First of all, I want to thank Keith Joseph for his support and kind words on our work at Cleveland Public Theatre this season. I think things are going quite well here, and I appreciate his taking notice. The mention of so many of our artists makes us proud. However, I feel that I must decline my "Man for All Seasons Keefer." I work as part of a team, and as second to a man whom I deeply respect and admire. James Levin has done an incredible job at CPT for nearly twenty years. He created a theater on the wrong side of town for all the people who hadn't been heard from, and for all the people who wanted to see work that actually meant something to their lives. He struggled for many years before I arrived on the scene, making a go of it against all odds. His tenacity and drive have been the force and continue to be the inspiration that keep CPT alive and all of us working. The milk and honey flows because he cultivated the arid desert wasteland.
I am proud to be part of his staff, and I certainly don't consider any of my co-workers "minions." I would never demean their efforts or their talents by thinking of them as such. I play a part, that is all. I make my contribution. I do bring a certain amount of flash and my New York ways to the proceedings. But that flash is, unfortunately, blinding some to the truth. It is ultimately James Levin who provides the vision, guidance, and answers. The work on stage is there because he knows this community and its tastes--frequently before they do. CPT is truly a public theater because of the Herculean effort of a man who knows what it is to sacrifice and make a meaningful contribution to his art and his community. He is a Man for All Seasons. My extraordinary co-workers and I simply provide the support and effort to make the vision a reality.
Producing director, Cleveland Public Theatre
City's One Fan of New Scene Reveals Identity
Your Letters to the Editor section appears to be one-sided against your new format and columnist David Sowd, so I'd like to voice the positive side. Your new format looks fine to me. The articles seem to be a bit more intellectual now, requiring some thought and a level of education that will scare off some readers who thrive on four-letter words. Too bad! I always read David Sowd's columns. While I don't agree with some of his remarks, they are usually thought-provoking and often humorous. Anyone offering his opinions is bound to rub some people the wrong way. Hope the new Scene owners are not swayed by the occasional diatribe Sowd's columns might provoke.
Keep the Boy's Feet to the Fire
Thanks for the nice review of our recent Wilbert's performance [Larry McCray/the Sam Getz Band in Livewire, January 7]. It was a fair assessment of our appearance that night.
I want to thank the reviewer Aaron Steinberg for the challenge to Sam to allow his own style and originality to surface. He and I have discussed this issue recently, and he is intent on finding his own voice. I invite you to keep his feet (or in this case, his fingers) to the fire on this challenge.
Newspapers Still Popular in America's Prisons
Just received a copy of the Mouth's "Sting Stench" year-end piece [December 31]. I'm glad someone agrees the sting was bull. I could sleep a lot better (in my cell) if there was an actual reason for the sting. I always was of the thought that there must be a crime in order to have a sting, but I guess I was mistaken.
In addition to the threats and "ceremony" that you may have seen on television, there were many, many others. (One of our ringleaders even admitted on WMJI that he did his share of threats to "keep us in line.") The prosecutors' reasoning of the threats? "The agents had to try and keep things realistic." Well, when somebody threatens me, I take it as real.
I can't defend my actions. I admitted my guilt in court; I'll say to you the same thing I said to the television reporters in August. I regret my actions, and I apologize to my family and co-workers for any embarrassment I've caused. By the way, this statement has caused me to be very unpopular with my co-defendants. I guess I should have cried about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny while counting my money.
I will say, however, that Mouth did hit the nail right on the head. The FBI can do this to anyone. They had no reason to come to us, and they need no reason to go after others. If you haven't seen the articles in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Bill Moushey, I highly recommend them. They are an eye opener.
See ya in 2001!
Charles T. Burger, No. 36676-060
Morgantown, West Virginia
Editor's note: David Sowd replies: Regarding Stutz Bearcat's letter to the editor [December 31], an examination of the Charles Darwin entry in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations reveals the following quotation: "I have called this principle ... by the term Natural Selection. The expression often used by Herbert Spencer, of the Survival of the Fittest, is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient." (On the Origin of Species, 1859)
So while it was indeed Spencer who coined this Victorian catchphrase, Bearcat is mistaken in asserting that Darwin "never said, or perhaps even implied 'survival of the fittest.'