DEAR JAMIE S. RICH—One of the most poignant moments of my cinema-loving life was channel surfing Italian TV five years ago and stumbling upon Elephant, shot at the old Adams High School ["Restless Spirits," Film, Oct 6, in which the author criticizes director Gus Van Sant's Restless]. At that moment this Portland boy in exile truly loved Gus Van Sant, and that while living in Catholic Sicily and being at my most homophobic. Gus Van Sant paid his dues a long time ago and does not deserve the cheap shots in your review, e.g. "Grampa Van Sant," "...[at nearly 60] he should've learned some better tricks by now." Gus Van Sant has more talent than you'll ever have and is more accomplished than you'll ever be.
-Brian A. Cobb
EDITORS—It is not true that the parking situation around the Portland Playhouse is the reason that the Playhouse moved its productions downtown—not true whatsoever ["Figuring out Freedom," Theater, Oct 20, Gem of the Ocean review]. While neighbors are in discussion with the Playhouse about a better parking plan for Playhouse patrons, the Playhouse moved its plays out of the building on NE Prescott because they were violating zoning code concerning use of the building.
HI—Regarding the letter from Jocelyn Kazebier urging [Occupiers] to "bring out the guillotines": I totally agree ["French Guillotines!" Letters, Oct 20]. I suggest you read Demonic by Ann Coulter. Coulter has a couple of chapters about the French Revolution. Whatever your politics, you'll find that section of the book entertaining and informative.
DEAR MERCURY—I don't think I've ever flipped through a Mercury without rolling my eyes at the callow arrogance of your "writers" but... what's the point. I apologize. I lost my temper for a second there. It's not like one more angry letter is going to make you suddenly gain the self-confidence to start writing articles that aren't petulant brag-rants about your sad adolescent social standings. Is it?
DEAR MERCURY—I love, love, love that you ran a blurb about Dark Souls ["Rest in Peace," Geek Out videogame review, Oct 20]. I've been video gaming for 30 years now and Demon's Souls and Dark Souls are my two favorite games of all time. Since I am such an avid fan, however, I can't help but make some corrections to Mr. [Earnest "Nex"] Cavalli's write-up. First of all, let me say that what truly makes these games stand out for me is not their apparent grueling difficulty but the other elements that oft go unmentioned—their refined RPG elements, their peerless level design, their innovative and successful multiplayer components (you can invade someone's game and attempt kill them while they're just minding their own business!), and their amazing combat system in which thoughtful and skillful application of your carefully selected arsenal is required in a genre known for "button mashing." Second, Mr. Cavalli mentions that the difficulty in Demon's Souls spikes at boss monsters, while the first zombie in Dark Souls can kill you. I, and many Demon's Souls players, can attest that that first zombie in Demon's Souls can kill you just fine, and every enemy of every shape and size has a pretty reasonable shot after that. I wouldn't even say that Dark Souls is more difficult overall—nothing in it has matched the frustration and befuddlement I felt in level 5-2 of Demon's Souls. Dark Souls IS more difficult than its predecessor in one very interesting way: Since it lets you wander its open world more freely instead of forcing you back to the hub over and over, you can get a bit... stuck. With a bunch of broken equipment and no one to help you but your imaginary friend Slimy who whispers words of encouragement and discouragement in equal turn. Both games are brilliant. And both games will kill you over and over again. And if you're a real gamer, you'll love every minute of it.
-Joel R.A. Ford
AH, YES, good old Slimy. Here's a whisper of encouragement, Joel: You win this week's Mercury letter of the week! You'll receive two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where the cinematic offerings frequently feature monsters, zombies, and surprise attacks.
The author of the letter "Occupy My Petition" [Letters, Oct 20], concerning petition signing at Occupy Portland, identified himself as a representative of Alliance for Democracy. However, the Portland chapter of AfD would like to clarify that this letter does not represent the sentiments of either the local or national level of the organization, and is strictly a reflection of the author's personal thoughts and opinions.