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Rock Bimbos

March 17, 1985

Once again I am made to feel ashamed for liking Madonna and disliking Cyndi Lauper, this time by the ever-biased Connie Johnson ("What's Wrong With Bimbo Rock?," March 10).

I find it curious that a person who has orange hair, sings like a penguin in heat, speaks in a fake voice and hangs out with wrestlers is "interestingly eccentric" while Madonna, Sheila E. and Dale Bozzio are simply "bimbos" and that's that.

Next time, instead of complaining about Madonna (we got the message) and stereotyping artists without a valid reason, why not do a story on intelligent women in music both talented and attractive (Stevie Nicks, Donna Summer, The Bangles).

Or better yet, a profile on bimbo journalists. You could start with yourself, Johnson.

KEVIN SWEENEY

Irvine

First, someone must take Johnson gently by the hand, sit her down in a comfortable chair on a mountaintop, and tell her that rock music is not an art form. Rock music is not being defiled by "bimbos."

Connie should be left on the mountaintop for three weeks, and then someone must come tell her that "bimbos" have actually been around for about as long as mountaintops, and for about the same reason: They provide a nice view.

Connie thinks that Madonna's sexy image reinforces "the notion that women's only purpose and pleasure in life is to serve men." Maybe it does. And like Connie, I worry about people who are of that notion.

For each one of those people though, there are about 10 million of us enlightened, self-respecting males who simply enjoy titillation.

Thanks, Madonna.

CHRIS LLOYD

Beverly Hills

COVERDOWN

What a let down!

Calendar's March 10 cover ("Black Themes, White Composers," by Martin Bernheimer) looked like a fun Aunt Jemima assemblage; a sort of Black Yenta convention.

Instead it was just an attention getter for another Bernheimer assault on another new opera.

It's just awful to have a newspaper that trivializes important events.

JOHN DEGATINA

Los Angeles

NATIIONAL THEATRE

Thanks for Don Sullivan's level-headed examination of the creation of a national theater by American National Theatre and Academy ("An Instant National Theater?," March 3).

Last year, with the same sort of wave of the hand, Roger Stevens and Denver's Donald Sewell struck a deal to declare the training program at the Denver Center for Performing Arts as our national conservatory. While it will undoubtedly be a fine program, the notion that it will be the national training program is ludicrous, for the same reason Sullivan outlined.

More ludicrous, however, and revealing of ANTA's lack of contact with the real world of American theater, was Roger Stevens' announcement of the conservatory in the New York Times as our "first" serious training program on a national scale!

Those of us who have taught at venerable institutions like Carnegie Tech or Yale, or relatively younger programs like Juilliard or CalArts, were bemused, to say the least.

It is an interesting question, of course, to ask why the national training program is not connected to the national theater, but then that would assume that ANTA's operation is something more than the manipulation of grandiose labels.

If ANTA's leadership had ever ventured out of its black-tie stratosphere and built a genuine national base, perhaps by now it would have been.

ROBERT BENEDETTI

CalArts

Sullivan's statement that "The Federal Theatre died because it was perceived as a national pipeline for the Roosevelt Administration's view of the universe and the perception was probably correct" must certainly be challenged.

Perceived by whom? And for what reasons? These questions are valid, particularly in light of Sullivan's coda--"We don't want an American National Theater to be even a semi-official organ of propaganda." Is that his perception of the Federal Theatre?

If so, I refer him to a recorded unmatched in the annals of the American Theater. During its short spectacular life (August, 1935, to June, 1939), the Federal Theatre had as many as 185 producing units in 28 states, playing to a combined weekly audience of 500,000. It presented almost 1,000 productions (astounding in their variety, form and content).

As for Sullivan's snide claim that it served only as a "pipeline" to spread the Administration's views, even a cursory glance through the vast number of production titles (from "A Christmas Carol" to "Ah, Wilderness!") reveals the absurdity of that charge.

No, Dan, the Federal Theatre died because of the unrelenting efforts of men like Martin Dies, chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, who accused it of being "communistic."

PEGGY PHILLIPS BUCCI

Laguna Niguel

WHYS & WHEREFORES

It would not seem unreasonable to expect the reviewer of the American Ballet Theatre's "Romeo and Juliet" to be familiar with the text on which it was based ("Ballet Theatre Tries MacMillan 'Romeo & Juliet,' " by Martin Bernheimer, March 8).

Bernheimer concludes his review (March 8): "Wherefore art thou, Mikhail? Wherefore are thou, Gelsey?"

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