In response to Tre'vell Anderson’s piece on expanding criticism to a more politically correct diverse, inclusionary set of reviewers [“‘There Is Room for Everyone,’” July 22], I agree that criticism from various sources is valuable, since each individual brings his or her own life experience to whatever responses are generated by a particular film, book, play, music, etc. However, there is a valuable resource of potential critics who are completely ignored in this assessment. Those are the practitioners of the art being criticized. In the past, it was common for playwrights like George Bernard Shaw to offer criticism. Composers Hector Berlioz, Robert Schumann, Aaron Copland, Virgil Thompson and others offered music criticism. Today we might invite Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg and Greta Gerwig to offer criticism on their colleagues’ work. There’s nothing like an experienced practitioner of the art being criticized to appreciate the efforts, nuances and challenges of a particular work being criticized. Adding those voices would go a long way toward creating a much more diverse and inclusive range of criticism for the public to peruse.
He wasn’t just a ’50s dreamboat
Regarding “A Little Love for a ’50s Dreamboat” [July 15]: As a 1950s school kid, I didn’t care for Tab Hunter’s movies. And his signature song, “Young Love” — a hit in 1957 — struck me as a sterile, pop-ish cover of country singer Sonny James’ soulful original version. So my record collection includes “Young Love” by James, not Hunter.
Still, I came to be much impressed by Hunter’s post-Hollywood charitable work, which was mentioned in his obiturary. Having read that he was “happy to be forgotten,” I say, “No, Tab, you’ll be long remembered, and quite fondly, for what you did away from recording studios and movie lots. May you rest in peace.”
The ‘Splendid Splinter’ reigns
Great review on the “American Masters” episode “Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” [“Incredible Both on and Off the Field,” July 23]. I saw the show and it had me in tears.
One thing that was not noted and should have been was Williams’ .388 batting average in 1957, when he was approaching 40 and his legs were understandably not up to par with what they were in 1941 (when he was but 23). That was incredible. A case could be made that it was an even greater batting achievement than when he batted .406.
I also really loved that picture of Williams and Joe DiMaggio in their prime, two of the truly all-time greats of baseball. I plan on keeping Robert Lloyd’s review, along with hundreds of baseball magazines from that period.
‘Otello’ super, but the seats ...
My partner and I enjoyed Verdi’s “Otello” at the Hollywood Bowl last Sunday and we thoroughly agree with Mark Swed’s review [“‘Otello’ With Pomp and Power,” July 17]. However, if Swed had had the misfortune to view the performance from the so-called super seats section, he might have been moved to add a paragraph on that topic. The seats in this section, which previously were made of molded plastic that nicely accommodated the natural curves of the human body, have now been replaced by rigid wooden-slatted seats that are so uncomfortable they could easily do double duty as torture devices. I suspect a plot to boost the Bowl’s revenue from seat-cushion rental, as only from that standpoint could this particular “improvement” be considered a success. Otherwise, they’re just a pain in the you-know-what.
Real heart, soul of Comic-Con
Your article [“Comic-Con: So Many Memorable Moments,” July 23], failed to mention comics, the heart and soul of Comic-Con International: San Diego. There were many outstanding creators recognized at this year’s event: Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (“Monstress”), Emil Ferris (“My Favorite Thing Is Monsters”) and Tom King (“Mister Miracle” and “Batman”), to name a few. Comics are so much more than source material for the latest feature film or TV show. Comics tell stories in a way that no other medium can.
Fosse’s ‘Jazz’ is a metaphor for life
Regarding "A Fresh Look at Fosse's Film Work" [July 22]: One of my favorite films is Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” (1979). It not only offers superb entertainment value but it also provides an apt picture of showbiz and is a metaphor for life. The finale scene wherein Roy Sheider and Ben Vereen do a duet of “Bye Bye Life” displays masterful and emotional choreography, performance and direction.
Why have theater producers and auteurs not invested in a stage version of this Fosse masterpiece? It seems like a natural choice for a live rendition.
Shocking ‘snub’ in Emmy nods
Editor’s note: A reader’s letter in last week’s Calendar Feedback was edited in a way that changed the intended meaning. The full letter follows:
Regarding “Words and Deeds Matter When it Comes to the TV Academy’s Choices” [July 13]: To me, one of the most surprising “snubs” in the Emmy nominations announcement was the decision by the academy’s documentary peer group to refuse to give a nod to Ken Burns and Lynn Novick for their PBS series “The Vietnam War.”
I thought the series, 10 episodes, totaling 18 hours, was occasionally compelling, but not worth the slog. Worse, I thought the history, written by Geoffrey Ward, was choppy, inconsistent and often marred by half-truths, distortions and omissions. Burns was very chummy with the military, not just foot soldiers but also higher-ranking career men with strong ideological agendas.