Y.I.M.B.Y (Yes, in my Backyard)

May 28, 2024

After two weeks in the UK, I am settling back down to home, and my comfortable routine. While it was lovely to eat different foods, meet new people, and see different historical/cultural sights, it has been nice to be on familiar turf once again, sleeping in my own bed (strange beds NEVER bothered me before. Nowadays? One lumpy mattress and I can barely function the next day). 

But I did have a memorable experience not four miles from the house last week. In neighboring Glenside, there is a beautiful restored old theatre, The Keswick. The Keswick is regularly booked, with a wide variety of events. I’ve been there a handful of times over the years, but many of the acts are not hugely appealing to me. I generally assume that it’ll be mostly tribute bands and the like, catering to an aging suburban crowd (and NO, that does NOT describe ME!) If I want to see a favorite performer, I anticipate a trip into the city will be necessary.

To my surprise and delight, however, I heard that Rufus Wainwright was coming to Glenside for a concert. For the unfamiliar (and I was, for a long time), Wainwright is the son of famous singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle. From childhood, Rufus has carved his own eclectic path in music and life, singing and writing candidly about the years of his drug use, about being gay. His lyrics can be very witty, and also very challenging. He writes for piano, guitar and orchestra. He’s written a musical and an opera, in addition to many albums of what's been called "lush, theatrical pop." His latest project, a Requiem Mass, will premiere in Paris, narrated by Meryl Streep.

When I mentioned getting tickets to Rose, she was very enthusiastic, and took the train down from NYC to join me for the performance. I expected a terrific concert (not disappointed there), but did not expect the size and nature of the audience. Where did this savvy bunch come from? There were people of all ages--lots and lots of them! And they knew and loved Wainwright’s music! In this solo show, Rufus did not just play and sing beautifully, but he chatted amiably with the crowd, saying he loved being at The Keswick (and apparently has played there many times before). This from a guy who has headlined in London, Tokyo, Berlin, Barcelona! 

That night, as has happened often in my life, my expectations did not match reality (see: Scotland, last week’s blog). Glenside rolled out the red carpet for a sophisticated, uniquely talented performer, and its affection was warmly returned. I’m quite proud of my neck of the woods, and you can bet I won’t be writing The Keswick off again anytime soon. Or “aging suburbanites” for that matter. Someday, far into the future, I may be one of them myself. 

Thanks for stopping by, Rufus. And thanks for reminding me of the gems to be found in my own backyard.


    I am an author (of five books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a retired director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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