Letters to the Editor 1/15/99

Since we encouraged the media to focus on the composer's own narrow escape from death by AIDS in all the advance publicity for the show, one can hardly say (as Beers did) that we "soft-pedaled" the show's content. Moreover, a religion piece by Hieu Tran Phan in The Orange County Register about The Last Session focused on the compatibility of homosexuality and Christianity -a key theme in the play. That piece prompted some letters, as the issue of whether or not you can be gay and a good Christian is more controversial as a theatrical subject matter than whether the main character has AIDS.

Our audience embraced the show; The Last Session received a joyous standing ovation at every one of its 31 performances here-unprecedented in the history of the Laguna Playhouse. So, perhaps our theatergoers are a little more hip than Beers gives us credit for. We're extremely pleased that The Last Session received significant enough positive attention from critics like Beers and from audiences that we were able to assist in its transfer to the Tiffany Theatre in Los Angeles, where it is now playing.

-Richard Stein
Executive Director
The Laguna Playhouse

Joel Beers responds: Based on the fact that the show played to 87 percent capacity-not bad at all but much less than some recent productions that were much inferior-I'd argue that OC still ain't West Hollywood, or even west Pacoima, which was the real point of the piece. In fact, perhaps keeping the AIDS angle in the mainstream ads might have generated more audience excitement. Of course, said audiences would have been blood-crazed, Bible-thumping fundies armed with school district reading lists and pipe bombs, but hey, that's entertainment.

ASPHALT JUNGLE

A few weeks ago, you ran an article ripping the Orange County Transportation Authority's (OCTA) light-rail planning efforts (Jon Hall's "The Warm Fuzzies," Dec. 11) and since have included another jab at them in your year-end issue (Matt Coker's "1998: The Year of Living Undangerously," Jan. 1). In your effort to slam any OC government entity you can, you have decided to side with a group whose sole effort is to PAVE the entire county! The so-called Drivers for Highway Safety (DHS) is a group of Libertarians who not only loathe urban rail projects but also hate any transportation-planning measure that does not include widening freeways while removing all carpool lanes.

At an OCTA board meeting I attended in August regarding plans to put carpool lanes on the Garden Grove Freeway, one DHS member closed his spiteful remarks with wishing for Beach Boulevard to be turned into a FREEWAY.

The OC Weekly turning to DHS to attack a common foe reeks of the Hitler-Stalin pact!

-John Koos
Anaheim

PLACE TO BE SCENE

So how come every time I open your otherwise excellent OC Weekly, I'm inundated with a bunch of self-serving, tedious, teenage drivel from that dope Commie Girl? The poor woman has nothing to say of any real interest to anyone, so we are treated to a bunch of meaningless verbiage about her pathetic social life.

Why? Can't you find anyone to cover the OC social scene who can at least make it sound interesting? Anyone from outside OC who reads her stuff would be fully convinced that Orange County is so boring that the only place to go for a good time is Disneyland.

-Jeanne Edwards
Rancho Santa Margarita
The editors respond: The answers to your questions, in order, are: 1) market research shows that 87.2 percent of our readers LOVE self-serving, tedious, teenage drivel; 2) "Would you please treat us to a bunch of meaningless verbiage about a young, attractive, intelligent Bolshevik's pathetic social life?" was the No. 1 request from participants of several focus groups we held before launching Commie Girl; and 3) yes, we did.

CORRECTION

In "No Free Ride" (The County, Jan. 8), the wrong name was given for the Superior Court judge who threw out Jim Toledano's case against the Transportation Corridor Agencies. It was Judge William F. McDonald who handled the case.

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