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March 25, 2004

Improv graphic misses the point

As an improviser, I would like to thank you for Adam Tschorn's cover story on the "Improv Invasion" ("Time to Rally the Troupes," March 18). It was intelligent and thorough on what makes improv unique. But the accompanying cover graphic leaves me slightly exasperated.

When an improviser tells a person he or she does improv, the listener often assumes they mean stand-up. Stand-up is a wonderful medium, but it is totally different from ensemble improvisation. It is a distinction improvisers constantly struggle to make clear to the uninitiated. So it's unfortunate that an article that so intelligently describes improv should have its clarity muddled by a graphic that is the very essence of stand-up: a man at a microphone.

Brendan Hunt

Silver Lake

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Five decades of ugliness

"Lively Show Brings a Lot to the Table" (March 18) by Leah Ollman accurately depicted the main thematic currents and nicely described some of the artworks in the exhibit "The Not-So-Still Life: A Century of California Painting and Sculpture." However, she failed to mention a point that the show perhaps unintentionally illustrated: that the paintings and sculptures created after about the year 1950 lack a certain quality which people used to call "beauty."

For example, Joseph Kleitsch's early 20th century Impressionistic still life of a table littered with debris actually dazzles the eye with vivid colors and sensuous brush strokes. In contrast, the heap of trash depicted in Chester Arnold's enormous canvas from a later period revolts and disgusts the viewer.

The post mid-20th century paintings in the show generally lack the capacity to enrich or elevate the viewer. I would hope that my fellow contemporary artists would consider this point and perhaps work to change the direction art clearly has taken over the past half-century.

Frederick H. Hurd

Pasadena

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An unanswered zombie question

Thank you for the educational article about the various categories of zombies ("Lifestyles of the Undead," by Max Brooks, March 18). I was, however, disappointed that the article did not address a vital question: Are zombies able to procreate, and if so, should they or shouldn't they be allowed to legally marry?

David O

Los Angeles

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