Dilettante 40: ‘Rent’ (the musical) premiere ’99

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Rent is a reimagined “La bohème” story. Any chance that, when “La bohème” came out in 1896, the hipsters who lived like the characters in that opera were vaguely uncomfortable with their collective portrayal?

Did they clap and boo internally at the same time, like we did? Why was it so squirmy? Team America: World Police might have the answer.

And now there’s a 20th anniversary tour coming around this summer. I mean, how dare an incredibly gifted artist with AIDS write something hopeful and inspiring for other struggling bohemians like himself. If someone gave me tickets I’d probably go see it again.

Click through to read “If you lived here, you’d be home now,” originally published in the SF Bay Guardian on March 17, 1999.

This is the 40th entry in my “twenty years ago this week” project from when I was a nightlife columnist at the Bay Guardian, once the country’s largest family-owned weekly newspaper. These “Dilettante” clips, compiled on my portfolio page, create a serial portrait of San Francisco culture at the turn of the century (1997-2001).

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