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A New Mission for LATC's Artists?

August 03, 1992

In his July 13 Counterpunch ("LATC Needs a Multiethnic Approach"), Bill Bushnell once again feels the need to go to the mat with everyone around town over his old stomping ground. I was with LATC from May, 1986, to the day it closed. As general manager for the final five months, most of my time was spent with my fingers in the dike next to Bushnell's; eventually we ran out of fingers.

I can't speak for the Cultural Affairs Department, but, from my perspective, Bushnell's self-aggrandizing, finger-pointing tantrums do nothing to benefit the artistic community.

Bushnell indeed strove mightily to put together a consortium late last summer in the waning days of the Los Angeles Theatre Center. But, now, it seems that the same folks he wanted in his consortium constitute no more than an "anachronistic Anglo arts club" and that his brilliant idea from last year is all of a sudden out of date.

And let's be honest, periodic blind casting mixed with a couple African-American- or Latino-themed plays out of 14 each year (with an Asian-themed show thrown in every few seasons) do not a "multicultural performance space" make.

If, as he generously describes his own efforts, the "internationally acclaimed multicultural theater company" had made more of an effort to include and help develop some of the "small, as yet unidentified, ethnic arts groups," they might be worthy now of something more than his disdain.

Bushnell dismissed LATC's board of trustees as one of the organization's fatal mistakes. This about a group of people who worked tirelessly on our behalf.

Bushnell continues to beat the same tired old drum: Give us 2 million inflation-free dollars with no strings attached. That's the idea as out of date as last year's calendar; it was even out of date then.

The Cultural Affairs Department is trying to put together a producing cooperative at LATC from the entire bolt of L.A.'s artistic tapestry. I believe that the artists of this city will welcome and support this mission and do the very thing that gives meaning to the label artist , come together to educate and enlighten our community.

LEE SWEET, Culver City

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