Richard Belzer, Ice-T Jack Up the Election

Writers, artists, performers on next week's presidential election.

Nellie McKay's new album is titled Obligatory Villagers. She performs December 2 at (Le) Poisson Rouge.


In our house—Coco and myself—we intentionally took separate candidates to start the election season.

Richard Hell
David Shankbone
Richard Hell

I picked Hillary, and she picked Barack Obama. We knew we weren't going to vote for McCain, let's start off with that. He reminded us too much of Bush, and I just didn't feel a connection with him. (And I haven't voted before. I registered to vote for the first time for this election.)

I picked Hillary because I liked Bill Clinton. And as it went, I listened carefully, and Hillary and Obama were very alike on the issues. When I started to go away from her was that time when it turned out she lied about being shot at. . . . I didn't think you should be lying about that kind of thing while you're running for president.

In the streets, we have a saying: You don't need to make a lie to kick it. So Barack started to win me over. But I've stayed back in this election. I'm usually out there, but I saw what happened to Jeremiah. And I have that whole "Cop Killer" thing of my own that people love to use against me. I knew the kind of game they're playing. I saw what happened when rappers said something.

So some of us are, like, "Flavor, go put on a suit. This is real right now."

I was talking to some street cats the other day—they were wearing Barack T-shirts. That was surprising. I asked them about it. They said, "Ice, we don't want to hustle." They wouldn't be voting for someone because they want more crime.

To me, the election was really Hillary running against Obama. I don't think McCain was ever really in it. And Palin? If there was a book on how not to run for president, she should write it. I mean, you have to have some level of intelligence to run the country. Well, wait a minute. I guess Bush proved that wasn't actually true.

I don't know why anyone would want to be president, especially considering what condition the country is in. But if Barack wants it, more power to him.

I travel all over the world—it's a good look. It's a good look. It would give the United States a rebirth. And overseas, we could use it.

Ice-T appears on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.


When I first saw Obama at the beginning of the campaign—and I did tell people this—I said: "You know, I look at Obama and I think, 'This is going to sound crazy, and I'm not against him, but he seems like the Antichrist.' " He's so good, and yet there's a certain masklike quality to his presence. If you read that kind of literature, he fulfills the characteristics of the Antichrist. The Antichrist is someone who will gather lots of people around him, like Obama at the beginning attracting these huge crowds to his rallies, with his message about the future. Now, I say this with great trepidation, because, please, let's elect him.

Avant-garde theater director Richard Foreman's last production was Deep Trance Behavior in Potatoland. He received a MacArthur "genius" grant in 1995.


This has been a disastrous presidency. I can't stand it anymore. It's amazing the reversal of values that have occurred during this administration.

I came here from Brazil 26 years ago. We were under a military dictatorship in Brazil—there was a lack of freedom, of civil liberties. You were subject to the whim of the government. There was a lack of economic vision for the future. When I came here, I was so glad that I was making money, that the money was protected in the bank, that if I worked hard, I could become somebody.

I am at the point today where I think that if we're going to have more years like the last eight, I'm going to leave. Because the country that I left 26 years ago now makes a lot more sense than the country that I'm living in right now. It's very confusing, to ever think that this was going to happen. Brazil, when I left, was not a country respected by others, because of the dictatorship, and the United States was a beacon of freedom—it was highly respected. And in eight years we've become some of the most hated people in the world because of our foreign policy. It's like in Superman when you have bizarre Superman. Everything's upside-down.

Artist Vik Muniz's show "Verso" recently ran at Sikkema Jenkins gallery.


Nothing gets your head thinking about these things like landing at George Bush Airport in Houston from Ronald Reagan Airport in Virginia, which I did recently.

I know Palin is the low-hanging fruit. I can't help but think of her and her nomination as the moment that we cratered as women, as a country, at multiple levels. I'm thinking of her also because I ran the Chicago Marathon this year, my first marathon. It was awesome. I couldn't help thinking, even though it was 83 degrees and my time wasn't what I hoped it would be—I couldn't help thinking about everyone who told me that Sarah Palin runs a marathon in under four hours. It really bothered me! I hadn't broken the four-hour mark.

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