The Bananafish articles were draining to proofread because, by then, I'd heard many regurgitations of Ray-and-Pete conversations. I remember being disgusted by some of the prank phone calls, like when someone impersonating an old friend of Raymond's called Peter to find out how Ray had died. However, I indulged in the fascination, too. Following Peter when he walked his dogs to Duboce Park, I wondered, Does he know he's a phenomenon? What would he think if he saw the T-shirts bearing his refrain?
There's a whole other side to the ACT success story ("Carey Nation," July 26) that's buried in your writer's next-to-last paragraph, where Carey Perloff gets the rights to Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, then immediately jets off to New York to cast it. No thought of first holding auditions here.
For a few years in the late '80s/early '90s under Ed Hastings, ACT opened doors that founder Bill Ball had kept closed, and many local actors, designers, directors, and writers found work there. As the Eureka and other smaller theaters closed, ACT became an anchor employer. One show there meant 10 to 12 weeks of high-paid (and high-visibility) employment: enough to double an actor's annual earnings, and give a big boost to unemployment checks; enough to keep a person in town.
Perloff has gradually implemented a "New York first" casting policy that has brought in some wonderful actors, and others less wonderful, and that is closing out locals. With the departures of Richard Seyd and Benny Sato Ambush, who had local roots, more and more Bay Area actors are saying, "I'll never get another show at ACT." This isn't the only reason we have a talent drain, but it's a big one.
What responsibility a flagship institution with national aspirations has to a local theater scene is a complicated issue, but it's one the whole scene is talking about. In a cover story on ACT, you should have raised it.
Hip to Hep
Thank you so much for your article on hepatitis B ("Getting Hep," July 19). The two-year anniversary of my dad's death just passed. He died of liver cancer; he had hepatitis B 20 years before. My family had no idea of the connection -- and may never have had any idea of it except that I happened to sit next to a biotechnician on BART one day, and struck up a conversation. By this mere chance I was educated.
I wish someone had said to my dad, "You know, hepatitis B is a common precursor to liver cancer, so watch your liver." Because I know he would have listened. Before I knew about the connection I used to say, "He died of cancer." Now I say he had hepatitis B and then had liver cancer -- and I usually have to explain the connection.
Your article was well-written, broad and personal at the same time. Thank you for being disciplined at your craft -- and paying attention to information that is not being processed.
The opening sentence of Library Commissioner Karen Crommie's letter (Aug. 2) should have read: "Don't let nostalgia and misinformation thwart a public service that most class-A libraries are already offering."
Last week's Paper Trails column misstated how much the city charges for the advance agenda of the regularly scheduled Monday meeting of the Board of Supervisors. The cost is $26 per year.