Grateful for the beautiful evening Thursday past for our 2018 season opener, "Dylan. Jesus. America." A room full of all manner of delightful folks, and a stage full of talent. We had scholars in from all over the country, gathered together for the Christian Scholars' Conference conducted by my friend David Fleer. Pleased to see friends and colleagues from outstanding institutions of higher education all around the country; and to see and meet a few new younger colleagues who are doing the same. In gatherings like these I'm always confused by the sorts of pop culture critiques of higher education in the United States. Sure, there's always problems with any sort of long-standing tradition. But I'm humbled by the intelligence and humility, the quiet and persevering way in which so many colleagues of mine in the academy work long and hard on worthwhile questions, and speak slowly and judiciously and fairly about important matters.
We were also pleased to have a lot of folks who’d just heard about Tokens Show for the first time and came to join us. I heard a couple came in from Michigan just to join us Thursday evening, and then went home the next day, and that they apparently plan to come again. All these sorts of connections and opportunities to share such an evening together are a great gift.
So many wonderful moments in the show itself, but I would count among them: Buddy Greene and Bryan Sutton kicking version of Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm”; Odessa Settles brilliance on “Wade in the Water”; Matthew Perryman Jones haunting rendition of Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” as well as performance of his own deeply moving “O Theo”; The New Respects performing “What Makes the World Go Round”; Lauren White’s lovely conversation with Tobias Wolff; the U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith reading portions of her new collection Wade in the Water, as well as participating in a sketch in which she read Dylan lyrics while our Tokens Radio Players played the lyrics as “Breaking News” first by CNN and then by FOX News.
My thanks to all who worked so hard to make the evening possible. All of us who enjoyed the evening together thank you.
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