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25th Year of Publication

July 2024

Letters  Scribe1-cr  

Gatsby On Steroids
Moore's review of the end (finally) of Succession is another one of his incisive, and thought-provoking reviews. Reads like a fable. He sums it all up beautifully with Roman's last words: "It's all bullshit. We're bullshit."
Lou Laird
Miles David Moore's review: Gatsby On Steroids

Tuna For All
I too am a tuna devotee and I was certainly a "Charlie" fan. Les Marcott describes that devotion poignantly. The worry, of course, is that with the pollution and over-fishing of our oceans, we may see it all disappear. I wonder if they can breed this fish in captivity like they do the salmon?
Marian Demroth
Les Marcott's column: Tuna

Beautiful Photographs

This month's Scene4 knocked me over. I was blown away by the beautiful photographs by photojournalist, Jon Rendell. I loved all of the photos. The articles in this issue were also amazing. Thank you for making me smile today. 
This Issue

Sophie Sings
Bless you for the memory of the "Outrageous Sophie". She was considered one of the greatest entertainers of her time. And it's fascinating how you used that as a background for the man-to-man conversation, a brave depiction in this time of Political Correctness. I must admit that the brief story is somewhat of a mystery. I had to read it a couple of times to decipher it.
Philip Goldmeyer
Arthur Danin Adler's column: Some of These Days

The Rooks at Tara
An enthralling piece of prose. Patrick's juxtaposition of Tara's legendary lore with the eerie nothingness of modern day Meath County makes for a truly arresting read. I am reminded of my first encounter with Ozymandias--and, of course, of Hendrix. It makes me want to visit this historic site one day.
I highly recommend a read.
Kyle Strouse
Patrick Walsh's column: The Rooks at Tara

All Hope Is Lost
Dear Les Marcott, you’ve dashed my last bubble of hope. You’ve squelched the laughter in my throat and the smile on my lips. I know that bubbles of hope are bursting everywhere yet one has stayed with me, played with me, my last hero: Santa Claus. He (or She) and their elves always bring joy as I wait for them to come down my chiminey on Xmas eve. Even though I never see them come (I don’t have a fireplace!), I know they’re thinking about me. Why are you trying to squelch my fun? Actually, your Santa Claus Monologues are wonderful and full of fun. I’ll take that as a substitute.
Ricki (Roberta) Cohen
Les Marcott’s column: Santa Claus Monologues

The Banshees of Inisherin
It's obvious that Ms Alenier doesn't like this film and in my opinion doesn't understand it either. The brilliant performances by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson echo their hand-in-hand brilliance in In Bruges (which was honored by BAFTA for its screenplay and many other accolades). Banshees creator is Michael McDonagh who is revered as a playwright and makes few films among which is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (which was honered with a trove of Oscars, BAFTAs.) As with those films, it is the writing that drives Banshees, along with the depth of McDonagh's direction and the coherent ensemble of actors. The nuances and entendres of this film are woven into a visual fabric that covers the eyes of the viewer and their mind. Some are subtle, some are not. They are all within grasp. Ms Alenier's effort to draw a moral comparison with Gertrude Stein is not only misguided, she misses the heart of the film. She says she is disturbed by the film and concludes that she "would never cut off a body part to convince a bothersome friend." Please. that's not what Banshees is about. I can only urge her to look and listen again.
Leslie Potteral
Karren Alenier's review: The Artists Who Ignore Their Own Banshees

Let's Get Out of California
Silva is obviously in trouble. This is a whoopee-cushion of a story and he writes it with a razor-sharp pen as if he’s rolling around in the USA and not in whoopee Brazil. I suspect he is is indeed in Brazil. I'd love to read something like: Let's Get Out of Brazil!
Lou Laird
Altenir Silva's story: Let's Get Out of California

Literary Landmarks
Thank you for an historical glimpse of writers with Maine roots. Appreciate the significance and contributions of these writers and your view of them.
Jim Saindon
Carla Maria Verdino-Sullwold's series: Part 3: Literary Landmarks

Racism and Greed
The MLB is and ain't what it used to be. The diversity of players is wonderful. Their salaries are preposterous and the clubs' profits are like everything else today, unreal. You said it all! Thanks.
Ben Livick
Patrick Walsh's column: A Legacy of Racism, A Stratagem of Greed

A Radical Man
Another imaginative and stinging kernel for a film. I hope you're working on the screenplay. It would make a doozy of a story.
Lou Laird
Altenir Silva's script: Man With A Shoe In His Hand

Fading Away

Edward Hopper and Donald Justice are part of an America that is now fading away into chaos and disorientation. It is important to visit with them to understand the meaning of “Americana” which is a word that can no longer be applied to the dream and hope of this country. Luce serves us well by focusing on them.
Miriam Donoghue
Gregory Luce’s column: Edward Hopper and the Tourist From Syracuse

"Immersive Frida Kahlo" in San Francisco
Renate Stendhal's informed critique of the most recent in an increasingly long lineage of lucrative immersive artist phenomena was a refreshing breath of air. She astutely describes and deconstructs the presentation, confirming my suspicions and allowing me to resolutely stay home. Many thanks, Renate!

Jim Van Buskirk

    Absolutely agree. Her review is point blank and point on. That’s because she is an elegant writer and, as you say, an asute one.
    Lou Laird

Renate Stendhal's Article: "Immersive Frida Kahlo" in San Francisco

Mid-Century Modern
I have to agree with Mr. Moore's preference for Goulding's Nightmare Alley. Though I admire Guillermo del Toro very much, his version misses the scathing film noir of Goulding's 1947 film. Bradley Cooper is a fine actor but he isn't Tyrone Power, who was one of the most beautiful men in Hollywood. It is that beauty laced with noir that makes Goulding's film so powerfully haunting. As for Sorkin's Being the Ricardos, it is terribly miscast. Bardem completely misses the portrayal of Desi and Kidman is not Lucy! Sorkin needs to focus on his writing. He is a one-pony director and not a filmmaker J.F. Sindler
Miles David Moore's review: Mid-Century Modern 

Delight and Deep Thinking
Every time I read an article by Karren Alenier I am transported - another world opens up to me. Delight draws me - there is nothing like good writing! And it inspires. I enter the world of her stories - and then ask: What are my values? How do I see? What filters am I peering through? It is delight and deep thinking which calls me deeper.
Ursula Daniels
Karren Alenier's column: The Stories We Tell About Slavery & Racism

West Side Story
The problem is that Spielberg is so mundane. Yes, he became a respected craftsman of money-making movies for the masses and yes, he is a successful/extremely profitable producer/director and yes, he gave us "woke" entertainment in his version of West Side Story. What he didn't give us was Bernstein and Robbins. Either he doesn't understand what Bernstien/Robbins were creating (forget Sondheim, he was irrelevant to the beauty of this work), or Steven was listening to and chasing the box-office bucks. As a director, he is without vision and adverse to taking risks. Mundane, yes, a Hollywood power broker, yes, a master filmmaker, no!
Lou Laird

    Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's comparison-review of the two film versions of West Side Story is a marvel. Verdino-Süllwold not only knows her theater and film; she also knows the neighborhoods where the two films were shot, and this gives her evaluation of the films an authenticity lacking in other reviews. Verdino-Süllwold's articles are a prime example of why Scene4 is one of the best arts magazines today.
    Miles David Moore

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's review: A Tale of Two West Side Stories

Me and Marie
Thank you for your article regarding Marie Laurencin and her relationship with Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso. I truly believe she is an artistic force that has been virtually ignored. Why? I do not know. I have spent years researching her and have gotten used to the blank stares that greet me when her name is mentioned. She designed costumes for the Ballet Russe, collaborated with both Andre Grolt and Pierre Poiret producing home decor and had an entire museum in Japan dedicated to her work. Coco Chanel commissioned a portrait, but hated it Was she shunned because she was a lesbian? Hmmm. I prefer to believe she is a diamond, hidden from view. Your article has cracked the door into her life and I say thank you!
Kerrie White Loya
Karren Alenier's article: The Muse

For All Seasons - A Book
Your reverence for the printed word is inspiring and the instance with the Thai reader is not only touching but as you say: "There was nothing embarrassing about this personal moment." Yet, I don't know why, but your conclusion about "holographic?" books in the future scares me. Digital has destroyed so much of the deep treasure and pleasure of reading on paper with ink that I fear this new possibility will just finish the dumbing-down and vaporizing of the reading experience.
Tori Blenheim
Arthur Danin Adler's column: For All Seasons - A Book

Philip Gerstein's Exhibit at AMP gallery
Very much enjoyed seeing your work and reading your statement. You are right: these glass bead paintings need to be seen in person. The texturing in the trio with the gray blue is stunning. It adds so much to see them as they contrast internally and dialogue with each other. Your words about knowing when to stop, when a painting becomes "self-sufficient,” how I wish I had thought of those words, a perfect description and answer to those who say they never know when to stop. Bravo! I'm glad I made the trip.
Karen Klein
Philip Gerstein's article: Sometimes There Is Bliss

The Span of Black Ladders
Although I personally know Brian George, I want to make this letter to him public, in celebration of his skill as Essayist and of the pleasure this essay has given me.

My very dear Brian!
I seem to learn a lot from you -- or perhaps more accurately, my reading of your work opens up the deeper reservoirs that have been waiting for a long span, desiring of just such an opening... . I had postponed reading your de Chirico "channeling". I liked the beginning so much, I knew I could not do justice to the whole until I came to it with a clearer head and better formed desire. It had to happen at the right time. And tonight was finally one of those chances, and I took it, gratefully! "Though the signs were mixed, your naked mothers once threw caution to the wind", to quote just one paradoxically pungent line of your Essay. I just truly and unabashedly enjoyed it, the thought behind each segment, the 'cloak' in which it was wrapped, the rapture of which it was but a reverberation... . Both you and de Chirico came alive, became fiction -- yes, there was this awareness of both, often at the same time -- one looking for the other, the other having found more than he had looked for... . I thank you for this chance, as I have for several of your other essays I had the privilege to read and re-read.
Philip Gerstein
Brian George's article: The Span of Black Ladders

    Many thanks for your enthusiastic and big-hearted response! This is exactly the type of feedback I hope to get. Positive feedback of any type is good, of course, but it means much more when someone is clearly connecting with the work on an intuitive level and a piece “opens up deeper reservoirs,” as you say.
    Brian George

Whispered Footsteps
You’ve resurrected me with your lovely memoir or rather a collection of memories. I, too, have a long immigrant history and it’s importance to me and to this country is priceless. Thank you for taking us on this journey into the past with your beautiful writing. I look forward with tears and joy for the next journey.
Thelma Martinet

How America has changed. Everyone here is an immigrant or the descendant of an immigrant yet the grief at our borders and on our streets ignores that as the dominant group fights to keep its claim as to who and what is an American. Thank you for reminding us who we are and who we were.
Margo Schnee
Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold’s article: Whispered Footsteps Part One

Howard Beale et al
Les Marcott writes with perception and gusto. His quick portayal of the decline of professional news journalism is disturbing and disheartening. As he says: “But the problem is that when everyone's a journalist, no one's a journalist.” Very reminiscent of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom where they go round and round fighting so-called citizen-jounalism. Mr. Marcott, Chayefsky and Lumet not only created a prophet they gave us a portrait of the future which is now, today.
Ben Arksley
Les Marcott’s column: That’s The Way It Is

Vladimir and Estragon
With machine guns instead of Pozzo and Lucky.  Altenir Silva is having fun with classics again. Well done!
George Vecsey
Altenir Silva’s play: The War

Mervyn Taylor
Reviews of poetry by poets are essential. Alenier's commentaries are energetic understandings of a poet's texts and intent. This is a dimension we value in Karren's writing.
Grace Cavalieri

I enjoyed Karren Alenier's review of this new book of poetry. I like how she uses both the Trinidadian poet's words and the words he doesn’t use to convey his heartfelt regard for human life.
Susan Absher

Karren Alenier's column: News Of The Living

Orphans Indeed
Another excellent review by Scene4’s exceptional M. D. Moore. As Arthur always says: it’s the writing. In this case, add perception. But I have to take a bit of umbrage with Mr. Moore for leaving out of his profile of Frank the 10-hour film (mini-series), Godless. For me, it is Scott Frank’s most brilliant writer-director stint of his current brilliant career as a writer and director.
Lou Laird

Miles David Moore’s review: Orphans of the Storm

Those Moments of Magic
There are moments, when the essence of an object
Is captured perfectly and with grace.
There are moments, when a highlighted shape formed by nature is
elegantly held
by light.
Then there are moments of magic when a trained eye
Such as Jon Rendell's when the next level of beauty 
Is reached through the juxtaposition of several seperate
Shots to create a Moment of Magical association. Bravo.
Anne McGravie Wright
Jon Rendell's photography: Nature vs Man-Made

The extensive use of heroin in jazz during the 1940's-50's has been analyzed by many people, to no reader's great satisfaction–and least not to this reader. In this piece, Brian George offers a truly creative point of entry from which to consider the phenomenon. I'm very grateful for his effort.
Stephen Provizer
Brian George's article: Itutu

Tempus Edax Rerum
That's all that art is isn't it, impressions? And those impressions remain, if the art remains or is an irreducible memory. I concur: step into the painting, dive into the music, forget about time and place and all the biographical philandering that scholars never seem to get enough of. Absorb the impression. I love Monet and Debussy and so many sensitives from the time. Nice thoughts.
Arthur Danin Adler's column: A Brief Toast For This New Year's Eve

The Road to Freedom
This is a fine article and Ms Verdino-Süllwold’s writing is excellent as always. My only complaint is not with the author, rather with the magazine. This important subject warrants a complete issue devoted to it from South to North. But I’m grateful for this issue.
Roald Gary
Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold's article: The Road to Freedom

By The Shores Of The Potomac
A splendid review, especially made rich by poems and visuals. Anytime we have a poet writing journalism, we are all the better for it!
Grace Cavalieri
Karren Alenier's column: By Broad Potomac's Shore

Babe Ruth Is Not Just a Candy Bar

Now you got me, Mr. Silva. This second play in your trilogy is wonderful (and I don't use that word very often, PR maven that I am). Its humor is straight out of Camus right into Robin Williams. I'd love to watch you write, it must be fun. I can't wait for the third one!
Lou Laird
Altenir Silva's play: 2. Babe Ruth & Jack

I have to admit that I knew little about Kandinsky other than his paintings and their influence on other painters. Obviously there was so much more about him. Though he attained an international reputation from his art work, the rest of his amazing life and achievements seems to have been suppressed because of the times he lived in, other than scholars and academics who followed him and honored him. He was an unsung genius! I truly appreciate what Ms Renaud has done with her Kandinsky Anew series, especially this latest article which is so relevant today, so contemporary. I can understand why she has liked him so much for the past 30 years. I'm "woke" to him. Thank you for that.
Robert Gittelmann
Lissa Tyler Renaud's article: Towards International Unity:
Kandinsky's Inclusive Arts Aesthetic

The Boogeyman
I only wonder what happens if you marry one, or your boss is one, or you find out that all the time it's your mother under the bed. Mr. Marcott asks: "Did you really think the Boogeyman would get you if you didn't eat your breakfast cereal?" I did, and that's why I skip breakfast for brunch.
Andy Clayton
Les Marcott's column: The Boogeyman

Widsanupong Noonan
His work looks beautiful especially the beautiful way it is presented on the pages. I especially love the portrait of the King's back with the sweat marks. I don't think his work is too "provincial", too Thai. Good paintings and good sculpture are universal in their appeal.
Somchai Thanarat
Janine Yasovant's article: Everything is an Illusion


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July 2024

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