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Gerald Carpenter: Kris Kristofferson To Touch and Go at Thousand Oaks Concert

Wide-ranging singer, songwriter will settle in for acoustic performance Sunday night

Kris Kristofferson — actor, singer, songwriter, helicopter pilot and retired Army captain — will be singing and accompanying himself on the guitar in a solo acoustic show at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

Kris Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson

Although his original intention upon graduating from Pomona College was to write novels, the closest Kristofferson has gotten to being able to claim the name of “novelist” was his unforgettable portrayal of the character based on James Jones (From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line) in James Ivory’s utterly wonderful A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries. Many of his songs, however, are as insightful and closely observed as short stories, songs such as “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “For the Good Times,” “Loving Her Was Easier” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down.”

Now in his early 70s, Kristofferson has led such a varied and adventurous life that you would think he needed to be a lot older just to fit it all in. His early life was that of a classic Army brat. He was born in Brownsville, Texas, the son of an officer in the Army Air Corps (which became the Air Force) who eventually rose to the rank of major general.

In college, Kristofferson was a celebrated jock, mentioned in Sports Illustrated for his achievements in rugby, football, and track and field, while paying enough attention to his academic work to garner a Phi Beta Kappa key and to graduate summa cum laude in Literature. He was then awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University’s Merton College, where he earned a “blue” (i.e., letter) for boxing and began his career as a songwriter. After Oxford, he spent five years in the Army, training as a helicopter pilot and becoming a Ranger.

Kristofferson made his first musical impact as a songwriter, and eventually as a performer. He has a gift for friendship, and for the past 25 years or so has been closely associated with such musical deities as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. He has also had quite a career as a film actor, starring in such classics as Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Blume in Love, Alan Rudolph’s Song Writer and Trouble in Mind, John Sayles’ Lone Star and Limbo, and many others.

Tickets to Kristofferson’s performance in the Fred Kavli Theatre are $50, $40 and $30, and can be obtained at The Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Box Office, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 805.449.2787 or click here for more information.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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