While Peter Fonda will forever be remembered for the social groundbreaking film “Easy Rider,” commendations should be extended to Justin Chang for singling out Fonda’s best work, “Ulee’s Gold” and his role as a stoic father trying to save his family [“A Peter Fonda Role We Should Be Talking About,” Aug. 19]. Fonda earned universal acclaim, critical recognition and awards and nominations.
Equally compelling was Randy Lewis’ story [“Could’ve Been ‘He Said, He Said,’” Aug. 19] of a young Fonda schmoozing with the Beatles while all were on LSD. I have no idea where Lewis gets these nuggets, but his contributions never fail to flesh out his subject.
I enjoyed Randy Lewis’ article “Could’ve Been ‘He Said, He Said’” on Peter Fonda’s musical connections.
As to Fonda’s character in “The Limey,” who Lewis described as “an ultra-successful record producer named Terry Valentine — sharing the surname of Whisky a Go Go co-founder Elmer Valentine” — I suggest his first name came from Terry Melcher, the Byrds’ producer and son of Doris Day.
#TimesUp hits the opera world
I have one comment about “May Be Opera Icon’s Real-Life Tragedy” [Aug. 14], Mark Swed’s article on Plácido Domingo: No more bending over backwards to make excuses for and to protect alleged sexual predators. #TimesUp
Playbill envy is spreading fast
I could not resist showing off my Playbills after reading Ashley Lee’s “Unlikely Social Media Star” [Aug. 18]. Three were signed by cast members in New York. I know your article was focused on millennials, however many of us have been appreciating Playbills before they were born.
My very first Playbill was from London in 1971, when I was 21.
I saw Ingrid Bergman in “Captain Brassbound’s Conversion.” I had no idea what the play was about, I just knew I would be seeing Ingrid Bergman live.
Hippies are back in the discussion
The first paragraph of Tom Carson’s article, “The Hippie Reckoning” [Aug. 18], made me wonder if he would mention “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood.” Then I turned the page and saw the photograph from Quentin Tarantino’s movie.
In hiding his movie review within a bigger context, Carson succeeded in mirroring what he reviewed. He was also gracious enough to declare a “spoiler alert” for what he revealed, and then proceeded not to spoil anything.
Carson gave the first truly insightful critique of the movie that I’ve read and gave voice to something as impossible to nail down as “hippiness” itself, and proved his early point about “there (being) a first time for everything.”
No one has ever done anything close to what Tarantino did (with his story twist). Then Carson followed suit with some unique, and yet perfectly related, literary “magic” of his own.
Tom Carson’s jaundiced vision of Woodstock and the hippie movement is snarky, off the mark and not well informed. (For instance, anyone who wonders why Ravi Shankar was at Woodstock is ignorant of the counterculture’s fascination with Indian and Eastern religion, philosophy and music, and Carson’s judgment that the Grateful Dead were the only true representatives of the hippies, is equally absurd.)
You didn’t need a membership card to be a hippie. There was no manifesto, no appointed leader. It was an exploration, a vibe, a counterculture to which everyone responded in their own way. Yes it was optimistic and idealistic, ain’t that awful?
Carson calls Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” song “fatuous,” when in fact it perfectly captures the spiritual, hopeful feeling of the time. Yes, as she says, we felt we were part of a vast movement because we were. There’s no “myth” of Woodstock. The fact is a half-million people gathered to participate in a counterculture movement that included music, and the fact that it was peaceful (even the police, normally hippie-haters, got into the vibe) is nothing short of miraculous. Oh well, guess you had to be there, or at least be old enough to have been part of the hippie scene.
I hated Tom Carson’s article on Woodstock. He got it all all wrong. And the line “Even as the counterculture began slouching toward toward narcissism ...” makes me wonder if Carson didn’t vote for Trump.
Woodstock was, in many ways, the final healing of the wounds that humanity suffered during World War II. While it was obvious that the government system of fascism was the polar opposite of democracy, it wasn’t until the Allied troops went behind the boundaries of Germany and Italy to discover the cruelty those systems had engendered. Then, the rigid demands that wartime inflicts on its people was understood as a necessity; and every third person on the street wore a service uniform.
The grandchildren of those soldiers had no such demands placed upon them, and instead celebrated the freedoms their grandparents had won. Instead of military uniforms, they discovered tie-dye shirts, sandals, folk songs and free love without constraint.
Today, the grandchildren of the Woodstock generation now look to outer space and far planets as a viable journey to be explored and enjoyed; and it can only be hoped that the open mind celebrated at that music festival goes with them.
I graduated from high school in 1969. I had a great time then, but I am sick of hearing endlessly about the ‘60s.
With a nod to an icon of that era, Joan Baez, I say “The Sixties are over, now set them free.”
The best qualities of people are their compassion, willingness to share and the ability to create community. Those qualities were on display at Woodstock and they happen every day in Los Angeles. Not a naive Hippie Dream.
Quentin Tarantino discovered early on that there will always be a big appetite among movie-goers for gory, ultra-violent splatter-fests. Not my cup of tea. I cringed when I heard he’d be taking on the Manson Family murders. Cynical exploitation of a grisly tragedy to make big bucks for himself and Sony Studios? Haven’t we all been traumatized enough with stories about those awful days? Do mass murderers need even more publicity?
Cynthia Fox, pledge host for KCET and KOCE
Woodstock was pure Americana from the music to the war protest songs. Hendrix’s “Star-Spangled Banner” was great. But more stirring to me were Richie Havens singing “Freedom” and Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From My Friends.”
Turbulent times in 1969, but the moon landing in July and Woodstock in August are forever unforgettable.
Enough Manson, says this reader
Regarding “Just Say It: Manson Was a ...” [Aug. 20]: The Times has given way too much ink in recent months to Charles Manson, whose crimes of 50 years ago are being used for circulation.
What possible purpose could television critic Lorraine Ali’s article serve? We know he was what she described. We know there’s a political agenda behind all the Manson articles.
The way Tarantino played with the Manson issue got him nothing more than low box office numbers. The way you played with the Manson story was unprofessional at best, political for sure.
Where are the spoiler alerts?
I greatly appreciate ‘spoiler warnings’ in your movie reviews and immediately stop reading and I also will not read reviews based on a negative headline. But now this should be standard for Calendar Feedback.
Last week letters regarding “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” referenced plot points that with a little extrapolation gave away a surprise story twist. I feared this created a filter through which I would view the film and diminish Quentin Tarantino’s artistic endeavor to tell a story in a particular way.
I went to “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” before I could be exposed to any further hints and spoilers and I was correct, I did view the film through tainted glasses, anticipating when to expect the ‘twist’ so there was no surprise ending for me.
This was a diminished experience for which I will never forgive Calendar Feedback.
And thanks, Geena Davis, for giving away the ending to “Thelma & Louise” at the Oscars.
Editor’s note: Sorry.