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Greene Dragon: Re-enacting history with revolutionary zeal
photo: Fred Askew www.fredaskew.com
Comedian Scott Blakeman (who calls himself "one of the five stand-up comedians left who still do political satire") is producing a series of comedy nights called "Laughs From the Left" at HERE's American Living Room Series (August 23), as well as the Society for Ethical Culture (August 26). The lineup will include fellow comics Barry Weintraub and Palestinian American Dean Obeidallah, and will be followed by panel discussions and Q&As.
Just as American street theater enjoyed its first great flowering in the days of the yippies, the Living Theatre, and Vietnam, Blakeman and company are resuscitating a comic style that was last popular in the days of Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce to tackle the current war and other injustices perpetrated by the Bush administration. According to Blakeman, audiences are responding: "I've been doing this kind of comedy for years, and I've never seen audiences revved like they have been the last few months. This president has everyone completely energized."
Street Scenes: In Anticipation of the RNC, Activists Pound the Pavement, Theatrically by Alexis Soloski
A guide to activist activities
Perennial provocateur Margaret Cho, who will launch her State of Emergency tour at the Apollo Theater on August 28, agrees. "Everything political is personal right now," says Cho. "This level of upheaval hasn't existed in my lifetime. It's both terrifying and exciting."
But above all, what drives Cho up the wall is the fact that the Republicans were dumb enough to choose New York, a hotbed of protest, for their convention in the first place: "It amazes me! There are no Republicans here! They're going to have to import them all. And all the people here are against it. It's going to look like that movie The Warriors. The Republicans are setting themselves up for a terrible time. And we should bring them one!"
For a guide to the most interesting protest activity, theatrical and otherwise, check out Voice Choices' RNC Supplement, coming out August 25.
Research: Lisa Ferber