Chris Elam, celebrated Dancer/Performance Artist weighs in on the ten questions. To find out more about Elam and see video of his performances visit Sundance Channel’s spotlight on Chris Elam and Misnomer Dancer Theater [www.sundance.tv].
1. What’s your favorite political movie?
THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND
2. What role do you feel art plays in politics?
Art moves us. It inspires thinking, reflecting, and taking action. It reminds us of what’s important and makes us confront what we like/dislike, believe in, dream about and fear. We tap into ourselves – our brains and our bodies – more fully when engaging with art. This yields an increased inquisitiveness, questioning, and identification which we bring to everything – including politics. I suspect that a population that is artistically-engaged and attuned will be more prone to be thoughtful about political discussion and action.
3. What do you think is the biggest issue for the next generation of Americans?
I would like us to focus on education. But I think that the first thing we need to do as the basis for everything else is to end the war in Iraq – the war is like a gigantic hole in the bottom of our bucket and we are fighting against a current when lives, finances, and energy is being sucked out of our collective consciousness and country.
4. Who was the first political candidate you were excited to vote for and why?
I’m 32 and the first candidate I voted for was Bill Clinton in 1996. I followed politics much less then than I do now, but he was clearly for much more of the things I believed in than Bob Dole.
5. What factors are important to you in choosing a president?
A display of sound judgment, an organized and lucid capacity to think, and an inclination to consult with advisers with a wide range of perspectives.
6. What issues would you like to see politicians focus more on?
Education. Support for the arts. Entrepreneurship programs. Sound fiscal reform. Immigration. Improved social services. Lobbying reform. Actually, that’s a pretty wide list…
7. Which issues would you like to see politicians focus less on?
8. Which candidate’s initiatives do you feel better address environmental concerns?
Is there any question here? Obama!
9. This is your soapbox – shout it out! What do you need to get off your chest?
Can we PLEASE pay more attention to FACTS than rhetoric? I am so tired of blatant lies by candidates getting published and corrections getting modest coverage.
And sorry McCain, of course this election is about ISSUES!
10. Do you have any recommended links, books or movies so people can learn more about the issues you care about?
My own project, in addition to Misnomer’s dance company activities, is our Audience Engagement Platform, or AEP, a system we are developing to give people online more direct ways to participate and engage with art, artists, and the artistic process. You can check out an animation about it at misnomer.org/aep
Blatant show-promotion: Now that you’ve heard my words, come see my art! Please join Misnomer in NYC for the world premiere of BEING TOGETHER, three original dances with live original music by Evan Ziporyn. The show runs December 4-7 & 11-14 at the Joyce SoHo (tickets: www.joyce.org [www.joyce.org]).
To learn more about Misnomer, and join our e-newsletter email list, please visit www.misnomer.org [www.misnomer.org].