Contact us via e-mail (letters@ocweekly.com), regular mail (Letters to the Editor, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627) or fax (714-708-8410). Letters will be edited for clarity and length. All correspondence must include your home city and a daytime phone number.


Re: Chris Ziegler's "Gender Vertigo," June 15: As reported to Joe Flazh! from Sal Miano, co-owner of Coffeehaven Coffeehouse & Art Gallery in his own words: "I was just sitting down in front of the TV in the main gallery, showing a new employee a training video, when I looked upstairs through the picture-frame window to see a stark naked man with his erect penis in his hand walking toward Liezel Rubin's 'King Hitler' series. I am always asking the employees to keep an eye on the Erotic Gallery in order to keep it clean and to keep customers from letting their 'make-out' sessions get out of hand. So, I told Krissy, one of the most popular waitresses, 'There's a problem upstairs, and you need to take care of it.' She assumed that someone spit on Ms. Rubin's photos again. So, with Windex and paper towels in hand, innocent, unsuspecting Krissy took that last mile into the Erotic Gallery. Within seconds, Krissy flew back down the stairs, red-faced and short of breath, screaming, 'Oh, my God! That was disgusting!' She told me that she said to him, 'Honey, you need to put your clothes back on.' But she was too stunned to ask him to leave after he answered, 'What? I can't have naked coffee?!' That's when I went upstairs and told him he would have to leave and to never visit the Coffeehaven again, to which he replied, 'Well, it is an erotic gallery, so I thought it would be okay.' I told him the pictures are erotic, but public nudity is not. With that, he dressed and left. I really expected him to be high or drunk, but he seemed to have all his wits about him and be very rational. I let Krissy have a couple of days off to recover."

Joe Flazh!


I read with interest the letter from M. Coker of Costa Mesa (Letters, June 29). It's obvious that this M. Coker lives in a consoling little world all his own. Or, rather, I should say the consoling little world inhabited by the most ardent fans of your admirable writer Matt Coker. Notice how Coker the letter writer coyly gives only his first initial, hoping that everyone will assume his name is Matt and more closely identify him with his hero (I would not put it past such an individual to have legally changed his last name in some desperate act of homage). Notice that he lives in Costa Mesa, no doubt in order to be near the place where his idol works (the resplendent OC Weekly headquarters in its idyllic, industrial-park setting). His desperation at the thought of the man he worships being slighted is sad but all too familiar to anyone who has ever been to Key West when the island is infested with Ernest Hemingway look-alikes. There, you see tubby, bearded men so despairing of their own identities, so desperate to have some sort of connection with genius that they try to fuse their shabby little lives with that of the great writer. Sad, as I said, because none of these men is so much interested in what truly merits admiration—the somewhat revolutionary prose style of the early Hemingway—as in living the Hemingway "lifestyle." That the real life they are imitating involved multiple failed marriages, an endless series of betrayals of friends, and a depression so crippling that it led to suicide hints at how awful their own lives must be. (I hasten to add that I hope the genuine Matt Coker is still many years away from resorting to a shotgun.) The letter would seem to indicate that the admirable Coker is venerated in a similar way in Orange County. Not surprising, really. I imagine in some barroom somewhere in the deeps of Costa Mesa, Matt Coker wannabes gather on a regular basis to discuss their obsession. Dressing like him, speaking in a Cokeresque manner—and, this being Southern California, I suspect that some of them have even gone so far as to have cosmetic surgery to look more like him. Sad because in trying to become Coker the man, they forget that it is the writing they should be focusing on.

P. Brennan
via e-mail


Re: Matt Coker's "True Lies" (June 29): I'm shocked that Coker would even suggest elements within the same government that has for years sponsored death and terror all over Central and South America and anywhere U.S. corporate interests are threatened could be even remotely involved in the activities suggested in your obviously "delusional" article. Let's see . . . Chile 1973: U.S.-backed Pinochet stages a successful coup against a popularly elected socialist government. Guatemala 1954: the US overthrows a popularly elected left-leaning government on behalf of United Fruit Co. In the 1980s, we had Iran-contra, and here at home, we had Cointelpro in the 1960s. There's just so much I almost forgot the radiation experiments on unsuspecting populations here at home and the carpet-bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

>Do you really expect us to believe that a government that would go to all that trouble to "make the world safe for democracy" is involved in the activities suggested by your obviously slanted article?

Juan Escobar
via e-mail


In Coker's "True Lies," Ken Bucchi says, "There are probably other Peruvian families who have been shot down over the years that we do not hear about. We don't do that within our own borders because Americans would be outraged over people being mistakenly shot down, so we fight our battles on other borders." I could point to a long list of Americans killed in the course of the drug war—including Tuan Thanh Tang, a suspected cocaine user who died while in police custody in 1998. I didn't have to search far for his name: I found it in the very next issue of OC Weekly(Vu Nguyen's "Fit to Be Hog-tied," July 6).

Joe Bauer


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