I enjoyed the article about MC Brains very much ["What Becomes of the Broken Hearted," April 9]. It was very telling and touching at the same time. I hope it will let young people know how difficult show business is, even when you are an attractive, talented brother like MC Brains.
His experience reads like an HBO movie. I hope this rapper realizes that all he needs to be is himself, and Cleveland will love him for it.
A change of mind about Brains:
Over the years I often wondered about the fate of MC Brains. I remembered his breakout on Showtime at the Apollo and how I couldn't turn on the black radio stations here in Florida without hearing "Oochie Coochie" all up in my earhole.
I must admit that I was never a fan of Brains, and I even thought he would become a one-hit wonder back when he was red-hot. However, I did find his rhyming technique skillful.
Reading Jimi Izrael's well-written article, I realized why I never gave him a chance. I never liked New Edition, and Michael Bivins annoyed the hell out of me. Anything associated with Michael Bivins [ABC, Boyz II Men, and BelBivDevoe] I didn't give a chance, based on my own preconceived dislike for the hip-hop, oversized clothes, and mediocre talent being churned out like butter, just to fatten the pockets of the record companies. I have often run across MC Brains' Lover's Lane in discount cut-out bins in numerous music stores, and the lyrics to his song would come to mind. I would become irritated, because I couldn't shake it for hours.
Because of Izrael's article, I am more inclined to check out the other songs on Lover's Lane and spend my $2 to hear James Davis's craft. I hope Cleveland and other cities will embrace him. I wish James Davis well and also hope he can be true to himself and not sell his soul to the first bidder.
And I want more Jimi Izrael articles. He is a brother who can get to the heart of the matter and write it with interest and care.
Michael A. Mundy
Counting on the comeback:
I just finished reading the article about MC Brains and enjoyed it thoroughly. I saw MC Brains for the first time back in '91 or '92, when he opened for an MC Hammer/Boys II Men/ Jodeci show. I saw him last year at a block party. I just wanted him to know that I have always been a big fan and can't wait for the new stuff.
A heaping helping of hip-hop history:
I would like to compliment Jimi Izrael on his article about MC Brains. We need to hear about these brothers who have shaped the history of Cleveland hip-hop. I would also like to suggest that someone write about the history of the Cleveland hip-hop scene as it pertains to the underground community at EQ's, MC Chill (the first rapper signed from Cleveland), Catch 22 (the first group signed), Bone Thugs, Coshise, Johnny "O," and WDMT-FM 107.9 Clubstyle. The people of Cleveland deserve to know the history.
A worldful of David Giffelses:
I laughed heartily at Amy Simonovski and the others who fell into David Giffels's trap and voted for him as the worst columnist [First Punch, April 2]. Their criticisms of Giffels did more to mirror their own discomfort with introspection and insight. I say to them: One day you'll grow out of your fear of PBS and haiku and whatever else Giffels uses to frame larger insights about family, war, community. One day you'll become very secure with soul and intelligence.
Not buying the Marc's line:
I got a charge out of the letters by Amanda Mueller and Karla Ponsart [April 9]. They repeat the standard claptrap that management gives employees in the so-called captive-audience meetings [Mueller and Ponsart's letters were in response to "Deeper Discount Wages," March 19]. As a result, we can see what the Stockholm Syndrome is without having to listen to Bill O'Reilly's psychobabble about Elizabeth Smart.
The first fallacy is that prices will go up and Marc's will go out of business. That is the first line union-busters use. What they don't tell you is that these prices are artificially low because Marc's is not paying union wages. Okay, big deal -- but look at the big picture. Holding wages artificially down means that city and state income taxes suffer. People who are pulling their fair share are hurt by having to pay a higher rate when taxing authorities run low.
Not paying health care means that Marc's workers go to community hospitals (which are forced by law to admit them). Since the employees lack money to pay hospital bills, the hospitals balance the books by raising rates. As a result, our co-pay costs rise. The shortsighted view these two letters exhibit illustrates the problems that non-union stores cause communities.
Ms. Ponsart's letter struck the dead center of the argument: fear of union dues. Why not come out and admit that she is too cheap to pay them? Those competitive salaries she claims Marc's pays would not be so competitive if union workers had not sacrificed for years and endured strikes and union-busting techniques. She is basically a freeloader who is riding on the coattails of other people.
She also engages in another illogical assumption -- i.e., the union won't do anything about working conditions or hours. Wrong. I have been part of two negotiating teams for CWA 4309, so I speak from experience. Working conditions are a matter of negotiation. Hours are too, to a certain degree. Overtime is distributed equally, as per the contract. Other unions give seniority as the deciding factor for choice vacation times, choice hours, etc.
If not for the unions and their political allies, safety in shops and mines, workers' compensation, vacations, and paid holidays would be a vision of the future.
Richard J. Koloda
Naked opinion rebuffed:
I am writing to express my objection to what I consider to be poor journalism: the review of The Credeaux Canvas, now playing at Ensemble Theatre ["Paint-by-Numbers," April 9]. As the show's technical director and lighting designer, I will be the first to admit that, as with any production, there are flaws. The first is the script. But this review is the most poorly written, nasty, and self-indulgent theater review that I have ever read.
I didn't realize that professional journalism included the words "freakin'" and "get jiggy with it." The concentration on the fact that there is a nude scene in the production, as well as the constant references to it, makes the production sound cheap and disgusting. The comment referring to Michael Sestili as a graduate of the Little Rascals School of Acting was just plain mean.
In a time when small theaters are cutting their seasons short or closing their doors for good, I think it would be better to promote local theater. If any more theaters are forced to close, I'm sure that you will enjoy writing reviews of high school productions of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Try baring with that dialogue:
Christine Howey, I understand your frustration with watching a play about three obviously screwed-up individuals who would never speak in that dramatic way. Hell, the cast of Dawson's Creek doesn't go that in-depth with their dialogue. However, the actors in The Credeaux Canvas were brilliant and deserved a better write-up, considering the lines they were saddled with.
I was always taught to take any gig, because you never know when you'll work again. This play might have been a little out there, but it wasn't the fault of the actors. You go up on-stage and strip down to nothing. Let's see how you do.
It amazes me how theater reviews are written by those who are afraid to act themselves. Unless you've lived it, don't knock it. And if you have, then you must not have lasted long enough to get a good review yourself.