It’s been in all the papers – Manny Laureano, the prinicpal trumpeter of the Minnesota Orchesta (and a friend of this blog, of the NARN and incidentally of me) walked off the stsge  at a MNO gig supporting Rufus Wainright the other night.

Wainright – son of 70s country-rock eccentric Loudon “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” Wainright III – was in the middle of one of several apparent tirades about Republicans when Laureano, one of the Orchestra’s few conservatives, walked offstage.

“The evening was already too snarky,” Laureano said. So by the time Wainwright got around to the political talk, the trumpeter added, “It got incredibly self-indulgent.”

“He’s an angry dude that seems to have life all figured out, not the kind of guy we need to look to for philosophy,” he said. “I found it to be beyond the pale of what that evening should be about. It’s a time of the year we’re supposed to all come together.”

As is the Twin Cities’ meida’s wont, the writer – the Strib’s longtime music writer Chris Riemenschneider, who is not immune to misplaced and not-overly-interesting political “insides” of his own – verges on editorial writing for a moment:

I’m so tired of you, America,” is famously/infamously the refrain in the Juno Award-nominated 2007 song, which also offers lines questioning Christians intolerant of same-sex marriage. (Wainwright, a Toronto native and New York resident, has been married to husband Jörn Weisbrodt for five years and they are raising a daughter together, Viva).

Wainwright actually kept his comments relatively brief and, by his standards, rather innocuous, saying he had refrained from political talk at shows in prior months but was “a little in shock over what happened last night,” a reference to the GOP tax plan that passed in Congress overnight.


He had not yet heard about any repercussions for his protest from orchestra management, but he said, “Obviously my contract says I’m not supposed to walk off stage during a performance.”

Of course there’ll be repercussions; Wainright’s fans – who resemble Alan Dershowitz’s description of the Harvard Law School faculty, people who think diversity is “Hiring someone with different colored skin, or wearing a skirt, who thinks just the same as you do” – are about as diverse as a Klan rally.


12 thoughts on “Brass

  1. I am surprised that there aren’t more conservative practitioners in the arts. There is a long tradition in the West of linking truth and beauty (even the arch-modernist James Joyce riffed on the topic in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man). It is readily apparent that in the absence of universal standards of beauty, truth is not linked to beauty, but to power. Whatever the source of their walking around money, artists must realize this at some level, and know that in bowing before the political whims of the moment, they are serving power, and not the ancient muses.

  2. Regarding truth and beauty vis-a-vis the arts, it strikes me that a great portion of that went away when we started to fund the arts through the state–back in the Depression. Yes, there have been bright lights since then, but all in all, when you subject funding for artists to the political process, you end up with poilticized art, no? And as James Comey could tell you, truth takes a beating when politics gets going.

  3. Really? How can there be consequences when all he did was retreat to his “safe space” from the “microagressions” aimed at him?

  4. I figured “stormed” was a bit subjective when I read the story yesterday. Certainly if a performer had walked off a stage with Milo (assuming Milo had been allowed on the stage in the first place), that artist would be hailed for his/her courage. Oh, hey, weren’t there some Rockettes that didn’t want to perform at the Trump inauguration?

  5. “Manny Laureano, the prinicpal trumpeter of the Minnesota Orchesta (and a friend of this blog, of the NARN and incidentally of me)”

    Teh Peevee checking in to remind us Placido Domingo runs first article CD’s by him before public release in….

  6. Lileks has some doings with the Minnesota orchestra. Wonder if he will commenT on this?

  7. It seems that if I want to take my family to see the Minnesota Orchestra, I’d darned well better see who the conductor and guest soloists are if I don’t want to be subjected to political rants and disgusting jokes. It’s really a shame that all the families in the audience didn’t walk out and ask for refunds, pointing out that perverse jokes and rabid political commentary were not supposed to be part of the evening.

    As Laura Ingraham wrote, shut up and sing, or shut up and play.

  8. Laureano: “The context that’s important to understand is that I was in the position of playing a tender solo after being referred to as basically evil.”

    Increasingly I find myself in a similar, but far less visible, situation. Artists who hate me and think that the world would be a better place if I were dead, hold out their hands to me for gelt.

  9. Artists who hate me and think that the world would be a better place if I were dead, hold out their hands to me for gelt.

    Increasingly in this day and age, more and more leftists are finding that money being tainted by a conservative/Republican is more powerful of a repellent than the allure of any money itself, and would rather stand for their cause du’jour than to be infected with money that has touched a conservative/Republican.

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