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Latinos Must Look to Selves for Projects

July 05, 1993

Re "Hollywood Fails to Understand Latino Culture" by Raymund A. Paredes (June 21): While I agree that Hollywood has really failed to understand our goals, dreams and sorrows, a lot of responsibility must be borne by those within our own community who are not interested in investing in our own projects. Take a look, for example, at the Spanish TV network in the United States and you will find very few programs that will merit our time and attention.

Paredes suggests, for example, the making of exciting films based on the lives of Jose Marti, the Cuban poet and patriot, and Oscar Zeta Acosta, the lawyer and activist.

I am the recipient of the 1988-1989 Letras de Oro Award, sponsored by the University of Miami and American Express, for writing a two-act play based on the life of Jose Marti, which was published in 1991, and I have yet to see anybody in Miami, New York or Los Angeles interested in doing it.

If our own people are just concerned with importing more and more tele-novelas, what can we ask from Hollywood? If the two most important Spanish networks, Univision and Telemundo, do not bother to invest in their own people, why should Hollywood?

RAUL DE CARDENAS

Los Angeles

An International L.A. Fest

In response to Selma Holo's June 21 Counterpunch, "L.A. Festival Ignores Exhibit Efforts," the only programs of the 1993 Los Angeles Festival that have been canceled are those in which artists were to come from abroad at the festival's direct expense. Programs financed by other institutions have not been affected.

In fact, the USC Fisher Gallery's important exhibition of Israeli artists, "Locus," joins other distinguished programs presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Mark Taper Forum, the Greek Theatre, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and many other institutions. We are delighted that "Locus" will be a centerpiece of the festival and can be found in the festival calendar, to be distributed July 18.

ALLISON SAMPSON

Executive Director

Los Angeles Festival

The Specialness of Art

Reading J. L. Jonsson's Counterpunch to Christopher Knight's commentary on the bombing of the Uffizi Palace, I cannot help but feel that Jonsson has no grasp of why this act was so significant ("If Life Isn't Valued, Art Will Lose Its Meaning," June 21). His conclusion that because the commentary focuses on the loss of the artwork rather than the five deaths, human life is not being valued, is preposterous.

Terrorists can kill without attracting much attention; murder is plentiful enough in our society that five deaths on the other side of the world do not shock us. So terrorists seek out public gathering places or political figures to grab headlines.

But the destruction of artwork goes far beyond murder; it robs the world of a kind of beauty that is far too rare. Art passes on our culture, values and personal visions to the generations that will succeed ours. The ease with which someone can destroy a masterpiece that took months or years to create and decades to preserve is truly horrific and demands the special attention given by the Calendar section.

It sounds noble to argue that art, or anything else, is meaningless compared to human life. But if every news story is to have this same focus, then we are ignoring how precious and few are the great works of art.

ROGER K. WEISS

Canoga Park

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