Feature, March 29, 2007Fighting Words
Andre took no rap: I was contacted by Molly Langmuir to "verify" events that pertained to her story about Jermaine Andre and martial arts in particular, my involvement in one of the two armed robberies Jermaine planned and committed.
As I told Molly Langmuir, Jermaine did not "take the rap" to protect me. I am aware she had his "Statement of Agreement," which would have contained detailed information to support Jermaine's claim had it transpired as he said it did. It does not reflect any plea agreement. Also, public defenders Hardy Tate or Michael Shoumaker could have been contacted to disprove Jermaine's claim. This was not done, resulting in a one-sided story which painted Jermaine as the flawless hero.
Although Jermaine stresses loyalty in Langmuir's article, he has never demonstrated loyalty to anyone but himself. I had two chances to tell the truth about what happened in order to minimize my sentence. I did not do this. Because we had nothing to bargain with, for my involvement in one armed robbery I received a sentence of one to three years. Jermaine and one accomplice each received two concurrent sentences of five to seven years for their involvement in two armed robberies; a third accomplice testified against all of us and so received probation and has no record. Further, Jermaine served his full seven years because one accomplice ratted him out about a burglary he committed prior to the armed robberies.
Jermaine talks of a 911 phone call he made to get the cops to come. There was no phone call and there didn't have to be one because, as we all knew, employees at the restaurant had learned from day one how to open the freezer from the inside.
Jermaine wasn't around when my mother passed away because he had a sentencing hearing in St. Louis for crimes he had committed there. When he finally returned, he had no job to return to, only a plan, which he shared with our friends, to make easy money. Three armed robberies ensued.
Ann, Denver, Colorado
Unreal, March 22, 2007
Serious burlesque: I am writing to tell you how disgustingly impressive the Unreal article about BenchPress Burlesque was; specifically, given the two informative and articulate interviews obtained by the reporter. It is quite remarkable how vapid the interviewees came across in the interview, and how little information the short piece managed to convey. Most of the information is untrue, half-true, unfounded or unrelated to the story, as in the opening sentence about dominatrixes in San Francisco, the careless attention to gender identity details and the bit about Loveless' stripper pole.
Had I known the piece was to be published in the Unreal section of the paper, I would not have consented to the interview. Most readers of your publication know that Unreal is the section used for lampooning and insulting its subjects. My overall outrage with the article was cemented when the author called me the day after the issue was printed to apologize for its contents. Hmm. Too little, too late, I told the author. If you're uncomfortable writing such pieces, perhaps to preserve your integrity as a journalist, a job at another publication might suit you better.
I wish I could say I expected more from the RFT.
Loretta Loveless, founder, BenchPress Burlesque, St. Louis
Editor's note: Owing to an editing error, the Unreal item referenced above misidentified a BenchPress Burlesque member as a "tranny"; the performer should have been referred to as a "trans guy (a woman who identifies as a man)." We did (and do) apologize.
Stage, March 22, 2007
Andy gave it a 10: Deanna Jent may indeed not be a conjurer, but with or without her intervention, the cast of Women's Minyan (at The New Jewish Theatre) managed to conjure tears and laughter from me repeatedly as I watched said play [Dennis Brown, "Female Trouble"]. As I watched the play, mind you; not as I read the script, comparing it to other works of fiction. Ergo, however problematic the script may have been dramaturgically, I was deeply affected by the palpably developed relationships and the brilliant focus, energy and emotion displayed by this cast of ten.
As a Jew, I admit to being touched by the material on a personal (identity) level. But I was struck on a very human level again, to mention but one example by the way in which estrangement between three generations of women played out. It was at times heartbreaking, at other times heartwarming and truly worthy of an audience's time and love.
Would that I were an analytical pagan! Alas, I entered the theater as an unarmed, sentimental Jew: There is nothing superfluous about ten being the minimum number of men or, in more egalitarian circles, Jews needed to create a quorum for public prayer or reading of the Torah. And so however "superfluous" Margeau Baue Steinau's character may have seemed from a dra-ma-tur-gi-cal standpoint, for the playwright's experiment to function under her own rules there had to be a quorum. Besides, the character was far from superfluous, she being the keeper of the ritual baths essential to the function of said community; to boot, she and the character played by Jennifer Bock lend comic relief to very serious subject matter. Finally, there is something to be said for the fact that this duo is supposed to be superfluous, idle gossips who are outside the family but inside the community; their intrusion calls attention to the hypocrisy of this ultra-orthodox community that preaches against spreading gossip and yet is fraught with it.
I might also add that all of the performances were noteworthy dare I say as noteworthy as explications of the film 12 Angry Men or clever Looney Tunes analogies. Again, though I cannot entirely disagree with his review, I might suggest that were Mr. Brown more present to what was in front of him instead of belaboring what was not, his review might have been a bit kinder and his evening at the theater a bit more enjoyable.
Andy Neiman, St. Louis
Letters, February 22, 2007
Ware Lesley stands: As a true bleeding-heart liberal, I must say I find the RFT to be rather conservative, which is why I find letter writer Matt Ware's comments so laughable. They are also very dismissible, considering they're coming from someone who obviously uses the comb-over method to hide his lobotomy scars.
Dubya great? Unless you consider failing upward some sort of accomplishment, greatness and George W. should never be mentioned in the same sentence. The Bush administration has acted in every way to curtail the fundamental freedoms of Americans at home, subverting the fundamental tenets of the Constitution and using the language of liberation to mask the imposition of servile puppet regimes that will do the bidding of Washington and the West. That the policies and ambitions of this corrupt administration are bankrupt, that they have failed completely to achieve any good, should be obvious to any reasonable observer.
The fact is that this is not the case, that there are still those who continue to support the Bush agenda and applaud its bloody failures. Failures that continue to pollute our national discourse with insidious suggestions that those who question the regime are seeking the triumph of terror and "the terrorists." In fact, those who continue to support the party in power are only perpetuating a state of tension and fear and supporting policies that breed violence and create new enemies that see no recourse but to take up arms and oppose the imposition of dictates that leave no room for compromise, accommodation or peaceful discourse.
Mr. Ware, while I know you are incapable of understanding anything I wrote, at least do me one small favor. Never assume I will ever get sick of reading each and every rip on the worst president ever!
Lesley Mabrey, St. Louis
We publish drivel, not dribble: Name-calling is a divisive and dangerous thing. We have seen some of the effects of name calling in G.W.'s creation of "the axis of evil" and Sen. George Allen's introduction of "macaca." I have no personal liking for our current regime's foreign or domestic policy, but I resist calling them names. This does little to solve our problems and much to promote future difficulties that our nation will be dealing with for decades to come on an international level.
One of the freedoms that we still enjoy is the freedom of speech and press. If you aren't happy with the content, why read it? Lastly, Mr. Ware: One cannot read "dribble" (unless you are a seer); perhaps you meant "drivel"?
Heather Ellison, St. Louis