Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

miércoles, septiembre 30, 2009

Inspiration: Activism From Where You Are

Years ago, when I was training for and running marathons, I learned that the best way to perfect form, to have economy of movement, and a smooth, fluid style, was to watch others who ran beautifully and just imitate what they were doing. It was basic, monkey see; monkey do. Similarly, when I see somebody who has seized the moment to make the world better, I wonder about what I could do that would imitate what s/he did. I'm inspired when I see people nourish their activism.

Here's today's example from the New York Times:

Playwrights and producers have used scathing commentary, heartbreaking drama and sharp satire to score political points about war, torture, presidents, AIDS, race relations and women’s rights with New York theater audiences. Now the Broadway musical “Hair” is expanding the concept of stage activism by taking to the streets and urging audiences to follow. The producers canceled a Sunday matinee so that the cast and crew could attend and perform at a march for gay rights in Washington on Oct. 11.

That unusual — and expensive — decision to skip a popular weekend performance at the beginning of the theater season originated with the show’s star, Gavin Creel.

“I said, ‘My God, we have to go, we have to go,’ ” Mr. Creel recalled when he first heard about the rally late last spring.

Although Mr. Creel, 33, stars in a show that is associated with ’60s-style activism and sexual liberation, he personally wasn’t much interested in politics before Barack Obama ran for president. On Election Day last November, he said, he was ecstatic that his candidate won, but was crushed by the victory of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California. So he decided to help create the activist organization Broadway Impact to mobilize the theater community.

Then in May Mr. Creel met Cleve Jones, creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, when he came to see “Hair” with Dustin Lance Black, author of the Oscar-winning screenplay for “Milk.” At a party afterward for the release of the cast recording, they all talked about the Oct. 11 National Equality March that Mr. Jones was helping to organize. The rally’s organizers say they are seeking “equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states” for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.

And so, to make a longer, interesting story more concise, Gavin Creel and the tribe, the cast of "Hair", are going to DC for the Equality March. And they're closing a Broadway Sunday matinee to do so. With the full support of the producers of the show. Because, and this is the important part, because Gavin Creel thought it was a good idea and he decided to try to make it happen.

I just love this story. It's inspiring.

It's a reminder, a beautiful reminder that even seemingly impossible ideas can be brought into reality, and that you and I and everybody else who is passionate about something can make a difference. It's surprisingly simple. When we have a good idea, we can decide to try to make it happen.

Here's to Gavin Creel with thanks for being a great example. One I happily will copy. Please join me in that.

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