As someone who had the privilege of seeing Chuck Berry perform many times over the decades, I amend the traditional rest in peace sentiments to rock in peace!
Brilliant commentary on Berry. Listening to "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" when I was in high school, I realized that he must have been referring to an African American, but with my blue eyes and white skin, I embraced the deeper meaning, which to me was the acknowledgment of achievement, talent, self-confidence of someone young, like me. Those attributes transcended race and color, etc., as does all great poetry.
Me, personally, I'll never forget the night I sat next to Chuck at a Denny's counter in Dallas in 1967, and he shared his French fries with me. That night, to a goggle-eyed white fan, he was kind, talkative and gracious; he even gave me the Chuck Berry eye-roll. And indeed, his handshake was like putting your hand in a large, soft glove.
Thanks again for the great coverage of a wonderful poet and Oh My God! guitarist.
I'm from Wentzville, Mo., and a big Berry fan. I saw him many, many times in his own Duck Room at Blueberry Hill in St. Louis. He was a big reason I went into music, and your appreciation hit the right spot at the right time.
As cool as Berry's songs are, musically, they are quite simple, blues-based tunes, especially "Johnny B. Goode," which is all of three chords.
I really enjoyed reading your articles about Berry. They were very well written, just like the songs you mentioned and quoted. Truly nice work.
A separatist? Not this Scot
Mark Swed's review ["Wildness, With a Sense of Poetry," March 20] of the L.A. Philharmonic's performance of James MacMillan's piano concerto calls the composer "an avid Scottish separatist" and attributes to him a passion for "Scottish nationalism."
MacMillan is proud of being Scottish and is deeply attached to his country, but he is firmly opposed to all separatist impulses. During the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, he repeatedly expressed his angry opposition to the idea in speeches and newspaper articles.
Talkin' 'bout this generation
I had to chortle while perusing "Indie Rockers Defy Aging" [March 15]. Keith Richards has guitar picks older than both Britt Daniel and James Mercer (45 and 46, respectively). Bob Dylan's harmonicas predate these two. Paul McCartney probably has Beatles boots gathering dust in his closet that last saw the light of day long before these two were born. Did anyone see "Old Chella"? Now, that's some aging rockers.
John R. Grush
A question of national values
Regarding: "The Trump Budget: A Harsh Note" [March 17]. There is something wrong with a nation that values bullets above education, health, science, the arts and information.
Love her work, but that term ...
I was thrilled to read "Pam Grier Just Wanted to Get in on the Action" [March 19]. I was introduced to Grier in "Jackie Brown." What the article does not do is mention her steady, smart and humorous performance in "The L Word." She played the older, straight sister to the main character. From "B" movies to a Showtime series, her career has been a joy to follow.
Nora A. O'Connor
The word "blaxploitation" should not be used to describe movies made during this era. These were the first movies showing black heroes and black characters on the big screen. The word demeans the making of films that appealed to black people and that brought me to view them on the big screen.
Should Adam Sandler pictures be referred to as "whitexplotation" movies
Column kudos; as to the wall ...
I get that the proposed wall for the U.S.-Mexican border is an antiquated way of keeping out undesirables ["Basking in Trump Wall's Shadow," March 19]. We should work with our neighbors to the south (not just Mexico) to fix problems (gangs, drug lords) that cause people to leave in search of better opportunities.
But I think if we are going to build the wall, and we apparently are, we should embrace the opportunity to do it right the first time instead of spending billions more to fix poor construction.
So I support quality architectural firms engaging in the process. And they should not have to waste time justifying themselves.
Mark J. Grgurich
A unique aspect of architecture within the arts is that with few exceptions, a work is achieved using other people's money. In our capitalist society, this means that architectural clients are usually wealthy individuals or institutions and that architects tend to skew toward those who furnish them with commissions.
It's a mercenary arrangement worthy of exposure, as architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne's column does quite well in saying. However, it is not the only mercenary arrangement that plagues architecture; another is its coverage by the media. Architectural criticism is usually concerned with aesthetics, and because of this, such coverage assumes an element of fashion, where novelty is promoted at the expense of other concerns.
Architectural criticism requires a deeper consideration of what architecture really means in our sustainable world. Ideally, such coverage will consider how a project reveals many of the forces at work in society: aesthetic, economic, social and ethical. Hawthorne's weekly columns are an encouraging development and a welcome departure from the previous traditional architectural reviews.
Begging to differ with film critic
Regarding "'The Settlers': Religion, Politics Blur Lines" [March 17]: Times critic Kenneth Turan defines "The Settlers" as 500,000 Israelis living in 200-plus settlements in the West Bank whose presence is either "the biggest obstacle to peace" or "the first step toward the … arrival of the messiah." That may be what the film contends, but Turan presents it as incontestable truth. As a left-of-center Israeli, I can tell you that the vast majority of Israelis on both sides of the political divide believe it is false.
Pardes Hanna, Israel
In future, spoiler alerts, please!
Justin Chang's film reviews are consistently insightful, but he's got a bad habit of oversharing plot material and even the end points of story and character arcs. On a single day recently — to avoid perpetuating his spoilers, I'm not providing the date or the movie titles — he concluded two reviews by describing the final image and the final shot along with their meanings. Filmmakers work hard to create suspense for moviegoers, who want to be surprised. Critics need to protect that storytelling magic, not dispel it.