Not just a pretty voice
Neal Gabler's article about Barbra Streisand ["Streisand, a Game-Changer," May 1] was so right about the superstar. But if you want to know the moment she became the one star that the American people identified with, watch her "button" monologue on her first TV special, "My Name Is Barbra," which aired in 1965.
Gabler describes Streisand's half century as "a revolution" that "redefined our traditional relationship to the performers we adore."
I am not one of those "we" Gabler speaks of. Notwithstanding the gushing hype of his book about Streisand, he ends with a wrecker, a perfect slip of the tongue revealing his unconscious opinion, amounting to revulsion. He writes in praise of "the force of her personality and the enormity of her talent..."
Case of be nice, or get off the air?
Regarding "Colbert Battling to Find a New Balance" [May 1]: My best guess is that Stephen Colbert has been neutralized on "The Late Show" for the purpose of ratings.
Singing the blues over pass policy
I was not happy to see that all three days of the festival were full up at 75,000 ["Stagecoach Festival: Cross-Country Appeal," May 2]. But making someone buy a three-day-pass and hotel lodging is asking too much of the average working stiff. I haven't been since "buy a three-day pass-or nothing" ticketing was instituted.
Judge and jury on bias on TV
Kudos to Mary McNamara for focusing on yet another aspect of TV's entrenched bias against female and minority characters: the tendency of scripts to ordain their untimely demises ["TV Has a Death Grip on Diversity," April 26]. In the early 1990s, I noticed that shows depicting contemporary courtroom scenes cast judges as either black or female (often both). That contravened the reality I knew as a white, male lawyer — few blacks and women on the bench because they still were greatly underrepresented among seasoned attorneys from whose ranks judges are selected. But by then, law school enrollments of blacks and women had begun to swell, a welcome trend that two decades later has yielded a far more representative judiciary.
A little lecture for the lecturers
Please pass on my thanks to Susan Sarandon for giving me the best laugh of the week ["Sarandon, the Acting Activist," April 26]. Surely, she was jesting when she said, "It seems to only be the Democrats — the actors that are more progressive — that aren't supposed to speak out."
Leonardi DiCaprio, Lena Dunham, George Clooney — almost every single "progressive" actor in Hollywood won't shut up.
Hey, Doc, leave the King alone
Regarding the letter from William Josephs about Elvis Presley ["Feedback," May 1]: We are all not perfect. You cannot deny his talent, charisma and style, which endured for many years with a legion of fans worldwide. How dare you try to analyze him on his addiction? Everyone has an addiction, and being a psychologist, you should sympathize about it.
Well-deserved bravo for review
Thank you for Charles McNulty's very thoughtful, and insightful review of "Endgame" ["Enduring Pleasure of 'Endgame,'" May 3]. Having studied Beckett with both Martin Esslin and Alan Schneider, I thoroughly enjoyed the production, which I saw in previews. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of this "Endgame." I write to thank you only because, being a producer and a director, it strikes me that it may be seldom that a critic hears praise for his writing. You well deserve it, as your review reminds me that criticism at its best can be an art.