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Angels On The Radio

Dec 11, 2007

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Barrie Hardymon

My favorite work of art by Tony Kushner isn't a book or a play or a libretto — it's a commencement speech. (I have linked to it here, and if you stop reading this post or listening to the radio or whatever just please, please, please read it because it will infect you with hope for the future.) Which I suppose points to the conclusion that my favorite work of art by Tony Kushner is Tony Kushner himself. There are few people who inspire more — his plays, which are essentially and eternally dated (I mean, the second half of Angels in America is literally called Perestroika. Remember Perestroika?), and yet, the very nature of their prose keeps them fresh. It's like he's a kind of emotional historian — whether he's talking about AIDS in the Eighties, the Civil Rights struggle, Afghanistan in the late Nineties, or even the terror of the Holocaust. This is a man who finds compassion even in the hardest of struggles — and makes action seem like the only thing to do. Well, enough kvelling. We'll talk to director Frieda Lee Mock and Tony Kushner himself. So go ahead and read that commencement speech, and post your comments here. The documentary airs on PBS's P.O.V. series tomorrow, December 12 at 9 p.m. (check local listings).

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