DEAR MERCURY—Three cheers for the Mercury for finally, finally dropping this insipid, downright stupid comic from an otherwise wonderful, insightful publication [Johnny Ryan's Blecky Yuckerella cartoon, discontinued in the Mercury as of this issue]. I've been in the field for 20 years and this is among the worst panel strips I ever saw get published.



DEAR MERCURY—Just to let you know, Johnny Ryan is the BIGGEST reason why I ever pick up the Portland Mercury. I travel to Portland about five times a year and Becky [sic] Yuckerella is always on my mind as soon as I am off the plane. Keep Becky [sic].

Mark Hammond


DEAR MERCURY—My single biggest gripe about sex [possibly in reference to the Mercury Sex Survey, Feature, Feb 8] is that I have to go to Nevada to get laid legally for money. As an old guy, it is impossible to get laid legally by a hot chick in this state. But in Nevada I can get them half my age in pairs. A lot of old guys have just given up trying to get laid. I see it as a mental health issue. It is a damn shame that a lot of good men [who] have worked all their lives have to give up getting laid due to legal, societal interference. Oregon can kiss my ass about where I spend my vacation money. Fuck the coast. Fuck Mt. Hood. I go to the Bunny Ranch and fuck 'til I can't walk anymore and crawl out to my car.

Old Guy Loves Mercury


HEY ALISON [HALLETT]—Read your review of The Thugs in this week's Mercury [Arts, Feb 15]. I was troubled by your comments about the character of "Bart." As a homo resident here in Portland I was puzzled by what you found untruthful or offensive about a gay man being flamboyant, funny, bitchy, gossipy, or the most stylish person in the room. To pretend that homosexuals in the 21st century have suddenly all become more masculine than David Beckham is preposterous. What I love about being gay in this day and age is the opportunity afforded to celebrate all of our selves, the ball player and the sissy within each of us—no apologies needed. Personally I found Bart's character hysterical. Perhaps what "progressive Portland" needs more of is a sense of humor.

  Chris Coleman, Artistic Director, Portland Center Stage

ALISON HALLETT RESPONDS: I saw Bart's character as pandering to a straight audience's idea of what a gay person is like, and milking cheap laughs from the stereotype. That, to me, has little or nothing to do with accurately representing all the many shades of gayness, and more to do with reinforcing a status quo in which gay men are only embraced if they conform to certain expectations. CONGRATULATIONS TO CHRIS for engaging in some all-too-rare dialogue about theater! Chris wins two tickets to the Laurelhurst (movie) Theater, and lunch for two at No Fish! Go Fish!, where drama is the secret ingredient.