Rock musicians were all in their 20s, I thought.
In 1968, I was music editor for my college newspaper at Long Beach State. I had become very good friends with Greland Landon, then the head of RCA public relations. One day, he asked if I’d like to go to the taping of the Elvis special, which turned out to be that acoustic session in what looked like a boxing ring. To this day, it is still one of the greatest times of my life. Elvis had an aura about him that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in anyone else.
Backstage with Maria Callas
Regarding “Private Drama Imbues Her Famous Voice” [Nov. 23]: Maria Callas changed my life. Her many recordings have been a mainstay of my opera collection. But it was my brief encounter with the famously “tempestuous” singer that left an indelible impact. I was able to secure an ushering job for her “Farewell Concert” at the Shrine Auditorium in 1974. As a struggling USC student, I couldn’t afford the ticket. The performance was wondrous. Using my usher badge, I was able to go backstage. With great trepidation, I entered her dressing room.
Dressed in an orange chiffon gown, she was greeting well-wishers. As I approached, I impulsively kissed her hand and cheek. I said, “I think you are wonderful.”
She responded, “No, it is you who are wonderful. We need young people to love opera.”
Her gracious response to that college kid will forever be among my greatest memories.
An ode to drama on Broadway
Thank you for Charles McNulty’s perceptive piece on three great plays running on Broadway and the three phenomenal stars who, along with great supporting casts, deliver fine drama at its best [“It’s All in the Star Turns,” Nov. 26].
Drama has always been the stepchild to musicals on Broadway, but each year new plays, wonderful revivals, great acting — and, most important, full houses — show that there is still a large and appreciative audience for the well-produced play.
I saw “Bernhardt/Hamlet” 32 times. What an honor to watch Janet McTeer blaze across the stage. And her line in the last scene (“I am Sarah Bernhardt and, like all actresses, I am air”) brought me to tears on closing night, knowing the crystal palace of this very special group of souls turned to vapor right before my eyes.
Janet turned to them at the bow and embraced them all, which she had never done before.
Joseph Coleman, husband of Janet McTeer
He shouldn’t have gone low
Regarding Lorraine Ali’s essay “Laughs Are Off Their Menu” [Nov. 25]: I’d long felt that President Obama’s ridicule of Donald Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondent’s Assn. dinner was not worthy of him. It was not in his decent, disciplined character.
Perhaps just a moment of human weakness, understandable enough. With consequences unto the present day.
Adding to our Trump lexicon
I applaud Daniel Fink for his neologism, “Trumpaganda” [“Calendar Feedback: Hockney Painting and the ‘P’ Word,” Nov. 25]. I propose another new word, “Trumpocalypse,” to describe the future which Donald Trump is aiming for. If that ever happens, we would not need to print any more ballots since there would not be any more elections.
What’s that doing there?
Regarding the front page ad Sunday [Nov. 25]: I don’t care how much money you get for large ads in your paper; I wish you had put the “Dirty John” advertisement in a less prominent place. This fascination with the negative taking precedence over informing the public of positive endeavors we need to know about makes me wonder what editorial guidelines you have in place.
We were definitely rocked
Initially, my husband and I and two of our friends, chose not to see “Bohemian Rhapsody” based on film critic Justin Chang’s negative review [“Killer Queen?” Nov. 2]. Happily for all of us we decided, since there was nothing else we really wanted to see, that we’d take a chance.
All of us were completely transported and thrilled with the experience of seeing this outstanding film. This is not the first time Chang and I have disagreed on the merits and worthiness of a film. But I was really angry that I could have missed this one. The lesson my friends and I have taken away from this experience is to make up our own minds and no longer even read his reviews.
No, Robin Hood was not a progressive
In her review of the new “Robin Hood” movie [“A Little Anarchy in the Medieval U.K.,” Nov. 21], Katie Walsh writes, “Robin Hood has always been anti-fascist, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, living with his pals in Sherwood Forest while battling the tyrannical sheriff of Nottingham and disrupting abusive systems of power. He’s the very definition of a radical leftist activist.”
Oh really? Apparently she has forgotten the plot (as the English like to say). In the Robin Hood legend as depicted in all of the previous Robin Hood movies, he has been a staunch supporter of the monarchy in the person of Richard the Lionheart, who became King Richard I, against the evil usurper King John.
A hero to be sure, but not an ANTIFA radical leftist by any definition.
Coming to grip with the gun debate
My profound thanks to Mary McNamara for her astute, heartfelt commentary [“She’s Right, But it’s Wrong,” Nov. 11]. She provides an apt antidote to the Trump administration’s tone-deaf insensitivity to ever more frequent gun massacres. Her insightful piece goes a long way to explaining how the U. S. remains so backward on gun control measures.