DEAR MERCURY—You guys didn't really go ahead and blow [up] a head [Cover, Sept 29, in which a young lady with her head in mid-explosion is depicted... or is it?]. Geezus, what were you thinking, people I'm sure are outraged!? The young adult perceived was in poor taste, maybe "a kitten" with its head blown to splatters might be more socially acceptable.



[Daryl] Turner wrote to the city, "The PPA [Portland Police Association] is left to guess how the city intends to use [the system] for disciplinary purposes" ["Cops Watching Cops," News, Sept 29, regarding a new 911 dispatch system that can also be used to track police officers through GPS]. Does Turner or the rest of the PPA see the irony here? I guess it stings a bit when the tactics used against innocent civilians are then turned upon your own. Also, I think that this played a significant role in [City Commissioner Randy] Leonard's decision to not seek another term. Quite possibly one of the untold stories that apparently gets a pass from local media.

-posted by zipitup


Thank you for your thoughtful mentioning of race and the effect it could possibly play in this new production of Oklahoma! by casting a predominately African American cast ["Oklahoma! Okay." Theater, Sept 29]. However, with respect to you, the fact that our director Chris Coleman decided to cast a predominately black cast is enough, in my opinion. On the first day of rehearsal, my castmates and I were relieved to find out that nothing in the original book or music was going to be altered for the mere fact that we were an all-black cast. It seems, to me, that so many things in the show now ring with greater significance and truth because I am portraying a black cowboy of that time, not just a cowboy. Acres of Aspiration by Hannibal Johnson... "examines the life and legacy of some of America's best known all-black towns." These all-black towns were built so that blacks at the time would be free of the racism and laws that once restricted them in the South and other places, where they could live without any of the hardships that we have come to know as the "black struggle," and they could simply focus on HOPE and a better life; much like their white counterparts. So the choice to keep the script intact and not put an agenda or statement of "race" on it, to me, seems like the harder and less obvious choice and ultimately logical and accurate for the time and place in which the piece takes place. And it gives people a chance to see a story on stage that rarely gets told in theater: an African American story about hope and love without the backdrop of racism or political agenda as its antagonist. I leave with a quote from a woman who spoke at our first day of rehearsal: "I have been called nigger. I have been called negro. I have been called black. I have been called African American. Now I just want to BE." And that is what I feel we are doing, BEING.

-Rodney Hicks


TO THE MERCURY VIA VOICEMAIL—Oh hi, I uh, just was leaving a message 'cause I was reading the Mercury. I was reading your coverage of the Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, um... and I'm just confused, 'cause under your coverage, you have under a number of the films "See Film pg. 56." And pg. 56 is just... it looks to me... well, maybe that's what... I guess it's just this general article. Oh, I thought you had like specific reviews for them. Um... okay. I guess I was just confused, I thought you had specific reviews for these films, and you're just giving a general synopsis, so... I called thinking I was doing something worthwhile, and it... you've already... I guess you're just doing a general thing. Okay! Thanks, bye-bye.

OKAY! GLAD WE WERE able to help you work that out. Call back, because you win two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater, where you can experience many films—reviewed or not reviewed.