By popular request, I'm posting a run-down of the TMBG / McSweenys show I went to last week. This is an e-mail that I wrote to my man jmv over the weekend. As you'll see I'm not nearly as stand-offish and sarcastic in personal correspondence as I am in blog form.
so anyway, the show. i went with my friend jed, and neither of us knew what to expect. it was billed as "a night of music an literature." and the "vs." sign really threw me off. what was funny is that there was a definite dichotomy in the audience: the music geeks there to see TMBG, and the book geeks there to see mcsweeny's. lots of tension. a lot of people actually left at intermission once the readings were over.
the show started out with "older" and "the ballad of timothy mcsweeny,"
which i hadn't heard before. there was a foreboding podium on stage left.
after the two songs dave eggers came out, and he an john flansburgh gave a
hilarious explanation about how the mcsweenys / tmbg collaboration came
about. then dave introduced this social commentator person named sarah
vowell, who gave a talk about her morbid fascination with the darker parts
of american history, particularly the salem witch trials (did you know that
the founder of salem was john flansburgh's 12th great grandfather?). the
band was on stage the whole time, and they played a song called "gallows
hill and andersonville" which was based on her monologue when she was done.