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Feedback: KMET’s ‘Paraquat’ Kelley on Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen in 2007.”
(Robert Gauthier / LAT)

Re: KISS’ Gene Simmons remembering Eddie Van Halen, “‘You Couldn’t Believe Your Ears’” by Steve Appleford [Oct. 8]: A few years ago Edward Van Halen and his brother Alex showed up at our house. Edward was suffering from tongue cancer at the time. They’d heard that I was battling progressive multiple sclerosis and brought a check to help with my medical bills.

People should know, these two people had a purity of purpose. True friendship.

I was a newsman on KMET Radio in Los Angeles when the station helped break out the band. They never forgot.

Pat “Paraquat” Kelley
Los Angeles

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Art lost to Los Angeles

Regarding Christopher Knight’s “At Home With Avant-Garde Art” [Oct. 4]: I first heard of the Louise and Walter Arensberg art collection when I volunteered as a docent at Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Park. It seems that Aileen Barnsdall lent a guesthouse adjacent to the main house to the Arensbergs for two years.

I understand Walter Arensberg offered his impressive collection to UCLA [on the condition that a museum would be built to house the art, a stipulation the university could not meet at the time].

Hence, the collection went to Philadelphia and became the core of its fine art museum.

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That included Duchamp’s “Nude Decending a Staircase.” Too bad we lost out on that one. Once we see “Hollywood Arensberg: Avant-Garde Collecting in Midcentury L.A.,” the book reviewed by Christopher Knight, we’ll see what else we might have had in Los Angeles.

Linda Lennon
Los Angeles

Insightful book reviews

I wanted to take a moment to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed so many of the books reviewed by Paula Woods. In the past six months I’ve read several of the books she’s reviewed, including “Blacktop Wasteland” [“Making Rural Black Lives Matter,” July 19] and “Winter Counts” [“Authentic Voice Infuses Native Noir,” Aug. 25].

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Her reviews are insightful and provide just enough information about the storylines, which entices me to read more.

Elizabeth Harris
Memphis, Tenn.

Focus on Mendelssohn

Thank you for Mark Swed’s “How to Listen” installment on Felix Mendelssohn [“Music That Gives Us Hope,” Oct. 7]. I’m with him on championing this remarkable 19th century musical prodigy and have often felt that he has been — and, perhaps, continues to be — overshadowed by our adulation of Beethoven, among others.

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I do, however, take mild exception to Swed’s speaking of Mendelssohn as humanist. Such a label conveys to modern readers the notion of secularist. That, Mendelssohn was not.

Witness his superb Lobgesang (“Song of Praise”) — a monumental testament to his religious (at this time Christian) convictions and a work certainly out of tune with the German Aufklärung of his day. Mendelssohn composed from a deeply felt spirituality — an exuberantly joyful one at that.

Apart from this minor detail, everything else Swed says about Felix Mendelssohn and his long-overdue recognition and acceptance by our day is right on.

Ken Johnson
Santa Barbara

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Mark Swed’s “How to Listen” piece about Felix Mendelssohn and the Octet for Strings was wonderfully informative. I especially love his two piano trios and Symphonies 3 and 4.

I have read much about the life of this prodigy, his masterworks as a teenager, his life of privilege, his early death from a broken heart (literally) after the death of his sister, the disdain of the anti-Semitic Wagner and others. Swed illuminated all this and added so much more.

Richard R. McCurdy
Burbank

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