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December 22, 2007


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Kerry Reid

It's too bad Als wasn't around to hear Chris Jones talk to Letts at the Printers Row Book Fair this past summer, where Letts pointed out, rather acidly, that a writer in New York is simply "a writer," whereas a writer from the midwest, or the south, or pretty much anywhere else in the country, is always going to bear their regional affiliation as part of their moniker. And Letts also pointed out that contrary to what might be suspected, very few Chicago artists are standing on the prow of the ship, looking anxiously off to New York in the misty distance as validation for their efforts.

I mean, it's nice, for sure. More productions, more attention, and more money should always be the result for stellar work. But the Als thing is just . . . well, you nailed it. It's dismissive and dumb. If someone doesn't like Letts' play on the grounds that it's more derivative than daring, then that's fine. I can see that argument (not agreeing with it, but I can understand the basis for it). But to suggest that Letts has just been DYING to break out of his affiliation with a lil outfit like Steppenwolf so he can finally escape a miserable burg like Chicago is just ill-informed. And insulting.

When Liebling was slamming "The Second City," there was an element of truth to it. Oh, and Liebling was a brilliant writer. It's not the 1950s anymore, and Hilton Als sure ain't no Liebling.

Safe travels, Kris.

Mark Jeffries

Let me ask the question: Do you think Jones and Hedy the Homophobe's pans were justified? I have the feeling that Hedy the Homphobe would hate it because the gays aren't HIV-positive and cute (and Aguirre-Sacasa's a comic book *and* TV writer, which are two strikes for Ms. Pole Up Her Ass), but did McKinnon's production sabotage the play that much?

Annie D.

Isn't the first thing you learn in Theater 101 that the point of theater is to display in mini-form how all human beings are, like, the same and stuff?

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  • Kris Vire
    I write about theater for Time Out Chicago. I write more about it here.

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