We love letters. Maybe it’s because our grandmas always used to tape a quarter to our birthday cards when we were little and we now have this Pavlovian thing going on. Regardless, we want to hear from you. Sing our praises, bust our chops or just tell us what’s on your mind. Send your thoughts to us at the following address: editor@americanwaymag.com.

JAZZED ABOUT JIM
Just want to let you know how good it is to see Jim Shahin back in your pages. He is the reason I signed up for your magazine’s e-subscriptions in the first place. I am an American Airlines Million Mile AAdvantage member, and for me, Jim Shahin’s column was like having an old friend waiting for me on the plane. (It was in fact another frequent flier who pointed Jim out to me.)

When you offered the e-subs, it was a way to keep up with Jim and his family and not miss the latest move, visit from his mother, Sam’s next milestone or Jim’s latest observation on life.

The featured columnists have been OK, and you might want to keep them for your more occasional readers, but for those of us who have come to know Jim, bring him back to us.

MIKE HERLIHY, CARSON CITY, NEVADA

ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: Excellent points, Mike. Jim is a bellwether, and it sure is good to have him back. He will be in the regular rotation with our two other back-page columnists from now on, so we do indeed have something for everybody on the back page: Jim’s humor, Cathy Booth Thomas’ history as a seasoned investigative reporter, and Carlton Stowers’ 40 years of good, old-fashioned storytelling. On a personal note, thank you very much for your commitment and loyalty to American Way and to AA. We value you.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
This is a brief note to say how much my wife and I enjoyed your American Way magazine. We flew from St. Thomas to Miami on March 11, and your March 1 issue included terrific articles on New Mexico filmmaking [“Box Office Gold”], the Austin, Texas, music scene [“UpFront”], and the NBA’s DLeague [“Jumping Through Hoops”]. The issue also had very good Mensa puzzles.

This note is late because we have been traveling around the U.S. since then and just got home. Again, you are to be congratulated for the quality of your magazine.

JIM HANBURY, NEW YORK, NEW YORK

ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: Jim, these letters are my favorites. It’s a hard charge to try to appeal to so many different readers with so many different tastes. Trying to be something for everybody butts up against the risk of being nothing for everybody. So when we can appeal to you on multiple fronts with multiple stories, we are very proud of our product. Thank you so much for the note. Please keep in touch and let me know what you’d like to see in future issues.

SINGING OUT LOUD
I very much enjoyed the early history in Jeffrey Ressner’s “Golden Opera-tune-ity” in the April 15 issue. Lest readers get the impression that opera is merely a historic art form, however, I thought I’d offer these tidbits:

• Last year, before Avatar opened, the opera Don Giovanni was transmitted live from Opéra de Rennes to movie theaters in 3-D, and it was by no means the first 3-D opera.

• The Metropolitan Opera offers not only live, high-definition cinema transmissions worldwide but also has its own 24-hour satellite radio channel and provides Internet access to high-definition video streams. The company has received a Technology & Engineering Emmy (among other awards) for pushing the boundaries of media technology.

• The San Francisco Opera has used AT&T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) for live opera transmissions on the JumboTron.

Between that first opera in the 16th century and today, opera was responsible for the first stereo sound transmission (1881), the first commercial live home entertainment (1885), the first newscast (1893) and, though the technology involved was strange, the first broadcast (1898). Arguably, movies were invented for opera, and long before The Jazz Singer, opera movies with synchronized sound were shown in Paris (1900).

I have sung at many of the world’s great opera houses. That’s because, when I visit them, I sing “Happy Birthday” just so I can make that statement.

MARK SCHUBIN, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
FREELANCE ENGINEER IN CHARGE, MEDIA DEPARTMENT, METROPOLITAN OPERA


ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: Brilliant. Just brilliant, Mark. You’re now American Way’s official opera archivist.

SIMPLY THE BEST
I was on one of your competitor airlines four times over the past month, traveling for work. Your magazine is much better, and you’re a much better writer than [that competitor of yours].

DARRIN SCHEID, DALLAS, TEXAS

ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: Appreciate the kudos, Darrin. To be fair, some of our competition does excellent work. But there are others … well, let’s just keep this positive. Best, Adam