Artists are predictably celebrating the end of the Bush era (and the beginning of the Obama years) as if the funding for the NEA had just received its highest funding increase since 1979. Wait a minute–that actually happened, under Bush. Yep, it’s been a complicated eight years for the arts, artists’ politics aside. What other president in recent memory provided inspiration for so many plays, paintings, posters, records (you owe him, Green Day, big-time)? A lot of bucks were made off Bush.
And yet it’s complicated. The NEA funding alone is telling — sure, Bush signed a big increase for 2008, but it’s still off from its high of 1992. Count back — that’d be under Bush the 1st.
Whatever — the point is the artists are partying, and no doubt there will be plenty more things to rail about under Obama if not Obama himself. So where can you join in? On Tuesday, January 20, the sleekest theater in town, the Riverview in South Minneapolis, is hosting a movie-screen viewing of Obama’s inauguration, live. Doors open at 9:30, with viewing until about noon. Volunteer groups, in the progressive spirit, will have info on hand near the doors.
That same day, Bedlam Theatre on the West Bank is hosting its own Inaugural Ball, a dance party preceded by a prix fixe dinner at 6 pm in the space’s new wine bar all for just $15 (dance party only is $5). Reserve online.
This weekend, Bedlam is holding a good old style ruckus of the kind that may feel just plain cynical soon, with any luck, from Milwaukee’s Insurgent Theatre along with some live music. (Consider that the troupe formed in 2003 when of course the war in Iraq began.) Then again, the art world it’s always a good time for a revolution.