When much-loved Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky got her turn at the microphone towards the show’s end, she chided the audience to remember that this gathering wasn’t “it”. This is just “re-fueling”, she said.
“It” is the unglamorous hard work before progressives—to find new voters perhaps, get them registered, and psyched to make their votes. “It” might be stuffing envelopes, going door-to-door, or making those horrible phone calls to would-be voters until someone figures out that’s more a voter turn off than turn-on.
But yes, THIS was a chance to re-fuel, with more progressive political red meat per minute thrown to our ravenous mob than a news-breaking Rachel Maddow show on continuous rewind.
Holding court was the progressive TV/radio star, Stephanie Miller, self-described “lipstick lesbian” and improbable scion of the Republican Congressman who became Barry Goldwater’s running mate. Wearing a clingy short black dress that somehow stayed in place, sorta, as she writhed and wiggled on the stage, she recounted the insults of the Trumpian reign to a crowd that could likely finish every one of her sentences.
Accompanying Miller, and for this writer THE one who summoned real laughs from belly bottom, was comic and Trump impersonator John Fugelsang. One can read that comedian Bill Maher considers Fugelsang one of his favorite comics, and then hope that Maher has enlisted Fugelsang as one of his key ‘people” working on finding that definitive birth certificate proof that Trump’s mother had procreated the Donald with an adoring orangutang. Just saying…People are saying…
And rounding out the stage were Frangela, two quasi-comic women who flaunt their friendship with tell-it-like-it-is attitude.
For this writer, the comics on stage couldn’t quite compete with the scene in the seats. More gray hairs than shaved, more sensible shoes than heels, and more flab than six-pack abs, with lots of white but not en toto---we would have been ready to elevate the Pentagon, if that wasn’t just a bit too much been-there-done-that.
This may have been a best chance to channel the thumbs up thumbs down crowd watching gladiators meet their fates in the Coliseum. Or, closer to home, it was the closest many of us will get to a Trump rally roar, albeit roiling and roaring from a different hymnal.
Too bad there were no tickets to be had to hear the Daily Show and meet Trevor Noah also logging time with Chicago crowds at the Athenaeum Theater.
From Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Auditorium to Stephanie Miller et al at the Athenaeum - -it’s looking like Chicago is emerging as a key stop on the progressive pork trail.
For more information on other infotainment events as well as dance, theater and other performances at the Athenaeum, check out the Athenaeum website.