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Week of July 30, 2003

Thou shalt not dis Fink: I am one of the people quoted in Matthew Everett's "Quiet on the Set!" [July 16] and I must admit I enjoyed talking to him and was looking forward to reading the article, because I love the Riverfront Times. How shocked I was to see such an unfair slant to what he wrote.

While Mr. Everett may feel he was treated unfairly, the reality is that professional journalists in the entertainment business know that sneaking onto sets is not the way to ingratiate oneself, and if a publicist says "no" to two weeks solid on the set he has his reasons. In this case, the reasons were an extremely press-shy star and the need for some control over crowds.

Mr. Everett was writing down things he overheard. That is not ethical, nor is it a way to win over a publicist. He can be pissed about Stuart Fink's treatment of him, but he should also acknowledge his own misbehavior. He was disrespectful of those who have a tough job to do, a job which often involves all-night shoots and eighteen-plus-hour days. Stuart Fink is a professional. He worked on Midnight Run and several other good movies, not just A League of Their Own. I worked with him closely and he is a friend, and I will honestly tell you I never saw him treat anyone with disrespect who didn't earn it. In fact, I would have only good things to say about most of the cast and crew of Game. I enjoyed my time there and am sorry that budget issues led to so many of us being cut before the shoot finished. I would have enjoyed seeing it through. A number of us in St. Louis got the opportunity to work on a Hollywood film and get priceless experience. For myself, I also got my first well-paying job this year. The economy has hit me hard, so it was a blessing.

People always want to see stars and check out the set. I understand that. But people are working hard there, and you should remember you are in their space and act accordingly.
Bryan T. Schmidt
St. Louis

Muny Uproar
No joke: It sounds like Bruce Pomahac, director of music for the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization in New York, has a skewed agenda, as he himself says his "livelihood depends in a way on the success of Mr. Blake's casting and producing" ["Letters," July 9]. I bet it does.

When I was a child, my first exposure to live theater here in St. Louis was the Muny. The executive producer was Mr. Ed Greenberg. Mr. Edwin R. Culver was president and chief executive officer. These well-respected men produced extraordinary theater.

To quote Mr. Pomahac, "Until Blake came onboard, the Muny was pretty much a joke in the industry." Is that why such great talents as Ethel Merman, Cab Calloway, Pearl Bailey, Cary Grant, Vincent Price, Mary Wickes, Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury, Lauren Bacall and Donald O'Connor, to name a few, graced the Muny stage before Blake's tenure?

From its humble beginnings in 1919 to the present, the Muny continues its tradition of bringing the best of musical entertainment to St. Louis. I'm sure Mr. Blake himself would be remiss in taking all of the credit.
Stellie Siteman
St. Louis

Those Pesky Homeless
Fry Rice: Larry Rice needs to find another part of the city for the New Life Evangelical Center [Bruce Rushton, "Larry's Club," July 9]. So now he's complaining that the city spent money on an up-and-coming, vibrant neighborhood in order to attract and retain citizens with jobs -- yes, that's right, jobs! Taxes! Revenue to clean the streets his residents are urinating on!

I'm sorry if he's upset that the city invested in runway lighting on Washington Avenue (very cool, by the way) instead of flushing that money down the toilet buying hamburgers for his shelter-goers so they can focus their attention on breaking into my car again (which would be my fourth break-in since February). I'm not against programs to assist the homeless, but when it comes to the well-being of the city, Larry Rice clearly doesn't give a damn. If young professionals with jobs want the neighborhood back, then I'm sorry, Larry, it's time to move on.

St. Louis isn't going to continue its comeback if we don't keep city revitalization a top priority and ignore Larry Rice's misguided political agenda. He should be happy -- after all, thanks to the city "wasting" all this money on the street, there are a lot more of us to panhandle from.

And when the city finally levels that cesspool, the party's at my place.
Mark Puglisi Jr.
St. Louis

Next stop, O'Fallon: If Larry Rice is so anti-nightclub, I'm sure the city of O'Fallon, Missouri, will be more than willing to invite all those hip places to relocate here. This would be a great opportunity, especially now that O'Fallon wants to redo its downtown area. Also, I wouldn't have to worry about driving, since I only live a mile from that area, so I can have lots of fun. And I like to have fun.

Don't get me wrong -- I support Larry Rice's concern for the homeless, and maybe the city of St. Louis was being hypocritical by spending money for the clubs' benefit and not on the poor. Maybe some form of an agreement should have been made. But as usual, agreement never happens in democracy, thus nothing gets done. Oh, well.
Robert C. Montague II

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