Ned Bobkoff

read Arthur Meiselman's column

November 3, 2013

Mika Oklop

Thank you for continuing to publish the writings of Mika Oklop. He was/is such an exhilirating writer. He should never be forgotten.

Peter Amslik

Mika Oklop is a gem, polished and unpolished.

P. Noonan

Thanks. I really enjoy reading his stories. He's funny and sad.


read Lissa Tyler Renaud's article

War Films and November 22

Eloquent and disturbing article. How many times do we have to say "madness" in the face of all this carnage and horror? No one listens and when they do they just turn up the volume on their ipods. What a pitiful species we are.

Paul Kevlin

read Arthur Meiselman's column

re: Theatre Thoughts

You can always find the rest of the published Theatre Thoughts recordings by going to the Scene4 Archives at: www.archives.scene4.com or, go to Michael Bettencourt's web site at: http://www.m-bettencourt.com/podcast.html

The Editors

November 2, 2013

Abe Vigoda

Was there ever a better character on television than Abe Vigoda's Fish on "Barney Miller"? Hooray that he's still alive and so is Fish.

Jerry Hutton

read Les Marcott's column

Theatre Thoughts

I love Michael Bettencourt's Theatre Thoughts. He speaks so beautifully and his voice reminds me of a brother or a father reading to someone late at night. Though his short stories and comments are entertaining they are also thoughtful and informative and his experiences are valuable to hear about on many levels. I want to ask about the earlier records that were published. Are they still available in an archive somewhere?

Maria Stipensi

listen to Michael Bettencourt's Theatre Thoughts

To SEND a LETTER to the EDITOR — Click Here
Send an email to letters@scene4.com

Current Issue of
Scene4 Magazine

submit to reddit