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Leonardo DiCaprio's The 11th Hour

Just wish that Crafoord Prize winner Dr. Howard T. Odum had lived to see this movie! His vastly updated and expanded "Environment, Power, and Society for the 21st Century" has just been (posthumously) released by Columbia University Press. Odum's "emergy synthesis" methodology can provide the essential tools for a successful "total redesign" of humanity's relationship with Mother Earth. Hope the movie-makers had a chance to interview Odum's widow (and frequent co-author), Elizabeth Odum, or his "heir" at the Center for Environmental Policy (UFL), Dr. Mark Brown!
Bill Perk
read Arthur Kanegis' article

Leonardo DiCaprio's The 11th hour

Arthur, you were able to provide a strong argument for the role of apathy as a fuel that has perpetuated the demise of what your article magnificently termed our "home planet." Your addition of persuasive facts, and the validation from Subject Matter Experts (SME's) lent much credence to the dire situation, which we have created. More so, I applaud you for your article's provision of tactics of hope to help us to restore what God has so mercifully entrusted to us. Bravo!
Marcia
read Arthur Kanegis' article

Fakes, Forgeries and The Madnesses of Crowds

This should have been titled "Fakes, Forgeries and The American Way". It's a very funny and sad article except for the slander of my hero, Howdy Doody.
Burnett
read Arthur Meiselman's article

Fakes, Forgeries and The Madnesses of Crowds

And you can add these:
The "virtual" French in France who don't speak French
The "virtual" English in England who don't speak English
The Americans in Iraq who don't speak Iraqi
The Iraqis in America who don't speak Iraqi
The Japanese in Japan who don't speak
and, My Sister's "virtual" boyfriend
T. Rutten

...........Who was it who said that the U.S. dollar was the best example of Faux Art? I think I did.
Reverend Bones

...........I was surprised to hear that anyone was still painting pictures anymore. How faux is that?
Mave

...........The "virtual" breasts, lips, hips, asses and soon penises of everyone over 12 yrs.
T.

...........Seek and ye shall find in the revealed word of God.
Mark W.

...........I don't understand some of your references but they must be real because I understand the rest. Now you've given me a lot to think about and that's the worst "madness" of all.
Michele

...........Bravo! Tour de force! So what are you going to do for an encore rename the planets? Start with Uranus and work up.
Everlast

...........I don't understand your putdown of Bill Gates and his mother. They do wonderful work. That is the history of rich people in the USA.
Barbara Seligman

...........You should ask this--will the real Leonardo DiCaprio,George Clooney and Angelina Jolie's lips please stand up!
T.
read Arthur Meiselman's article

The Art of Smoking Cigarettes

You're such a brave guy! As a "recovering addict" I just want to say it has been a lonnnnggg time and I miss my "tobacco-lover" soooo much! The hell with it all, I'm lighting up again. And I believe you--with the terrorist invasion of Bushism the dark clouds are gathering, and I am collecting as many packs and cartons as I can and cleaning up the bomb shelter that my Poppa built in the '50s. There I will retreat and hide in a cloud of enlightened smoke until the second coming--or will it be the third. George Orwell was right!
Linda N.
read Arthur Meiselman's article

What Is/What If

And hope the revolution comes soon, indeed! Bravo Mr. Bettencourt, lead the charge.
Stein
read Michael Bettencourt's article

Send In The Clowns

When I first read your title and saw it was a political article, the thought that popped into my mind was the title of a song of protest singer/songwriter Sebastian Agnello's. The Goofs Are Back In Town. Lyrics that sing of "How'de we ever get into this mess, you voted em in, How do we ever get out of this mess, Vote Em OUT! " Thinking back on the early days of Revolution, calling on Thomas Paine's infamous words about George.."Whether the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an imposter, whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any" I wondered which George he was really speaking of, Washington or Bush, for the two share the same ineffectiveness in battle which prompted Mr. Paine to make such a strong critical statement. Taking a look at the choices we will have put before us I call on another statement of his, "THESE ARE The Times That Try Men's Souls!" trying to decide on a decent candidate to vote for! I so long for independents worthy of our vote. Les, thank you for another fine article, but I have a hard time relating politics to humor. Too often they make us look like the clowns.

Michele

read Les Marcott's article

Continue reading "Send In The Clowns " »

China - Montage of the Future

Really enjoyed this interesting and informative article. Living away from the current of present day Asia - particularly China, in this case - is a considerable handicap in the appreciation of the development of art in this technology-driven era. This article does offer some assistance to that lacking on my part. Thank you Janine!

Shane McElroy

read Janine Yasovant's article

Lima... Peru Not Ohio

And we've been sitting on the "never" spike for the past eight years, haven't we! Get the bidets ready for November, there's a lot to clean.
a not-so innocent Manhattanite
read Arthur Meiselman's article

Spirits for sale! A documentary, but at what price?

Sometimes, I ask myself? Why why why? I remember a vision I had a time ago. One, where we can do justice for our people, give hope for our children. You know--a better tomorrow! One where we can remember yesteryear, where we can say, "we are making change slowly, but in small steps.." because, that's the way they work, the Otherside to this side! Its not I, or it's not you, or them....its Mitakuyase, our relatives who come and give us visions of the past, present and future. They are the ones who give us hope, courage, and the gifts to carry them out. The simple fact is that they are trying to tell us something. What? Well, these ways are sacred. These ways are powerful! They must be done without question the Right way, because they were made to be simple and yet done with love and compassion. Yet, we teach and promise and Promise to the eager, determined, vulnerable, the ones who will pay money, for what? So they can be Lakota, pray like Lakotas...be Lakotas...if that's the way it rolls..then what have we learned from them...some of them know better...but do they care...no....is it power and control which drives people to become self-proclaimed Medicine men overnight?. Like buying a pipe from Praire Edge in Rapid City...like saying buy me, then I will make you Lakota....is it the good feeling they get when someone is abused and abused in sweat or ceremony! Is it the White man, or who is the White man these days? I dont know who's a better man, the White man saying he's a Lakota Medicine Man...or i the Lakota man abusing our children in ceremonies and getting away with it. My many adventures and travels around the country have led me to witness--the butchering and mutilation of these sacred Lakota ways. I get a sick feeling, a very sad feeling of a vision for tomorrow. Like watching our relatives who lie there at Wounded Knee, knowing they were sacrificed to please the pride of the invaders. How many more people will be sacrificed on our reservations? How many more must suffer generations of the same cycle over and over of Genocide and abuse of our ways? So I must say this--it's time to take these ways back! When will we stand together as a nation of visionaries, healers, and protectors of this way of life? When will people know, or is the excuse they just dont know any better? I'm all about healing and being happy to live a beautiful life. So being a co-producer of "Spirits for sale!" my message is simple: dont sell these ways. Tunkasila is watching, always. The Swedes just dont know how it is. I jumped on board because it was exciting to actually put a part of my vision in the movie. We sat down at the bottom of Bear Butte and talked. This was never about fame or making money...it was about a vision that came from the heart....the vision that flowed thru my Minicojou blood, remembering my relatives on the other side...its why I push and promote the movie. I couldn't care less about a Swede carrying a feather to my res...what a story huh! To hand it to our White Buffalo calf keeper! Now, that made them famous, like saying look at us, the White people, who infiltrated the Cheyenne River. I hate to see what would happen if they gave her a turkey feather! Where might she travel...to the country Turkey? Maybe! All I can say is--go see the movie.
Jerry Clown
read Carole Quattro Levine's article
read other comments about "Spirits for Sale"

Lester Cole

A touching, embracing reminder of what, in the long run, counts: a sense of shared humanity and a shot of wisdom earned.

Ned Bobkoff

read Arthur Meiselman'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

Gertrude Stein for President

It says it all. Thanks Karren.

Sandy Cohen

read Karren Alenier'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

Kathi Wolfe on Sarah Palin

Brilliance that lights up the sky. And maybe prophetic as well.

Grace

read Kathi Wolfe'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

My powerful question of the day...

What conditions, if we could put them in place, would enable the emergence of a kind of leadership that can host 'transition' (of societies, organisations, communities) - confidently and compassionately?

Tatiana Glad

read Martin Challis' article

Josef Koudelka Retrospective

Photographer Josef Koudelka's work is moving and penetrating; personally, photographic-wise, and as historical evidence. Many thanks Andrea for giving us the opportunity to catch up to our memories and remind us of what it means to be free.

Ned Bobkoff

read Andrea Kapsaski's article

W.

You're right on the mark, Mr. Moore, as always. This could have been a blockbuster indictment and a masterpiece of a movie if only, as you said, Stone didn't suffer from an "inability to trust the intelligence of his audience." Too bad he blew the opportunity. And your review of "Appaloosa" is beautiful. Thanks for that.

Tim Stein

read Miles David Moore's review

Thanks, Mr. Bobkoff

Ned was always good with kids' stories. Too bad this fairy tale is oh so true...

Chuck Cobb

read Ned Bobkoff's article

Athens 2008 - Prague 1968

They burn down your city and you sit at the TV and watch the news, while outside, a few steps away from your home, the riots continue. And they take pictures and small videos on their mobile phones to send them to YouTube and you wonder about your own responsibility while the cradle of democracy falls apart. As I listen to the helicopters flying over our house, how little did I know when I wrote this article. How little difference in those pictures back then and the photos now. How little history changes.

Andrea Kapsaski

read her article in Scene4

re: Athens 2008 - Prague 1968

Why do people not see the dramatic or historical irony in using violence and chaos as a way of protesting violence and injustice? How relevant Andrea Kapsaski's article about Prague has become in light of the recent events in Athens! And how sad that mankind seems doomed to repeat the cycle of violence as an answer for its problems! Methinks that infamous Jewish carpenter would take issue. Merry Christmas, indeed!

Lia Beachy

read Andrea Kapsaski's article

American Cinema's Original Sin

An excellent critique of Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" - probably one of the most balanced I have read. As a movie buff, a theatre arts educator and an African-American, I appreciate that the article acknowledged the filmmaker's art and his contributions to the industry. However, I also applaud the fact that the article does not use that as a reason to excuse the harmful, long-lasting blatant racism of the film. I was particularly interested in the examination of Griffith's process as a thinker versus those of Thomas Dixon and even President Woodrow Wilson. I find it more than a little ironic that February, Black History Month, should be the anniversary month for the release of this film. I wish it were possible next month to show the film in selected venues under the right circumstances so that we could see how far we have come as a country when it comes to racism and also (despite many achievements and recent events) how far we still have to go.

Sandra Camphor

read Miles David Moore's article

Cup Half Full

Les, we "cup half fullers" tend to live longer, even if "cup half emptiest" tend to assay the situation more accurately. At least, that is what they found in researching concentration camp survivors. I see ignorance as a problem. We can be happier if we are dumb, but we are less capable of making things better. The old Chinese curse applies to us: "May you be reborn in remarkable times." We live in a time of possibilities. The future will become what we make of it. We might possibly experience a paradigm shift in our lifetimes. When the military is abolished and we are weaned off of petrochemicals.

Lee Love

read Les Marcott's article

The opera or musical means nothing if there ain't any money to produce it

You can beg for money but you won't get it and the government funds to theaters usually go to name people. Why are they given money? The governent should make sure the money goes to New voices, strange but beautiful - the others had their try, now on to new Waters. Government has to help both state and federal and city. What Politicians would care to help change this situation?

Linda Samet

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

"Z" a film by Costa-Gravas

Excellent reviews. Ms. Steiner, in both her original 1970 review and the current anniversary review, captures the essence of the film's moral and ethical message. An insightful review with historical facts and information. Thank you for bringing this back to attention. Yes, history repeats itself and knowing this we must be ever vigilant of events throughout the world. I am drawn to see "Z" again, as soon as possible. The message should not be forgotten.

Yale Stenzler

read Griselda Steiner's article

Milk

The film made my cry and you made me cry. You're a special man Miles. I just wish you had seen that the great Sean Penn wasn't quite right for the role. I don't know who else could have played it better but I just felt he missed that something of a NY Jewish boy gone Gay and finding his mantra in the melting pot of SF. Still, you caught the whole scene beautifully.

Sarah Rogoff

read Miles David Moore's review

Milk

Excellent review. Haven't seen a better pov on this heroic and heartbreaking movie. As they say, you ought to be in pictures.

tdd

read Miles David Moore's review

Milk

No I agree with Miles Moore. Sean Penn's performance is one of his best. Like every great actor, he disappears into the character and gives us a Harvey Milk we can understand. Brolin was also impressive as Dan White, though he is far too good looking for the little pinched twinkie man.

Ben

read Miles David Moore's review

Milk

Funny how "Milk" just disappeared from the scene. So much other news I suppose and I guess it did well at the box office. Or maybe its story is just too touchy for audiences who are already very confused. Here today and gone tomorrow. At least you have a bold film critic who steps "out" and keeps his perspective. Nice.

Ben

read Miles David Moore's review

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

"Z"

Thank you Scene4 and Griselda Steiner for reminding me of the power and beauty of cinema as well as the power and beauty of Costa-Gravas' filmmaking. "Z" was and is a shattering portrayal of government cruelty and injustice. It also was almost prophetic in what could have happened in the United States as recently as one year ago.

George Gee

read Griselda Steiner's article

Thai Treasures

Ms Yasovant's excellent profile of this ancient wonder tells us that the long and rich history of Thailand will carry its culture through the self-destructive turmoil that has plagued it in recent years. Art like this survives as petty politicians and their greed turn to dust. There's a lesson in this treasure for people everywhere.

Deborah Coursten

read Janine Yasovant's article

Kings and their cabbage

Well Maestro. you've caught me again. To say you have a wry sense of humour is an egregious understatement. I didn't particularly like "Children of Men." It was too monochromatic for my taste, painted in one color-what you call "doom." Between "babbling" and "doom," I tried to find a wee bit of hope. But before futility, there you go, slipping it in when I'm not looking like a drop of lime in a dry, dry, dry martini, clever, selfish writer that you are.

Hizonner

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Andrea Dworkin

As you know, the 20th anniversary edition of Andrea's Intercourse was recently published. It's still a vital and devastating work. So thank you for "revisiting" Andrea's legacy and reminding us of the poetical-political side of her writing in First Love. The memory of her and the on-going impact of her life's work is triumphant.

Letty Becker Adler

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Frost/Nixon

Excellent review! Michael Sheen is a better David Frost than David Frost! Though I think Frank Langella does a marvelous job and is a wonderful actor, he doesn't somehow quite get the physicality, the quirky way that Nixon moved as Anthony Hopkins did in his film. I missed that quality.

Terry Braitough

read Miles David Moore's review

The Midwife's Magic Towel

Brilliant article! Written with a razor-sharp pen! I would add another "deliciously ironic moment": Wouldn't it be a delight to witness a genderless death as well?

Vic Thurman

read Michael Bettencourt's column

Life of the Daily Adequate

Michael, I'm following those daemons too. Thank you for a thought-provoking piece.

Lia Beachy

read Michael Bettencourt's article

Life Upon the Wicked Stage

If it were up to you, I would be barred from acting at all because I don't even meet half of your requirements. But my success as an actor is not based on your damn elite requirements-it is based on what my audience wants, sees and appreciates. I suppose you will become "she, who's name may not be spoken" and create an "artsy" theatre art-form instead of the wonderful open entertainment that it is. I'm glad that will never happen.

Pier Harrington

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Life Upon the Wicked Stage

No, "she" would not tolerate that. After all, "she" is "she"! What "she" might grant me is to be the Commissioner of LCD (lowest common denominator) and in that exalted position I would gladly grant you a license to be wonderful, open and entertaining (along with everyone else and their mothers).

Arthur Meiselman

read his article

Life Upon the Wicked Stage

If speaking well and moving well and having a literate mind are considered "artsy" and "elite requirements" for being an actor, then so be it. Ring the bell, close the book and quench the candle. Acting as an artform has officially lost its soul.

On another note... does it not strike a chord with anyone else that when the word "artsy" is used, it has the same implied dirty derogative connotation that "socialism" or "feminism" or "liberal" has taken on by "those who shall remain nameless"?

Lia Beachy

read Arthur Meiselman's article

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

Stumbling Stones in German Streets

Extremely insightful, Renate. And isn't it amazing, that at this point apparently 200000 Jews live in Germany?

Andrea Kapsaski

read Renate Stendhal's article

Stumbling Stones in Germany

Thanks, Andrea! It's hard to believe the numbers you are quoting. Who, do you think, is doing the numbers and keeping book? Of course, one could argue that right now, there is no safer country on earth for Jewish people than Germany... Disturbing thoughts. Before Hitler, there were ca 523,000 Jews living in Germany (according to the US Holocaust Museum). "Prophets Without Honor" by Frederic v.Grunfeld, which I read again and again, shows that this tiny percentage of the population produced some 85 % of Germany's culture and science during the peak of the assimilation period and the Weimar Republic. Any conclusions for the future of German culture?

Renate Stendhal

Stumbling Stones in German Streets

Most Jews in Germany are recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union plus a small number of Jewish families from Muslim countries. According to the Central Council of Jews in Germany (Zentralrats der Juden in Deutschland) ca. 120,000 individual members are officially registered with a total of 107 Jewish communities, but of course not everyone is registered and I have read statistics surpassing the 200.000 number That means, that Germany has the third-largest Jewish population in Western Europe after France (600,000) and Great Britain (300,000) and the fastest-growing Jewish population in Europe in recent years. One could indeed argue if Germany is indeed the safest country for Jewish people. Is there a safe country? Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany and is punishable by three months to five years in prison, but does that make Jewish life any better or safer?

Andrea Kapsaski

Weininger put to rest by Karren Alenier's excellent article

I much appreciate the way this well-researched and beautifully written article puts the disquieting spirit of Weininger and his possible influence on Gertrude Stein to rest. Being Jewish, a woman, and gay was a triple whammy of a handicap on someone who wanted to compete in the male-dominated arena of literature. Stein found a number of strategies to hide those unwanted identities and prevail. Being a "genius" was one; being an exile, an American in Paris was another; a third brilliant move was writing without disclosing her identity -- writing as "one" "anyone" "everyone" "someone" or "everybody". It took a genius to write her autobiography and call it "Everybody's Autobiography".

Renate Stendhal

read Karren Alenier's article

Stumbling Stones on German Streets

Beautiful article, Renate! I can't help but wonder what "Stumbling Stones" Americans might feel moved to create 60 years from now reminding us of our own reprehensible behaviors in the world today. Thanks for posting.

Judy Cohen

read Renate Stendhal's article

The Trouble with Che

Che was a gangster and so is Castro and so was Mao and so is Cheney and so was Stalin and so is Mugabe and so was Hitler and so on and so on. It's always about one gang grabbing the loot and another gang trying to get their hands on it. It's been that way from the beginning of time to exploring space. In ancient Egypt, the gangsters put their faces on medallions and made money. Today it's t-shirts. If Che were alive today he'd have his own talk show.

Tom Sonczak

read Les Marcott's article

Stumbling Stones - that soccer team

I think it might be interesting to clarify some things about that soccer team and your perception of it. I understand their appearance and bearing must be frightening or enstranging. I feel the same about being on a train with a load of soccer fans as well. But despite the brown shirts and skulls on the shirts, these were fans of the most leftist soccer team in Germany. They only play in the second league but they are famous for being rather far on the left bordering anarchy. The skull represents a connection to piracy and not bending to the rules of the former middle-class smugness and rules of the hanseatic city. If they play against teams like "'Hansa Rostock" whose fans are known to be often neo-nazis, fans of the soccer team you saw gather for big street fights to get those people out of Hamburg. I am sorry if my English is not good enough to really explain what I'm trying to say. I guess I just hope to clarify that sometimes those first impressions of hostility might turn out to quite something different. Those people couldn't have been further away from those they reminded you of. And sometimes the staring at somebody who watches the stumbling-stones is not hostility or seeing a "Nestbeschmutzer". But if I would see somebody pausing and contemplating to take pictures of the house, I would ask myself if you might be a relative of those who lived there. Or a tourist condemning those now living there, because they "took away" what did not belong to them. I would feel uncertain how to behave towards you. I would also feel ashamed a bit. But I am quite certain that most people would not think of you as a Nestbeschmutzer. And at least the people of my age (in my twenties) think that the Stolpersteine are a great project that helps us to remember. I too wonder who would have gone to school with me if the Holocaust hadn't happened? Did I miss a friend? What is missing from our culture? How did Christmas/Hanukah look before the Holocaust? Were there chandeliers in the windows? Were there not only Christmas songs heard through the closed windows on Christmas eve, but also different tunes? Just some thoughts and I hope I could convey what I tried to say here.

Sabrina S.

read Renate Stendhal's article

One Tramp in Dirt Time

As a fellow writer for Scene4 Magazine I always found Nathan Thomas' articles pleasing and to the point. "One Tramp in Dirt Time" was especially direct and touchingly straightforward in its insights regarding big time corporation abuse of democracy. Thanks Nathan.

Ned Bobkoff

read Nathan Thomas' article

Why Conservatives Should Fear the Market

Michael Bettencourt's essay, "Why Conservatives Should Fear the Market," is painfully insightful and true. It points up the dirty little secret of the past 30 years: that so-called "Reagan conservatives," with their devotion to "trickle-down economics," are in fact as fanatically revolutionary as any Leninite. And, as it turns out, their dogma has been just about as beneficial to the common folk as Bolshevism. Our current state of growing poverty, unemployment and community dislocation is, in its own way, a Gulag.

Miles David Moore

read Michael Bettencourt's column

Mein Kampf vs Notre Combat

I have not seen the exhibition but Renate Stendhal's story about it is very revealing and the pictures are mind-boggling and at the same time exasperating. I am not sure that this an answer to the problem of the legacy of the Nazis and that horrendous book. I don't know what the answer is. The book exists and in the spirit of "never again" it is very important that it is never forgotten, yet it is more than a ghost as we see today in the world around us. How do you smell and taste poison without drinking it? Maybe with comedy. But even Mel Brooks and others couldn't hide the awful taste. How to forget without remembering! Praise to Linda Ellia and Renate Stendhal and Scene4.

Aaron Wildau

read Renate Stendhal's article

Apologist for the Unapologetic

Ditto, ditto and ditto, Les. The Great Ball of Fire is my hero. Tiger's got a bad neck because of all his bending down. Jerry stands up straight as his finger. You nailed it, man. Thanks.

Til Unger

read Les Marcott's column

Mein Kampf vs. Notre Combat (Our Struggle)

Thank you for your comment! It's much appreciated. I fully agree with you that there is no answer but I would add that this is because there are a zillion answers to a question as large and complex as this one!

Renate Stendhal

read Renate Stendhal's article

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

Eeyores Existentially Speaking

You are a bit of an Eeyore with a touch of Heffalump thrown in. Very enjoyable essay. Looking forward to part 2.

Martin

read Michael Bettencourt's column

The Inheritance

Elliot--whoa! And whoo and argh! This goes in my will about 'things to come.' You're a sober devil, Elliot, I'd hate to see you stoned.

Sid B.

read Elliot Feldman's comic

Salads and Kings

Besides the "yummy" factor, this is a great example of what happens when a government invests in its people. Despite all the trouble in Thailand lately the country is still lucky to have such a smart and caring King.

Kathy Berge (UK)

read Janine Yasovant's article

Nixon in China

Lovely, lovely, lovely. I am sorry I missed the theater broadcast. But it's almost like being there, reading your review. I wonder if the opening night audience left their politics home. And your comment- "a fishing trip, an opportunity to see what will be pulled out of the water or thin air?" They sure pulled a big and important one out of thin air,didn't they.

Melanie Mansmin

read Karren Alenier's review

Nixon in China

What's next-"Bush in Iraq"?

Sam D.

read Karren Alenier's review

Hope in Havana

Thank you Catherine Conway Honig for an inspiring view of hope that is alive and well in Cuba.

Marta Mediz Siverman

read Catherine Conway Honig's article

So long, Glenn Beck!

Its amazing that Glenn Beck managed to survive as a "commentator" as long as he did. Certainly intelligent Conservative opinion is a necessity in our complex political world. As an old fashioned "flaming liberal" I welcome honestly complex debate. But where are the representatives of sharp tongued working people debating with the official commentators on TV? The Big Time Backers on all sides won't give up an inch of their privileged positions!

Ned Bobkoff

Copy Rights and Epubs

Okay... let me ask you this. Can I rewrite some of your dialogue, here and there? Can I delete some of your dialogue and add mine instead? Can I rewrite most of the play and put my name on it, maybe with a tinge-of-guilt disclaimer that this is " based in part on a play by M. Bettencourt"? Can I copy your website and substitute my name for yours?

Arthur Meiselman

read Michael Bettencourt's article

Copy Rights and Epubs

You still have controls over your work and permissions to others to use it.  As it says on CC website about this license:
 
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to "copyleft" free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
 
A Creative Commons license is based on copyright. CC licenses apply to works that are protected by copyright law. The kinds of works that are protected by copyright law are books, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, songs and other audio & visual recordings, for example. Software programs are also protected by copyright but, as explained below, we do not recommend that you apply a Creative Commons license to software code.
 
Creative Commons licenses give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rights--such as the right of others to copy your work, make derivative works or adaptations of your work, to distribute your work and/or make money from your work. They do not give you the ability to restrict anything that is otherwise permitted by exceptions or limitations to copyright--including, importantly, fair use or fair dealing--nor do they give you the ability to control anything that is not protected by copyright law, such as facts and ideas.
 
We'll see how it works.

Michael Bettencourt

read Michael Bettencourt's article

Copy Rights and Epubs

The commanding operative is: "We'll see how it works."

As I'm sure you're well aware... put it on the internet, make it downloadable, and there is no license!

The mechanics of all of this doesn't trouble me. Disrespect, misuse, and outright stealing has been a fact of publishing since before Gutenberg. It's the principle... it's the implication of "work by committee". And in the theatre, it's the 'facebook' of workshopping and the rise of the chief 'tweeter", the Dramaturg.

My pre-luddite stride is--I write for readers and the actors and their audience. Change not a word without me. I'd rather burn it.

Arthur Meiselman

read Michael Bettencourt's article

Copy Rights and Epubs

You had me at the "chief tweeter, the dramaturg" -- I was at a reading the other night at the Public Theatre, and the literary manager came out to introduce the piece -- she had to be older than 18, but not by much, and all I could think was, "I'm screwed."  She and I live in different universes, she of the Facebook workshop, which is not for me.  I understand the Luddite feeling completely.

Michael Bettencourt

read Michael Bettencourt's article

Copy Rights and Epubs

Michael,
I understand the necessity and depth of your feeling regarding copyrights of your work, yet your offer to let people use your work whenever they want to without financial remittance, is a giveaway that works against your own best interests. Passing around your work to theater people you know, or even those you don't know out of trust or admiration is one thing. Yet an open door policy for all comers sets you up as either a flunky or a desperate writer without credibility. I wish you the best in your efforts for recognition.

Ned Bobkoff

read Michael Bettencourt's article

The paradox of two Steins

The problem is that Edith Stein died and Gertrude Stein hasn't. Edith Stein was a "saint" before the Poppa in Rome made her one. She was a special woman who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Her "specialness" is what makes her amazing and perplexing life and what she did with it so important, so meaningful. She has been an influence to women everywhere even though so many of them are unaware of it.
Gertrude Stein was in the right place at the right time. She was a mean, self-indulgent keeper and user of other artists work, an accomplished self-promoter who sold her clumsy, deconstructed writing as if she were the scribe of the gods. Today generations of buyers revel in her self-made image and keep her alive. It's a paradox.

Stephanie Anschel

read Renate Stendhal's article and Celine Nally's play

Copy Rights and Epubs

Luddites unite! All you have to lose is your place in a digitized world!

Laird

read Michael Bettencourt'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

Eeyore as Seer

Hey Kathi, I'll take the wisdom of Eeyore like "We can look for the North Pole, or we can play 'Here we go gathering Nuts in May'" over that of Michele Bachman who said, "We are running out of rich people in this country." She doesn't know her geography, history, science, sociology, demographics, and so how could anyone expect her to understand why gayness can't be prayed away. Pity that poor politician who thinks America is running out of millionaires. I'm lighting a candle for your birthday cake, close your eyes, and make a wish. Then let's go to the North Pole. We have too many nuts in May already!

Karren Alenier

read Kathi Wolfe'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

Balazs Szabo

Balazs Szabo is a great man and a great artist and a great example of how art flourishes when artists are free and people are free to experience their art. Thank you for portraying that and him.

George Draco

read Les Marcott's column

Gotterdammerung For American Poetry

As usual, David Alpaugh articulates with absolutely unfailing accuracy the problems facing poetry in America. Someday, everyone writing PhDs about the history of American poetry will be referencing his beautifully-written essays.

Judith Offer

read David Alpaugh's article

Götterdämmerung for American Poetry

Loved this article. Thought provoking and vigorous in its bite! I love the idea of a poetry revolution. Perhaps it will be the poets who help us navigate the complicated world in which we find ourselves. This isn't the first time that the end of poetry has been announced. I'm writing a biography about Ina Coolbrith, California's first poet laureate (and America's first state laureate). In the book is a scene (built on a newspaper article) where a group of California poets are discussing the state of poetry at the end of the 19th century. Writer Adeline Knapp says that all the great poems have already been written. "Our poets strive after the weird, the grotesque, the uncouth in their agonies at what they are wont to call their self-revelations, but which are rarely more than painful exposures of their cranial caverns." The rest of the group branded her a heretic, but she continued anyway. Referring to the revolution of free verse, she said, "Look over the field of modern poetry and say what sane man can tell what our poets are driving at. They talk about 'lewd stars' and 'mounting waves.' They tear the language from limb to limb in their efforts to express what is inexpressible, unexistent. They give us words, words, words, wrenched from their natural meanings, and arranged in all sorts of unnatural forms." She believed that prose would better serve the new century. Poet Edwin Markham countered, ""Poetry will exist so long as the world exists. Prose cannot express all that there is to be expressed. We need poetry to express that fleeting, elusive song of life that is as real as anything in life." He also said something else that I love: "Like some airy and invisible architect, [poetry] shapes character. The poet in his highest aspect may be considered a seer." Could that be the face of a new revolution? According to Alpaugh, we may soon find out.

Aleta George

read David Alpaugh's article

Poetry on Stage--No End of the World Opera

I love the trouble David Alpaugh is stirring up for the future of American poetry and how he frames this discussion with opera. I was pretty disturbed this past week when I started reading my copy of Poet & Writers magazine which is focused on MFA programs. And, yes, this is not a new subject about how too many people are being churned through these programs with degrees that for the most part are meaningless. Just for the record, the Steiny Road Poet does not have an MFA and has never seriously considered getting one. Supposedly these degrees are for people who want to teach or scale that rickety ladder of publishing success. This poet has done and led her share of poetry workshops on the inside and outside of universities to know they can be done anywhere and some have good value but at the end of a university program, what does the degree get -- a certified poet? What does this mean? However, what bothers me about Mr. Alpaugh's fine essay is what is missing. He has the older end of the poets' world covered but not the younger side which includes the controversial language poets led by such older poets as John Ashberry. Like the work of Gertrude Stein, too many people discount the work of language poets. Sure, there is a lot of so-called language poetry that is uninteresting, and this poet thinks that the MFA programs contribute to that, but just like any art form, the more you immerse yourself, the better you can judge the new stuff. So bring on the poetry theater -- there is no end of the world coming for poetry as long as we keep those sharp pencils moving.

Karren Alenier

read David Alpaugh's article

David Alpaugh

This is a wonderful look BACK at poetry lane. And the points made on mass production of poets is a common one these days. What is not accounted for is the POETRY REVOLUTION from the CULTURAL REVOLUTION (STILL GOING ON) that not only gave us the BEATS but women, blacks, gays, minorities -- those whose voices had been oppressed for so long they were like diamonds coming from the earth. These voices still vitalize the American scene. We should check out the work of MFA poets and separate the good ones from the mediocre, for having gone to writing college does not necessarily make one an awful poet. Rita Dove came out of Iowa. Not mentioned also is the way publishers curried poets in the mid century. Not so much today. This is a very interesting article and read with respect. Grace Cavalieri: Producer "The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress." (check out the stunning poets on our website.) Thanks!

Grace Cavalieri

read David Alpaugh's article
-----------------------------------------
A clarification: As I said above - "Going to a writing college does not
necessarily make one an awful poet."
QUITE THE OPPOSITE: "Rita Dove came out of Iowa." Some of our most important contributors to poetry have education from writing programs. In fairness, this should be said.

Gotterdammerung for American Poetry?

David Alpaugh's article sniffs at the heels of the Poetry Dilemma. Because the Poetry Machine in the United States has become so huge, it has become outrageously controlling. Only poets approved by the Poetry Machine receive any national coverage. The issue of actual quality in poetry is ignored or unknown.

Marvin R. Hiemstra

read David Alpaugh's article

Balazs Szabo

Szabo is an inspiration. Hope his dream of an artistic community in Hillsboro, NC is realized soon.

Skip Holmgren

read Les Marcott's column

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

David Alpaugh

Many thanks to Scene4 for bringing us the eminently sensible, wise and salutary poetry columns of David Alpaugh. I find myself in almost total agreement with everything he says about poetry and the current poetry scene. Above all I agree with what he says in his current column: that poetry is an art, not identical but closely allied to song, that is meant to enchant and enlighten us. It is not supposed to be a credit on a resume, or a sacred mystery to be guarded zealously by the few hundred keepers of the flame.

Alpaugh's latest column reminded me of an argument I had a few years ago with two poet friends. I argued that a poem should reveal something of itself, but not all, on first reading; they insisted that a poem must be absolutely opaque the first five or six times you read it, and that anything less was a sacrilege.

Needless to say, these same friends regard the name "Billy Collins" as being in the same class as "Paris Hilton." The real tragedy is that my friends--whatever our differences in esthetics--are no more of the academy than I am. How deeply the poets have drunk of the Kool-Aid!

Miles David Moore

read David Alpaugh'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 Obscene Critic

Karren Alenier's article on the Washington Post's obscene review of Gertrude Stein and the exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. brilliantly analyzes one particular case of openly declared "hatred" for Stein. This sort of hatred has followed Stein from the moment she began to publish, in the early twentieth century, but it is worth noting the context that gave rise to this "indecent exposure" in a serious newspaper like the Washington Post. Stein's present renaissance with two epochal traveling exhibitions has brought out people like critic Phil Kennicott who, as Alenier reminds us, assigns himself, a "seat in the corner with the Stein haters that include 'the worst sort of critics--anti-Semites, misogynists, homophobes and philistines.'" It is worth noticing that Stein's old enemies found new fodder and an academic seal of approval for their attacks in Barbara Will's book, Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ and the Vichy Dilemma (2011). The inflammatory book fed into the Stein controversy that was triggered by the exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, linked to the question how Stein and Toklas had managed to survive in Nazi-occupied France. Will's speculations about the "true Stein" and her alleged "collaboration" with a fascist friend and fascist regime unleashed a cultural hysteria, a sort of license to kill that took over the media and blogosphere. I have no doubt that this cultural atmosphere provided the justification for the Washington Post to publish the infamous article. Will camouflages the fact that her book is in fact about Bernard Faÿ, an intellectual friend of Steins's from the twenties, a once respected historian and author who during the war became a Gestapo informer and persecutor of the Freemasons in France. Hardly anybody today would care about Bernard Faÿ and his twisted fate as a condemned collaborator who was ultimately pardoned by French President Mitterand. Gertrude Stein is being used to create a story that pretends to be sensationalist news when the facts and allegations have already been published and rehashed numerous times, most recently by Janet Malcolm in Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice (2007).

Continue reading "The Obscene Critic" »

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

Comments on Gertrude Stein Continued

Karren Alenier is a much cherished part of the Steinista tribe, indeed, and we agree quite happily to disagree. We all have a blind eye somewhere and Stein herself was the first to admit her political stupidity and inexperience: "Writers are not really interested in politics..." etc. To be on the record, this was the point of my detailed article in the Los Angles Review of Books, Was Gertrude Stein A Collaborator? (In a shorter version - Exclusive: Was Gertrude Stein A Hitler Fan?

An academic like Catharine R. Stimpson has begun to see Will's book with different eyes, as I was privileged to hear from herself. Others, like the great Stein expert Marjorie Perloff, have never been taken in. If you want a non-sensationalist account of Stein's war years, I refer you to the book by Dominique Saint Pierre, "Gertrude Stein, le Bugey, la guerre" -- an impeccable study by an historian, devoid of the inflated speculations in Barbara Will's book.

Renate Stendhal

Political Theologies

Mr. Bettencourt, it seems to me that the United States is rushing away from its inherent historical freedoms and grasping at religious answers and social conscious answers as you describe. Moving, as it is, into the rigidities and conservative fear mongering of so many other nations such as Great Britain and the Mid-East it has tried so long to avoid. It is indeed a shame to see.

A.S. Waterson

read Michael Bettencourt's column

Dead Dog

Hilarious ain't the word, Les. I couldn't stop laughing, man. It's like right out of a Reality Show. And can I relate to it. Hey, I wish I had this speech a couple of years ago in Spokane. Same deal, same situation, same crazy. You nailed it, brother!

T.J. Michael

read Les Marcott's monologue

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

Kerouac

The last thing I ever thought was that Kerouac was a writer. A scribbler, yes, but hardly a writer. And goodbye to all the Beat so-called writers and the whole time. It's long gone and should stay that way-one of the greyest, dullest periods in recent history.

RJ

read Griselda Steiner's 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

Authoritarian Musicals

A couple of points--there was a rise of the kind of musical theatre that you and Barker seem to endorse alongside the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1920's and 1930's, a glorious and provocative rise of the form that attracted large audiences along with the marvelous Voksbuhne (People's Theatre) in Berlin. If it hadn't been exterminated by the Nazis, the musical theatre in the post-war U.S. would have been markedly different even for Agnes deMille and her groundbreaking "Oklahoma!"

Your citing of Sondheim--a second-rate composer and second-rate lyricist who egged his way into the vacuum left by the demise of Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins. His success and popularity is a stinging example of what happens when the press adulates and creates an idol, just like Lady Gaga.

Michael Aptrow

read Michael Bettencourt'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

Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd anyone? What's the thinking or does it just pass on into the daily mush of politics?

Michael Aptrow

read the earlier post

Les Marcott on Madison Cooper

Les Marcott's article on Madison Cooper captures perfectly the flaws and the genius of Waco's most colorful son. Cooper, a remarkably unique individual, skillfully created characters so alive that Waco's residents were convinced they knew the actual people he described. This earned Cooper disdain and dislike. Whether this mattered much to Cooper is unknown; what is known is that Cooper lived his life according to his own rules. His philanthropy to Waco is well-known, but his legacy is much greater than that. Why Sironia, Texas has not been turned into a successful TV mini-series is a mystery. Bravo, Les, for a fine job!

Rosemary Petzold

read Les Marcott's article

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

She Writes

A man's sex is not the man. It is whomever or whatever he is involved with, woman or man or whatever. Vexing as it is, I love your poem.

Margo

read Selena Zachai's poetry

Button, Button

Who's got the button? Elliot--this is more than sad, it's laughter smack in the face of pain. never thought I could laugh so hard watching old age totally blast someone. Don't stop.

Jack

see Elliot Feldman's latest comic

A Man's Sex

This is a little gem, this poem. Between tubular protuberance and rift she says it all in so few words.

Sylvia Rathold

read Selena Zachai's poetry

Captain America

A Fever Dream is just that, a dream of fever. In this case it comes from a country founded on the blood of indigenous people, with an economy created on the backs of slaves, and perpetuated by that judeo-christian nightmare called Manifest destiny. We have what we have earned and deserve, don't you thinK?

Michael Aptrow

read Michael Bettencourt's column

La Marquise du Chatalet

Outstanding review of an outstanding woman. Thanks for encapsulating the facts and giving us a view.

Marti Bensinger

read Catherine Conway Honig's review

Arthur Meiselman

One of Arthur Meiselman's funny, brilliant cultural commentaries. The "aenglish elbow" says it all and the examples are hilarious.  Aenglish uber alles, "girdling" the world with LOL eloquence. Added edge of perhaps intentional irony: the pretty Asian Talk Girls that partly girdle the article, blinking at the reader with their online readiness to engage...in what? Aenglish, for sure. 

Renate Stendhal

read Arthur Meiselman's commentary

What's in the bag?

What's in the bag? That's the million-dog question. People want what they cannot see. I remember on "Let's Make a Deal" you could pick a door, or maybe, a bag on a stand sitting beside you. What do you do? Pick the big door, or the little bag. Like I said, it's the million-dollar question. I love articles that make me think and this is a doozy. 

Kenny

read Les Marcott's monologue

What's in the Bag~Les Marcott

Les, I guess you'd have to say, "It's all in the bag", right?

Kenneth Sibbett

read Les Marcott's monologue

Christopher Blake

History unfolding HERE and NOW!

Grace Cavalieri

read Karren Alenier's column

Stumbling Stones

I first saw the stones this summer on a river cruise on the Danube and Rhine. I later read an article in National Geographic.  What a touching memorable memorial to the victims of Nazi terrorism. Thank you.

John Keane

read Renate Stendhal's article

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

Things About Things

Nice writing. Good story. But why the tease? We all know what the "thing" is. And we all know what the "thing" isn't. You tell us "imagine that". We do. What you don't tell us is what you imagine. It must be mindblowing. Imagine that.

Bill Appledorf

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Breakfast with Feldman

Hey Elliot, did your Old Man really eat "scrambled cow brains and eggs?" No wonder he went coo-coo. Like always, funny, funny cartoon.

Sam

see Elliot Feldman's comic

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

Right Wing Folk Music

Thanks to Les Marcott for his column on right-wing folk singers in the '60s. I remember Janet Greene very well in her role as Cinderella on Columbus, Ohio's Channel 6. I knew nothing of her extracurricular activities before Marcott told me. But, remembering the general run of political opinions in southern Ohio when I was growing up, I am not surprised. (I also remember Tony Dolan appearing on Dick Cavett's show. He didn't click with Dick, or with the audience.)

Miles David Moore

read Les Marcott'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

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

Stein's 'America'

Nice analysis. I wonder how she would have treated WWII and Vietnam and 9/11? I wonder if she were alive today, where she would live? I don't think in the U.S.

Phyllis Mazik

read Karren LaLonde Alenier's column

Jew In the Box

A fascinating story. The sense of futility is almost overwhelming, depressing until the end: the last line is shattering. How do we live with this? We probably don't.

Laird

read Arthur Meiselman's column

The Jew In The Box

Your take is an opportunistic reference to the current exhibit in Germany, but in a way it damns it. It says it's hopeless. I don't agree. The old diseased Germany is dying out and the new Germany has a new "immune" system that is ridding that culture of what you call the "poison." It's the children, man, the children, the young people who grow the hope.

Michael Aptrow

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Memorial?

Memorial? is very powerful women's writing. Like Richard Cory, it hits one between the eyes.

Adriana Quintero

read Harriet Halliday Renaud's story

Jew In the Box

What makes this story so disarming is its Salteresque style. The words flow and the images flow inside of them and around them. It seems to be a simple, passing story-image that's reminiscent of an espisode from Rod Serling's "Night Gallery." It's beautifully disarming and yet it contains, as I said in an earlier letter, a sense of futility that is almost overwhelming if it weren't for the ending and its shattering last line. I don't know if 'Bravo' is an appropriate kudo.

L. Laird

read Arthur Meiselman's column

Life After 60

Today's 60 is 50, and 50 is 40, and 40 is 30. So not to worry, you have 10 years to figure it out.

Carla de Luria

read Michael Bettencourt's column

Walking with Claudine

I so enjoy following Claudine around in her ever-changing comic and sad personae as actor, cook and "nammie". Her joy of life is spiced with a healthy cynicism like the good cook she is. Time for a reality show? If not in America how about in the U.K.?

Susan Swift Terrell

read Claudine Jones column

After Hurricane Sandy

This is more than a poem, it's a dream bordering on a nightmare with hope at its edges. Thanks to Kathi Wolfe for a unique and disturbing presence at a disaster that won't go away.

Michael Aptrow

read Kathi Wolfe's poem

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

History of Cats

Funny and sad at the same time. The cat, domestic or otherwise, is a historical creature of such mystery and intelligence. They will survive long beyond earthly people including the Vietnamese.

Laird

read Arthur Meiselman's article

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

Guns

Guns are fascinating and attractive pieces of machinery. Often from a design point of view they can be beautiful. But in the end, they are one thing and one thing only: machines that are created to kill. Forget about the sporting and target practice business, it is bullshit! Guns are a a man thing, often adopted as a woman thing but still as a man thing. The gun is a phallic extension that when fired, unlike the phallus, cannot be denied. A man has a penis, he wants to fire it at will. Men like to kill. Guns kill.

Michael Aptrow

read Michael Bettencourt's column

Guns

In response to this succinct and fine article, allow me to offer this, in 2 points:

1. Under Florida law, Zimmerman will get back the gun which he used to kill Trayvon Martin. My prayer: May that gun turn to a snake in his hand and climb the arm that holds it. Meanwhile, I mourn for our land that has shamed the word justice. 
 
2. Please follow this link for my deeper and fuller response, as i contemplate the "body politic" which continues to allow guns.  

In sadness,and with what small hope we may have,

Margo Berdeshevsky

read Michael Bettencourt's column

Guns

If guns are just for killing then the only answer is ban all guns everywhere and that includes the military. That would be supremely desirable and impossible. Should we ban fertilizer because it is now easily obtained and used for bombs large and small? The only answer is to to change the paradigm of problem solving, change the way people solve problems to a totally non-violent behavior. Now how do we do that I ask you?

Petter Wellen

read Michael Bettencourt's column

History of Cats

I enjoyed your cat history even as it is tongue-in-cheek a lot of it is very true. I always had cats because I prefer them to dogs. I laughed so hard when you said that cats think dogs and people are the same species. It's true. And what is it with people who keep snakes and spiders as pets? They must be sick. These kind of pets should be banned.

Randy Strick

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Guns

I don't own a gun. I've never fired a gun. And I agree: their primary purpose is to kill. Yet they have another purpose, which is why I don't think they should be banned: in the hands of everyday citizens they are a deterrent, a protection against bad people and bad governments. Ownership of guns is in fact protected by the United States constitution. However, I do believe, strongly, that all hunting should be banned. Killing animals for food is bad enough. Killing for sport is obscene.

Marnie Osburn

read Michael Bettencourt's column

Affirmative Action

As much as I understand the wherefore of Affirmative Action, Mr. Bettencourt's analysis and portrayal of his own experience are well taken. Correct me if I am wrong, I believe that the United States is the only nation that is concerned with educational diversity and has historically engaged in action to implement it.

A.S. Waterson

read Michael Bettencourt's column

World Trade Center

Thank you to Griselda Steiner for her tribute to 9-11. It is a "day of Infamy" that must never be forgotten.

M. Schnee

read Griselda Steiner's poem

Racism Is Thoughtless

Karren LaLonde Alenier writes an excellent review of the film "Hannah Arendt" and closes it with a rather stirring statement at the end. Though Alenier highlights in her comparison of Arendt and Gertrude Stein that both of them were, in one sense, dismissive of anti-semitism she isn't clear about the fact that antisemitism is racism and "racism is thoughtless." It's a poison in the blood and a disease of the bones. If this weren't true then how can we account for the color-driven (especially black and red) hatred in the United States, where someone just looks at a skin color or the shape of a face and is driven to say and do evil things. It's more than that. Racism is part of a heritage. The Nazis weren't alone, they were surrounded by millions of complicit Germans who felt and exhibited what had been part of Germanic culture for centuries and for that matter the rest of Europe as well. Eichmann may have been a banal bureaucrat, but he was also a "pure" German, a "pure" racist and his racism required no thinking.

Kurt Trautmann

read Karren LaLonde Alenier's review

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

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

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

Mika Oklop

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

Peter Amslik

Mika Oklop is a gem, polished and unpolished.

P. Noonan

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

Baka

read Lissa Tyler Renaud's article

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

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

Ned Bobkoff

read Arthur Meiselman's column

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

Thai Arts - Pitchit Paidan

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

Saa Phungdorkmai

read Janine Yasovant's review

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

Kathi Wolfe

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

Grace Cavalieri

read Kathi Wolfe's article

Yeats and Politics

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

Timothy Predom

read Patrick Walsh's article

Right to the Heart

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

Sid Siegal

view Elltiot Feldman's cartoon

Arts&Politics

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

Lou Laird

see Arts&Politics-the January Special Issue

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

On Lawrence

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

Thomas M. Donaldson

read Patrick Walsh's column

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

Postcards from NOLA

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

Richard Venoitre

view Jon Rendell's photography

Lawrence

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

Michael Aptrow

read Patrick Walsh's column

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

Arts&Gender

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

Rachel Tyler Dormath

read Michael Bettencourt's article

Gender?

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

Petra Dischban

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

Jon Rendell's Humor

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

Mark Moore

view Jon Rendell's photography

re: Yeats and Politics

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

Everett Brody

read the prior letter
read Patrick Walsh's article

Not so modest

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

Michael Aptrow

read Arthur Meiselman's article

Neuroself or is it Selfneurosis?

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

Sasha Lauren

read Michael Bettencourt's column

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

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 

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

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

War and Peace

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

Louis Laird

read Michael Bettencourt's column

On this Stein, you have built

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

Hans Gallas

read Karren Alenier's article

Gertrude Stein, right-wing intellectual...

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

Mike Ballard

read Karren Alenier's article

The Death Penalty

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

Barry Hazellof

read Miles David Moore's article

Sometimes Moral Rightness Can Kill You

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

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

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

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

Karren Alenier

read Karren Alenier's article

Convicts and Cons

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

Kenneth Sibbett

read Les Marcott's article

Belly of the Beast

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

Ben Straithorne

read Les Marcott's article

George Carlin

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

Brother Bone

view Elliot Feldman's cartoon

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

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

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

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

My Choice Too, Holy Rollercoaster

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

Tony Greer

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

A Fly on the Wall

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

Kenneth Sibbett

Les Marcott's column: "Watergate Remembered"

How Now Copyright?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Bettencourt


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

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

Arthur Meiselman

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

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

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

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"

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..."

Pro-99 Status Quo supporters are misguided

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

Lia Beachy

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

The man with the hammer

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

Everett Bradesly

Michael Bettencourt's column: "Viral"

The Be in 'Not to Be'

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

Sandor Heuritz

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

Holocaust Terror

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

Harriet Sherman

Arthur Meiselman's column: Second Reunion

Celine Nally's play: Into the Light

Stan Freberg

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

Ari Kaufman

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

Naked Clothing

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

Bevly Meerasch

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

Jenner and Stein

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

Grace Cavalieri

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

Stein, Jenner and Vanity Fair

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

Hans Gallas

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

Link 'Tween Stein Jenner Vanity Fair

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

Karren Alenier

See prior letter

Caitlyn Jenner

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

DD

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

The More Things Change...

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

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

Regina Howe

Foggy Frisco

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

Piri Ascherman

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

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"

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"

Warfare Indeed

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

Hans Stefner

Nathan Thomas' column: "Trench Warfare"

Je Suis Elliot

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

M. Bevin

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

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"

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..."

Off To Work

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

Michael Aptrow

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

Sarah Palin's House

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

Sid Siegal

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

Passing Stones, Passing Thoughts

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

Maurice Blanc

Michael Bettencourt's column: Passing Stones, Passing Thoughts

On The Beach

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

Michael Aptrow

read Arthur Meiselman's column: On The Beach

The N-Word

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

Grace Cavalieri

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

The N-Word

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

Kelly Cherry

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

Trumpelstiltskin

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

Sid Siegal

Elliot Feldman's cartoon: Trumpelstitskin

Who We Were and Still Are

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

M. Aptrow

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article

Legacies

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

Michael. Aptrow

A Stein Acolyte Delivers a Cautionary Tale

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

Teri Rife

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

Inbox Zero

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

Nelda Mandel-Rizick

Michael Bettencourt's column: "Inbox Zero"

Citizen Trump

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

trump-Kane.jpg

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

Martin Greenman

Elliot Feldman Is Good

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

Dan Philips

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

The Wafer

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

Louis Laird

Arthur Meiselman's play: The Wafer

The Wafer

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

Michael Aptrow

Arthur Meiselman's play: The Wafer

Watson Heston

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

Mia Bremstern

Michael Bettencourt's column: Watson Heston

Bad Hair Day

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

M. Bevin

Elliot Feldman's Cartoon: Bad Hair Day

Hillary: The Movie

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

Piri Ascherman

Arthur Meiselman's column: Hillary In The Movies

The Charioteer

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

Itsi Atkins

Griselda Steiner's poem: The Charioteer
 

On The Beach

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

Sandeep Girish Bhatnagar

Arthur Meiselman's column: On The Beach

Red Emma

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

Emily Osterman

Karren Alenier's column: Red Emma

Jane Eyre

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

Lou Laird

Arthur Meiselman's column: Bits&Pieces

Hello and not Goodbye

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

Lou Laird

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

Quotes from Gertrude Stein

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

Teri Rife

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

All about life and death

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

Michael Aptrow

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

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?

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

About Politics and Issues

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

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