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know, Corey, Gilford, a lot of people, Sammy Levenson, I knew
These people were essentially friends that you had from the
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
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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