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Feedback: Why a front-porch concert is so moving in coronavirus era

Beong-Soo Kim plays the cello on his front porch
Neighbors watch Beong-Soo Kim play the cello on the porch of his home in Pasadena. Inside the house, his wife, Bonnie Wongtrakoo, plays the piano.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

I have subscribed to the L.A. Times for decades and appreciate its high-level journalistic quality. In that vein, I found Jessica Gelt’s article about the front-porch cello-and-piano concerts in Pasadena [“A Neighborly Cello,” April 23] to be one of the best the paper has ever printed.

Gelt’s careful capturing of detail, intense be-here-now tone and word choice made it a captivating piece. It provided one of those moments when you pause and appreciate what there is, just when you thought you could only focus on what you don’t have in this era of deprivation and fear.

Jim McManus
Altadena

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Thank you for the lovingly written story about the bountiful musical gifts of Beong-Soo Kim and his wife, Bonnie Wongtrakool.

My first reading was during my early-morning breakfast scan of the LA Times. Shortly thereafter I read it a second time and joy ensued.

If I’m not mistaken Gelt wrote her story with musical rhythms in mind. I love that music conquers everyday time in that it wonderfully shapes the daily rhythms of life into a human creation of pace, control and beauty.

I consider her pace, control and beauty of story also to be an artistic gift.

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This story is a reflective celebration of the musical offerings of Bonnie and Beong-Soo for their neighbors and beyond.

Bill Douglas
Burbank

TV ads in coronavirus time

Re: “Don’t Taunt Us, Ad Makers” [April 24]: Another top-notch mishap is the constant barrage of Liberty Mutual ads in TV with the tag line: “Only pay for what you need.” Yikes, we don’t need auto insurance.

Patricia Yanch
Katy, Texas

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Remember the bookmobile?

Re: “K-town’s Own Paperback Riders” [April 26]: Referring to his mobile bookstore, Chris Capizzi said, “No one has seen books presented in this way.” Has he never heard of a bookmobile?

As a young mother in the early ‘70s, the neighborhood van was such a convenience versus hauling the toddlers to the library and trying to keep them quiet. We looked forward each week to standing on the corner waiting for the bookmobile to approach, and we would each carry home a handful of books.

Connie Veldkamp
Laguna Niguel

A musician’s solitude

Regarding “Glenn Gould Was Ready for This Moment” [April 23]: Mark Swed turned to Glenn Gould to help us reflect on our current isolation and to imply that we seek some answers by returning to his recordings.

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I attended one of the last concerts Gould gave with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in the early 1960s. I was struck by the specter of his solitude, so much that he did his own conducting during piano pauses in the music. Gould showed me that isolation can be uplifting.

William K. Solberg
Los Angeles

Pandemic TV


Re: “What’s on TV” [Mon.-Fri.] The TV highlights in the Calendar section has a list of four channels carrying coronavirus programs: Fox, CNN, CW and ABC. However, I watched two straight hours of a special on the pandemic on MSNBC, but it was never mentioned in the TV highlights.

Yesterday, TV highlights added BET doing coronavirus programming to its list of channels. Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC do it every night but are consistently not mentioned.

Is there some vendetta against MSNBC? I’m disappointed with the L.A. Times and hope this isn’t a sign of political favorites.

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Frances Pin
Marina del Rey

Editors note: The coronavirus listing with the TV highlights includes new programs dedicated to coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not include regularly scheduled news programs or repeat airings.

New visions for LACMA

Re: “They’ve Got Alternate Plan for ‘New’ LACMA” [April 24]: No new competition is necessary, as LACMA already held a competition, back in 2001, soliciting proposals on how best to redesign the museum and its campus, as even then it was becoming clear that the existing infrastructure was inadequate for the museum’s growing encyclopedic mission. Rem Koolhaas won that competition, and his plan was magnificent.

Koolhaas’ vision was never realized, for the usual reason: lack of funding. Is it too late to put an end to Zumthor’s folly and replace it with Koolhaas’ outstanding — and competition-winning — proposal?

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Jay Soloway
Pasadena

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The idea of renovating an art museum such that it will have less exhibit space is preposterous.

Having been a museum member for decades, I find LACMA’s infatuation with [Peter] Zumthor’s yoo-hoo, sculptural building design to be completely wrongheaded.

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If we lose sight of the primary function of an art museum — to present as much as possible of its collection — then we have been seduced and distracted by a shiny bauble.

Susan North
Los Angeles

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Govan’s mad folly plans to disassemble LACMA’s collection by building “art pods” out in the neighborhoods to “share the art,” thus hauling the people’s treasure into alien territory — like McDonald’s franchises.

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But neighborhood people believe that their culture-territory belongs to them. If gentrification infects or sudden one-night rentals invade, they are entitled to express negativity.

Power to the Citizen’s Brigade to Save LACMA and their vision of the museum’s purpose as a protector of the museum collection’s welfare. That’s “the People’s Collection,” not Govan’s toy box.

Jeanne Smith Morgan, former curator of Watts Towers
Santa Barbara


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