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Kurt Vonnegut Visits a Strip Club
Featured Article

Kurt Vonnegut Visits a Strip Club



The following interview with Kurt Vonnegut took place at the Night Before Lounge, a gentlemen’s club in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, on November 11, 1991. It was Vonnegut’s 69th birthday. My brother and I had arranged for the legendary author to speak at the University of Nebraska. Afterward he was to sit with us for an interview. His agent must have assumed that the interview would take place in a quiet restaurant or hotel lobby, which just goes to show that you should never assume.

On the morning of his 69th birthday, Vonnegut boarded a plane in New York City and two hours and 40 minutes later landed at Eppley Airfield in Omaha. He was standing in front of the Midwest Airlines terminal when we pulled up. He wore a beige overcoat with matching cap and had a single piece of luggage slung over his shoulder. No entourage. We shook hands and hopped back in the car. Vonnegut rode shotgun.

Vonnegut’s lecture that evening at the Lied Center in Lincoln was entitled “How to Get a Job Like Mine.” He stood on the big stage in front of a big chalkboard and drew diagrams and equations and talked about all of the problems facing America. After speaking for over an hour, Vonnegut put down the chalk and proclaimed that nothing would likely ever be done to solve any of these problems. “But try to be saints anyway. What we really need is ordinary people behaving decently in an indecent society,” he said.

At the book signing backstage, Vonnegut was courteous and chatted with the first several people in line. I leaned over and informed him that our interview was going to take place at a gentlemen’s club called Night Before Lounge. The conversations with the remaining fans in line became noticeably more succinct.

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