Thursday, March 29, 2001
Best art gallery--Thomas Kinkade? I can sort of understand the tourists buying this lowbrow kitsch, but I always gave the residents of the Monterey Peninsula (and readers of the Weekly) credit for a little more taste. Don't these people realize that this is the contemporary equal of black velvet "paintings" of dogs playing poker?
I've been reading tourism headlines in other local papers this past month: "Hotel Taxes Up in 2000," "P.G. Hotel Tax Revenue Sky High," and "Marina Makes Advances in Its Share of Tourism Business." I was heartened to see the Weekly can be counted on to look beyond the happy numbers and into the real lives of Peninsula workers ("Inn Trouble on the Peninsula," March 15-22). (I also admit that it was good to read about my brothers Juan and Miguel, although their stories are hard ones.)
The contrast between these stories of shattered dreams and the loud headlines of hospitality industry success is startling. The workers, who've made possible the record-breaking prosperity of both hotel companies and city budgets through hotel taxes, are not getting their fair share.
Higher pay and better benefits can help make housing more affordable for our hospitality workers. The money's there. All we need is the sense of justice to move us.
Organizer, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union
It's the Thrill, Stupid!
It seems that Sean Madden has his jock strap and his combat boots cinched up so tightly that they're affecting his ability to argue logically. His angry retort to Ms. Chesky's article (March 8-14) regarding Naval flights over Big Sur reveals the "either-or" fallacies so prevalent in the linear military mindset.
No military blood will spill from "lack of training" if these flights over Big Sur are suspended. Mr. Madden's anger may stem from the antipathy that the military has for any civilian input into their operations. Mr. Madden may like to think that the military is infallible and therefore is not subject to the concerns of the civilian sector. Need I point out the military blunders committed only in the past few weeks to substantiate my point?
The flights over Big Sur are analogous to a jogger who prefers to run along a beach, with a breathtaking ocean on one side and extraordinary mountains and greenery on the other. These pilots find the wondrous beauty of the California coastline exhilarating to race along. I know because I have talked to them personally. As far as the value of the training received, it could be easily gained over the bleak desert of Nevada, where there is minimal potential environmental damage. And yes, the flights also needlessly disturb humans and wildlife.
Incidentally, Mr. Madden, when you use the trite argument that one should visit Saudi Arabia to learn to appreciate the freedoms that the United States offers, one could as easily tell you to escape the clutches of your living room and hike the mountains of Big Sur. You will learn to appreciate some of this country's other extraordinary wonders, namely the natural environment.
Ms. Jenny O'Connor,
James Brady's latest tirade comes as no surprise. He is famous for his personally motivated attacks--thus the "former critic" title he must now adopt.
For years, area arts editors bemoaned the difficulty of retaining qualified critics. However, Brady mistook my statements acknowledging this problem, acting aghast that anyone would ever question a reviewer's qualifications or education. Any group being "judged" has a perfect right to question fairness, accuracy, research, background, etc. How could Brady pretend not to understand that?
In fact, what made Brady inappropriate as a theatre critic was his past conflicts and relationships with numerous local actors and actresses. His editors actually refused to run several reviews due to their mean-spiritedness.
His attack on programs offered by Children's Experimental Theatre and Carmel High School was uncalled for. Mr. Brady would be surprised at how many working theatre professionals received training at those institutions.
Having not attended either, I found it ludicrous that Mr. Brady, an MPC/community actor with no advanced theatre studies, would attempt to tear them down.
Mr. Brady also acted offended by my statements about "table time" and an actor's "tricks." Contrary to his assertion, I believe character development is all-important. However, I also believe this work should be done on your feet, actor to actor, not sitting around a table for weeks on end hearing a director theorize. And Mr. Brady may not like it, but a performer with a large "bag of tricks"--one who can act, sing, dance, do dialects, clowning and combat--is going to be more successful than an untrained community player with limited skills (and an old grudge).
Founding Artistic Director, Pacific Rep
The folks at Thomas Kinkade let us know that "the painter of light"'s works are found at eight locations on the Peninsula. Also, they prefer phone calls to be directed to 657-1280.