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Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Small Talk Pays Off for David Greenberger or Old People Say the Darndest Things! 

David Greenberger takes the scenic route to discovering the inner lives of old people. Twenty-four years ago when David was just a young whipper-snapper, he began conducting informal interviews with residents of the Duplex Nursing Home, where he was employed at the time. Choice bits of these conversations were extracted and compiled in DUPLEX PLANET, a small magazine or “zine” which he publishes to this day.

The dapper Mr. Greenberger has parlayed these stories into various and sundry projects, including a comic book series and subsequent anthology, a website, at least three books, several cds, art exhibits, trading cards and live performances such as Legibly Speaking, performed last week for TBA.

I’m a typically antsy audience member; I can rate performances by how many times I check my watch and how often my attention wanders to my to-do list. I showed up to the first night of Legibly Speaking totally exhausted and sans timepiece. I sunk into my seat and was shortly transported to the land of Duplex Planet. The antiquated setting, amber glow, old-timey music, and the at turns mundane, silly, poignant, demented, surreal and profound musings of a dozen old folks cohered to form a seamless performance (save for the applause after every segment), and Three Leg Torso lent an exciting and emotional counterpoint to David’s deadpan delivery.

David ended on an uncharacteristically up note, with an inspirational rant from one Mr. Alfred Levitt. While he may not be asking the obvious big questions, he’s definitely seeking deeper meaning and occasionally hits on the sublime.

SEE ALSO:

For a tour of Duplex Planet and a comprehensive look at all related materials, see Greenberger’s excellent website -- http://www.duplexplanet.com

FURTHER READING:

DUPLEX PLANET #167 (David Greenberger, 2003)

NO MORE SHAVES (Fantagraphics, 2003) Stories about eight residents of Duplex Nursing Home, graphically interpreted by some of America’s best comic artists, previously published in Duplex Planet Illustrated.

TREES BREATHE OUT PEOPLE BREATHE IN (Erie Art Museum, 2000) A beautifully produced limited edition book consisting of interviews with local residents.

FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE:

MAYOR OF THE TENNESSEE RIVER (PelPel Recordings, 2003) is the newest Duplex Planet CD presenting stories from the residents of Chattanooga, featuring David Greenberger, with music by The Shaking Ray Levis.

THE DUPLEX PLANET RADIO HOUR (Carrot Top Records, 2002) Featuring live recordings of two monologues with music composed by Terry Adams.

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