Who's That in the Stage Lights?
I have just finished reading your article "Hard Times at the Ballet" [March 31, by Michael Berryhill].
I felt compelled to write to tell you I felt it was one of the most insightful pieces I have read concerning the world of professional ballet.

Though I necessarily view the Houston Ballet from a considerable distance, I view it with enormous interest. I felt the way you wove the threads of a story into the fabric of a ballet company's life was both insightful and sensitive. Every ballet company should be lucky to have a friend such as yourself.

There is an audience -- unfortunately for authors such as Mr. Berryhill, perhaps not a particularly large one -- which seeks the understanding of professional ballet which you so capably provide. I'm not sure you can see me behind the stage lights, but I'm standing up in the third row shouting "Bravo!"

Lee S. Glass, M.D., J.D.
Mercer Island, Washington

Is He Guilty? Ask a Victim
Since the author of your cover story "Crime & Punishment" [by Steve McVicker, March 24] tried to make such a big distinction between being the triggerman in a capital crime and being an accessory, I find it curious that he did not see fit to quote the Texas statute or an attorney regarding this issue. As a layperson, it's my understanding that ("moral" reasoning aside) Texas law does not distinguish between these two degrees of "guilt" (and their potential punishment).

As a survivor of a murder victim, I also found it interesting that the formerly honorable Norman Lanford (judge at Mr. Westley's trial and now an apparent advocate for leniency) would be quoted as saying that Mr. Hall's death "wasn't a bad sort of a capital murder." In fact, Mr. Lanford goes on to speculate critically as to why Mr. Hall would take on three apparently armed robbers when he himself was armed with only a .22-caliber revolver. It may just be that Mr. Hall was heroically attempting to save his employee and friend Ms. Young (who did indeed survive the crime), or that he accidentally walked in on a crime in progress.

Thanks for this article and many other interesting ones through the years, but let's try to keep things in perspective.

Debra Osterman, M.D.

Art Guys or Art Therapy?
"Did you read what Susie Kalil wrote?" That seems to be an appropriate rumbling after reading her review of the Art Guys' "Good and Plenty" [Art, March 24]. I have to wonder -- was this a review or a personal vendetta? Ms. Kalil spent more time preaching on morality than on the art itself. Degraded? I don't think so. I certainly don't view art as a mood-swing enhancer. The Art Guys continue to put out some of the most interesting work around, and they deserve more than a moral spanking from Ms. Kalil. Surely she doesn't expect the artists to compensate with "good manners" for what appears to be her own depression. What's next? Will she be dragging a couch to every show?

Elizabeth Aston

It seems Susie Kalil is wrong if she "criticizes" the art world and wrong if she "fawns." But what is important about Susie's exceptional writing is the insights she offers, rather than her opinions. Susie is brilliant at placing art in its historical context. She is also a brilliantly conscious, inclusive writer whose vision considers the culture and helps us expand our awareness. While her work will necessarily provoke us, we should not try to force her into a mold all our own.

Elizabeth McBride

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