Reporter shares Vietnam War stories in ‘LBJ!’ 

click to enlarge David Kleinberg is doing his one-man anti-war show “HEY HEY LBJ!” at The Marsh. - COURTESY JOHN CARMAN
  • COURTESY JOHN CARMAN
  • David Kleinberg is doing his one-man anti-war show “HEY HEY LBJ!” at The Marsh.
David Kleinberg didn’t have to rely on his memory to prepare his new solo theater piece, which details his experiences as a war correspondent in Vietnam in 1966.

“We were all journalists, so I solicited manuscripts from six survivors plus the guys in the next tent, because I thought I might write something; 50 years later, I had the source material,” says Kleinberg, who opens “HEY HEY LBJ!” at The Marsh in The City this week.

Although he’s admittedly more of a writer than performer, Kleinberg, a 72-year-old San Francisco resident, says audiences across the country _ including people in Washington, DC, the first place he presented it _ have been moved to tears.

Handing out promotional postcards at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, he says people thanked him for his service.

But he sees the show _ which includes archival film footage and illustrates “how war taints everything it touches” _ as a different kind of service. “It’s a message every generation needs to hear,” he says.

To that end, post-performance panel discussions marking the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon are planned for April 19, April 26 and May 3; singer Country Joe McDonald will appear at the first and last ones.

And Kleinberg is donating 100 percent of the money he makes from the show to Vietnam veterans groups.

Kleinberg calls the process of creating “HEY HEY LBJ!” a “pure challenge.”

“I came to the theater knowing absolutely nothing,” says Kleinberg, a former San Francisco newspaper editor who did some standup comedy and got into solo performance after taking a class in it.

Although he has no definite plans for “LBJ’s” future, Kleinberg is entertaining a fantasy: the possibility of doing it in Vietnam , in presentations coordinated by American peace groups. It’s not outside the realm of possibility, in that he’s already organizing a January trip to Laos, to meet his brother, who lives in Australia.

IF YOU GO

Hey Hey LBJ!

Where: Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., S.F.

When: 5 p.m. Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays; closes May 3

Tickets: $20 to $100

Contact: (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org

About The Author

Leslie Katz

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