Friday, October 12, 2012

PLUG: Américana Passover - My Thoughts put out some questionnaires to artists working on my show, Américana Passover.

If you're interested, here are my thoughts.

Monday, October 8, 2012

PLUG: Américana Passover

I'll make this quick and to the point.

For two years I've been working on a piece with my performance company, Organs of State, called Américana Passover.

We started with the election season, at the beginning of the 2011, and the first seeds of our current performance season, What The State Provides. My collaborators and I began to wonder what was possible for America -- at a time when Americans largely feel that we're on the wrong track, what would it look like to instigate change in that kind of change.

We decided that what we wanted to do was create a new American ritual. Based around the Passover Seder, we decided to tell the story of the promise that was given to us, the promise that we were all created equal -- a promise that still to this day is not fully realized, a promise that we struggle each day to bring into being.

And we decided that we wanted this passover ritual around a table, with food.

It's finally here.

For the three weeks heading up to the election, we're inviting nine people per night to engage in this ritual with us. It's at Two Moon Art House & Café, home to a beautiful little community in Park Slope.

Because there's nine seats per night, it's an extremely intimate affair, so if people come in a group, you can basically curate a little private performance.

And also, because there's nine seats per night, tickets are limited, so if you want to come, get yours soon.

Friday, October 5, 2012

FUN: Cage Chaser

I've decided that any time I write a protracted post about politics or aesthetics, I will give you all a Nicolas Cage chaser (or other ridiculous actors, if I run low on the Cage well... if that's possible).

So here's the gem:


Thursday, October 4, 2012

POLITICS: Why Vote For An Objectionable Man?

First, you'll want to read Conor Friedersdorf's Why I Refuse to Vote for Barack Obama, and/or George Hunka's Throwing away my vote, or L'Hôte's you're either with us or you're against us, all of which, generally, say "Although Barack Obama has many attributes which I agree with, and although I find him better than our two-party alternative of Mitt Romney, I cannot vote for him because of his record on the War on Terror/human rights." (This is a reduction of what each of them said, but if you don't want it reduced, go see what they wrote).

Second, you'll want to read 99 Seats' Dealbreakers, where he lays out a pretty good counterargument (he's responding mostly to Conor Friedersdorf).

But lastly, also read Isaac's response Why Do You Vote? where he hits the argument closest to home for me:
It seems to me the main issue here is a fundamentally disconnect on questions fo[sic] why we vote for President. I simply do not believe that in our current governmental system and the rules of how the Federal Government works that voting for President is a moment for personal self-expression. I believe it's a moment when we choose between the available options on who would do the best job running the Executive Branch of the country, which includes managing an enormous bureaucracy, appointing a wide slate of other executives (and judges) and working with the Legislative Branch to craft and pass laws.  There is no way that any candidate who is not a Republican or a Democrat can reasonbly be said to have the capacity to do those things, as many of them involve working with an entrenched two party system in the legistative branch.
I agree here largely with what Isaac says -- that the vote for the President is a tactical decision taken among different outcomes. Now, I can absolutely see that there are some moral failings that can't be overlooked. I don't necessarily disagree. But at the same time, the tactical context matters.

But I want to add something there. Because there's a word Isaac uses that's getting over looked. Voting is a moment. Voting is one moment in the electoral process.

As an example, if you looked back to 2008, you were faced with two candidates, neither of whom fully backed equal rights across the political spectrum. For many people, that's a central issue to their lives to exactly the same degree as our conduct in wars overseas. And on the eve of the election, it seemed like a pretty rotten choice.

But they stuck on after the election, and to L'Hôte's point, they did not accept that it "wasn't their time" or that they should rally behind the president. They put pressure throughout his presidency, supported and highlighted congressmembers who backed their position and broke with the president, and continued the campaign.

So, unlike the "liberal" L'Hôte describes in his article, I'm in no way dismissing or discounting the important work that needs to be done pushing back on the President and his stances.

But here's the thing. If this really is a passionate issue -- and I have no doubt that it is -- I find it difficult to conscience taking an act which, even if it's the more morally correct one, increases the practical odds of the man who said he'd like to double Guantanamo Bay getting elected. It's very hard to overlook that.

I don't believe that discussing primary elections is a cop-out. We had an exceptionally close primary election when Barack Obama was selected, and in part one of the few actual differentiators between himself and Clinton was that he was willing to raid across the border into Pakistan to kill Bin Laden -- something that put him to the right of John McCain and closer to Sarah Palin.

The problem is -- that was a popular position. And it remains popular. The problem isn't "liberals" (read: centrists) telling people who are concerned about these issues to sit back; the fact is that the electorate backs them.

Which isn't to tell them to stop trying. I say get out there and keep up the fight.

For instance, there are many, many issues on which I oppose and even detest Rep. Ron Paul. But when Paul talks about the limits of government, reducing the number of wars, etc., I support him on that. When he talks about abolishing the Fed and re-introducing the Gold standard, I think that it's madness. I'm glad that he's in Congress. I'm glad he's not my "lesser of two evil" choices for the President.

All I'm trying to say is that the Federal Presidential Election has been magnified out of proportion, especially when for the last four years we've complained about how weak the President is in the face of a divided Congress. There are so many different pressure points and places to act throughout the political season, and when it comes to the two choice, two party, Presidential election, I'm going to vote tactically, for Barack Obama. For these reasons.