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April 25, 2009

Review: "This American Life, Live! "

TALLive09_banner2 On Thursday, I attended a screening of "This American Life, Live!" at the Palace 9 in South Burlington.

The theater was packed full of young and old alike — veteran public radio listeners and the hipsters who are in love with Ira Glass:  together they make the tote bag crowd.  And the show did not disappoint — the crowd laughed, clapped, and there were some tears. The production made use of the visual medium by using cartoons, animations, and live music, and Ira Glass played with live aspect of the show by going off script at some points.

The theme of the night was "Return to the Scene of the Crime."  Comedian Mike Birbiglia told the oddly romantic story of car accident and his ensuing obsession over the police report.  Writer Starlee Kine related how she tried an odd but useful self-help retreat to rid herself of the neuroses caused by her erratic parents.  Dan Savage told a simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking story of being haunted by Catholicism after his mother's death.  And filmmaker Joss Whedon performed a song about the pitfalls of DVD commentaries, ironically from "Commentary, The Musical!" on the DVD of Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog.

I could gush about the whole show, but I'll leave some mystery for those who didn't catch it.  The animations can be seen on the This American Life website, and parts of the show will air on the May 1 broadcast of the radio program.  But if possible, check out the encore performance May 7.  Tickets are $18 at the Palace 9 in South Burlington.

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