Jody Soffer

Take This Mister: Jen Is as Svelte as a Parisian Model
It's a shame that decent writers are in such short supply here in Miami. You must be able to do more than string together a bunch of words to make a convincing argument, and I'm afraid Jen Karetnick has failed at this simple task.

Jen would like us to believe that she actually ate at Soyka. But unless she weighs 400 pounds, I can't see how she could have eaten as much as she claims. (Okay, maybe she is 400 pounds!) Anyway I've eaten there, although not quite as much as she has, and have had wonderful dining experiences. Perhaps she should try eating a little less so she can actually enjoy something. (I understand that compulsive eaters don't actually enjoy what they are eating. They just eat!)

This whole pathetic "review" underscores the well-known fact that if most critics knew something about the subject, they wouldn't be critics. They'd be artists!

Don Wilner
Fort Lauderdale

Editor's Note: Wilner is the in-house bassist and music coordinator at the Van Dyke Cafe, a Soyka-owned property.

Come to South Beach and See the Flickering Light
After reading Brett Sokol's June 17 article "Big Screens, Small Minds," I felt it necessary to address some of the remarks about the South Beach Film Festival.

I quote from the article: "The bulk of the independent films being shot seem less the product of edgy auteurs, and more like calling cards for Hollywood-bound resume holders. A look at Miami's own South Beach Film Festival bears this out locally, with most of the works differing little from upcoming network TV pilots."

The South Beach Film Festival screens a very diverse variety of films and videos by showing features, shorts, animation, documentaries, and experimental films in 16-millimeter, 35-millimeter, and video formats. This year, for example, Danny Pelvic and the Thrusters was low-budget filmmaking at its best. It was not only edgy but produced with a high degree of professionalism by a first-time feature director and unknown actors. The audience agreed. Macbeth in Manhattan, which utilizes the talents of a TV series regular, Gloria Reuben from ER, is another powerful, low-budget, independent feature.

Local productions are highlighted. This year two screenings were dedicated to South Florida filmmakers and the world premiere was held of Landfall, a feature film from Miami's Echo Bridge Productions starring Tony Award-winner Frances Sternhagen.

In the past some films screened here have gone on to win major awards and wide distribution. Among them: The documentary FiddleFest won an Academy Award; the director of Rhythm Thief, Matthew Harrison, won best director at Sundance; I Love You, Don't Touch Me! from Miami native Julie Davis was released commercially; and Last Call starring Ben Affleck can be found at Blockbuster.

The South Beach Film Festival extends an invitation to the New Times film critic to attend all of next year's screenings. Maybe, just maybe, there is a place for audiences to see edgy independent films. I know we will work our hardest to bring them here.

Andy Schefter, director
South Beach Film Festival
Miami Beach

Come to South Beach and Relax While You See the Flickering Light
I generally agree with Edward G. Guedes ("Letters," July 1) regarding the poor design of the Regal South Beach Cinema. It has poor access, small restrooms, et cetera. I also agree that the seats are less comfortable than those at AMC's Aventura theater.

On the other hand the South Beach Regal leaves good space between the seats and the wall, unlike AMC Aventura, reducing side distortion and a cramped feeling. Regal South Beach also has more leg room, it seems, than AMC Aventura, and less vertical rise of the rows. Having flat screens in the smaller South Beach auditorium lessens the perceived distortion.

By the way, AMC Aventura tickets are $7.50, 25 cents more than Regal South Beach.

There seems to be one "luxury" that used to be standard but that none of today's theaters provide -- namely, real butter for popcorn rather than the hydrogenated oil fraudulently referred to as butter. I'd pay 25 cents extra for it.

Stephen Weiss
Miami Beach

Earth to Nielsen: Deep Throat Is Preparing to Rat on the Miccosukee
I am writing in response to Kirk Nielsen's "River of Cash" (June 24). He failed to ask tribal chairman Billy Cypress the one and only important question: "When does the Las Vegas-style gaming license arrive?"

Does anyone really believe that this $50 million complex was constructed to accommodate little-old-lady bingo players? Come on, what's happened behind the scenes? Surely "the fix" is in for wide-open gambling!

Kirk, my man, look into the Ileana Ros-Lehtinen connection! Hasn't hubby Dexter been seen in D.C "swing dancing" with the politicos at the Department of the Interior? Any tribal cash passing hands?

Have we lost our nose for real news? Say it ain't so! Where are Woodward and Bernstein when we need them. There's a story here, Kirk. Can't you smell it?

Robert Flinn

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