Letters for the week of November 24-30, 2004 

Nancy Sinatra -- yes, Nancy Sinatra -- takes us to task for neglecting her considerable post-1971 recorded output. Plus gay marriage and Jethro Tull.

"Nancy Sinatra," Hearsay, 11/3

Boots, start walking
With all due respect and some gratitude for the space about my new CD in your column, I must say your reporter didn't do proper homework. You said I haven't recorded since 1971 and that is far from the truth. I've had four new album releases since that date. Your erroneous reporting makes it seem as though I have done nothing in the music business for thirty years. That is simply not true, and I resent that my work is so cavalierly dismissed by your publication.

I suggest that from now on you check the facts before you print and then you will be telling the truth about me and other artists.
Nancy Sinatra, Los Angeles

What about Playboy?
Mark, we can forgive the errors of opinion in your review: Nancy followed Ronnie Spector and the Shangri-La's in the "tuff chick" succession. But you've clearly made a factual error, too: you've forgotten that she issued another well-publicized new CD (thanks to its seminude cover photo and the accompanying Playboy spread) about a decade ago.

Kevin Walsh, San Leandro

Mark Keresman responds
First off, while there were indeed "tuff chicks" before Nancy, the Ronettes and the Shangs were trios, GROUPS; I was specifically referring to SOLO performers, of which Ms. Sinatra is one of THE ones. Alas, rock history doesn't have too many "tuff" solo ladies: Wanda Jackson, Ms. Sinatra, Janis, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Joan Jett, Melissa Etheridge, Grace Slick (she released a few solo albums), Suzi Quatro, few others.

Also, I stand corrected on the Playboy-era album and I've e-sent my mea culpa to Ms. Sinatra. I was going by the discographical info at AllMusic.com -- no excuse, I should've checked further, but AllMusic is usually pretty accurate. Again, sorry -- no dis' intended.

But aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play? (I mean, I did give "NS" a hearty thumbs-up.)

"Till Court Do Us Part," Feature, 10/13

What if?
I read parts of the article "Till Court Do Us Part." I have never written a letter before but I suddenly feel the need to give my opinion. As a straight Democrat who has nothing against gay marriage, I think election time is the wrong time to push for this. I feel guilty as I write this as an African-American woman because if somebody had told me to not fight for my right to vote, well, then I would be angry.

Now that we have to deal with Bush for four more years, I can't help but wonder if things would be different if the gay marriages would taken place after the elections were over. We may have gotten a Democratic president who would have possibly helped push this through -- after all, Kerry is from Boston. Even if the outcome were the same, then waiting till after the election would be like a challenge -- like now, but the only difference is that I wouldn't have to listen to Gavin Newsom on KFOG radio feeling guilty because he feels like a movement he started cost us the election.

Gay marriage is a good cause; I think that bad timing was exercised. No one can read the future -- we don't know what might have happened, but now there will forever be a "what if."
Keisha L. King, San Leandro

Straight kids of gay parents for decency and civil rights
Thank you so much for your beautiful article. I am a woman in my thirties who grew up in gay/lesbian households. My folks were a biracial man and woman who got married in the early '60s in New York. They split up and my Dad lived with a male partner for sixteen years; my Mom lived with a woman for about ten. I spent a lot of my formative years around gays and lesbians. I never saw them -- the community, the family unit -- as different from heterosexual parented families, because we weren't. The only real difference was that there were two women on one side and two men on the other. I didn't like either of my step-parents and they weren't very parental, but I know a lot of straight families facing divorce have experienced the same thing.

Although I am straight, being in a gay and minority household taught me to have an open mind. Having experienced a gay and lesbian upbringing did not make me a lesbian, but it did help form my identity. I don't believe in gay or straight values. All humans basically want to love each other and feel safe and enjoy community. We'll be better able to do this because people like you are writing articles that lay out the similarities of human values in all households and the disparity of civil rights.
LuLu Ortegon, Richmond

"Jeffingly Awesome," Music, 10/6

Jethro Tull lives
Eric Shea may be right that there're no "real" people to whom the names "Richard Bitch" and "Lynyrd Skynyrd" refer. But "Jethro Tull"? Tull was an 18th-century British innovator in agriculture. He invented a horse-drawn seed drill and wrote the 1731 tract "The New Horse Houghing Husbandry: Or, an Essay on the Principles of Tillage and Vegetation."

I recently came across Tull (and discovered he was an actual historical figure) rereading Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations for my dissertation (guess I didn't read the footnotes the first time). A quick Internet search after perusing Shea's article revealed that Tull's also all over the Web, with basic info about him accessible at every science and encyclopedia Web site. Easy on the dope.
Judith Goldman, Berkeley


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