Kim, Kat, Alan, Eli and I went to see This American Life Live at the Boston Opera House last night. I think it was about three minutes (if that) into the show prologue that I put down my camera and decided that I wasn’t going to try to take any pictures – partly because I didn’t want to annoy the people around me, but more so because the first three minutes were absolutely excellent and I was afraid that I was going to miss something.
The prologue (which is always one of the best parts of the show) recounted the elementary school experience of a kid (now grown up) and his friend who made a fake video camera out of cardboard box and then how this became a fad among the his elementary school class and then everything that happened thereafter because of it. It was the typical “action, action, action…reflection” format story of the radio show, except that the story was accompanied by animation that looked like it was created by Chris Ware. The story itself was absolutely hilarious and it was doubly so when accentuated by the animation.
The theme of the show was “What I Learned from Television” and included performances/readings by Sarah Vowell, Jonathan Goldstein, Dan Savage with music by Mates of State (who were excellent). Also, Ira and Chris Wilcha, the director of the new TAL Television show, talked about making of the television show and showed some clips.
Some specific highlights of the live show included outtakes from the upcoming television show; Ira’s admission that he and his wife sometimes sing the theme to The O.C. when the show comes on and his description of how he stood up and pointed to his television in disbelief when TAL was described by Summer (one of the characters on The O.C.) as “that show where all those hipster know-it-alls talk about how fascinating ordinary people are.” (“Did that just happen?!?! Was it only on our Tivo or on everyone’s?”)
Other highlights included Jonathan Goldstein noting as Barney Rubble that all of the appliances (the stork trash compactor, the elephant shower, etc.) died shortly after the ice age began; Dan Savage’s story about his son, stereotypes and ownership of a poodle who was almost named Pierre, and last, but not least, Sarah’s take two of the requisite Tory Malatia quote that ends the show every week. Also, the music by Mates of State was excellent. I am expecting to add them to the iPod very shortly.
Susan (Bisson) Andersen and her husband Larry were also there about 3 rows away from us, so it was nice to see them as well. (Susan, I think you guys were waiting to say hello to us after the show, but I had an extreme need for some of the show schwag and that line was long. I owe you an email!)
Not much else to say about it except that it lived up to every expectation I had and then some, but then again, Ira, Sarah and gang would never let us down.