Last night Darce, Irene, Viv, and I went to a movie theater in Manchester, CT to watch a live broadcasting of the PRI show This American Life. Ira Glass, the show’s host, had a charming control over the stage. He looked calm and collected and orchestrated his mixing board with skilled precision.
The theme of the show was “returning to the scene of a crime” and had guests including Dan Savage (sex columnist who happens to be gay*) and Joss Whedon (creator of Firefly). Dan’s story was the most powerful I think. He talked of his estranged relationship with the church and how the heartbreaking death of his mother caused a unique kind of turmoil in the self-proclaimed agnotheist (part agnostic, part atheist). His comedic style was especial evident as he described how, when he takes the Lord’s name in vain as his brother furiously passes a car on the highway and then promptly stops his plea for mercy as soon as he returns to safety, he is both a hypocrite and an ingrate. Savage balanced his humor with solemn powerful stories. Dan described what it was like to be the one who had to ask his mother if she wanted to have a tube put down her throat and live another day in a coma oblivious to the world, or go without and die before the bulk of her family could make it to the hospital to say goodbye. It was a controlling and sobering piece.
Joss Whedon is the creator of Firefly and Buffy. He also made Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog which Alicia introduced to me while I was in Oregon a month or two ago. It’s a hilarious musical comedy about Dr. Horrible, a eager evil villain wannabe. Apparently, the demand was such that he agreed to put out a DVD including commentary… but they hadn’t filmed any commentary. Joss Whedon, being Joss Whedon, decided to get everyone back together for a commentary… but they’d do it as a musical. Joss performed his piece for the NPR crowd. It was very strongly received.
There will be another showing of last night’s video on May 7th. If you missed it the first time around, I’d recommend checking it out when it returns to a theater near you. If you don’t want to spend the money, you can also listen to the radio broadcast of last night’s performance on May 1st on the PRI program This American Life.
(*I edited out some confusion here. see comments.)