Preview Article Didn't Include Everything I Wanted

I am sorry not to have been interviewed for "Military Women" (City Week, March 4), so I need to say these things here.

Vicki Brown is the other live, onstage performer in Coming in Hot, and an equal part of the collaborative team (which also originally included Shannon Cain, Beth Weinstein, Kaylene Torregrossa and myself). The music/sound is a significant element creating mood, presence and dimension. The play was adapted for the stage by Shannon Cain, Lisa Bowden and Jeanmarie Simpson, based on the book Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks, From Vietnam to Iraq (Kore Press, 2008), the first collection of its kind to amass writing by women who served in the U.S. military. This is activist theater (and for some, it is very much, at its root, anti-war theater, as the literature of war is an argument for peace). The play presents true stories by women who are soldiers as well as writers—a rare combination. These are perspectives we are just beginning to hear more and more of at this moment in our history.

The point of view is personal, and the narratives often horrific, as is war, as is the discrimination and opposition women often face while "serving" their country. Outrage, indignation, compassion, disgust, confusion, sorrow, pride, intrigue, sadness—these are the emotions you'd likely experience all at once while watching this production. Coming in Hot cannot be talked about accurately by glossing over or missing these points entirely.

Lisa Bowden

The Legislature Thinks Restricting Texting Is Oppressive, but Restricting Abortion Is OK?

I congratulate Arizona legislators for striking the perfect balance between personal freedoms and the interests of the state. The Senate recently wisely (temporarily) defeated the anti-texting bill (Danehy, March 11). What interest can the oppressive "Nanny State" possibly have in limiting my right to send a text message while driving?

Yet, the Legislature also recognizes that personal freedoms, if not properly limited, can become a threat to the state. By restricting a woman's constitutional right to make a decision about her own body and terminate a pregnancy, they have preserved the government's power to force a woman to bring unwanted children into the world.

The principles here are clear: as mud!

Bruce Hilpert

'Shrew' Should Be a Drag—Literally

Sherilyn Forrester's objections to the content of Taming of the Shrew are spot-on. It's a disgusting tale of abuse and misogyny ("Quirks of Comedy," Performing Arts, March 4). But it really isn't.

Shrew, in its uncut form, is a play within a play. It's a bunch of drunken guys in drag putting on a show. Unfortunately, the scene at the top, when this is made clear, is dull, long and dreary. A few brave directors have included it, although it's so dreadfully difficult for even great actors to play that it's never really successful. Even with women playing the women, it's funnier when we know they know that we know they're acting. But it's never as funny as it is when it's guys making another guy, dressed in frills, eat the bottom of their boots. There's a lot of room for silliness and creativity in that context.

Anyone who's ever seen the Zeffirelli film starring Burton and Taylor knows that in order to make it palatable to 1960s audiences, they had to re-write it. Today, The Taming of the Shrew is one of the "problem plays" and must be framed very cleverly in order to amuse contemporary (and emerging young) audiences.

Jeanmarie Simpson

Don't Discuss Issues Regarding First Things First; That Gives the Legislature Cover

I have read many of Tim Vanderpool's stories in which he exposed an injustice or misuse of power. However, I think "First Things First?" (Currents, March 11) was somewhat off-target.

Most readers would come away believing that there is something "fishy" about First Things First based on an over-emphasis given to John Munger's comments that some groups who applied for funds had weak proposals, and concerns from unidentified parties that a large portion of First Things First funds in Pima County pass through the United Way. This can only serve to provide cover to the Republicans in the Legislature to plunder First Things First funds to fill the economic hole of a mismanaged state.

The programs funded by First Things First and the work of United Way's First Focus on Kids have attempted to fill the void left by ineffective state policies and funding. First Things First's 31 regional councils are an amazing example of grassroots community empowerment seen in few other areas of government, and deserve credit for being so. The Legislature's proposed taking of First Thing's First's voter-approved funds will result in more of the same kind of pain for the most vulnerable, just when some progress was being made.

I work for a firm that does business with both First Things First and the United Way. This has given me the opportunity to be aware of the good work of both in early childhood education and health over recent years, work that often flies below the radar.

Steven Wind


In "Fields of Arizona Gold" (Yum! March 18), we reported that durum wheat peaked at $10 per pound in 2008, and is expected to fetch around $6.20 this year; that should actually be $10 and $6.20 per bushel. We apologize for the error.

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