Last evening in Greenwich Village before a meeting about our opera, MILA, Great Sorcerer, my friends Andrea Clearfield, Lois Walden, Terry Eder-Kaufman and Gene Kaufman and I strolled over to the Ghostlight Vigil of theater folk at the historic Cherry Lane Theater led by its magnetic artistic director Angelina Fiordellisi.Such affirmative peaceful relentless actions by progressive artistic communities all over this land will more than save us from the National Endowment for the Arts-eating monster enthroned today. Such actions, like the marches tomorrow, renew and invigorate our independence and creativity.
In the early 60's when the Open Theater and other Off Off Broadway folk were creating, rehearsing, and performing thrilling weird new works in dilapidated old industrial lofts, we had no money from the National Endowment from the Arts because it didn't exist. That didn't stop us. We did our work for its own sake and supported ourselves however we could.
In the early 70's I was the token playwright on the first theater panel of the NEA. Other panel members included big producers/artistic directors Hal Prince, Joe, Papp, Gordon Davidson, and Bob Brustein. When grant proposals for artists and groups with funny names --like Meredith Monk and the House Monkey, and Richard Foreman and the Hysterical-Ontological Theater --came up, I had to explain who they were and why they were worthy of funding.
So if an infantile, vengeful, and uncultured President D. Duck (I gag on his real name) rips away Federal funding for the arts, our progressive communal response will be profound, active and artful. We will collectively make works and take actions whose truth and "weirdness" ultimately bring down tyrants and tyranny in favor of a peaceful civilized planet with clean air and justice for all.