Orange You Mad at Dennis?

A Riverfront Times theater critic gets a critique of his own.

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Stage, April 26, 2007

Code Orange

You're a bad boy, Dennis Brown: Although few would deny Dennis Brown is a very intelligent, experienced and conscientious reviewer, his recent piece, "Ticktock, What a Crock," on HotCity Theatre's production of A Clockwork Orange was out of line on several accounts. And its tone was unnecessarily vitriolic. Like Brown, I love theater and would hope we might all find more constructive ways to talk about it.

Every theater company has some productions that are more successful than others. This applies whether you are talking about a small organization, like mine, as well as large internationally recognized institutions, such as Steppenwolf in Chicago, the Public in New York, or England's Royal Shakespeare Company. That is the nature of the business, and if one is truly interested in improving their work, they are open to productive critical feedback. But Dennis Brown did not just review A Clockwork Orange, he reviewed and judged the legitimacy of HotCity Theatre altogether.

What is the purpose of this kind of pronouncement? And how does he know that he will not find the next production that HotCity does to be outstanding when he has liked much of their work in the past? Part of the problem is that Brown finds it necessary to declare a company "the most exciting" or "the most vital." Set on a pedestal, any company will eventually fall short. Competition can be productive and even enjoyable. But we need new paradigms for discussion, especially when there is a shortage of thoughtful local print outlets for theater coverage. Brown's most recent article is damaging to the development of a thriving, risk-taking, collaborative and exciting theater community.
Joan Lipkin, artistic director, That Uppity Theatre Company, St. Louis

Cafe, April 19, 2007

Fine Diner-ing

After glow: Ian Froeb's review of After hit my funny bone — hard! Keep up the strange reviews. I love diners; this coverage of the food was especially brilliant in its honesty.
Brie Vonyo, St. Louis

Homespun, April 19, 2007


Dancin' with Karl: Anyone who refers to all open hi-hat eighth notes as "disco" knows less about music than Karl Rove.
Danny Sher, St. Louis

Letters, March 29, 2007

Amnesty Now!

What would Alexander Hamilton do? Regarding Marc Randolph's letter, undocumented Mexican immigrants believe they are following the immigration laws of the U.S. They get valid green cards in Mexico and then cross the border to get Social Security cards from notary publics. In Mexico, a notary public is a high-ranking public official who has that type of authority. In the U.S. it is a clerk without that authority, so the immigrant is sold a counterfeit one that the Mexican's employer withholds and contributes to the Social Security trust fund lock box that the undocumented Mexican immigrant cannot withdraw from. This helps keep Social Security profitable for our federal government and a source of revenue to borrow against. It helps pay out the Social Security that seniors are getting and will pay for the retiring of baby boomers in the future.

When St. Louis was founded in 1764, it and Mexico were part of "New Spain." During the American Revolution, the revolutionist's coins were minted in Mexico City. The Spanish position in 1804 was that the Louisiana Purchase was not Napoleon Bonaparte's property to sell. After the invasion of Mexico in 1843, the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that legalized it made Spanish a legal language in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. The first motto of the U.S. is E Pluribus Unum. A motto of Missouri on its 1820 state seal is salus populi suprema lex esto ("The health, safety welfare, well-being, prosperity and good of the people is the supreme law.") The U.S. Constitution mentions ex post facto ("retroactive"), habeas corpus ("you should have the body") and pro tempore ("for the time being").

Our children are learning Chinese and Japanese in school to communicate with the owners of firms they may some day work for. After the North American Free Trade Agreement, the owners of some U.S. firms are now Mexican, so it also helps to know Spanish. My grandparents migrated here in the 1870s to enjoy the right to speak, read, write, publish and teach their children Polish.

In a 1986 amnesty, I sponsored an undocumented Mexican immigrant for citizenship as my Christian duty per Matthew 25:31-46. He is now a citizen. An advantage to the U.S. is that when he filed his income taxes, the IRS discovered his employer had been withholding his taxes but not turning them in.

Alexander Hamilton taught us in 1775 that "The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among...musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power." The North American Free Trade Agreement violates the sacred rights of Mexicans. They have no choice but to move to the U.S. to find work. An amnesty for Mexicans who are in the U.S. because of NAFTA is long overdue.

When the law is flawed, it should be fixed. Europeans are here as guests of the American Indians, who have first dibs on the land. Second dibs go to Mexicans, because Mexico and Missouri were the same nation.
Joseph J. Kuciejczyk, St. Louis

Letters, February 1, 2007

Bush League

For shame: I'm sorry that [letter-writer Matt Ware] is having such hard time defending the failures of G.W. Bush. He certainly has been liberal with our nation's budget, letting in illegals to crush the labor market, and he of course lies to feed his family's business tradition of war profiteering. Matt, if he is such a great president, why is he failing us so miserably? If you're concerned with this, ask him to resign before he shames us any further.
Steve Lott, Maury City, Tennessee


We inadvertently lopped off several lines of Malcolm Gay's news story, "Mid-America Jihad?" in our print edition last week. To read the story in its entirety, point your browser to /2007-05-02/news/mid-america-jihad.

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