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know, Corey, Gilford, a lot of people, Sammy Levenson, I knew already.


These people were essentially friends that you had from the student movement?


Or from playing in the band, seeing them here or there, you know, student movement. The student movement had a lot of cultural people, too, “Pens and Pencils.” I talked to Joe Klein, he did the book on Woody Guthrie, you know, the New York magazine. The other day he says to me, “Hey, were you involved in ‘Pens and Pencils’?”

I said, “How do you know?”

“You know, I did the book on Woody. I learned everything about the cultural movement of the left to do this book. I read everything there was.”

So I'm telling him about “Pens and Pencils.”


What was “Pens and Pencils”?


“Pens and Pencils” was a review for the ASU. It was a musical review about the student movement, and it was one show. “Pens and Pencils” was on the Marx Brothers. Leo Rifkin, who died recently, wrote it with Frankie Tarloff and Irwin Shaw's brother, Dave Shaw. Irwin Shaw, remember, went to Brooklyn College, too, you see. So this show comes out at the time I'm working at City College, and I raise a hundred bucks to finance the show. I'm like the angel for the show, and it's a great show. It's the Marx Brothers in college, with Leo playing the role of Groucho, and it's clever. Henry writes songs, everybody is writing songs. This was a period when people were writing things. It was a period when before that, the Theater Arts Committee, had a TAC, a cabaret TAC, and Mike Stratton and Saul Aarons are writing “The Horse With the Union Label,” and ‘The Capitalistic Boss,” and “Old Paint.” You know, this is a period when the left is involved, because it's a broad united front, democratic front thing, the arts, the New Masses, you know, a lot of stuff was being done around that kind of thing, so you were into that kind of thing, you hear it, you see it, you feel it. So when you come into the labor movement, you begin to think, “Okay, now we do it here, too.” So that's how that worked.


So there was a cultural milieu, basically?


It was, sure. There was a cultural milieu.

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