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In the Mud

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To the editors:

In response to the Our Town article dealing with the Mud Beggars and the honorable Rush Pearson (aka Will'm the Rash) in the Reader of 8/17/90:

Whereas I enjoyed much the piece and found it to be a fairly good attempt to describe the Sturdy Beggars unique Renaissance Festival comedy act and the classic Mud Show, I must take exception with one particular mildly annoying and frequent misconception: The Sturdy and Bedlum Beggars do nothing akin to "wrestling" in the mud. There has been no mud-wrestling schtick in the show since '83. The Mud Show is a high energy total audience-participation experience involving comedic verbal sparring and an ongoing contest of escalating acts of rude ridiculousness between two mud beggars. There is no crude physical grappling in the muck. The show repeatedly espouses non-violence in a humorous context, encouraging the audience to eagerly vent their aggressions in a rowdy but harmless manner. The scale and power of a Mud Show truly must be seen to be understood . . . it is hard to convey the true nature of the show to the, uh, "unexperienced." The typical tendency is to fixate on the mud "eating" (actually the least part of the show) and ascribe bone-headed "mud-wrasslin"' imagery, which is pretty unimaginative, all told. Your editors should grab a beer and catch an actual Mud Show next summer. In a way, the show (usually one of the top three "draw" acts at a Faire) and its success is a distinctive phenomenon of our times. And mainly, it's a blast.

John Goodrich (aka Hack Ptui, Ret.)

Founder

Bedlum Beggars

Chicago

Terry Barron replies:

As it was never my intention to besmear either the honorable Mr. Pearson or the corporate image of the Mud Show, I apologize for the blasphemous suggestion that the mud beggars wrestle in their mud pit. The reference to "wrasslin" was the result of a last-minute editorial glitch, and such phrases as "wrestle in the mud" were mysteriously inserted into my original, nonviolent text. As such, we are fortunate to have such fusty fellows as Mr. Goodrich ardently defending the suspect purity of the Sturdy and Bedlum Beggars. Clearly, he is a man whose heart is in the mud.

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