Just got done watching The Cradle Will Rock, a movie about the WPA Project that created the Federal Theatre. The movie is a great treat because every other actor is someone you either know by name or recognize outright: John Tuturro, John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Cherry Jones, Angus McFadden, Vanessa Redgrave… and the characters they play are a fascinating slice of the time period from Diego Rivera to Nelson Rockefeller. The United States remains one of the only first-world countries without a national theatre. I’ve always found that so dis-heartening. We also do not have a national ballet or symphony. Not since the Kennedys has there been any effort at all to grace the White House with anything but the safest talent and reputations. The movie chronicles the theatre project as part of the effort to put America back on it’s feet. Basically, pay people what they do best. It employed thousands of actors all over the country. It was dismantled after charges came up that there were Communists in the ranks of the artists and funding was pulled. The influence of the WPA project was felt long after as the artists that trained and collaborated during it spread out across the country to help create the regional theatre movement – decentralizing the NYC-centricity of theatre.
I’ve probably been to three or four plays this entire year. I don’t blame people for not going. I wonder what it would take today to have the government shut down your play? Not with nudity or violence but with some kind of idea? What idea is so dangerous to voice that you would have bomb threats called into your theatre and armed guards in the streets.
A quick search on Google reveals a project to build a national theatre at Ground Zero. But would a federally funded arts program have the balls to produce Shakespeare as well as Karen Findley? Funny, a lot of my tax dollars go to things that I think are controversial – like pre-emptive military strikes and bankrupting developing countries. Yet, that doesn’t stop.
I haven’t written or produced a play in over three years. I guess I sometimes feel like it’s just totally worthless. After being out in the streets and seeing the anti-war protests as well as witness the world reaction to this country and seeing it do absolutely nothing to stop the violence that happened and continues to happen… it just seems so utterly hopeless.
In other news…
A MeFi thread on Hurricane Isabel reveals how to tell if a big storm is coming if you don’t have a TV:
the easiest way to know if a storm is coming is to go to the store and observe the bread aisle.
That is so true. I can’t believe how many people can’t live without bread during a storm. What do all these people do? Make toast and watch it rain?
You don’t even want to know how many hours I’ve spent at the computer. And loving every minute of it. I’ve been tinkering with PHP and XML-RPC with MovableType. I am SUCH a geek! Ron is gone so I don’t have his usual distractiveness. I pretty much sat here for about 4 or 5 hours playing around – testing things out – reading online tutorials. I love it. I think it’s from spending too much time at the gym. I do want to workout less in the mornings – mainly because my knee is starting to hurt. But also because I know that if I spent two hours three times a week getting up and going somewhere to write – it would have a huge impact on me. Stay tuned.
Foreigners May Not Have Liked the War, but They Financed It:
Figures released this week showed that private foreign citizens bought an unprecedented $129 billion in United States government and agency securities. They now own 38 percent of outstanding Treasuries, more than double the figure of a decade ago.
I know you’ll think I’m crazy but if you have a high-speed connection and a half-hour you should really watch parts 1-3 (of 5) of Unanswered Questions on 9-11. Maybe as a whole it’s hard to digest – but try not to freak yourself out if you take just a couple of the points made into account. Also on your viewing list: a video on CIA cocaine trafficking. And you might as well go over to HowardDean.tv and get the video clips of the Democrat presidential candidate. I swear if this man talks this straight-on about things this consistently, he’s got my vote. I like his style. All the other Dem candidates are trying to be Bush-lite – he’s taking a risk to be the anti-Bush. Try not to cheer out loud when he talks about portable pensions and universal health care coverage and protection of retirement pensions from executive raiding.