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Weekend Feedback: 8/2/02

Friday, August 02, 2002

Mama, don't let your babies come to the movies

I just returned from a showing of "Road to Perdition," at Loews Theater at the Waterfront (in Homestead). During this movie, I experienced, all in a two-hour span, most of the reasons I spent thousands on a home theater system.

 
 
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The movie began, and within seconds, a baby was babbling and carrying on (now, remember, we weren't here for a showing of "Lilo and Stitch" -- this was "Road to Perdition," quite an adult movie). This continued for nearly the entire movie; to my knowledge, never once did a Loews employee poke his/her head into the theater to make sure everything was going smoothly. Well, then -- surprise, surprise! -- this young mother's cellular phone rang. This evening was only getting better. Mercifully, someone must have called her away, because for the last 20 minutes of the movie, I didn't hear her phone or her baby.

The action of the movie ended, and people were filing out, with the usual babble. As a cinema-phile, I like to listen to the music and watch the end credits. I tolerate a certain amount of noise, as the room clears, but usually within a minute or so, most everyone has left, and I can enjoy in peace. Then -- again, surprise! -- two Loews employees entered the theater (while the credits were still rolling), and proceeded to chatter away, as they noisily cleaned the room for the next show.

I paid $25 for tickets, popcorn and drinks. If I felt like it, I might have waited until this movie makes it to DVD (at $17.99) and watch it, without annoyance or interruption, in my own home, as many times as I like. It's a shame, though, to think that ignorant, thoughtless people would chase quiet, respectful customers from the movie theater (whose patronage would you prefer?).

Still, I hold hope that movie theaters, like Loews, might try -- just try -- to change the movie-going culture, at least enough so that a thoughtless teen-age mother might have the sense to get a baby sitter for her infant child. How would one make such a change, you ask? Here are a few suggestions:

1) Check tickets and do not admit small children to movies (and while you are at it, you might refuse admittance to noticeably drunk or rude patrons as well -- I have also had the pleasure of their presence on occasion); 2) take the $25 received from my patronage and hire someone to patrol the theater I am occupying, to make sure there are no rude, annoying, stupid people causing me to gnash my teeth in frustration; 3) make more than a cursory attempt to educate movie-goers about what is and is not acceptable behavior at a movie establishment. We are far beyond nickel-admittance here in the year 2002, and I expect the quality of my experience to reflect that fact.

DREW R. FENNELL
Natrona Heights


Don't give in to Ozzy

As I started to read Karen Callender's letter in Feedback ("Help! My mom thinks Ozzy's cute," July 26) I thought she wrote very well. Continuing on, my thoughts became vocal. "NO way!" I shouted. She claimed that it had become apparent to her that as one matures, like her mom, all of the four-letter words, which were once cause for punishment, become acceptable. Please don't equate getting older with accepting offensive language. Her mom "of some 60-plus years" may be feeling her age physically, but mentally she may want to be a part of the action, so to speak.

Maybe she thinks that others will think she's cool or it might be the onset of her second childhood or a hundred other reasons. It is not, however, a given that old age automatically accepts offensive language as tolerable (God forbid). Proof lies in the senior centers which offer innumerable activities.

Remember the phrase "good clean fun"? When you've spent the day dancing and singing or painting or exercising, etc. without even hearing one "Darn!" you'll feel good when you get home; too good to ingest garbage from "The Osbournes."

It seems to me that Mom did an excellent job as a mother. For the sake of her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren, I hope she will, by example, rise above "The Osbournes." It shouldn't be too difficult.

RUTH RUPP
Lawrenceville


What's wrong with Bruster's?

I especially enjoyed Munch's "Brain Freeze Alert" cover story (July 26), comparing ice cream shops, in today's Weekend Mag, although real ice cream is forbidden by my diet (along with most desserts and for that matter entrees). It was timely, and each description was tempting. Restaurant reviews and food articles interest me perversely, though I no longer can eat most of the foods described.

I respected most of Munch's opinions, based on my much more limited past experience (and what I've heard); but was sorry to read his negative comments on the Bruster's chain, which is my personal favorite. (There's no relationship between my name and theirs, alas.) When I was allowed real ice cream, I found their flavors and textures the finest anywhere. Their seasonal black raspberry, alone, makes them champions in my view. My chief objection to Bruster's is that too many shops have stand-up windows only, but no place to sit down and enjoy licking cones or savor more complex treats -- poor planning. But I'm sure that applies to some of the others, too.

To their special credit, Bruster's offers several excellent (changing) flavors of fat-free frozen yogurt. That's a compromise, in that of course it's never quite as good as the real stuff, but it is allowed in moderation to those of us on low- or no-fat diets. Unfortunately, Munch made no mention of such healthier offerings; so we have no way to know which of the other shops carry their own varieties, which would have been a helpful addition to the information listed.

Restaurant and food reviews generally would be much more useful to me -- as to an unknown number of readers -- if they always mentioned the availability, or lack thereof, of both vegetarian and fat- (and oil-) free items. This applies to "Food" sections of the PG as well as your Mag. Many of you may not prefer such foods, but some of us can't patronize places where they aren't served.

ROBERT G. BRUST
Penn Hills


Why we need WQEX

"A public station owes it to the community to be up front about its intentions. By hiding under the cloak of 'executive session,' WQED denied the public and its members an opportunity to have any say in the station's latest bail-out attempt."

Rob Owen hit the nail on the head in his Jan. 25, 2001 article about local attempts to sell off WQEX. Pittsburgh public television is an important part of our community. Shutting the public out of the process is par for the course here in Pittsburgh.

Public opinion that matters and honest debate requires an open-ended process that brings all sides together for a decision-making process that is both fair and balanced. Private business should not be dividing up public assets for private gain. The argument in the case of the WQEX sale is that there is a public benefit. The sale will supposedly provide for a stronger WQED with more diverse programming.

The benefit of having a second public channel is clear. This additional outlet provided greater programming options for public broadcasting in Pittsburgh, thus providing the public with greater choice in what could be viewed at a particular time. This follows a general pattern in commercial broadcasting.

Local and national networks have expanded from one to multiple channels to provide a greater selection of programming options for viewers. This strategy has allowed networks to expand coverage and provide consumers with a growing content selection. This has been good for viewers and television networks. The same rules should apply for public television networks.

The expanded programming options created by digital television or DTV make a second public television channel in Pittsburgh a sensible decision. Limiting public television by eliminating WQEX will not provide Pittsburgh with the ability to build on DTV technology more efficiently. If one thing is clear, it is that public television will continue to grow. WQEX grew out of a demand for information that could not be met with WQED alone.

In this the information age, WQEX can be a viable solution in the ever-increasing demands for information that our economy will thrive on. It should continue to serve the public, something that the board of WQED should also think about doing in "executive session" as well.

JAMES V. DERMITT
Moon


From the Jeannette ladies

My friends and I were amused by the comments of D. Bernd from Cecil ("SEEN'S Best Dressed is always good for laughs," Feedback, July 19). We do agree that the women chosen as Pittsburgh's best dressed would not have been our favorite choice for the week, but who is she to comment that the girl must have been from Jeannette?

We would love to invite D. Bernd to our closets so that she can see that the women from Jeannette do have fashion sense, taste and class. We are certain that Cecil is a fine community and we will not hold the residents responsible for one person's ignorance. We do feel sorry for D. Bernd because it may have been one of the many beautiful, well-dressed, classy women from Jeannette who made her so insecure.

AMY DEMARCHIS
DEBBIE EREDITARIO
JACQUIE WILLIAMS
Jeannette


Amphitheatre unequipped for handicapped

I recently attended the John Mayer concert at the Amphitheatre at Station Square. Also with me was a friend of mine who is in a wheelchair because she has the disease osteogenesis imperfecta.

Prior to the show, we contacted the amphitheater several times to make sure that we would be accommodated, and we were assured that it would be no problem, and all seven of us in our group would be able to be together. When we first arrived at the concert, this was confirmed when one of the staff members told us it would be no problem and placed all of us in front of the barriers, because there is no handicapped section.

However, this was the last nice person we would encounter for the rest of the night. We were then told five seconds before the show started that all but one of us had to move, and we could "rotate" who would stand with her for the entire show. By this time, a large crowd had gathered, and we now had nowhere to go.

The staff would not help us clear an area behind the barriers to be close to our friend, they were all extremely rude, inconsiderate, disorganized and not accommodating in the least bit.

There was one other person in a wheelchair that I saw, and they too got the same treatment. The staff seemed to be on a power trip and thought they could push my friends and I around because we were 20- to 21-year-old girls. I was, needless to say, appalled at the discrimination that was going on at this concert. They had no solid reason for why we could not stand with our friend, other than "people from the band have to get through that area" but yet not one person went through other than the staff members who gave us such a hard time.

If the staff doesn't want to be bothered with this sort of thing, as they seemed to be with us, then there is one simple solution: Make a handicapped section. I personally will never attend another concert there, and I hope that people realize the ignorance that is going on at the Amphitheatre at Station Square.

SARA LUCATORTO
Scott

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