"The Newest New Kids in Town" (by Deborah Caulfield, March 17) is a perfect example of the decline of acting in film. The reason: half of the young "actors" have not had formal training.
Acting is a craft, it must be learned. The achievement of success in Hollywood is usually considered a combination of luck and skill. Let's see a little more of the latter. Please.
BILL JEFFREY MEEKS
Enough about young "Stars" in Hollywood. Instead, how about an objective story on one of the following: (1)--Twenty-eight-year-old actors who are considered too old for most film roles; (2)--Actors who get work who don't have relatives in the business; (3)--How studio executives never "came of age," and that's why we have to see what we see.
Thanks, but the next time I need an update on some young personalities, I'll buy People.
In "The New Kids" I saw no young black actors. Through the grace of God, I'll let everybody (my fellow Americans) at your publication off easy by requesting that Calendar do an article on young black stars also.
D. B. JOHNSON
HERE'S TO U2
I'm not a fan of U2's music, but after reading the interview with Bono Hewson, I have become a Bono fan ("U2's Perilous Life at the Top," by Robert Hilburn, March 17).
As a Christian, I would like to be able to support Christian artists of exceptional merit. I find, however, that with very few exceptions the adjectives Christian and exceptional are mutually exclusive.
Artists of integrity such as Bono and Steve Taylor, who happen to be Christians, are a breath of fresh air. It's interesting to me that Bono doesn't consider U2 to be a "Christian" band.
I maintain that Bono exhibits one of the rarest of Christian virtues in this day and age--honesty in dealing with one's audience. Now that's what I call being salt of the earth.
I do not doubt the sincerity of U2 and their lead singer Bono Hewson. In fact, U2's work is vastly superior to anything in the Top 40, but that does not remotely make them "the band of the '80s."
Their heavy-handed emotional bombast couched in Dionysian/Christian mythos gets old quickly. Their music imitates the effects of art, and thus elicits an intense response from impressionable audiences.
And yet Robert Hilburn continues to use his space to drum up support for well-fed mainstream acts who seek double-platinum. His cheerleading is as obnoxious as Bono's neo-hippie posturing.
To read in Music and Dance News (by Daniel Cariaga, March 17) that the Ojai Festival 1985 has chosen to celebrate the 76th birthday of Olivier Messiaen, a Frenchman who has hardly even set foot in this country, is (to put it mildly) surprising; especially since Ernst Krenek, an American who has lived in this region for 40 years, and a composer of great stature, remains, as he approaches his 85th birthday, completely neglected by all of the musical "powers that be" in the L.A. area.
In John Horn and Dennis McDougal's article on the Writers Guild action at CBS March 15, they make the rather underhanded implication that writers are a group of privileged individuals "wearing Gucci silk, cashmere pullovers, designer sweat suits, T-shirts and satin jackets. . ." ("Strikers Strut Picket-Line Chic as Oscar TV Show Writer Quits," Metro, March 16).
Perhaps Horn and McDougal aren't aware that 58% of the membership of the Writers Guild earned less than $1,000 from their chosen profession in the last reporting quarter. That's a far cry from the flagrantly base attempt to picture an effete, chic group of picketers in what could have been an informative article.
Next time, report the facts and not the minor glitter that apparently blinded Horn and McDougal to the issues in an industry that has a major impact on the economy of Los Angeles.
This year, amid a lackluster roster of Oscar presenters (Laurence Olivier, Shirley MacLaine, Cary Grant et al.), it's refreshing to see film giant Diana Ross finally receive recognition for her contributions to the medium.
AFI Life Achievement Award panelists, please take note.
THEM AND US
In response to C. Myles Fowler's letter (Letters Annex, March 17), there are only two types of people in the world. Those who classify the world into two types of people and those who do not.
Thanks for keeping the issues of the U.N.-backed cultural boycott of South Africa and blacklisting alive (Calendar Letters, March 17). As a member of the Screen Actors Guild Board of Directors, I am at a complete loss to explain why SAG treats the blacklisting of over 400 international performers (many of them SAG members) with less urgency and importance than it treats the issue responsible for the blacklist in the first place.
Apartheid is not within the jurisdiction of the SAG Board of Directors to adjudicate. The SAG Board of Directors is not the "moral-den-mother-of-the-world" or an annex of The Hague. No provision of the SAG constitution gives its Board franchise to make moral pronouncements on behalf of the general membership.
Our SAG constitution does give the Board explicit franchise for the "protection of jobs, wages and working conditions for actors." The present voting majority of the SAG Board has failed to make blacklisting of its members priority No. 1. If the current blacklist issued from a right-wing organization, these recalcitrant Board members would be screaming bloody murder and calling for a national strike of all American workers.
This is but one of the reasons why Actors Working for an Actors Guild has become a necessity. As AWAG chairman, I have written Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick requesting full United States diplomatic intervention in order to end the U.N. blacklist. AWAG leaders will meet with Shelley Berman to begin mobilizing prominent actors in demanding to be placed on the U.N. blacklist, and so destroy its efficacy. Blacklisting subsists on a fear to be blacklisted.
Simple condemnation of the U.N. blacklist is a cop-out. I deeply regret that my Guild, my union, has chosen to act like a collective Pontius Pilate and wash its hands while SAG members are blacklisted.
MARK Mc INTIRE
National SAG Board, member
I hardly think that jazz vibraphonist Terry Gibbs' label--"no-talent freak acts"--would fit any of the artists who performed on the Grammy awards show, particularly Prince, a self-taught musician who also writes and produces his own material ("Musicians Put Whammy on Grammys," by Dennis McDougal, March 12).
A "sissy" (as described by Gibbs)? Maybe (but I doubt that too).
Untalented? No way.
Perhaps Gibbs should consider that denigrating performers that he does not understand can only be destructive to the popular acceptance of the types of music he prefers.
Asserting that Cyndi Lauper and Prince are "no-talent freak acts" indicates that Gibbs shows the same type of intolerance that he accuses the American public of having.
Why, then, should he expect the average person to be any different in his perception of jazz artists?
THE GREAT ORMANDY
There are reasons why the Ormandy Philadelphia Orchestra remained the last of the great orchestras, and why we shall probably never hear its like again.
The key was that maestro Eugene Ormandy devoted himself to that one orchestra, not spreading himself thin by attempting to be the music director of other orchestras as well, thus being unable to fully leave the impact of his character and personality on any one.
In today's symphonic world we have orchestras of excellent accuracy, but no character. They lack an Ormandy to nurture them, stay with only them.
What a pity it is that today's would-be first-rate symphony orchestra boards do not profit from this example and seek their own music directors who might be able to emulate the great Ormandy and once again provide us with an orchestra of personality and character, rather than the sterile playing we hear now.
What a privilege it was to have played bassoon under the great Stokowski, and also the great (and sadly to be missed) Eugene Ormandy.
Letters Annex, Page 89.
Letters should be brief and must include full name, address and phone number. Mail to Calendar Letters, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. THE BUST OF HOWARD ROSENBERG
We're sure that everyone wants to know if the Howard Rosenberg that Zadik Zadikian immortalized in clay is the Howard Rosenberg, famed Los Angeles Times television critic ("Art Moves With, Against the Times," by William Wilson, March 10).
It's not. It is, however, Howard Rosenberg, famed photo editor of the LA Weekly (above, in photo at right).
We know that he was thrilled to have a bust made of him, and even more thrilled to have a photograph of it featured in Calendar. Imagine his excitement and surprise when he sees his visage once again.
STEVEN REICH, BETH HANKINS