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ANYBODY SEE DOGMA?
Joel Beers' preview story about Rude Guerrilla's West Coast premiere of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi does the production a major injustice (“The Hysterical Jesus,” Nov. 12). Clearly a skilled writer, Beers makes some adept points about Rude Guerrilla and director Dave Barton before proceeding to criticize the play, based solely on (1) reviews of previous productions and (2) his own reading of the script. Beers spends no less than 12 paragraphs negating the work as a whole, though this particular production didn't open for another week.
As audience members at Saturday night's performance (when there were protesters, by the way), my friend and I found the play involving, thoughtful, clever and ultimately very moving. However the play reads, its strengths are highlighted by Barton's minimalist production, which focuses on the characters, their relationships and the still-timeless teachings of Joshua, the Christ figure. Barton's direction is taut and passionate, and his cast—particularly leads Jay Fraley and Sean Cox—is uniformly excellent. The diminutiveness of the Empire Theatre is ideal for an emotional play like this. Beers really should see a production before implying that any staging of that particular work might not be worth viewing.
Kevin Michael Tustin An editor responds: Joel never said a staging of Corpus Christi wouldn't be worth viewing. It's just that he—like the bulk of reviewers who saw the New York production—thought it was a bad script. “My point was to question why religious fundies—and equally zealous gay artists and audiences—get so involved in a play that is so inadequate to the urgent issues it labors to address,” Joel told me. Whatever. What's more interesting about your letter are its parallels to the excellent new movie Dogma (whose script, unlike Corpus Christi's, is brilliant). Dogma is about a Christ figure. It's got fundies upset. Its writer/director's first name is Kevin—like yours! One of the prophets is named Jay—just like Jay Fraley! Creepy, huh?
Victor Infante (“Taxing Education,” Nov. 19) should balance his call for the textbook tax cut with appropriate government budget cuts.
George Kocourek via e-mail An editor responds: Did you know that you have the same first name as comedian George Carlin, who plays a Roman Catholic cardinal in the excellent new movie Dogma? And your last name rhymes with “Affleck,” as in Ben Affleck, who plays a fallen angel. Creepy, huh?
Rebecca Schoenkopf writes, “Our friend Mark Hilgenberg, for example, got real angry! about gun control. His solution for gun killings? More guns in everybody's hands” (Commie Girl, “Grrrrr!” Nov. 19). Oh, Rebecca, how you misunderstood me. I wasn't angry about gun control (that was the guy next to me). But I am angry about gun violence. Like you, I am tired of seeing innocent people gunned down all around the country. I don't want to give guns to anyone; I have never even held a gun. I just want to let good people have a chance to protect themselves against the predators of our society if they choose. If more criminals thought their potential victims might be armed, they might look for new careers. That's what happened in Florida when they allowed concealed carry permits for anyone (not just cops) and started teaching women how to protect themselves with guns. The rape rate dropped by more than 75 percent when the police advertised a gun training program for women—before the program even started. Let's work on finding real solutions to the violence and other problems in society. We need to turn away from our zeal to force conformity at all costs; we need to promote diversity instead. From a non-angry, very happy, peace-loving pacifist,
Mark Hilgenberg Secretary Libertarian Party of San Fernando Valley An editor responds: I asked Rebecca about this, and she says you're still talking about getting a gun into the hands of everyone who wants one. Whatever. What's more interesting about your letter are its parallels to the excellent new movie Dogma. For instance, you state that we need to promote diversity. Dogma has a black apostle played by Chris Rock and a Latino muse played by Salma Hayek. Creepy, huh?
Re: “Hed(pe) Struggles With a Rock-Star Dream Deferred” (by Arrissia Owen, Nov. 19): We've heard this story before, and I feel sorry for Hed(pe), but you don't have to study entertainment law to learn the difference between a “recoupable” and “non-recoupable” advance on record sales. All advances are “recoupable,” meaning simply that they are deductible from future royalty payments. Hed(pe)'s mistake may have been in signing a contract in which the advance was “returnable”—no matter how much you earn, you still owe your label the entire advance.
If you're in the music business and have so much at stake, you're an idiot not to do a little research to protect your interests.
Todd Ebert via e-mail An editor responds: You say Hed(pe) has much at stake in rock N roll. At stake in the excellent new movie Dogma is the continued existence of mankind. And did you know that “dogma” spelled backward is “am God”? Creepy, huh?