WINSPEAR OPERA HOUSE, DALLAS—A presentation given by two staff members of the Onion, a satirical news organization, was met with mixed reviews by audience members at the Winspear Opera House last night. Editor Joe Randazzo and head writer Seth Reiss discussed the “history” of the Onion’s weekly print publication and web site using a slideshow that highlighted some of the headlines the organization has ran since its founding “in 1765.”
Founded at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1988, the Onion is now distributed as a weekly newspaper in 13 cities across the country. The paper and its website, theonion.com, publish satirical stories and videos like “Nancy Grace Seen In Graveyard Sucking Marrow From Caylee Anthony’s Bones” and “Obama Sort Of Freaked Out After Not Receiving Single E-Mail, Phone Call For Entire Day.”
Randazzo and Reiss’s 90-minute presentation featured Onion stories and videos projected onto a large screen on the stage behind them.
“It was weird,” said 17-year-old George Skaine, who watched the presentation while surfing the web on his iPad. “I would be reading the website, and then it would just…come on the screen. And they’d talk about it and people would laugh.” After realizing that the presentation consisted of Randazzo and Reiss making jokes and commenting on Onion headlines, Skaine said he stopped watching. “I just bought Angry Birds, so I’m a little behind on things.”
In addition to the audience of over a thousand, three FBI agents currently investigating Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price were also in attendance. Sitting in the highest seats available at the Winspear, the agents were willing to discuss their attendance on the condition of anonymity.
“There were rumors the Onion might break a story tonight,” one of them said. “A real story. We were hoping they had some insight on the J.W.P. case.”
One of the other agents quickly cut in, saying, “The Onion is not a Pulitzer Prize-winning news agency. We’re seriously investigating a possible connection between them and Price.”
Randazzo and Reiss did not discuss Price in their presentation. Price’s office reports he was not in attendance due to the underrepresentation of African American on the Onion’s editorial team.
Image: The view from the seats of three FBI agents just before the start of the show. When asked why their seats were so high, an anonymous agent said that with Congress having trouble raising the debt ceiling agency funds are being tightly controlled right now.