EMMA LAZARUS IS TURNING OVER IN HER GRAVE
A pat on the back to John E. Brown ("Letters," July 1) regarding the Haitian Refugee Center and advocates like Cheryl Little, and especially Ira Kurzban. He is not going through the traditional channels as is U.S. law, but, as Mr. Brown states, is circumventing them. My forefathers had to get through the regular procedures to enter the U.S. -- no boatlift or walk-up-on-the-beach.
If Haitians would stay in their own country and work for change and not come here to further wreck our economy, they would be doing something constructive. Where would all the jobs and facilities come from for the people who want to come here? Do we want more crime, more pollution with their large families, more energy and water even now in short supply, more schools for the already overburdened taxpayer to pay for? They just want to get on welfare and food stamps right away. Advocates like Kurzban couldn't care less.
There are 600,000 Haitians in the U.S. now (100,000 in Miami). We cannot absorb any more of them; do we want the ruination of the U.S. eventually? America and Americans first!
AT LONG LAST, AN OBJECTIVE OPINION!
Now that the run of Too Short to Be a Rockette at the Coconut Grove Playhouse has ended, as one of the show's musicians, I feel it is important to clarify some technical errors on Roberta Morgan's part ("Zadorable!," June 17). Morgan's review was inappropriately vindictive in a very personal way toward Pia Zadora; it also reflected an unjustifiably negative light on one overwhelmingly excellent element of the production -- the music.
Local musicians hired to play in a theater orchestra have no vested interest in the production. Therefore, these comments are coming from a very objective place.
The musical arrangements in Too Short to Be a Rockette were done impeccably. Even if Morgan didn't like the style of the music, the quality and tastefulness of the orchestrations always came through. The top jazz arrangers in the country -- Peter Matz, Billy Byers, Sammy Nestico, Robert Farnon -- all deserved at least an exemption from her personal attack. Vinnie Falcone, the conductor, made the production work and prepared the orchestra with rare musical common sense. At least Morgan acknowledged his name.
Perhaps the unkindest cut of all was her begrudging comment about the orchestra: "competent." The majority of the players were faculty members of local universities' jazz and classical music programs. The musical contractor, Peter Graves, has a well-deserved reputation for putting together the best-sounding ensembles. Since she clearly thought so little of the show, how little of her not to even admit the possibility that the music might be redeeming of the production. That's how good our performances were. That is fact, not opinion.
And as far as Pia Zadora's singing being on the sharp side, even though her pitch was not exactly 440 Hz all the time, she was never grossly out of tune, as Morgan stated. In fact, she was right on pitch 95 percent of the time. If she hadn't been, the guys in the band would have been the first to notice (and make fun of, believe me!).
Morgan has made it clear that she has artistic and political objections to the direction that Arnold Mittleman has been taking the Coconut Grove Playhouse, but she never once brought up these issues in the piece. She could have educated readers, explained the difference between entertainment and drama, and presented an intelligent argument. But instead, she decided to be a snob.
Morgan seems to be an intelligent woman, but I remind her that a truly intelligent person does not let her emotions get in the way of her objectivity. Her review really came off as catty, small, sarcastic, negatively emotional, and not objective at all.
For what the show was supposed to be, it was a very good production. The musicians are by no means fans of Pia Zadora, but we were insulted and offended by Morgan's total put-down of a production that we worked hard to make happen and did make happen in an undeniably superior way. We were the stars of the show. She owes us an apology.
Mark J. Hill, member
American Federation of Musicians
STATELY WAYNE'S MANNER
For some of us, a movie like Batman Returns does not attract our attention as do some others ("Wayne's World," June 24). But for those who have been totally stressed out by life today, it is a pleasure to see a movie of this caliber and get away from life for a while. I do agree with Rafael Navarro on the fact that children should not be in the theater when this film is being shown, but as an adult who lives with Miami's day-to-day crime, traffic, crooked judges, cops, politicians, etc., it is nice to fantasize.
The article was well written, but much too critical for such a simple film. God knows what Mr. Navarro thought of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
BOSTON BEANHEAD TAKES ON JERKWATER WANNA-BE
Having recently relocated from Boston, I was surprised to find that Miami, a self-styled cultural mecca, has a peculiarly stilted film "scene." Rafael Navarro's movie reviews give me some insight into this. Reviewing the Miami Film Festival in May, Mr. Navarro was unrelenting in his caustic appraisals of each and every film, perhaps excepting Raise the Red Lantern. It appears to me that, in this town, the options for getting a little cinematic variety lie between the Film Festival and nothing. What, exactly, is Navarro holding out for?
In his need to be taken as a "serious" critic, Mr. Navarro rushes to dump on everything, as if actually enjoying a movie were somehow the mark of a rube. What Mr. Navarro doesn't seem to realize is that nothing marks a jerkwater wanna-be so clearly as the pathetic impulse to put down everything regardless of its merit. Criticizing is easy. Being a good critic, able to both appreciate quality and identify bullshit in works from all cultures (like, for example, the Herald's Leonard Pitts, Jr.) is much harder. Critics in Boston or New York have no problem writing favorable reviews for good movies, not because they are simpletons, but because they possess some genuine taste and self-confidence. I submit that there is a connection between the diversity of movies available year-round in those cities and the editorial attitudes of city publications that don't feel compelled to slam every film since Citizen Kane. Their press actually encourage diversity for its own sake, even if they don't personally adore every manifestation of that diversity. For my part, I hope New Times can hire a movie critic who enjoys movies. Until then, the reviews will continue to be useless.
Andrew W. Macfarlane
WHO'S THE ROSS?
When I picked up the June 10 issue, I was very excited and interested to finally be in possession of some substantial information about Ross Perot. "The Bashful Candidate" readied me for some serious inquiry into Mr. Perot's motives and leanings. I was sorely disappointed. Peter Elkind's article could have been stated like so: "Ross Perot suggested that he be drafted to run for president. He is financing some of the campaign operations thus far." Big damn deal! Your headline and "cold, calculating" nonsense below it painted one picture while the facts outlined not an evil, but actually a mundane, political development.
It is clear Elkind took his gut feelings and apprehensions about Perot (which I share) and shaped the sparse information he had around them. His descriptions of the Dallas headquarters illustrated this process best (as if only a cynical and manipulative political movement has its receptionists answer the phones the same way). The whole article seems a waste of New Times typeset. The article that should have been written was briefly outlined in the side box, "Perot's Cons," which as it stands is a tease and may in fact be misleading without further substantiation and analysis.
I understand that Perot has not exactly been forthcoming with information about his platform, but that only means that journalists like Elkind are going to have to get into this man's past, study a broad base of his actions, and develop a clear picture. In other words, get to work, New Times.
GREAT AND MARROW
Now that you've reported the truth about Ross Perot, how about the lowdown on Andre Marrow, the Libertarian Party, and the whole self-government movement? Marrow, the Libertarian candidate for president in 1992, won the first primary of the election in very conservative Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.
In his letter of June 24 regarding Jim DeFede's "Big Tow" (June 17), John Mendez writes: "Legitimate authority is received from below, not handed down from the top, like some totalitarian decree." We Libertarians couldn't agree more. The Libertarian Party is the party Tom Jefferson would join if he were alive today. Our message needs to be heard!
Those interested in the Libertarian Party of Dade County can call 252-4185 or 800-682-1776.
Raymond W. Gould
SILENCE = DEATH
Reading Sean Rowe's "Can You Keep A Secret?" (June 3), I realized that it would be so simple to keep your HIV tests secret if hospitals were using (or implemented) a numbering system to give the patient (or tested) and refer to it only by number. Of course, that would imply that the patient won't reveal his true identity and will go to the hospital only to be tested for HIV.
Also, I believe that the person who tested positive will have to be responsible if he/she were to spread the disease around. I do believe in the privacy of persons to keep secrets and in the confidentiality of medical records, but up to a point, because that person can infect someone else with his/her virus just because he does not want to be an outcast from society.
We are discussing death here, not a sore throat.
Michael del Valle
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What's unbelievable to me is that a newspaper as diverse, culturally hip, and informative as New Times would allow Tom Austin an entire page to write shit ("Swelter"). I, among many who read your newspaper weekly, don't care about who's eating who where. I think New Times should remember what kind of people read the publication, and provide us with intellectual reading. Transfer Tom Austin to Mainstream, America, so that they can read all about the senseless parties and the who-fucked-who-where scenes.
I want Tom Austin to know how much I enjoy reading his weekly column in New Times. Because most of my time is consumed with developing our business, I rarely have an opportunity to do more than glance at local publications. However, I always make the time to read his article every week. He captures the essence of South Beach like no one else can. Thank you for the entertainment.