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Readers react: The 1960s really were a time of change

Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore of "The Doors" pose for a promotional photos circa 1966.
Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore of “The Doors” pose for a promotional photos circa 1966.
(Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

When the Doors swung open to the ’60s

Regarding “Rock’s Most Explosive Year: 1966” [Aug. 14]. I love John Densmore of the Doors, but I had to chuckle at his comment, “I always say the ’60s, they didn’t start until ’65, and they ended after ’67.” So Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’ ” album, in 1964, wasn’t the ’60s? And the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album, in 1969, wasn’t the ’60s? Had me fooled.

Robert Chapman

Downey

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I was 10 in 1966, and it was all about Brian Hyland, James & Bobby Purify and Question Mark & the Mysterians. And 93 KHJ.

Danny Landau

West Los Angeles

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The music of the ’60s did promote social change, but the biggest change guaranteed that Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan made the White House. It also guaranteed Reagan as governor of California. I remember George McGovern running for president while I was in college. Most all of the students were for McGovern, and he got trounced in the election.

Robert Price

Walnut

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Where movies, Roth part ways

Logan Lerman as Marcus, with Danny Burstein and Linda Emond as Esther in "Indignation."
Logan Lerman as Marcus, with Danny Burstein and Linda Emond as Esther in “Indignation.”
(Alison Cohen Rosa / Roadside Attractions )

The article “It’s the Wrath of Roth” [Aug. 16] gave me a laugh-out-loud moment with “The epic monologues of Roth’s prickly, narcissistic antiheroes are preoccupied with the mess of male sexual desire, intellectual competition, the aging body and authorial self-reflexivity -- none of which makes for the usual dramatic material of Hollywood movies.” It’s obvious to any moviegoer that the exact opposite is true. The majority of movies made by Hollywood scream those same male obsessions, handled straight-faced and without irony, much less introspection. Philip Roth opens up and makes raw contemporary male angst instead of burying it under witty repartee and explosions.

Sharon Graham

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Huntington Beach


Not age appropriate for that role

Barbra Streisand kicked off her tour in Los Angeles on Tuesday by singing from six decades of hit albums.
Barbra Streisand kicked off her tour in Los Angeles on Tuesday by singing from six decades of hit albums.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times )

Regarding Charles McNulty’s wish for Barbra to play Mama Rose in “Gypsy” [“Streisand Deserves ‘Gypsy’ Swan Song,” Aug. 9]: Babs was 25 years too young when she played Dolly Levi in “Hello, Dolly!.” She would now be 25 years too old to play Mama Rose.

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Michael McCrann

West Hollywood


The source of real off-notes?

Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep in the movie "Florence Foster Jenkins."
Hugh Grant and Meryl Streep in the movie “Florence Foster Jenkins.”
(Nick Wall / Paramount Pictures )
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Regarding “Off-Notes in Song and Storytelling” [Aug. 12]: Reviewer Kate Walsh misunderstands what the movie “Florence Foster Jenkins” is about: a wonderfully compassionate love of a man for a woman.

Jack Tewksbury

Valley Village


Keeping it legal — or maybe not

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Your article on Lenny Bruce [“A Stand-Up Who Didn’t Back Down,” July 31] reminded me of the time I tried to arrest him. In the early 1960s, I was a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy assigned to the vice squad. One night, Bruce was on the bill at a comedy club on the Sunset Strip. As he began his act, he spotted me and my lieutenant and said something like, “I see we have some police present tonight. Since I can only be arrested if the police witness me committing a crime, let’s turn out the lights.” So the lights went out and stayed out for the 20 minutes of Bruce’s set. He did all his bits in the pitch dark to a captivated audience. We would have busted him if the lights had been on. Today his act would be considered to be on the clean side.

Wilmer Abram

Carson

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David Goodwin’s letter [“Lenny Bruce Fades With Time,” Aug. 14] about my article on the stand-up comedian complained, “Bruce could see no difference between prescription drugs that save and improve billions of lives and recreational drugs.” I wrote that one of Bruce’s taboo-breaking targets was “the double standard between illegal and prescription drugs.” To clarify my point, as long as any government can arbitrarily decide which drugs are legal and which drugs aren’t illegal, anyone serving time for a nonviolent drug offense is a political prisoner.

Paul Krassner

Desert Hot Springs


The kindness of a stranger

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Tennessee Williams, circa 1955.
Tennessee Williams, circa 1955.
(FPG / Archive Photos / Getty Images )

Regarding “Learning From a Legend’s Failures” [Aug. 7]. Tennessee Williams’ rarely produced and mostly unknown plays (who many refer to as his “B” plays) were as important to him as any he had written. Because most were based on his own life, family and friends, he took the negative response to these plays very personally.

How brave and courageous Williams was, considering his fragility and sensitive nature. I agree with you that he is America’s greatest playwright. How tragic that he and Elia Kazan stopped working together and that he could find no one else to help him navigate through his flooded landscape of the human condition.

Michael Arabian

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West Hollywood


Advice from John Q. Public

Your review of the movie “Suicide Squad” [“Go for Broke,” Aug. 5] criticizes the picture for its muddled plot and unanswered questions. Why does the review read like a professor’s remarks and grade for a film school assignment? While critics watch movies for work, please remember we watch movies for play. We know nothing of film school rules and don’t care if the picture technically works. We want to know how the movie plays in the form of how it makes you feel. Within the first 10 minutes, “Suicide Squad” made me laugh, cry and gasp for breath. The characters captured my attention in every frame. It was fun.

Richard Barker

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Alexandria, Va.

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It might be appropriate for movie reviews to be segregated into one part for the potential viewer and the other for the industry. As someone deciding whether to see a film, I really don’t care that this is the director’s third attempt to legitimize a slasher movie or that his former paramour stars in this epic. Just give me a review so I can decide whether to see this picture.

Peter Heiman

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Malibu


It got an epic laugh, no doubt

Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell in "Ben-Hur."
Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell in “Ben-Hur.”
(Philippe Antonello/Paramount Pictures via AP )

With the latest version of “Ben-Hur” about to open [“A ‘Ben-Hur’ for Our Time,” Aug. 14], I am reminded of a clever review of the 1959 edition that starred with Charlton Heston: “Loved him, hated Hur” (Mort Sahl).

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Robert Blackey

Claremont


No review? This could be why

The letter castigating The Times for not reviewing Gladys Knight’s recent performance at the Hollywood Bowl [“Feedback: Gladys Knight Deserves Review,” Aug. 14] and stating that “white privilege is alive and well in our beloved local newspaper,” comes across as both mean-spirited and off the mark. Cash-strapped newspapers can’t be expected to cover every single performance in town, especially in the busier summer months.

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Kyle Kimbrell

Playa del Rey


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