Leonard Feather's excellent article ("Singing the Grammy Blues," March 3) pointed up once again the attitude of the people responsible for the show's content toward jazz and classical music.
Clearly, the Grammy Awards program has deteriorated into nothing more than a commercial enterprise, aimed solely at record buyers, with little or no respect for the great throng of classical and jazz artists, who, because they do not generally sell thousands of cartons of "product," are considered unimportant and therefore not worthy of exposure on "The Grammy Show."
Perhaps it's time for two Grammy Award programs--one cast in the same mold as this year's and another devoted to the symphony and jazz recipients. In short, how about a little balance in the music universe?
Torme won jazz vocal Grammys in 1982 and '83.
I've been perusing the new Filmex schedule, and it certainly demonstrates the wisdom of replacing Gary Essert.
It's finally become the kind of exclusive Westside event we've always hoped for: six bucks a shot, Mafia parking fees, smaller number of films, an opening night Gala of a nice little film we saw five months ago in Europe . . . and no "discount series" for ragged apartment dwellers.
It goes to show what can happen when a Responsible Management Team (RMT) takes over the show. With our luck, though, some new Gary Essert will pop up and organize a competing festival with low prices, unsettling films, a staff of Hollywood misfits. . . .
But not to worry, it will be nothing that another RMT can't turn into a fashionable showcase for us glitteratti.
Can you tell me why is it that when people are openly gay, such as the boys in Bronski Beat, they are labeled as "militant" (Record Rack review, by Richard Cromelin, Feb. 17). I do not hear anything militant concerning Jimmy Sommerville's gutsy "I got those need-a-man blues" plea.
What I hear is a cry for something that all people want: closeness and tenderness with another human being. When will people get it in their heads that all people, gay or straight, want the same things in life: to love, to be loved and to be happy.
Tell me, Mr. Cromelin, when Lionel Richie croons "she's three times a lady," is he being militantly heterosexual?
Loosen up, Richard, and open your eyes. This is the '80s.
DAVID ISRAEL ARMENDARIZ
In "Shooting 'Eleni'--Can the Truth Survive Its Wounds?" (by Donald Chase, Feb. 24), screenwriter Steve Tesich states that he has not only made many cuts in order to compress a more-than-600-page book into screen running-time--that's understandable--but, conversely, has also "invented certain situations and scenes that now comprise one-third of the script."
One of these "inventions" was so phony that even original author Nicholas Gage's wife was turned off. Tesich's cop-out defense?
"I'm fulfilling an obligation to myself as an artist, following my honest, intuitive feelings about how I would react in a similar situation."
This doesn't wash, however; no wonder Gage fears "for the emotional authenticity of the movie." Instead of Tesich worrying about his obligation to himself, let him worry about his obligation to the truth.
DAVID R. MOSS
TONES & TRENDS
What's goten into Calendar lately? I picked it up March 3 and neither Prince, Bruce, Exeene or Boy George were on the cover. Instead, your cover subject was Natalia Makarova. The week before it was the cultural boycott of South Africa. The week prior to that it was Glenn Close and Mandy Patinkin (or is it Mandy Potemkin?)
Who will you have on the cover next? Fredrica Von Stade? Phillip Glass? Laurie Anderson? Has Martin Bernheimer ransomed the first born of all of the Calendar staffers? (Put Handel on the cover next week or your kids will all be placed into Swiss boarding schools.)
Keep up the good taste. Who says that L.A. has no high culture? Join the Calendar Culture Club. The dues are the cost of this newspaper and the ability to hum Mozart's Jupiter Symphony in the shower.
ONE TRACK MIND
I don't know why you continue to publish the meanderings of Joyce Sunila ("Disappointing in Love," March 3). The woman is obviously wacko. She is on permanent emotional tilt. She seems to be angry with Gillian Armstrong for not turning "Mrs. Soffel" into a feminist tract.
Sunila apparently would like Mrs. Soffel in 1900 to possess the smoldering, frustrated rage of today's most ardent feminist. Sunila decries Mrs. Soffel's lack of "special inner fire" and "vast confusion" as motives for her actions.
Sunila is totally blind to any viewpoint that doesn't match her own preconceived notions of what should make a woman tick. She plain and simply cannot accept that any woman would act this way out of love, sympathy, compassion and, yes--sexual attraction.
Sunila is at her most revealing and spiteful when she takes a few digs at Mel Gibson. She labels it "absurd" when People magazine calls Gibson "the sexiest man in the world." Could it be that our Joyce just doesn't like men?
The U.N.'s man from Ghana Victor Gbeho and his well-meaning American and British counterparts would be more effective in their fight against apartheid if they would stop wasting energy playing Big Brother.
Edward R. Murrow said it best in the midst of the 1950's blacklisting era: "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."
KATHRYN M. DRENNAN
In the analyses presented in Calendar Letters, the primary issue of apartheid and its effects seem to have been forgotten. One could easily conclude that the major concern of Africans is the seating arrangement during concerts. The inference seems to be that Africans have no higher aspiration than the joy of proximity to white people. That notion is as false as it is contemptible.
The real issues are jobs, health, education and, most important, political power. When an African men or woman cannot travel freely in his or her own country without a passbook because of the domination and opporession of alien murdering Europeans, that is apartheid.
When African babies die at a rate seven to 10 times greater than European babies, that is apartheid. When men and women attempt to organize unions and are fired from their jobs, jailed without charge or killed, that is apartheid.
When families are destroyed as a direct and deliberate result of a government policy, that is apartheid. When 20% of South Africa's population controls 80% to 90% of the land just because they are white, that is apartheid. When 80% of South Africa's inhabitants cannot vote because of a law based on skin color, that is apartheid.
South Africa spends millions of dollars generated by the slave labor of African people to make the world believe it is a wonderful country where everything is fine. This public relations campaign that masks the dehumanization of the black majority of South Africa must be countered at every turn.
By supporting the efforts of such groups as the African National Congress, the Azanian People's Party, the United Nations and others to end this fascist government, we all can participate in the progress of human rights.
The cultural boycott is just one aspect of rejection of and struggle against apartheid. Other areas of progressive action include organized pressure against the economic and military support afforded the Botha regime by the United States, Western Europe and corporate interests.
Destroying this inhuman regime is going to be difficult, but the Azanian people will be successful. Those of us in the African diaspora and other people of conscience should welcome the opportunity assist in this goal.
JO ANN DAWSON
If any group of entertainers who had performed in the Soviet Union or elsewhere behind the Iron Curtin were blacklisted, we would hear cries of "McCarthyism" and "witchhunt" from all corners of the industry. But a blacklist against visitors to South Africa raises only scattered peeps. What hypocrisy!
L.A. Philharmonic Executive Director Ernest Fleischmann claims that "ethnic discrimination is the most immoral of all forms of injustice." What makes this statement such an obscenity is the fact that the Soviet Union is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of black Africans in Ethiopia.
Yes, apartheid is immoral, and the government of South Africa deserves censure. But blacklisting performers who choose to entertain there while fostering a cultural exchange with the USSR is also an immoral injustice. If damned fools were blacklisted, Fleischmann's name would top the list.
H. L. WILSON
We're talking about a serious question of morality and Alfee Enciso is fretting about Baez singing in Vegas (Calendar Letters, March 3)? Entertainers are laying their careers on the ine and Enciso is shaken because Baez may make a profit on her albums?
Baez has not released an album in the United States since 1979, for "great profit" or otherwise. She is currently without a recording contract, and since when has making a profit been a question of morality?
I can count on one hand the number of entertainers who have laid their careers on the line as often, or for as many years, as has Baez. Enciso has every right not to like Baez; howver, when questioning her social commitment, it's time to stop casting stones.
AL CRISALLI JR.
Martin Bernheimer long ago established his credentials as preeminent wise guy of music criticism, the Jim Murray of the Green Room (quips to order, fast and dirty), consummate virtuoso suffering, alas, from terminal bon mot-ism.
With respect to Martin's recent assault on Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem ("The Second Coming of Adrew Lloyd Webber," Feb. 26), I submit that what our resident Pulitzermeister truly finds offensive is Andrew's beautiful work is not the "reeking of cheap perfume" but the sweet smell of success.
President, Angel Records
Letters Annex, Page 85.
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