Asked about the legacy he will leave, Ira Glass delivered a message Saturday night to future generations of earthlings:
Needless to say, many bluehaired This American Life listeners in the Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts in Long Beach were not prepared for that.
Live but not from WBEZ in Chicago, this was not This American Life, but it was Ira Glass. He's Ira Glass. Act 1: Following introductions from Carpenter Center and sponsoring KPCC-FM muckity-mucks, Glass floated onstage in pitch darkness save for the light from his electronic tablet. He introduced a snippet from one of the award-winning radio/podcast show's engrossing stories to mirror the experience of hearing a tale only with the visuals created by our minds.
Again, this was not This American Life, but it was Ira Glass. He's Ira Glass. Act 2: With the stage lights up, the natty broadcaster bounced from parts of story to parts of story, complete with the music his show's listeners know well, as the host explained some of the stories behind the stories. He may have dropped a couple of F-bombs--there was most certainly a "cocksucker" and "suck a million cocks"--but the profanities related to the yarns Glass was spinning.
Then, when this again was not This American Life, but he was Ira Glass--this was Ira Glass--we came to Act 3, in which had the house lights raised as he took questions from a sold-out crowd largely composed of people you'd picture in your head when asked to think of typical public-radio listeners. (Retired academics, guys who look like they could play in the band fun. and lesbians.)
However, as we discovered thanks to Glass (he's Ira Glass), a sizable portion of the LBC crowd either had no idea who he was or, if they did, had never listened to This American Life (this was not This American Life). Many had either been dragged to the show by significant others who tune in or they were fulfilling their winter season Carpenter Center subscription.
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Anyway, for such a bright-looking crowd, they asked some rather stupid questions. Near the end of the Q&A came the one about the legacy that will be left behind by Glass (this was . . . oh, never mind). He'd already been onstage for a couple of hours after the prompt 8 p.m. start time by then, and perhaps because he'd been up since 6 a.m. East Coast time, he may have been a little loopy as he fucked this and fucked that about the people who will occupy the homes we built or take the jobs we'll have abandoned. He was almost as bad as a global-warming denier. Almost.
I found it simply beautiful, especially given the white-lace-and-promises décor of the Carpenter Center lobby. However, the old coot behind me was overheard telling his partner, "It was okay. I could have gone without the language."
If only there were end credits because Torey Malatia couldn't have said it better.