July 8, 2023
Lime Kiln Theater, Lexington, VA
Garrison Keillor and Robin & Linda Williams come to the Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington, VA for an evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon. 8:00 PM
July 6, 2023
Sellersville Theatre, Sellersville, PA
Garrison Keillor and Robin & Linda Williams come to Sellersville, PA for an evening of poetry, gospel, sing-alongs and the News from Lake Wobegon.
April 30, 2023
Paramount Hudson Valley, Peekskill, NY
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Peekskill NY. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unite us.
April 29, 2023
Park Theatre, Jaffrey, NH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Jaffrey, NH. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
April 27, 2023
Cary Memorial Hall, Lexington, MA
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Lexington, MA. Be prepared to laugh and sing along as you celebrate all that unites us.
I went for a walk in the park Wednesday and saw crocuses blooming and cherry trees budding and high school gym classes out running and it really seemed as if spring is coming to New York, a great city that deserves a break. An excellent story by William Finnegan in last week’s New Yorker opens a window on the Democratic incompetence and squalid corporate corruption that frustrates all attempts to replace Penn Station. Every Democrat should read it.
This hellhole sits in Midtown making millions of people miserable, and nobody in power holds out any prospect of success, meanwhile the Democratic Party is plagued with progressives out to prove their purity by winning defeat.
I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, populated by liberals who read the Times religiously and grieve for the sorrows of the world and then comfort ourselves with an $8 croissant and a cup of premium Ecuadorian rain-forest coffee with oat milk. As an old lib, I felt obliged to go to a play Wednesday night about homelessness, which had no story line, just a good deal of suffering onstage (then in the audience), some shouting, weeping, most of it incomprehensible, but the audience worked diligently to appreciate it and gave it a partial standing ovation.
The Times, of course, gave it a rave review (“heartbreaking”) and the critic, who had the advantage of having read the script, managed to find a sort of narrative, but to us groundlings, it was ninety minutes of sheer misery, like sitting on the floor of Penn Station waiting for a train and being hustled by panhandlers and crazy people, but given our upbringing, we felt guilty for not enjoying it.
Well, I refuse to go to the theater and pay to be punished.
The theater is for entertainment. It can be light or dark but it must have a story and be comprehensible and engage the audience and take them someplace. The Times critic found it meaningful that the actors glared at the audience — it “implicates the audience,” he said. Well, I’m not implicated: I didn’t write this play. I’m not responsible for making hundreds of people waste an evening.
I grew up in Minnesota so I was brought up to be nice. I have never raised my voice except at athletic events. I do not complain to the person at the drive-up window that the onion rings seem to be day-old rings. When I call to refill a prescription, I say “Thank you” to the clerk and I’m gratified if, instead of “No problem,” she says, “You’re welcome.” It means she was brought up as I was. “No problem” is a brush-off. “You’re welcome” is a kindness. But I am ashamed of myself for not walking out of that play.
My fellow Minnesotans may imagine New Yorkers as pushy and rude but they’ve never ridden the C train during rush hour with a hundred people in a lurching car standing a few inches from each other and avoiding contact. An exercise of extreme delicacy. Sometimes a homeless person comes into a car and makes a pitch for money. People listen. But the homeless person needs to have a story that is understandable and succinct, and if it is, people will put money in the hat. It’s not enough to just glare at people.
I go to church and if, one Sunday, Father Dylan lashes into us for our indifference to the poor, I will accept it up to a point if the man seems Spirit-driven, shouts, weeps, is passionate to the point of lunacy. But I won’t pay $75 to go to the theater and be glared at. That’s just privileged people flagellating themselves with dental floss.
The social justice movement is very appealing. There’s no need to march and carry signs — that ended decades ago — now you just check the boxes and click on LIKE and you’re in. This is likely to wipe out comedy and lead to more dreadful theater, perhaps a play about climate change in a theater full of smoke and the thermostat set at 105. Actors moving through the audience jabbing people with plastic forks.
Raise the minimum wage to $15. Fix the health care system to provide drug rehab. Rebuild Penn Station. Enough with the charades. Be real.