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Native American Television

At last! At last! At last! I want to thank the author for bringing us this news of a national native television station in the USA. My every visit to Canada has always included ample hours to watch APTN, Aboriginal People's Television Network, which has been around for decades! It has it all: news from the people's communities, national news impacting the First Nations, excellent, even brilliant children's programming with world class animation, movies, fitness shows, cooking, interviews on urgent issues of concern to native people, etc. etc, etc. Every such visit ends with a return to the USA and "desert wasteland" TV. Native issues NEVER make a spot on CNN or any other news program. Remember, even non-native people will watch the Native American Television programming. The general American public just might learn a little more about how we really live, who we really are and what we are thinking about and why. Hooray!

Rosalie Jones

read Carol Quattro Levine's article

Reality Check

Talk about sexism and racism. I don't understand where you're coming from or what this writing is all about other than a slap against our heritage. What does "reality" and "naturalism" in the arts have to do with this election? Sarah is going to surprise everybody with her charm and good looks, and then she is the picture of the typical God-fearing, motherly woman. She is exactly what is needed to make our hopes and our people strong. And you are wrong about Mrs. Clinton. She is too dumpy and too much like her corrupt husband to ever be elected. The best thing that could ever happen to her is a Jerry Bruckheimer action movie about her life. By the way, Fareed Zakaria is a foreigner and a Muslim so that should tell you something about what he has to say.

George Kerman

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Reality Check

Talk about sexism and racism? Right! Follow me, Mr. Kerman right down the hole and you'll find Mr. Meiselman right there at the tea party throwing ping-pong balls at the Mad Hatter who looks amazingly like George W. Bush. Guess who the Queen of Hearts looks like? And while you're at it, why don't you read his article again,. You seemed to have missed the point. By the way of your by the way, Fareed Zakaria is a highly respected American journalist and guess who he looks like?

Alice's White Rabbit

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Reality: Stage It and Cage It

One of these days, I hope the mainstream media is honest enough to at least give a nod to the hypocrisy of criticizing Sarah Palin for her lack of qualifications to be veep while simultaneously failing to point out that Obama is similarly -- if not more -- lacking in experience for the position he seeks. At least the buck has stopped with Palin. At least she has made executive decisions and had to answer to a constituency. Not Obama. And wasn't Pres. Clinton also Governor of a very small state?

Jake Meyers

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Reality: Stage It and Cage It

In response to Jake Meyers comment: "One of these days, I hope the mainstream media is honest enough to at least give a nod to the hypocrisy of criticizing Sarah Palin for her lack of qualifications to be veep while simultaneously failing to point out that Obama is similarly -- if not more -- lacking in experience for the position he seeks. At least the buck has stopped with Palin. At least she has made executive decisions and had to answer to a constituency. Not Obama. And wasn't Pres. Clinton also Governor of a very small state?"
I agree on the lack of experience comment only in that technically not one candidate that ever runs for president is truly qualified for the job. The role is complex, convoluted and can only be fully understood with on-the-job-training. But I will take Obama's "lack of experience" over Palin's lack of experience and her cutesy, folksy, beauty contestant, soccer-mom, small-town, "you betcha" act any day of the week! (How many male world leaders or CEOs on this planet have ever had to strut on a stage in a bathing suit for "college money"?) The Republicans who threw sexist rhetoric at Hillary Clinton for months and are now pushing for Palin must be secretly laughing inside and behind their country club closed doors (with their Democratic golf buddies). Now they have the opportunity to put up a woman, who is a walking caricature of herself, use her for political gain, and confirm the misogynistic tendencies that people (both men and women) already have and effectively set back feminism in this country. And of course fight the thing they fear the most... a man of color having the same power and opportunity that they've kept for themselves for years.

Lia Beachy

Kerman's Reality Check Re-checked

Mr. Kerman,
Why do the God-fearing folk seem to have less tolerance, love and peace in their hearts than anyone else? Kind of goes against the teachings of Jesus Christ (who was a good Jewish boy and probably loved fried matzo) doesn't it? I certainly don't need either the conservative media or the liberal media to tell me what I think of Sarah Palin. Your voice of misogyny and bigotry is just one of the many sad misguided plebs in the United States (and the world) which prove to me that Palin is the last person on earth I'd trust to water my houseplants let alone help McCain run, I mean, ruin the country even more.

Lia Beachy
atheist, feminist, humanist

P.S. Fareed Zakaria is more intelligent than you, more famous than you and makes more money than you. I bet that gets your panties in a bunch!

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Reality: Stage It and Cage It

Sara Palin is a cheer leader and that's it. Compare Biden's use of his experience in the Senate, in the debate, or Obama's thinkng outloud, while he deals with the issues, and you have the distance, and difference, between A and Z. Palin like her mentor, John McCain, is trapped in a One Note Charley routine. There is no doubt that she has an outgoing and exuberant quality. And there is no reason to fault her on that. But she's in a different stadium than the one she thinks she is cheerleading in. McCain's choice of Palin as his Vice Presidential candidate reflects his poor judgement.

Ned Bobkoff

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Old Hippy Does It Again!!

Elliot Feldman's running comicpage on living and working in Amerika should be on the op-ed pages of every newspaper in the country. Is he relevant to what's going on now? In the words of the reigning "Miss Amewica"--"you betcha!" Is 'old hippy' just a wonk or in lower eastside parlance, a schlemiel? Nope. He's come up with the best answer yet to Washington--"Stuff It!" Yeah.

Flick Me I'm A Fly

see Elliott Feldman's comic

Creative Financing Means Going On with the Show

Theater people of all genres, and for that matter all artists including endeavors involving poetry and the other written arts, must not be defeated by a government organization saying we cannot give you any money. Artists need to think outside of that sow's purse and actively seek money else where. If necessary, take off your hat (mine says "Poet" in big bold letters) and pass it around to those listening. If you cannot get past the embarrassment of begging, you are not a true artist. While we are on the subject, come see Four Saints in Three Acts Feb 20 at CUNY Graduate Center on 5th Avenue. It's free to the public. Look it up at EncompassOpera.org. Encompass doesn't yet have all the money needed for the 16 piece orchestra but if you come and toss something in the hat after you hear this wonderful performance of the most innovative American opera ever created, maybe Nancy Rhodes won't have to go to the Poor House.

Karren Alenier

Fluffy Farts

Elliot you're driving me crazy! You're using my life story and I'm loving it. How could I be that hilarious. I must be crazy!

Old Hippy (Sam)

see Elliot Feldman's comic

Rage v. Cabbage

I'll take Mr. Bettencourt's anger over Mr. Meiselman's doom. At worst, anger can remain positive and can be worked with, doom is just unforgiving gloom. It is an apparent difference in persepective. Both excellent writers, Bettencourt stands apace and surveys the scene, whilst Meiselman steps into the scene and calls forth. Though he writes prose as if it were poetry, he literally scares the "hell" out of me.

Anee S. Waterson

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

Love&Tamales

Here's to old hippies, old love and fresh tamales! Feldman's cartoons are sick, subtle and just funny, funny, funny. They give Scene4 just the right balance amidst the high-flying dance and opera and theatre. Carry on!

Mel Werner

read Elliot Feldman's comics

Terror of the Fading Book

For awhile there I was feeling really good that there was a champion of the "fading, dog-eared, much-read book" you could carry around, but the imaginary ending is really scary - all those giant pages flying around!

Ellen Miles

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Terror of the Fading Book

Reading Arthur Meiselman's column on the Terror of the Fading Book, with its tactile apprehensions fixed the issues squarely home. Having recently finished a book "1491" that brilliantly and thoroughly laid out the contributions of the indigenous people's of the Americas, particularly South America, in agriculture, landscaping and the infinite wisdom of protect the land, Meiselman's comments rang true. The experience of reading over time, flipping the pages back and forth, is not only tactile comprehension, but a private lasting pleasure. Highly personal and absorbing. Arthur put his finger on the page.

Ned Bobkoff

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Woodstock

Thanks for this well-written and unvarnished view of how American capitalism markets and pollutes everything, right on with Michael Moore's running "love story." I was there back then, but I won't be there now.

Marianne Andreasson

read Andrea Kapsaski's article

Another Tramp


Tomorrow it will be called "Cacophony".

Diederich

read Nathan Thomas' article

Manipulating the Language

Les Marcott's article on the manipulation of phrases in everyday vernacular hit a nerve. I cringe when I hear or see the words "pre-owned," knowing it is simply a high-falutin way of saying "used" for those refurbished vehicles grinning brightly from car lots. At the cosmetics counter in the larger department stores, there are often white-coated sales associates ("epidermal consultants?") who will wield pamphlets and products with the assurance of a lab assistant. The professional position of "Life Coach" is cropping up (do they use whistles while training clients for more productive lives?) and it is another neat way of encapsulating complex concepts in a compact, promising moniker. We are not too far off from Roseanne Barr's exotic notion of "Domestic Goddess" for "Housewife," but don't tell that to the television executives at ABC.

Mindy Kronenberg

read Les Marcott's column

Timeship

I felt enlightened, progressive, and modern. Thank you for a very good interview.

Janine Yasovant

read Griselda Steiner's article

Kathi Wolfe (Bleep)

How brilliant is this writer. I think the New Yorker is going to steal her away from Scene4 and put her in a penthouse if we are not very effing vigilant. I swear, she is the best commentator alive!

Grace Cavalieri

read Kathi Wolfe's column

One Big Happy Family

You dood it again Elliot. Nailed LA on the head. Are you the best? You is, you is.

Arnie Laban

see Elliot Feldman's latest comic

Anna Nicole

No difference between her and Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlow. Yanks love their tragic platinum-blond goddesses.

Thomas
read Les Marcott's column

Anna Nicole

Yeah, we love our goddesses and she was a great one. She was "the American Dream" and still is.

Sam D.

read Les Marcott's column

Do a Charlie Sheen

There's going to be a new saying now-"Do A Charlie Sheen". It means "bomb" in any backwater jerk- town like Detroit.

PatT.

read Les Marcott's column

Italy and Bangkok

I also wanted to thank you for the story on the [Italian] film festival in Bangkok. Even with its commercial side it is a valuable idea. I hope they do this everywhere and other national film industries follow them and do the same thing. It can only help in this troubled world of ours.

Alicia Martolli

read Arthur Meiselman's article

The Film Festival

I saw most of the offerings. They were good, and I agree with the reviewer and the previous poster that Moviemov is important and valuable. Yet I cannot resist commenting that the management needs to spend more time, more effort and more expense in making this event more important and more valuable to the one community that will guarantee their success--the press.

Devin Polik

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Lingua Franca

There's nothing wrong with English, except that it is really not designed for an international role. I'd like to see wider use of Esperanto for unambiguous communication between people of different mother tongues. Am I asking too much?

Bill Chapman

read Arthur Meiselman's column

The Magic Hour

This has to be a statement that reverberates with endless echos:
"In the meantime, I'll revisit some Isaac Asimov or Carl Sagan or Arthur C. Clarke, play Johann Strauss' "The Blue Danube" and think of the late, great Stanley Kubrick, sit down and actually watch Kubrick's masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey or episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (where are you Jean-Luc Picard?) and keep the candle burning. Magic is out there, it's our imaginations that no longer exist. And this Alice will keep hoping mankind finds wonderland again."
Right on, Alice, right on.

Louis Laird

read Lia Beachy's column

La Femme La Mujer La Donna

Lia, by associating "magic" with the initial impact of the space program, which I remember in the beginning as an exhilarated hopefulness of the human capacity to imagine and achieve, I was touched once again by the impact of magic: scientific, theatrical or otherwise. Thanks for the recall.

Ned Bobkoff

read Lia Beachy's column

Magic Hour

Thank you to Ned and Louis for the comments. Magic begets magic.

Lia Beachy

My Old Man

The actual weirdness of the demented Alzheimer disease makes the truth so bizarre that it is a brainy play field of mind games. Nice clip!

Fran Wolok

read Elliot Feldman's comic

Camelot and Heffalumps

Thank you, Kathi, for putting words around a common experience I and many other women have. I don't know why we think it's so important for girls to look like girls and boys to look like boys -- it's an unrealistic and constraining standard. And who gets to set the rules, anyway? 

Josie Byzek

read Kathi Wolfe's column

Stein's Tea Party

No matter what convoluted political and cultural leanings and swayings, this is important information which is crucial to know. All sides. All angles.

Grace Cavalieri

read Karren Alenier's article

Q Factor

You're optimistic, Arthur, way too optimistic. You strike a chord with the media and it plays a song that no one hears.

Laird

read Arthur Meiselman's column

The Will to Find Steinian Truth

With all due respect to Renate Stendhal, who I cherish as a person Steinian, I find the work that Barbara Will published in Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ, and the Vichy Dilemma refreshing for its non sensationalization of a tough Stein scenario. 

I am on the record and urge you to read what I said in my recent Scene4 article An Invitation to Gertrude Stein's Tea Party.

As noted Stein scholar Catharine Stimpson said recently at a conference held partially at the National Portrait Gallery where the exhibition "Seeing Gertrude Stein" just closed, "Gertrude Stein was stupid about politics."

I consider Gertrude Stein, Renate Stendhal, and Barbara Will part of my Steinian family. I won't stop loving any of them.

Karren Alenier

Perspectives

What a good expansion of the magazine. Jon Rendell's photography is beautiful both technically and in its composition. He captures the spirit of my favorite city. And Arthur's little trio is a teasing provocation to say the least. And the "writings" are worth the price. Thanks for all of that.

Laird

see the Perspectives

Kerouac

It's amazing how "gone" that American experience is and how forgotten Kerouac is. It's as if the Beats never existed. I miss 'em.

Bruce Turin

read Griselda Steiner's article

Kerouac

What I miss most about Jack Kerouac and the Beats is that he and they wrote at a time before the Kindle and the Internet and Amazon Books and 'Facegook'. You had to be a writer to write, not just a word processor.

Laird

read Griselda Steiner's article

Kerouac

That's why there isn't anybody like him writing today, on a roll of paper wasn't it? And there probably won't ever be another Beat-like writer again.

Turin

read Griselda Steiner's article

The Hollywood GATE Conference

It's all very nice and reassuring that the Beverly Hills folk want to acknowledge the power of their product and use it to make the world healthier, happier and wise. That's not going to happen despite Jim Carrey's cute little aphorisms. The film industry is totally market-driven, always has been. The only difference between the sequel-franchise Hollywood of today and the so-called "Golden Days" is that back then the studio system allowed for the production of films, doomed to be box-office losers, that "should" be made. The moguls had a lot to feel guilty about, it was part of their heritage. Today, there are no moguls, no studio system, and not a stain of guilt anywhere. There's only the unabashed cult of celebrity and the unabated wallow of money. Good luck to the conferees at GATE, at least you're trying.

Laird

read Arthur Kanegis' article

Gramma

Feldman wherever you are your stuff is so funny and you're such a crazy SOB. But I want to tell you, stay away from my family. My Grannie and Grandpa were the best. Yours should have thrown out your Old Man ten minutes after his Bar Mitzvah.

Jack G.

see Elliot Feldman's comics

Marco Millions

It's almost as if O'Neill wrote this play last year. His indictment of the military-industrial complex and corporate politics is scathing and so very timely. It would make a blockbuster movie today. I also agree with the writer's opening indictments of our "dumb" presidents but I love Bob Dylan. He is the great poet of the 20th century.

Maria Einhorn (truthsayer)

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Hollywood's Gate Conference

I have to agree with Laird's view of the recent Gate2 conference in Los Angeles. It was another one of those self-serving, self-congratulatory, self-promoting confabs of the Hollywood movie club. The only way that American film is going to honestly promote positive, life-changing scenarios is when the U.S. finally establishes a nationally funded cinema like the U.K. and Canada and others. That's as likely to happen as the establishment of a national theater, a true national healthcare program, a non-ideological Supreme Court and a color-blind political system. One can only hope.

B. J. Davis

read Arthur Kanegis article

Speech Jammin Gun

Dear Les Marcott, you're a wizard! And I've got just the thing for you to wiz with. It's a speech-jammin smartphone. It's so crazy, it works! We can make a fortune. Contact me, before the black ops guys do.

Anonymous (not the hackers!!)

read Les Marcott's column

Ashley Judd

I would hope that Scene4, with its feminist orientation toward the arts and media, will explore and address the critical issue raised by Ashley Judd's conflict with the press and other media over their derogatory portrayal of her and women in general. This is a very important issue and I look forward to reading your views on it.

Sylvia Rathold

Kerouac

Who was Jack Kerouac then and who is Jack Kerouac now? That's the question. And does it matter?

MM

read Gloria Steiner's article

So long, Glenn Beck!

I guess shite-meister Beck took Ned Bobkoff's eulogy to heart. He's gone for good. Thanks Ned.

Phil Bankler

Ashley Judd

Scene4 does not have a "feminist orientation toward the arts and media". It has a number of writers, both women and men, who support feminist issues regarding the arts as well as other issues including, on occasion, contra-feminist views. It is an international magazine of arts and media with a multi-cultural readership in over 102 countries. It has no stated political or philosophical editorial policy, only its adherence to the highest journalistic standards it can achieve and maintain.

The Editors

read the original 'Ashley Judd' post below

Patrick Nagel

Great cover page. It's great to see the Nagel women again in all their chilling glory and those eyes. I don't think the iphone flickr crowd really knows how much he's influenced what they see and do. RIP Patrick, you're still with us.

Bill Rasterbaum

read the article on Patrick Nagel

Momentous Indeed

How fitting that Arthur's citing (sighting) is one of a number of astounding and significant occurrences that are hidden and lost in the daily news churn. They print the news, they regurgitate the news, nobody reads unless it has pretty pictures. Literacy for the illiterate.

Louis Laird

read Arthur Meiselman's column

A Seasonal Man

I suppose that's what Arthur's "Thing Man" is. A strange tale that hearkens back to Medieval times and forward to Curiosity roaming on Mars with a little bit of the Bourne Legacy thrown in. Or is there a movie in the works perhaps?

Louis Laird

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Sessions by Kathi Wolfe

As always, Kathi's eloquence is only equaled by her metaphysical and superior understandings of our humankind...frailities and power both....

Grace Cavalieri

read Kathi Wolfe's column

Gigli

I have to agree with you. "Gigli" is much better than all the smearing and unjustified bad rep that it's received. Yes, there's something very Wellesian about what has happened to Brest as a result but the difference is that Welles was a great actor and just picked up his marbles and moved to Europe and went on making movies the way he wanted to. Brest just went and hid in a corner. I don't think Affleck will ever do any thing about that. He's too jumpy and self-absorbed. But he is a good director.

Michael Aptrow

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Bettencourt reads... and writes

Enjoying Mr. Bettencourt's video and audio broadcasts. I have always enjoyed his column so very much, he is such a perceptive writer. I hope these broadcasts make their way around the internet. They deserve a very wide audience.

Marjorie Paverness

read Michael Bettencourt's column
view the contents page to link to his broadcasts

Martin Brest

I wonder if anyone has come up with more information about Martin Brest. Maybe Brest himself will show up and give us a talk. Naturally, Affleck is totally unmotivated to revive anything and anyone that has to do with his pre-redemption (as you call it) years.

Louis Laird

read Arthur Meiselman's column

No Gatekeepers

Les, another great column. I try and stay away from television as much as possible, but if I do watch, it's something with some meat, like Kevin Bacon's new show "The Followers". although you really have to stretch the imagination to stay tuned-in and not kill yourself. But, my wife has this fascination with Duane "the Dog" Chapman and his show in Hawaii. She actually tapes then to watch after we go to bed. He and his crew film themselves busting hardcore women for DUI's or dangerous criminals who missed court for a child support case.  I really think I'll try and find this "turtle man" you write about. Or maybe just put my head in an oven. Death can't be as bad as some of these shows. (Oh, and what's a Honey-Boo-Boo?)

Kenneth Sibbett

read Les Marcott in this issue

Theatre Thoughts

Didn't think I could sit still anymore for a listen to an essay amidst the clamor of the internet. But Bettencourt is pithy (not a misspelling) and he reads like a pro. Very enjoyable.

Michael Aptrow

listen to Michael Bettencourt's Theatre Thoughts

Revisionist History

History belongs to the people in charge of the world in any given century. I remember when I first read Howard Zinn, and he blew away my whole conception of all history, period. I still can't get over the "fact" that the newly arrived settlers and soldiers who killed and raped as a sport, used the stronger Indians as Taxi's, riding one until he fell with exhaustion and then jumping on another. How sick was that? History is filled with lies and bullshit, and it always will be. I really think, one day, we will find out who really killed Kennedy, and it will blow us all away. I happen to think Nixon, while not in the conspiracy, knew of it. But it is what it is and while your son is young, There is a tooth fairy and a Santa Claus.

Kenneth Sibbett

read Les Marcott's column

Ms Sullwold's review of the Paley exhibit

Extraordinarily insightful analysis, not only of the MoMA Paley collection, currently on view at The Portland [Maine] Museum of Art, but also of the man himself. Critically impressive and intellectually canny are Sullwold's parallels between how Paley the business entrepreneur, built the CBS network with his intuititive understanding of demographics and taste, and how and why he, as an art connoisseur par excellence, acquired a unique and priceless art collection. According to Ms. Sullwold's review, Paley was a man who had his hand on the pulse of taste for both the modern art world and the dawning of multi-media entertainment and journalism.

Albert Black

read Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's review

Gotta Go Faster

Not just a matter of speed, it's also just too much happening, too much going on. I'm one of your "olders" and I don't walk " a meter a second" anymore. I'm down to a half meter- takes longer and gives more time to see and think. Stopping the speed means turning off all the invaders like tv, cellphones, internet. Too much happening and not enough thinking. Enjoyed your essay.

Joe Petrie

read Les Marcott's column

Hong Kong at 4:30pm

I love Hong Kong and I know what you mean by the shift from day to night. And I loved "Suzie Wong" and I know what you mean re "disappearance". What I don't know is whether you're a romantic fool, a foolish romantic, or a die-hard lover. Carry on Sr. Arthur, you'll find her yet.

Laird

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Comedy Gets Some Love

Thanks a lot for the tribute to Elaine May. She's at the heart of what American comedy is all about and her medal is righteous and well-deserved. If anyone is a national treasure, she is.

Ricki Cohen

read Kathi Wolfe's column

Guns

Thank you for a wonderfully argued and utterly reasonable essay on guns in the new issue of Scene4 Magazine. Truly: hear, hear! I had five poems ("Five Easy Irish-Americans") in the April and May issues of Scene4, but I've written extensively on the issue of gunsand gun-control (or the lack thereof.) I was an infantry officer and served four years in the 25th Infantry Division circa the first Gulf War. It's not despite but precisely because of my familiarity with firearms that I think the ease of access to guns in America and our overall "gun culture" is absolute madness. Last September, I had a major essay,"Guns and the American," published in an online magazine called The Rumpus (it was favorably cited soon after by Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast.) I send along the link since I thought you might enjoy reading it (and to balance out some of the malicious mail that you'll probably get from the gun-nuts concerning your essay.) I hope you enjoy it.. And thank you for always-interesting essays in Scene4.

Patrick Walsh

* * *

I greatly enjoyed your essay as well, grounded as it is in an experience that I don't have but which is crucial for those who would consider themselves would-be "regulated militia" types and think that they canhandle their guns without being handled by them (or at least handled by their fetishism about them). I also enjoyed (if that's the word) the comments that followed your piece. Many Americans don't seem to understand the purpose of government ingeneral and our government in particular and the crucial role they play ascitizens in making the government "work" (that is, to their advantage and notthe advantage of the rentier classes). Rather than making the trek along the path of the patient slog to build popular movements for socialjustice, many Americans have the apocalyptical mind-set that all will become betterin a blaze of glory. Perhaps it's a hangover from our Puritan ancestors orthe infection of Christian fundamentalism. But it is surely politically lazy. Thanks, again, for your comments.

Michael Bettencourt

* * *

Thank you for reading my essay and for your kind comments. I wrote the first section as a kind of curriculum vitae; I felt it was important toestablish my "credentials" in order to get the ears of people who are on theother side of the issue (or perhaps on the fence.) One thing that I really enjoyed in your article (and which ties in all too well with your spot-on observation about many Americans'"apocalyptical mind-set") is your critique of the people who feel that gun ownership is some kind of emergency measure in case our government turnstyrannical. As one of the commenters on my piece noted, these are the folks who have watched "Red Dawn" one too many times and think that bands of weekend hunters with sporting rifles are going to beat a regular army and its attendant, high-tech firepower/airpower. Your point that agovernment--our government--doesn't need to engage in combat in order to control the populace is the more realistic insight. Of course, the implications ofthat idea mean organizing, educating, and staying lucid in an ongoing fightfor social justice--all concepts that are pretty much anathema to the "gun-nuts" crowd. Thanks again for your essay and for your enjoyable reply. It's encouraging to know that, amidst the din of demagogues and outright crackpots,there are writers and thinkers out there such as yourself making their voicesheard.

Patrick Walsh

read Michael Bettencourt's column

Beautiful Photography

I have been following Scene4 Magazine for over a year and the photography in this issue really knocked my socks off.  Absolutely brilliant and beautiful.  I am sharing this issue with my entire network.

Keep up the great work -- the entire Scene4 Magazine is gorgeous and so informative, not to mention entertaining.

Mikael Wagner

View the photography in this issue of Scene4

Beautiful Photography

I can't more enthusiastically agree with the previous commenter's appraisal and praise of Scene4. Coming from someone with his reputation, it's noteworthy praise indeed. The photography and graphics combined with the magazine's idiosyncratic mix of writers and articles, design, and fine writing makes it, as I've posted many times before in this blog, one of the best kept secrets on the internet, unique and unlike anything else being published. The magazine is in itself a collaborative work of art. I for one enjoy the privilege of roaming through the treasures in its archives as a kind of geographic place to spend my time. And as the commenter said, it's also entertaining.

Louis Laird

Beautiful Photography

A hearty hear,hear! Add to the qualties mentioned - class, real class. The shame is that the publisher has to come out with a hat-in-hand appeal for charity to keep going. Shouldn't be. This book should be supported by paid subscriptions. Why don't they do that?

Michael Aptrow


It was tested on two occasions with $1/issue subscriptions or $5 for a full year of 12 issues. The immediate result was a 50% drop in readership. Evidently, our readers, whose demographic skews toward "mature, literate, educated, with disposable income" are willling to pay for a paper-print publication but consider a web 'print' version to be strictly a part of the free-for-all of the internet.
-- The Editors

Renate Stendhal on Meret Oppenheim

I love your article, and learning more about Meret. I met her in the early seventies when I had written and sent her my article on The Women of Surrealism from THE FEMINIST Art Journal. She was so excited to tell me how right I was in critiquing the Femme Enfant concept, and how when she turned 30 the surrealist men who used to sit with her at the café,then left her alone because she was no longer "a femme enfant". I felt like everything I had studied just popped out of all the books right before my eyes. She was so friendly and so much fun. I met her another time, at her studio, many years later, on another trip, and she was again an incredible woman and artist. Thank you Renate for being able to read the things we who don't read German or Swiss German can't read, and for filling us in on more about Meret. She actually attended one of Leonora's exhibitions in NYC, in the seventies too. It was an exciting encounter. Sending many thanks for this wonderful piece.

Gloria Orenstein

read Renate Stendhal's article

Meret Oppenheim

I loved this article/review of Meret Oppenheim's life and work. I think she is similar in many ways to the Baronessa Lowingstein, but in a much more controlled and life preserving way.  I can't imagine meeting her and I loved the details of working with her in the studio. I think this group of women who never fit conventional outlines have so much to offer contemporary women, in particular their courage to push all kinds of boundaries. Thank you Renate.

Yvonne Campbell

read Renate Stendhal's article

Stanislavsky and the Avengers

Mr. Thomas has a special way of weaving his humanism into his views of theatre. I too am an actress and I too love comic books. If I were younger and more adventurous, I would go and study with him. As it is, I will have to settle with continuing to enjoy his personable and instructive articles.

Francine Bledsin

read Nathan Thomas' column

Rather, Midnight of the Gods

The MFA-ridden pobiz scene will eventually collapse under its own weight. I wouldn't be surprized if MFA-wielding poets already out-number their audience. What can be done to help bleed this monster white? I'd like to suggest a network of poet cooperatives made up of independents and presses willing to publish them. Otherwise, prepare for the Twilight of the Gods to usher in a new Dark Age where pale monks scribble for no one but each other. Excuse me if I seem to be predicting the present?

Charles Behlen

read Karren LaLonde Alenier's column

re: Rather, Midnight of the Gods

Apropos - Walter Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz."

Lou Laird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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"

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

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

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

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 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"

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"

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..."

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"

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"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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"

Love Photos


I have only one word for Jon Rendell's photography: alluring. His composition is magnificent. They make you want to love these plants, not eat them.

Charla Tintari

Jon Rendell's photography: "Flourishing Flora"

I Am Not Your Negro

As the critic says, this is an important and powerful film. But it leads me to wonder what Baldwin would make of today's rise of white, right-wing populism. Would he find it depressing, disgusting or would he throw up his hands, as he does in the photo, and throw in the towel?

Tyman Bassett

Miles David Moore's review: "The Indians Were You"

About Media

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

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