October 18, 2003
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Backstage on Saturday, Mr. Utah Phillips introduced himself with a "They call me Utah" and proceeded to hold forth on topics from Salvadorean poetry to the Lost Dauphin of Green Bay, Wisconsin, to Unitarianism and war protest. He told us about how when he first moved to NYC as a young man, he went straight to the House of Hospitality and met Dorothy Day herself, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement.
Al Franken was hanging around backstage, too, reminiscing about growing up in St. Louis Park, right outside Minneapolis. He told us about watching comedy on TV with his Dad, laughing along with Henny Youngman and Richard Pryor. He said he recently came to the realization that he actually became a comedian because it's what he did with his Dad as a young kid.
And Tommy Emmanuel was jovial and enthusiastic, impressing the heck out of the musicians and jumping in musically at a moment's notice. The show seemed to go well and the crowd was a lot younger than usual—lots of whoops and hollering from all levels of the Fitzgerald.