The Real Ari Gold
To the Editor:
The answer to the question in the front-page headline of Sara Vilkomerson’s cover story, “Who Is Driving Ari Gold Crazy?”, is this: Entourage’s Ari Gold is driving the real-life Ari Gold crazy [“Ari vs. Mata Hari,” April 2]. Despite being told by record executives that I should change my name because it sounded “too Jewish,” I have been determined to keep it and prove that Jews can be sexy pop stars in front of the camera—not just sleazy behind-the-scenes agents. And yet here I am, battling this stereotype in a way I never anticipated. If you ask gay people around the world, “Who is Ari Gold?”, they will tell you that I am the first pop/R&B singer to be openly gay from the beginning of my career, writing songs with explicit gay subject matter. Having grown up a gay, orthodox Jew in the Bronx, I have been unapologetic in my work about both my sexuality and my Jewish identity, challenging homophobic and anti-Semitic perceptions of what it means to be gay and Jewish. Perhaps when my third album comes out this summer, I’ll get to be “shtetl fabulous” on the cover of The New York Observer instead of my HBO doppelgänger: because what’s in a name, anyway?
Take the High Road
To the Editor:
Thank you for John Koblin’s preview and report on the “goings-on” at the upcoming High Line Park [“High Line Park Spurs Remaking of Formerly Grotty Chelsea,” April 2]. I am a late-40’s lifetime New Yorker, who moved into Manhattan in early 1980 (you do the math) and “walked” to Studio 54 the first night I moved in (55th & First). I have been crisscrossing Manhattan, the boroughs and the suburbs since then. I have been very successful at sales over the years, so I am not a member of the angry “have-not” club. My point is that the overdevelopment of this city is astonishing. I truly believe that the “very high-end,” “upscale clientele” that are scooping up these luxury condos like heavily discounted wedding dresses will one day abandon this city and its rows of luxury housing.
It’s all fun in the beginning, but when the city is full of luxury housing and little else, where will they dine out, shop for enticing doodads and generally amuse themselves? In my neighborhood (Sutton Place) alone, we have lost all of the restaurants on First Avenue to developers of these stackable palaces of the rich and their excesses. Each new building serves to remove a chunk of the neighborhood for those that do not live there. It’s like walking a full city block without any access to what you are walking by. Kind of like “forced window-shopping.”
The best part of N.Y.C. has always been that we do juxtaposition better than anyone else in the world! This all strikes me as shortsightedness of a magnitude never before seen. Everyone thinks that the building of all of these buildings will keep N.Y.C. fully populated, but at what cost?
Lloyd N. Greenspan
To the Editor:
Thanks go out to Mr. John Heilpern for speaking truth to the theater, a place where truth is rarely revealed these days. Unfortunately, the plea that Mr. Heilpern made [“Eustis, Lapine, Kline Bonk Heads Against Great Lear,” At the Theater, March 19] for the new artistic director of the Public Theater, Oskar Eustis, to open his ears will most definitely be ignored.
When Mr. Eustis took the helm at the Public, he was quoted in The Village Voice as saying that he was seeking “talented artists with skill and complexity,” artists who have “grown up and developed in a downtown theater scene, experimenting with form, questioning the primacy of narrative, and breaking apart expectations.” Again, Mr. Eustis leans toward hyperbole and platitudes.
I am a downtown New York theater director who, like many others, Mr. Eustis refuses to acknowledge. I have patiently waited for over a year and a half to introduce myself, but he apparently won’t answer unsolicited letters. In other words, the Public is not open to the Public. Mr. Eustis’ Public Theater seems interested in playing it safe, producing comfortable theater by comfortable theater professionals.
Unfortunately, one by one, Shakespeare’s great plays are dying under his dull sword.
Is it any wonder that the majority of tickets for the “Free” Shakespeare-in-the-Park are reserved for the Public’s corporate sponsors? We know who Mr. Eustis’ audience really is, and it’s not the public.
Thanks for keeping it real, Mr. Heilpern.