Letters from the Issue of August 31, 2006

"This movie was refreshing and poignant, and I had to go back twice"

Love and Complaint

This film rocked: Regarding Frank Houston's "Cine Havana" (August 17): I loved the movie. It captured the tempo and beauty of the real Cuba. What I found in Love & Suicide is what I would want to experience on a trip to Cuba — the pain of life and the beauty and satisfaction one finds in the simple things. Please keep making movies, Mr. Moro. Bravo! You open our eyes to what is important in life.

Jennifer Howard
Los Angeles, California

This review didn't: About Frank Houston's review of Love & Suicide: Wow. Okay, this is one person's perspective — definitely not the consensus among the Cuban-Americans who were in the theater when I saw it. The reaction was more heartfelt, with tears of reminiscence and reflection. The lobby was full of people talking about Luis Moro's performance (which was so convincing you wonder if there is a little bit of the character Alberto in him) and their own relationships with their "daddies." Maybe if it were a glamorized Hollywood commercial film with a $100-million budget, Mr. Houston would have taken a different stand. Just that Moro and France were able to shoot this film in the first place is a triumph. Also, from what I understand, Moro was born in Cuba and came here young.

This movie was refreshing and poignant, and I had to go back and see it twice, it gripped me so much. I will be doing it again this weekend with my parents.

Compared with Lost City, in which I was disappointed with the depiction, the fantasy, and Andy Garcia's egocentrism, Love & Suicide is a refreshing look at the real Cuba. Hard cynics have been surprised at how touching this movie is.

It's difficult to find authentic movies anymore in the world of product placement and out-of-control stars.

Refreshing, is my perspective on it.

Isabella Mendez
Coral Gables


Shot Himself in the Foot

But at least he didn't put it in his mouth: Carlos Suarez De Jesus's review of Elsa Muñoz's installation in his article "Home Groan" (August 17) is as provincial as it is mean-spirited. Frankly it speaks more to the writer than the artist he decided to take to task with his insulting review. The show features four artists, yet the bulk of the article is spent disparaging Muñoz's installation. It's refreshing to see that Suarez De Jesus has an opinion and it's clear, but the six paragraphs about Muñoz are truly hurtful and make me cringe. His tone is that of a cool, cavalier art bully who delights in beating up work he has decided is "easy pickings." His wish to "mow her shit down" or aim "a leaf blower at Muñoz's embarrassing mess" is neither constructive nor clever. With this "lemon" he has taken down a well-intended show at the expense of himself.

Jenny Brillhart
Miami Beach


Metal Marriage

Or maybe magical mating, if you like alliteration: I read Josh Schonwald's "Metal Magic" (August 17). My daughter got married May 20 in the Keys, and her rehearsal dinner was at Snooks Bayside the previous day. We were at the restaurant while the "Metal Magic" magician, Michael Trixx, performed, and we loved the show! He is totally different and fun to watch.

Lois Coniglio
Port Washington, New York


I Love Weed

And I'm eating Cheetos as I write this: I just read Josh Schonwald's article about the rise of hydroponic cultivation of marijuana in Miami, "Weed Warriors" (August 17). I had always considered your newspaper to be a source of opinions that contrast with the conspicuous deceit of state-manufactured propaganda. Yet this article proclaims the evils of marijuana and justifies the persecution of those involved in its production; I have become very confused about the relevance of science, the media, and criminology in journalism.

It's easy to prove that the author disregarded science. In the closing, there is a statement referenced to a policeman with regard to academic performance and the use of marijuana. It seems foolhardy for a policeman to make assumptions the scientific establishment can't. On the other hand, it is deceitful to close an article with an argument lacking any truth that is quoted from a source without any knowledge of the field. Since I am not aware of any studies linking marijuana use to any physical, psychological, or intellectual problems, please forward me a reference to accepted scientific studies linking pot-smoking to academic performance.

I am simply surprised that any tool of mass communication would quote a policeman on anything other than harassing lower-income families. That is of course unless the medium in question is a governmental subsidiary with the express intention of conducting a disinformation campaign. Please publish an article to counter the misinformation in "Weed Warriors," perhaps one citing the socioeconomic breakdown of drug convictions, the incidence of habeas corpus violation in the ghetto, and, if you feel courageous, chronicling the ethnic character of the war on marijuana and booze.

It is much too clear that law enforcement's true goal is to jail as many low-income, minority males as possible.

Thank you for helping your government subvert the truth. Count one less reader.

Juan A. Morales
Coral Gables


Sang Like an Angel

Even as a twerp: I just read Julienne Gage's article regarding Michelle Forman, "Animal Collective" (August 10). I have known her since we were in tenth grade. I have seen her sing many times and always knew she would find her way in the music industry. She has this voice that can make a crowd stop what they are doing and listen to her. I am very proud of her, and I know she will be successful. Thanks for taking the time to interview a great woman.

Sylvia Quiñones
Miami


What Would the Publisher Say?

Who cares? He's a red! I read the story "Commie Book Ban" by Rob Jordan (August 10) at altweeklies.com. As an impartial observer with no ties to Miami or Cuba, I found the story interesting, but there was one thing missing: the point of view of the author and/or publisher of Vamos a Cuba. I would have liked to have read an explanation for why the controversial photo was chosen for the cover, for instance. It also would have been good to know the background of those who wrote the book and their reaction to this controversy.

Randy Jones
King, North Carolina


They are not nephews: Regarding "Commie Book Ban": The problem for me is not just that there is a "vocal and extreme minority speaking for all Cuban-Americans," as Coky Michel said. It is also that this same minority is ramming its agenda down everyone else's throats: banning books, scaring Cuban artists and performers away from coming to Miami, blocking visas for recognized scholars, and, most outrageously of all, depriving other Americans of our constitutional right to travel where we please. This last is gratuitously cruel when applied to Cuban and Cuban-American families.

Who in hell do they think they are? I'm really sorry about what happened to many of them, but it's time to move on! How ironic that those most responsible for this are a handful of local politicians led by the Diaz-Balart brothers, Fidel's nephews — family feud here? — and "liberal Democrats" such as Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who pander to them while voting against an exemption to allow Cubans in Miami to send soap and toilet paper to family members.

Richard Rosichan
Miami Beach


Polka No More

L'il Wally ruled that floor: Thank you so much for Robert Andrew Powell's brief article about L'il Wally, "Polka Mania!" (December 9, 1999). It's difficult to express how much he meant to so many people. Division Street is far wider than its actual boundaries, much like New York's 52nd Street. Wally meant as much to those of us who love polka as Bird meant to jazz. He really was that revolutionary. I never met the man, but I'll always miss him.

Ward Abronski
San Francisco, California

Editor's note: L'il Wally Jagiello passed away this past August 17. He was a Miami hero.


No More Foie Gras

But now the Chicago ban has taken effect: I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up the issue of New Times that had "Foie Wars" (July 13) by Lee Klein on the cover. The treatment of these animals, the force-feeding, et cetera, has bothered me for some time. I was glad to see someone finally writing about it. I think you covered both sides fairly; it was a good article.

I have campaigned and sent out flyers to some restaurants, asking them to rethink their menu choices. I was happy to see that some places are choosing to not include foie gras on their menus. I will definitely be frequenting those restaurants over the ones who choose to keep serving it.

So many people are unaware of the treatment of these animals. Thank you again for helping to bring this issue to light.

Kimberly White
Via the Internet

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