58 I CHRONICLESnSo are his suspenders, socks, and glassnframes. There is no resemblance to,nsay, an Elton John.nKeillor’s preshow warm-up includesncomments that, per Economics 101,nthe value of the tickets is far greaternthan the price since they are in shortnsupply. All remaining shows are soldnout. Of course, the use value is highernthan either. Keillor is not above addingnlight to his sweetness. He knowsnthe audience will understand his referencento the college course: They, orntheir children, have endured it themselves.nThe Everly Brothers: Smoky harmoniesnspeak of bourbon on the veranda,nnot wine coolers on the beach a la Jannand Dean, nor port in a bag in ansubway, as consumed by Simon andnGarfunkel.nKeillor taps a foot to keep time.nNormally it’s his right, but he’s ambidextrous.nCuriously, his feet are tunednto some internal rhythm that has nothingnto do with the beat of the song.nTaj Mahal looks like Famous Amosnof chocolate-chip cookie fame. Hensings “Paradise” and “Everybody IsnSomebody.” What happened to then”Walking Blues”?nWhere else would Phil and Donnsing backup for Taj?nAnalog watches are worn in LakenWobegon. There’s no on-the-hourn—and off-the-hour—beeping.nInterest dwindles as a quartet fromnMilwaukee plays a medley of Norwegiannfavorites. It isn’t their fault.nThings pick up as a couple dressed in,npresumably, authentic ethnic costumesncome out and do a brisk polka.nIt must be a big hit for AmericannPublic Radio lovers. The entire sessionnis mercifully brief. Yet the nightnwouldn’t be complete without a banjo,naccordian, and a few “yips”!nDuring the news, Keillor describes ansmall town in the Midwest on a summer’snnight. “It’s not hard to fall innlove on such a night,” he says.nHow can those in NYC and LAnunderstand the soothing smell of liliesnand the reassuring sound of waternsprinklers?n”This is a life that will hold us up.nThis is permanent. This is what wenlive for.”nThere’s more reverence in the audiencenthan is possible at a symphony ornrock concert. Those who cough makenevery effort to stop. Silent asphyxiationnwould be preferable.n”Softly and tenderly, Jesus is callingnall you sinners, come home,” says onenof the final songs. There is more honestnreligious feeling in the theater thannis possible on any televised ministry,nand probably a good deal more than innmany churches. Every performer onnthe stage could be bad to the bone, yet,nthere is salvation in the music.nThe counterpoint to Keillor’s opening,n”Hello, Love,” is exquisite: thenEverly Brothers doing “Bye, Bye,nLove.”nGary Vasilash grew up listening tonThe Beatles, Motown, and the EverlynBrothers.nARTnA Poetics of thenMundanenby David KaufmannAlex Katz by Ann Beattie, NewnYork: Harry N. Abrams; $27.50.nA year or two before Ann Beattie’snBOOKS IN BRIEF—BACK IN PRINTnA Buried Land by Madison Jones, Sag Hill, NY: Second Chance Press; $18.95. MadisonnJones’s allegory on progress first appeared to great acclaim in 1963. Set in the valley of thenTennessee River, the novel records the moral impact of the TVA on a young lawyer entrancednby the vision of the New South. At some points the writer’s purpose may be a little too visible,nbut the conclusion is as powerful as anything in Faulkner.nThe Conservative Mind: From Burlie to Eliot, Seventh Revised Edition, Chicago: RegnerynBooks; $19.95. There is little that has not been said in praise of the book that made RussellnKirk the leading conservative intellectual figure in the U.S. This latest edition includes a newnforward by Kirk.nnnbreakthrough second novel. Falling innPlace, a cartoon appeared in The NewnYorker showing a crowd of people,ndressed in evening gowns and suits,ndrinks in hand, milling around whatnlooked like an outdoor cocktail partynwith nearly all of humanity in attendance.nThe caption read simply:n”Woodstock: Tenth Reunion.”nDuring the 70’s, while everyone wasnwondering what had become of then60’s generation, they were always to benfound in Ann Beattie’s fiction. At thentime, there was a popular opinion thatnthe hippies and the revolutionariesnmerely went underground, bidingntheir time while waiting to reemergenwith their ideals intact. But Beattienknew better. In her New Yorker storiesnand in her first novel, Chilly Scenes ofnWinter, Beattie depicted the childrennof the 60’s who had come of age onlynto realize how naive and adolescentnthey were. If they had lost somethingnin the process of getting older, theirnrelinquished ideals were replaced bynan all-consuming vacancy, an ennui.nFor the most part, Beattie locatednthem in the Northeast—in ruralntowns in Vermont or in the secondhandnsuburbs of used cities in Connecticut,noutside New Haven or on thenoutskirts of Bridgeport.nBy the time Falling in Place wasnpublished in 1980, Beattie had pickednup the narrative device that strucknmany of her readers as vital — hernomniscent voice, free of the judgmentalnbaggage that usually reveals annauthor to her readers. The world ofnletters received Ann Beattie as the era’snanswer to Updike and to Cheever.nFalling in Place captured a breed ofnAmericans who seemed to be everywherenand nowhere simultaneously. Ifnher characters seemed to have an existencenbeyond her conception of them,nit’s because they did. They were overlynfamiliar at least to everyone who, likenBeattie, grew up in the 50’s and then60’s. Indeed, for many members ofnBeattie’s audience, they were a littlentoo close for comfort.nBecause of her repeated referencesnin Falling in Place to rock singers,nBeattie became the disc jockey ofnAmerican letters. But more than this,nshe seemed to be a kind of TV monitornthat one could turn on if one wantednto tune into the contemporary sensibility.nWhether or not it was an aim ofn