‘Ragtime’ has all the right components
Regarding “A Gift to Musical Theater Fans” [Feb. 12] by Charles McNulty: The first time I saw the original production of E.L. Doctorow’s musical/drama “Ragtime” was the most memorable theater experience I’d ever had. Chills, laughs, tears, goosebumps. The work of theatrical writing and musical genius has all the necessary components and then some. The original cast and staging were likewise impeccable.
I still regard “Ragtime” as the best American musical ever.
To see the current Pasadena Playhouse production being so well-reviewed and appreciated is so encouraging in these fractious times in our country.
A Close scare from movie ad
I’ve been an admirer of Glenn Close ever since she appeared in “The World According to Garp.” Mary McNamara’s interview with her [“She Feels Like a Winner Every Time,” Feb. 17] was fascinating, but why did they have to include a photo of Close playing Albert Nobbs? When that movie was released, I recall being frightened by the advertisement for it. I’m still frightened by it.
Restoring Oscar soapbox to all
Regarding “After Outcry, the Film Academy Says It Will Keep Every Award as Part of Live Telecast” [Feb. 16] by Josh Rottenberg: I totally agree with those who spoke out against the academy’s plan to do some presentations during commercial breaks.
If I received an Oscar, I would want the opportunity to get on national television and espouse my political views for all to hear, just like all other Oscar recipients.
The Super Bowl of the Movie Industry has become an entangled mess. Cutting this and shortening that so that it only would last three hours. The Oscars have lost their elegance from yesteryear since the departure of the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and many more.
Re: “A new storm rolls in: Hey, nominees: An Oscar is still an Oscar, even if it’s off camera” [Feb 13] and “Countdown to the Oscars: So Let’s Talk” [Feb. 19]: Mary McNamara wrote that awards shows are boring and therefore would be acceptable to trim some awards from the telecast. I disagree. These nominees have worked very hard and excelled at their craft. In many cases the telecast is the only time in their life that they will receive the acclaim they deserve. For a brief moment, they are equals among the big stars and directors. Let them have that moment.
Having worked behind the scenes in entertainment for years, I appreciate the contribution of the craft people. I always watch the full credits at motion pictures and try to pick out the name of a production assistant or an apprentice. I know that person’s mother would appreciate that their son or daughter was recognized if only by a lone viewer in a dark theater. For the mothers of these Academy Award nominees, let them have that moment under the bright lights.
Reflect music’s diversity onstage
Regarding “Their Voices Waiting to Be Heard” [Feb. 14]: Conductor Thomas Wilkins, one of my favorites, made some great points in the article about the L.A. Phil’s program (William Grant Still and the Harlem Renaissance). Maestro Wilkins had wonderful suggestions of how classical music performances can include more African American composers. I would add that we also need top orchestras to mirror the diversity in our society by having more African American members onstage. To that end, the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (icyola.org), conducted by the renowned maestro Charles Dickerson and featuring mostly African American young men and women, performs annually at Walt Disney Concert Hall with a program that is representative of the best music that we all enjoy, classical and other than classical.
Nonplussed on ‘Non Sequitur’
I was appalled to read your justification for discontinuing the great comic strip “Non Sequitur.” Several times in the past year I have written Calendar to point out the repeated instances of very thinly veiled depictions of sexual intercourse in the comic strip “9 Chickweed Lane,” but you continue to publish it. Now, when a cartoonist inconspicuously inserts a popular term for sexual intercourse, Calendar cancels what is the one consistently intellectual and arguably best comic strip in the section. So, it’s OK to show sexual intercourse repeatedly, but not use the word for it? Hypocrisy much?
Here’s our suggestion: Give “Non Sequitur” a second chance.
Jerry and Carol Collamer
Depriving your readers of the pleasures of a daily dose of “Non Sequitur” is a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Why don’t you find some way to punish the cartoonist instead of us —like reducing the amount you pay for the strip, for instance?
Why did you pull “Non Sequitur” because of a vulgar joke that could be seen only with a magnifying glass and yet you continue to publish that blatantly steamy “9 Chickweed Lane”?
I understand your decision to discontinue “Non Sequitur” after the artist included a vulgarity directed at Trump. It saddens me, because I really enjoy this strip. Always funny, slightly odd, current. This got me thinking, though, that there are a number of strips that I would rather see go. “Get Fuzzy” hasn’t published a new strip in five years. “Dennis the Menace,” “Family Circle” and “Marmaduke” are well past their expiration dates, and “9 Chickweed Lane” has become repetitive and tiresome. It’s time to hit the refresh button on the comics page.
For more than a week I have been seeing the notice in the comic strip section where Wiley Miller laid an “Easter egg” that The Times found objectionable. I read the strips every day but did not spot any Easter egg in “Non Sequitur,” so I missed out on the controversy over the vulgar message.
However, I am curious as to why the Times has not noticed the soft porn in “9 Chickweed Lane” that has been going on for many months.
I am also curious as to why for at least two or three years Garry Trudeau has been “on vacation” with the Times running strips from the 1980s, some of which are very much out-of-date, yet has a current Trudeau strip every Sunday. It seems to me that if you are going to replace Miller’s strip with another one, you should do the same with “Doonesbury.”
Editor’s note: Gary Trudeau took a hiatus from producing a daily comic strip while he worked on a TV project (“Alpha House”) and has extended the break indefinitely. He continues to create the weekly version of “Doonesbury.”
I am so glad “Roma” was available on Netflix. That way, I was able to simply turn it off after 20 boring minutes instead of having to ask theater management for a refund.
Enough already with all the over-the-top adulation for “Roma.” All “Roma” had me thinking as I left the theater was “Huh?”
John R. Grush
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