In 2009, we published a piece called “My Kingdom for a Safe Zone.” I was talking about the intrusion of politics into places where it really didn’t belong: concerts, sports events, and the like. Was there no refuge from politics — and partisan politics — anywhere?
Readers sent me their stories and their complaints. Their e-mails would be headed “Safe-zone violation!” Some of those stories were infuriating or heart-rending.
In Impromptus today, I have an item about Manny Laureano, the principal trumpet of the Minnesota Orchestra. Rufus Wainwright was the orchestra’s guest that night. From the stage, he talked politics, bemoaning the Republicans’ just-passed tax plan. Laureano, fed up, got up and left.
Laureano may get into trouble for his action. Later, he made this acknowledgement: “Obviously, my contract says I’m not supposed to walk off stage during a performance.” But, you know? Sometimes a man has had enough. I understand this, having endured these political speeches at concerts for years and years. (This is a recurring subject of mine.)
So, let me say again: Bravo, Manny. Your walk-off spoke for many of us who don’t have the opportunity to make the same gesture.