Haunted by the Diaper, Too?
Stop or My Mom Will Shoot—yikes! I'm still embarrassed ("Where Was It Filmed?" April 18). This was the only genuine Hollywood movie I was ever in, after all these years in showbiz. I was an extra, spending all day in the hot sun dressed in a police uniform (short-sleeved shirt—what a sunburn!) with a pistol in a holster on my belt, watching Sylvester Stallone and the crowd go through many incomprehensible antics at the Santa Rosa Air Center. I think I was there for almost 10 hours and got paid a hundred bucks and change.
I avoided seeing the movie for years and finally rented the video. It was about as bad as movies get, but the worst part was, I wasn't even in it! I wound up on the cutting-room floor! The indignity!
A really excellent feature, by the way. Congratulations to all the writers.
Attack of the B-Movie
Well, you also missed a cheesy but fun B-movie filmed in the city of Sonoma in 1976. Mr. Billion was directed by Jonathan Kaplan, before he migrated to TV (Law & Order, ER). For a week, we residents watched the bodacious Valerie Perrine and the ornery ex-rodeo clown Slim Pickens ham it up with Italian spaghetti-Western star Terence Hill (born Mario Girotti). The Creamery on First Street East morphed into the Hog Leg Saloon, ornamented with a neon sign that crashed to the ground during a gunfight.
We were treated to a car chase around the plaza (which accidently took out a streetlight pole that I had been lounging against just the day before) and an exploding helicopter on the pitcher's mound on Arnold Field (no CGI—just a very big bang!). The hero rushed into the Sebastiani Theatre, a scene which received thunderous applause from those of us in the same venue a year later at the film's spirited premiere. I believe it was the most excitement Sonoma had seen since the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846.
Don't Hang the DJ
I don't think it's fair or logical to even suggest that rape and sexual assault have any connection with the word "bitch" in a rap song ("Quad City DJs," April 18). What's next? A ban on Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" because the drinking theme will cause drinking-and-driving deaths? If people rape, or drink and drive, they're not doing it because a song told them it's OK.
A college campus shouldn't be a place that buries its head in the sand and tries to be void of pop culture. If a couple of songs have references to drugs, liquor, weed or even drop the word "bitch" a few times, it isn't time to go running to the president of the college and asking him to intervene; it's time for you to get more involved with whatever group is responsible, or at least walk up to the DJ and let him or her know how you feel.
The feminist and radical poet Adrienne Rich, who died in March, wrote eloquently about the intersection of poetry and politics, of poetry as passionate witness. While much of media's job is to normalize pain and difference and make it acceptable and inevitable, poetry takes us to the frontier of what it is to be human—that which society expects us to deny.
In many countries, poetry is part of people's lives. Here, we often feel blessedly released from it when we leave school. But do others know something we don't? Happily, Sonoma County has a rich culture of poetry (find out more at socolitupdate.com). On May 4 at 7:30 at Gaia's Garden in Santa Rosa, poets will read in a dozen languages. This will be an opportunity to experience the rich music of poetry, as well as immerse ourselves in the exploration of the human condition. For an evening, we will turn away from the constant message of our differences and celebrate that which unites us. Join us. You may never want to go back.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.