Back in the early 1960s, when his administration was being compared to Camelot, President John F Kennedy remarked:
"I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we too, will be remembered not for our victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit."
* * * * * * *
"Your art, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign, has the ability to encourage Americans to question the status quo."Abraham Obama will be shown on February 15 and 18 at the Roxie Cinema. Don't miss it!
* * * * * * *
The term "triple threat man" was first used in the sports world to describe Bradbury Robinson, a St. Louis University athlete who, in 1906, threw the first legal forward pass in the history of American football. Fifty years later the same term was used to describe the type of talent Jerome Robbins was seeking for the cast of a new musical named West Side Story which would require performers who could sing, dance, and act. Until that time, the casts of most Broadway musicals were divided into separate groups of singers, dancers, and actors. Because Robbins was in the process of creating a new style of musical, he needed "triple threat" performers.
A talented actor, producer, and playwright (as well as author of the on-line graphic novel, InFlux), Michael Phillis is rapidly evolving into a triple threat artist. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Phillis has been seen around the Bay area performing with groups such as the New Conservatory Theatre Center, California Shakespeare Theater, and SFPlayhouse.
Having written three full-length plays (Finding Mrs. Miller, D*Face, and Wish We Were Here), Phillis is now breaking in his latest creation: a one-man show entitled Dolls.
When seen in an early preview at the New Conservatory Theater Center, Dolls struck me as a surprisingly mature piece of writing. As directed by Andrew Nance, Phillis uses very few props other than his voice and obvious physical agility. Whether impersonating a Southern Belle of a porcelain doll, an action figure commando doll, or a series of cloned "off brand" dolls (who all tend to speak like a caricature of Keanu Reeves), his characterizations have depth, breadth, and a life of their own. It's a fascinating and highly original monologue that is well worth your attention.
* * * * * * *
Written and recorded in 1971, John Lennon's song Imagine has become an anthem for everything up to and including world peace. But look at what an inspiration it has provided.
Barack Obama imagined what could be done if ordinary people, rather than special interests, were the backbone of his campaign. His campaign manager, David Plouffe, and chief strategist, David Axelrod, didn't hesitate to imagine what could be achieved with today's social networking tools and by encouraging volunteers to use their imagination in the field. Former skateboarder and acclaimed contemporary artist Shepard Fairey imagined all those posters of Barack Obama (an original was recently acquired by the National Portrait Gallery and is now part of its permanent collection).
Michael Phillis imagined all those dolls coming to life in a one-man show. People have been unleashing their imaginations for more than two decades at northern Nevada's Burning Man Festival. Scott Weaver imagined this amazing interactive sculpture of San Francisco.
Just think what could happen if, as "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people," the United States of America imagined the positive side effects of unleashing the intellectual, spiritual, physical, and economic power of all its artists -- and then took a more determined approach to nurturing their collective powers of imagination.