Hello again!

In the past week I've received a bunch of letters from grateful readers and prospective writers, all excited about our new direction. I've picked out a few e-mails to share with you (below).

The first comes from an enthusiastic Echo Park dweller eager to start covering L.A.'s exciting scene for us. She's exactly who we're trying to reach. And we got her!

The next two letters come from readers who took the time to let us know they appreciate our reviews, whether it be a DVD, Come Early Morning or EPMD's 20th anniversary concert at House of Blues Sunset Strip.

Check out this week's live show review of Amy Winehouse's Roxy celebration (p. 16). The buzz surrounding this new breakout UK star is deafening.

We recently stumbled on an interesting Aperture book title, Model American . Photographer Katy Grannan uses real people as her models, and snaps shots of them in their own environments. View some of Grannan's compelling pictures on page 22, plus read a snippet of the book's accompanying text by Jan Avgikos, as she breaks down the meaning and motivation behind the prints.

In this issue we've got a wide range of film coverage, from a documentary about adults competing to be the best air guitar player ( Air Guitar Nation , p. 9) to Warner Brothers' thriller The Reaping , in which Hilary Swank plays a former Christian missionary who reaffirms her faith (p. 8). We review Blades of Glory on page 11, and yes, it is definitely as funny as you thought it'd be.

On the music tip, we've got a feature on the Thermals (p. 16), a Portland, Ore. rock group who actually gained fans by turning down the opportunity to participate in a Hummer ad, and a special commentary on SXSW from L.A. singer-songwriter Zack Hexum (p. 17). The two-time attendee offers personal insight on what happens at one of the music industry's most anticipated festivals.

Also this week, we've got reviews of a few hot video games (p. 23) and a special Essential L.A. report on Bear Mountain and Snow Summit from our music editor and resident snowboard devotee, Kym Parsons.

As I wrote last time, I'd like to hear from you, our readers, about how we're doing. Drop me a line at editor.chief@campuscircle.net . Let me know what we're doing right, what we need more of and how we can be of better service to you.

I'd also like to know what's good in your 'hood. What movie celeb do you want to read about? What bars keep you coming back for more? Who serves up the best burger, fries and shake?

'Til next week,

Jessica Koslow

Dear Campus Circle ,

I am a 22-year-old graduate from UC Berkeley with a BA in film studies. I now live in Echo Park, an apex of pop culture and hipster reign, and have recently finished my job as a production assistant on the new Rob Zombie Halloween film.

I have voluntarily left a full time, consistently paying job, so that I may have an opportunity to creatively contribute to the world in which I live. I am attempting to independently fund and direct a short film and even more importantly, write for YOUR newspaper.

Campus Circle's youthful enthusiasm highlights truths of contemporary entertainment unrivaled by any publication I have come across. I believe I am at the perfect stage in my life to write for a newspaper like yours, as my experiences from college are fresh in my mind and dear to my heart.

I have had the university training and now a little real world perspective that is just begging to be written down and gotten out.

—Hayley Fox, Echo Park

Reading the DVD review of Come Early Morning this week inspired an immediate update to my Netflix account. Not only did I add it to my queue, but I bumped it to the top of my list.

Angela Matano obviously knows her movies, and I enjoy her concise, insightful reviews. Her comments add context that enrich the movie watching experience. Where are all the female directors?

— Celesta Schill, Venice

I haven't been to a hip-hop show in ages. Mostly because nothing has really interested me. But for the first time in a long time, I actually feel like I missed out on an event.

Your review of the EPMD show made me realize that I missed some history that night! When's the last time the golden era came together?

Thanks for giving me a glimpse and making an old fan feel nostalgic again. Thanks and keep up the good work!

—Old Hip-Hop Fan, Thousand Oaks

PS ... How high was Redman?