March 6, 2015

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..."

Bookmark and Share

March 1, 2015

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"

Bookmark and Share

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..."

Bookmark and Share

February 6, 2015

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"

Bookmark and Share

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"

Bookmark and Share

February 3, 2015

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"

Bookmark and Share

January 12, 2015

Je suis Charlie

Some interesting sidelights...

The fact that U.S. and worldwide media have been relatively low-key about the conspicuous absence of Obama at the largest rally in France's history;
Hollande asked Netanyahu not to attend.
When Netanyahu spoke, it was ignored by BBC, France24, and Asian networks. Ironically, it was broadcast by Fox (who couldn't find a translator) and of all outlets, by Aljazeera, who did!

The truth of the tale is in the telling.

A. Meiselman

Bookmark and Share

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"

Bookmark and Share

January 2, 2015

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"

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

December 29, 2014

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.

Larry Delinger

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

Bookmark and Share

December 10, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

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"

Bookmark and Share

December 7, 2014

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"

Bookmark and Share

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"

Bookmark and Share

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"

Bookmark and Share

November 19, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

November 9, 2014

David Wiley, Painting and Poetry

It is a pleasure to find David Wiley's poetry and paintings in Scene4 Magazine. I look forward to the publication of " Poetry of Color".

Willie Marlowe

view and read David Wiley's art

Bookmark and Share

November 3, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

November 2, 2014

Kiss or Kill: your choice

While I respect the author's right to his opinion, I think the issues in the I/P conflict are far more complex that he has outlined. I also believe that this conflict is an easy target, so simplifying it is like painting with primary colors: a few swipes & you're done. As a member of a progressive community synagogue's Middle East Peace Committee, I've spent a bit more than a year with this small group as we bash out our calendar, filling it with films, speakers, compassionate listening sessions--anything to get the conversation started--and we're only starting! The goal is not 'Peace by Next Year at 2 O'Clock', it's 'How Do We Have the Conversation that Nobody Wants to Have?' A preliminary survey has also been sent to the congregants so we can get a baseline feel for how they're dealing with the summer's events. Hard work; sad work; revealing work. But not condemning ANYBODY. That's not how it goes.

Claudine Jones

read Les Marcott's column

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

Choose Your Side

A well written and thoughtful article. While Israel could in my view be a bit more selective in bombing the Palestinian people and the collateral damage involved (especially the women and children, it's sickening) how can a country whose neighbors swear on the Koran everyday of their lives for Israel's demise, not do everything in their power to stop Hamas and friends from building tunnels to sneak into Israel to murder civilians.

Kenneth Sibbett

read Les Marcott's column

Bookmark and Share

September 8, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

Kathi Wolfe

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

Grace Cavalieri

read Kathi Wolfe's column

Bookmark and Share

August 21, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

August 8, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

August 7, 2014

Acting and its methods

Nathan Thomas is an articulate proponent of Stanislavsky and I have always enjoyed and appreciated his essays and analyses. He is obviously a successful teacher, so I wonder if he isn't distracted by the process in favor of the craft. I, for one, have left the emotional-truth psychological approach to acting and adhere strongly to this credo by director Joe Wright: "To me, naturalism is the death of drama. Lee Strasberg came along and the Method fucked everything up. I find people like Celia Johnson are my favorite actors. I was brought up on films like Brief Encounter (1945) and, for me, they expressed enormous truth. Marlon Brando does not have the monopoly on truth!"

Doug Henshall

read Nathan Thomas' column

Bookmark and Share

July 28, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

July 6, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

July 2, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

July 1, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

June 9, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

June 7, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share

June 2, 2014


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

Bookmark and Share

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

Bookmark and Share


So talented you are, Elliot!

Stacy Payne

see Elliot Feldman's cartoon

Bookmark and Share

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.


see Elliot Feldman's cartoon

Bookmark and Share

June 1, 2014

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

Bookmark and Share

The world's wealth

You and your fellow producers are creating the world's wealth.  Of course, you don't own most of it; you work for wages.  Still, you are what you let eat at your soul.  You are a member of a capitalist commodity culture. Your life's creativity is bought and sold on the labour market and you buy what your class produces.  And so it goes within the totality of today.

Mike Ballard

read Arthur Meiselman's column 

Bookmark and Share

Peace in our time...

Peace can't come about in a society of conflicting class interests.  War began with class rule and will end with the establishment of a classless society by the people. Until that time arrives, a time when the people themselves choose to establish common ownership of the land and the collective product of their labour, administered in free association, war will be a constant amongst the members of the human race.

Mike Ballard

read Michael Bettencourt's column

Bookmark and Share

May 5, 2014

Neuroself or is it Selfneurosis?

As the writer (Michael Bettencourt) says: " 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

Bookmark and Share

To SEND a LETTER to the EDITOR — Click Here
Send an email to

Current Issue of
Scene4 Magazine

submit to reddit