YAM Notes: September/October 2018

By Christopher T. Cory

A wacky, semi-hidden art form has gotten a little public attention recently, and Bill Weeden, David Finkle, and their cabaret collaborator, the actress Sally Fay, may get caught up in it. For 20 years in the ’60s and ’70s, they were active practitioners of a theatrical genre known as “industrial” musical comedy. Many a business commissioned these custom-written, professional shows and put on private performances to motivate their sales forces. While the usual practice was to hire writers and performers separately, Weeden, Finkle & Fay, as they were known, were near-unique because they wrote and performed their own material for firms like Time Inc., Burlington Mills, and Merrill Lynch (“Money is Funny”). For whatever reasons, they do not appear in a recent book and documentary film about this charming, gently satirical period. But they told your corsec, an original fan, that the new surge of interest is making them think, as one of their songs put it, of somehow once again giving their old business “the business.” We’ll have more on the website.

In a more august artistic world, Richard Barnet, fresh from having three of his own sculptures in an exhibition in South Carolina (see class notes in July/August), is cocurating a fall exhibition of works by his mother, Mary Sinclair, who died 14 years ago. It will be mounted at the famous Provincetown Art Association and Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts, near where Dick grew up in the summers. Focusing on her children, her homes, and her neighborhoods, she was known for “drawing in color,” Dick says, and regularly had one-person shows across the country. The impasto of artistic influences she brought to Dick and her other children, another of whom also is an artist, must have been nearly inescapable: Dick’s grandmother was a commercial artist, her second husband was a colleague, and Dick’s mother was married to two artists, Will Barnet and Joseph Epstein. The exhibition runs through November 4.

Curious as ever about public affairs, Al Chambers is juggling the transition that comes with a first grandchild going off to college this fall (Albion) while monitoring organizations working in at least three areas his newsperson’s instincts find fascinating: the economy, the “wild card” of legal charges against the president, and the play of social issues in the US Supreme Court.

And last but not least in a skimpy issue of these notes, that dauntless duo Cindy and Dave Hummel toured Oceana in June, notching five more of the world’s countries on their belts and boosting their total to 148 of the world’s 195 sovereign nations. They island-hopped from Hawaii, the Fiji islands, and New Zealand to some of the least-visited countries in the world—the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, and Tuvalu. Truly “off the radar.” Wrote Cindy: “Flat, tropical, hot, and poor describes what we saw of the Marshall Islands,” which, thanks to climate change and flooding, “may actually disappear in our lifetime.” Their travels are hot in the opposite sense of the word. Send news of yours.

Necrology: We sadly announce the deaths of Charles Catlin and Alf Jordan. Charles’s obituary will be posted in due course on www.yale62.org; Alf’s obituary is there now, along with an obituary for Francis Lang.