Out-of-Step Steps? | Freyne Land
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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Out-of-Step Steps?

Posted By on Sun, Feb 25, 2007 at 9:54 AM

Out on the town town last night to catch the Capitol Steps at the Flynn Theater.

Pamela from Seven Days was my "date" and vice-versa. Good to be out and nice to see a lot of old faces.  Haven't been to the Flynn in a few years.

Pamster and I reminisced about our own earlier appearances on the Flynn Stage: she as a punk rock diva of the early 1980s, et moi, as a variety show actor doing Shakespeare's Henry V in the 1990s.

Getting old. Just like Capitol Steps, if I do say so myself.  But I hope we're staying sharper than they are.

Burlington, Vermont got one of three Steps troupes performing last night. They are a successful operation. Pump out the CDs. But is it asking too much to expect such a successful professional troupe to pay attention to the locale they are getting paid big bucks to appear in?  And maybe even pay a little attention to that locale's unique politics?

To the five-member Capitol Steps troupe we got, Burlington, Vermont could have been Burlington, Iowa. In fact, sitting in my balcony row was Burlington Progressive City Councilor Tim Ashe from Ward Three. (Didn't see if Burlington's Progressive Mayor Bob Kiss was there. It was a full house.)

But I do know that in their performance that began at 8:05 P.M. and ended at 10 P.M. - with a 15-minute halftime - the Capitol Steps never once uttered the word "Progressive."

And not once did a Capitol Step, fresh from Washington, D.C., mention the name of Vermont's newest special-delivery package sent to Washington, D.C. - a United States Senator and the only Independent in that chamber. Not once!

In fact, at one point, one of the Steps asked how many Republicans were present?

A smattering of applause.

Then he asked how many Democrats were in the room?

The place broke up. Loud applause and cheers.

But that's where he stopped. Didn't bother to ask how many Progs or Independents were in attendance. Didn't the dude from D.C. know he was in the People's Republic of Burlington, Vermont?

The Capitol Steps started up in 1981.

Good year.

That's the year Bernie Sanders, excuse me, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, won his first political office - mayor of Burlington.

You'd think a sharp, talented, successful band of D.C. performers would know?

These political satirists steered away from the War in Iraq, impeachment of George WMD Bush and other 800 lb. gorillas, preferring instead to dabble in drinking jokes about Ted Kennedy and his son, Dick Cheney hunting jokes and "Springtime for Liberals and Hillary!"

You know what?

Capitol Steps have gotten establishment boring.

P.S. Meanwhile, you know what really keeps me going? Waking up to emails like this one:

Hi Peter,
    God Bless you in going through your treatment regimen.  My husband and I have been fans of yours for years. Truth to Power is an awesome thing. Just had a biopsy myself last week, waiting until next Monday for the news.  Reading your blogs about your trip over the past few weeks has made this a little less scary for me . Thanks for sharing your experiences, and we'll keep praying for you. I have 3 kids under 6, so I'm hoping for a real good result!

    Peace,  KB

In this together, aren't we?

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

More by Peter Freyne


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