Feedback: Coronavirus survival tips from cats plus LACMA demolition and the paparazzi effect
Regarding “Builds Move Along Anyway” by Deborah Vankin [March 30]: Los Angeles County Supervisors will regret they did not preserve county funds during this worldwide pandemic.
The county previously allocated over $100 million to finance the reconstruction of LACMA buildings. Come hell or high water, demolition of LACMA buildings is scheduled to go forward.
Surely, L.A. County will face enormous unplanned expenses during this emergency.
Los Angeles will end up with a permanent eyesore of demolished buildings on Wilshire Boulevard when county funds run dry, because our county supervisors didn’t have the guts to halt a frivolous project during a time when hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs, hospitals are overwhelmed and people are dying.
Palos Verdes Estates
Given the financial situation, the destruction of a public museum, which might never raise the additional funds needed for its replacement and may lose some pledged moneydue to markets and the possible years of delays for a return to normalcy, going ahead with the LACMA teardown is folly.
Meantime, massive public funds will be needed to support health and other infrastructures for many months, and possibly years. Holding off would at least leave us an adequate site rather than an unfinished gallery.
Someone didn’t get the memo. Angelenos are stepping up all over the city to make sacrifices during this deadly global crisis. But not LACMA director Michael Govan.
Art is important, but so are the Angelenos who love it.
Lynne T. Jewell
Cats vs. dogs
I read Mary McNamara’s column about her dogs [“Dog Days of Spring,” March 28] and thought this would be a good time to give cats their due.
I’ve been stuck inside watching my cat. I realized how low her stress level is. I can now see that the best way to get through this is to try to emulate my cat. It’s really helping.
First off, try to eat at regular times, but just small meals. Keep on a schedule. Spend an hour or two looking out the window watching birds and squirrels. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of birds inhabiting my yard.
Don’t forget, when the doorbell rings, to hide. Be leery of strangers. Don’t let anyone touch you. Take at least two to three baths a day to relax and stay calm. For exercise, run around the house and up and down the stairs at least 20 times a day, maybe more. Take as many naps as you want and do a lot of stretches; they are good for your back.
Don’t forget to sit on part of the newspaper while reading it, and then do some more stretches. Groom yourself often because you can’t get to the salon.
So I’m practicing these things and reading books and feeling better. But I’m really getting tired of tuna.
Bravo, and thank you to Mary McNamara, for the funniest thing I’ve seen or read in a very long time. What a gift you have given us. Belly laughs in this time of insanity heal our souls. By the way, my two dogs absolutely agree with everything your dogs “said” and they too are looking for the suitcases and leftovers.
Rancho Palos Verdes
What a delightful column, a sure cure for depression for us who are isolated and gloomy at home.
The paparazzi side effect
Josh Rottenberg’s intriguing article “Paparazzi Hustle for New Angle” [April 6] tells of an upside to the COVID-19 pandemic: It keeps celebrities indoors, leaving prying photographers empty-handed. Might this twist prompt consumers of paparazzi’s typically loathsome end product to reflect on their taste for titillating tripe?
Echos of a Greek tragedy
Regarding [“Is He America’s Oedipus Rex?” March 29]: Thank you to theater critic Charles McNulty for proving that the art of the critical essay is not dead.
An editorial masquerading as philosophical art review. I am disappointed with The Times allowing such foolishness in the Sunday paper.
Charles McNulty presents a thoughtful parallel between the ancient Greek ruler and America’s would-be king Donald Trump. Each encounters a scourge visited on their people. Their response emerges from the essential character of each. Character counts, especially in a leader.
Oedipus, while flawed, responds with empathy and compassion for his suffering people. He cares.Oedipus is a tragic hero. Trump is no Oedipus. His leadership is an empty charade.
History repeats itself
Christopher Knight’s excellent review of 20th century scholarship and artworks from the time of the Black Death in Europe [“A Cultural Loss That Cut Deep,” April 5] detailed how a past pandemic influenced art for centuries afterward due to the death of leading artists but also how the trauma seared the psyches of later generations of artists.
Turan’s parting gift
Regarding “A Fond Farewell” [April 3]: Adding to these sad times is the news of the departure of Kenneth Turan as Los Angeles Times film critic. I will miss him for a variety of reasons. When I taught movie reviewing at UCSB, his reviews were role models, especially the myriad ways he began each one.
His opening sentences were always original and never derivative. No easy task when reviewing hundreds of movies a year.
My students loved to imitate, albeit less successfully, his use of triads, “Unsettling, unnerving, undefinable” — that began his review of “American Beauty.” We admired the deft way he had of providing context, for example, his brief history of film noir that preceded his review of “L.A. Confidential.“
And, of course, we relished his infamous contretemps with James Cameron over “Titanic.” He was erudite but never superior. A talent indeed.
The articles about Kenneth Turan’s leaving are what I love about getting the Los Angeles Times delivered to my door every morning. Holding the paper in my hands and reading about this lovely man “made my day,” as Clint Eastwood would say.
Among all the terrible and distressing news that we see every day, these articles were a breath of fresh air and a balm to my bruised heart.
I will miss Kenneth Turan. His goodbye in today’s paper was another example of why he was and remains so valuable.
In a time of great stress, particularly on the arts, he gives us a list of movies that celebrate the pleasure principle as a social ideal. Those movies are mostly the product of the Hollywood studio system, both cursed and lamented in our film histories. That they are so distinctive from one another is a testimony to how, when the right ingredients were put together, the result could be miraculous.
Allen J. Manzano
The injustice system
Regarding Greg Braxton’s “Self-representation” [April 1]: Isaac Wright Jr. was in prison for a crime he did not commit. Through good and bad, he was finally freed and his life, after justice, is the ultimate story in the prison system.
I am a 75-year-old woman. Reading your article brought tears to my eyes. I really don’t know how to put into words the way I feel about the justice system in the USA.
An American among the Brits
I just read Robert Lloyd’s online review of “World on Fire” [“Struggle. Sacrifice. Cooperation,” April 5] and noted that he recounted, rather than critiqued, all of the performances.
I have liked, and sometimes loved, whatever Helen Hunt did; in this I find her startlingly awful. She’s clunky, her readings are mostly wrong — just everything is yuck. Perhaps it’s something to do with Brits’ directing American actors in British productions? But American actors often stand out in British productions in a not-good way.
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