The Silence of Bees

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Welcome to All You Seekers of the USA

Are you wondering what happened to America? The America we remember? Welcome to my Blog. Please feel free to respond. I yearn for responses and dialectic.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Staying positive...

I was feeling particularly blue last night after returning from an afternoon spent at my place of work. The changes that are taking place at my college, financial and people-wise, are sweeping. I think every aspect of life in higher education will be very different from now on and I am not sure how I feel about this. California has badly managed its wealth and now its piss poor, particularly in regards to its students. This is very sad to me. The shrinking of the availability of classes, the pulling back in innovative growth, the increased tuitions all make it harder and harder to achieve a higher education in our country. What concerns me most is the bleak future many of these students are facing. If we do not turn this state and our country around I fear that we will become a terribly stratified society of haves and have nots, much worse than what we are seeing today. And the areas in the arts will be the first to go. I worked for the last 18 years to build a theatre department out of thin air. No budget, little support, it was my joy, hard work and enthusiasm and the support of fellow theatre artists like Carla Zilbersmith, Casy Cann, members of The Shotgun Players and a few others here in the Bay area that made it possible to grow a barely breathing-on-life-support department into one that has a full time young man with enormous potential running it, committed to making it a successful program in the eyes of the rest of the college and the state. This is a good thing because when I leave in 3 years (hopefully), I can feel good that something I got off the ground will last. They are breaking ground in the next few years for a performing arts center (the funding apparently was already in place before the economy took a nose dive) and that is certainly needed. But what saddens me is that now this young man has to think about ways to please the management to stay alive. The whole point of the theatre dept was to make people think, shake people up, move them about what was happening in our country. To that end we did plays like The Laramie Project to promote tolerance for gays. We did The Vagina Monologues to raise money for domestic violence against women. We did anti war plays written by local playwrights when the Iraq debacle began. We stuck our neck out over and over again and we took our hits. We made enemies. But we made some very cool friends as well. I fear those days of making it real and political are going to be softened now by doing perhaps solid but very different kinds of work. I don't think this new young leader of the department wants to piss as many people off as I did with the work he does. He's more of a collaborator than I was. I take my hat off to him for those skills. But boy, there were moments we created in that little theatre that will live forever for those who were present to see them. And somehow in the run of my life, I feel blessed to have been a part of it. It's all different now and the baton is passed to the young. My wholehearted support for what they will do. Good bye rebel rousing, thought provoking, occasionally extraordinary theatre. Good bye to Cindy Sheehan standing on our stage after a play handing out a scholarship named in honor of her son, Casy. Good bye to Nikola Tesla mesmerizing an audience in a one man show that would eventually land in Los Angeles and tour Australia. Good bye to Carla and me running around on stage in goofy costumes doing Jake Zilber's piece in which we had to belch on cue and speak in double pig Latin. Good-bye dear sweet time of my life. And yet something stirs within. I think I have the urge to cause some trouble some place. Just not quite yet. I need these next 3 years to shift. And maybe grieve a little.

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