From: Kevin Spacey, Manhattan
New York Magazine reached a kind of plateau for fictionalized reporting with its "Intelligencer" column ["Intelligencer: Spacey out in Fire Island," by Marc S. Malkin, September 9], which happens to hold the most hilarious and ironic name for a gossip column in recent memory. It was reported and subsequently picked up by other news organizations that I have lately gone to great expense for a palatial home on Fire Island for the summer. I am purportedly renting these lavish digs complete with a working staff that includes a butler and a gardener, and I have even secured my own private boatso as not to be bothered by the public-ferry rides on the frequent trips I must take to and from Manhattan.
The detail of this report has obviously been so painstakingly investigated that the average reader will believe that at least portions of this story must be true. While I'm not in the habit of killing someone else's good buzz, I have been far too busy this summer working at a small amusement park in Boise, Idaho, to find time to rent an expensive beach house anywhere. I am currently being trained by an old and respected circus performer on the tricks certain caged animals will do when thrown nothing more than a fish. As New York proves, you don't even have to use live bait. I was contacted about this story by New York in the eleventh hour and was denied the opportunity to correct its total inaccuracy.
For the record:
1. I have never been to Fire Island-not even as a visitor. 2. I am not currently renting or contemplating the rental or purchase of any property on any island in the tri-state area (except Manhattan). 3. Finally, while I understand that most of your reporting is done in good fun and that this particular story does not appear to have been written with malicious intent, it is so completely untrue that it seems to warrant a reexamination by New York of the freedom it gives to reporters who write anything they want without concern for the facts. I must now leave the circus and get back to the disappearing act I've been working on all summer.
P.S. I'm not really in Boise. Just in case you believe everything you read.
From: Thomas Monsell, Greenport, N.Y.
I was dismayed to read Jeremy Gerard's review of Hairspray ["Theater: Shake It Up, Baby," August 26–September 2]. Mr. Gerard is a very able critic, but he is not John Simon, a man I have read avidly for nearly 40 years because of his knowledge, his insights, and his supreme gift for language. He is simply the best.
From: Albertine van Thiel, Manhattan
John Simon on vacation? Oh, how we all wish it would last forever.
From: Al Sachs, Key West, F.L.
Who but John Simon would select the word niggardly to describe the parsimonious amount of severance pay given to the black man in I'm Not Rappaport ["Theater: Starry Nights," August 12]? Clever? Maybe. Tasteful? Never.