Three ways Appleton grew up more than Willem Dafoe

Boy, why are you crying? Has your petulance left you stranded? No happy thoughts today?  Too cranky to fly?

We saw the swipe you took at us in Vanity Fair Magazine and we understand. Sometimes, when wit eludes, it’s easiest to lash out.

But, really, Willem, favelas?

It’s been nearly half a century and you’re nursing the same, tiresome grudge. I suppose it’s like the ticking crocodile, isn’t it? Time is chasing after all of us.

Perhaps it is your turn to grow up, though. Because, here’s the thing, Willem, Appleton already did.

Consider these three ways Appleton grew up while you, eyes closed, chin raised, arms crossed, back turned, stood in a corner and refused to look:

1) Culturally. We get it. Appleton wasn’t very diverse back when you lived here. But lose the insolence and come back sometime. We’re bursting with it now. We don’t just tolerate ethnic diversity, we celebrate it. Enriched by an influx of global cultures, we’ve become a much more vibrant community. Our festivals, parades, restaurants, markets and businesses offer a considerably more colorful, more savory, more interesting and well-rounded experience than they did in the 1970s.

2) Artistically. Our artistic commitment spans the genres as evidenced by both our state of the art Performing Arts Center, and our active community theatres, including the 62-year old Attic Theatre, which gave you your start. We have museums and galleries, symphonies and chorals, pottery studios, community bands, ballet schools, street musicians and jazz bands. Don’t believe me? Check out the Mile of Music, the brainchild of another, more gracious native son, Corey Chisel.

3) Educationally. The Appleton Area School District, well respected for its exceptional core schools, now also offers 16 charter schools, including the nationally recognized alternative high school Appleton Central. We also enjoy a nationally ranked Catholic school system, highly touted Lutheran school system, and a vibrant, well supported home school coalition. Appleton taxpayers cheerfully support referendums because education remains a priority for all of us.

Come out of the shadows, Willem, and stop whining about Appleton. All boys, except one, grow up. You can too.

Willem Dafoe
Proud and insolent youth, prepare to meet the doom of your incessant whining about Appleton.
Katherine as a lost boy
Attic Theatre staged Peter Pan in 1997, featuring Katherine Biskupic as a lost boy. The company also staged You’re a Good Man Charley Brown in 1972 featuring a young Billy Dafoe.
A Peter Pan Indian
One of the AASD’s hallmark’s is its excellent high school theatre department. Appleton North High School staged Peter Pan two years ago, and the show won a Critic’s Choice Award at the Wisconsin State Theatre Festival. Director Ron Parker and his talented casts have now won that award 15 straight times.

3 thoughts on “Three ways Appleton grew up more than Willem Dafoe

  1. Well said! He was here awhile ago when I was still working at Starbucks downtown & he went to the coffee shop next to us. They put a picture of him on the wall that he had stopped in & what he drank. Blah, blah, blah. You should never forget your roots, to bad he does’t understand.

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