Randy Lewis shouldn’t be surprised at Paul Simon’s meticulousness over a “seemingly tangential” tambourine part [“Can’t Resist a Few Finishing Touches,” Sept. 10]. Not only is Lewis’s writing a meticulous example of his deep knowledge of popular music, but I’m sure Lewis remembers Jack Ashford, the tambourine player in “Standing in the Shadow of Motown.”
Ashford played that instrument on beats 2 and 4 of every bar of music in countless hit songs because he was so in the pocket (the groove). He was the glue of all those songs. This reminds me of the novelist Tom Robbins, who wrote the liner notes for The Doors first box set. He blew up at me because they left out a comma in his text. “God is in the details, John,” was his remark. Thank God it was fixed, and we’re good friends now.
Note: The author was the drummer for the Doors.
I grew up on the music of Paul Simon. Lewis’ article is exquisitely expressed and reverentially received, taking in every single aspect of this fabulous artist’s career and going a step further in examining the inner depths of his thinking.
Thank you for letting us, the reader, really see into the heart of Paul Simon.
Your glimpse of Simon’s career and insights concerning his inner feelings and perspectives toward his music and journey says it all to me. I saw him many times in concert and always thought each time he performed he could do no more, but then he did.
More art for ‘Gehry’s Plan’
Regarding “Gehry’s Plan” [Sept. 9]: Times writer Deborah Vankin did not mention an important element that was intended to be installed as part of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall shortly after the building opened.
The artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen had been commissioned to provide a monumental sculpture to punctuate the corner of Grand Avenue and 1st Street at the base of the main staircase. The piece they designed, “Collar and Bow,” was a 65-foot-tall steel-and-fiberglass bow tie and wing collar shown in the process of falling to the ground. The sidewalk on that corner was reinforced to anticipate the weight of the sculpture.
After the sculpture was fabricated, something went off the rails and the unassembled sculpture wound up behind a chain-link fence in Irvine while a nasty legal battle raged. The sad conclusion was the abandonment of the project. It is a shame for Los Angeles that a significant part of the original site plan will never grace the entrance to Disney Hall.
Mr. Gehry’s vision for projections on the exterior of his masterpiece was beautifully realized at the Music Center’s “Moves After Dark” program in July. As one of three local choreographers chosen to create works in Disney Hall locations, Janet Roston (my wife) enhanced her “Gatsby Redux” piece with projections on the steel “sails” behind the Blue Ribbon Garden. She collaborated with her longtime designer, Joe LaRue, who combined vintage cartoons and art deco designs to parallel the dancers' 1920s alcohol-fueled revelry. The Music Center’s ace tech crew worked with Joe to find the perfect projector and lens combination. The video art created a colorful ambiance in sync with the music and dance.
I can’t wait to see Anadol’s media installation cast upon Mr. Gehry’s unique canvas.
What’s going on, Miss America?
Regarding “Where Does Miss America Fit in 2018” [Sept. 9]: I can’t believe all the attention about Miss America, swimsuits and femininity. Women’s clothes and cosmetics are promoted and sold based on being feminine.
If we want a talent show, we go to Broadway or musicals, because that’s where the best are. They make swimsuits an issue, but the objectification of women in Hollywood is acceptable?
I enjoyed Lorraine Ali’s piece on the Miss America pageant, but this note at the end caught my eye: “Rated: TV-14-L (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14 with an advisory for coarse language).”
Why would this, of all broadcasts, have a restrictive rating, and why do they expect, or at least fear, coarse language?
The gospel of Springsteen
Thanks so much for the Randy Lewis Springsteen article [“On Broadway: Still on the Run,” Sept. 6]. I can’t help but love the guy. I teach philosophy, and I’m a Christian theist, and I have to say that Springsteen’s quote: “The way I see it, we ate the apple and Adam, Eve, the rebel Jesus in all his glory and Satan are all part of God's plan to make men and women out of us, to give us the precious gifts of earth, dirt, sweat, blood, sex, sin, goodness, freedom, captivity, love, fear, life and death ... our humanity and a world of our own,” is about the best theodicy I’ve ever read.
Actually show the spectrum
Regarding “A Spectrum of Dysfunction” [Sept. 7]: Hollywood seems to stick to the high-functioning side of the spectrum when depicting autism. To get a true picture of the disorder, people need to see the not-so-pretty side as well.
The 15-year-old 6’5” non-verbal son who still wets his bed every night, who will have to be taken care of everyday for the rest of his life; the self-injurious daughter who is echolalic and watches Disney movies over and over again and repeats lines from them over and over, driving all those around her batty. These are just two examples of what those on the low-functioning end of the spectrum have to contend with.
“Atypical” and “The Good Doctor” and shows like those are a good start at introducing the concept of autism, but they only tell one part of the story. With the continual rise in the numbers of children being diagnosed with the disorder, all sides need to be heard.
Caesar could make all laugh
Thank you for Robert Lloyd’s article recognizing Sid Caesar, the true comic genius of my generation [“It’s a Funny, Funny World,” Sept. 5]. I grew up on “Your Show of Shows.” Many decades later, I used the sketch “At the Movies” in my English as a Second Language class to teach a certain grammatical point. No matter what the generation, age, ethnic background, country of origin or educational level, students laughed hysterically (and I managed to teach my point). Caesar transcended time and country.
Not enough, too much Disney
In Todd Martens’ article [“Disneyland’s Beatnik by Design,” Sept. 9], Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump notes all the effort that went into building the theme park. Efforts that set Disney apart from non-Disney parks. The main complaint I have about Disneyland is it is limited in size, so when they want to put something new in, they often have to take something out. Over the years, there is a lot that isn’t there anymore. So much, Disney could have enough for a whole “new” park.
Aspects of aging missing in comedy
In his review of the John Cleese series “Hold the Sunset” on BritBox [“A new ‘Sunset’ Courting,” Sept. 12], The Times television critic Robert Lloyd expressed relief that the senior medical jokes pointed toward positive views. I guess a comedy should do that, but I wouldn’t mind any other types of jokes. As a senior with a lot of medical issues, I find it positive just to find someone with whom to discuss our latest surgery or malady. “As Times Goes By” devoted an entire episode to a possible hearing loss on the part of the male lead, and it was very funny. Seniors like to have characters to whom they can relate just like the young viewers do. I enjoy young actors and think the young viewers can enjoy the older ones.
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