YLEM Forum: Art, Activism and Technology; the Trickster Alive in Direct Action Theatre

image of a work by Brightwolf for a Direct Action Theatre project

Wednesday, September 28th, 8pm
with Happy hour and YLEM meet and greet from 7:30 to 8pm
RX Gallery
132 Eddy Street @ Mason, San Francisco, CA 94102
$5-10 sliding scale admission
this event is limited to those 21 and up

Speakers James Brightwolf and Howard Whitehouse will discuss thier work to a general audience and open the floor to a question/answer session.

There is a long and colorful history of theatre, (being the composite of all the other 'arts') having evolved from shaman, trickster, fool and a score of other designations to play a vital part in the creation of our cultural mythology. The arts also have the capacity to destroy myth with all of the tools of the trickster. Now with modern technology as a tool, this power to satirize, ridicule, subvert, derail, upstage, curse, demonize and co-opt has become even more powerful. In times of war the arts are even more important if they can remain free of the hush money and pressures from corporations, militarism, and ALL politicians. The arts of San Francisco are under immense pressure to promote policies that the artists often don't personally support. The Pentagon subsidizes the NEA for recruiting. War contractors spin their image as community members. The retail media help regulate cultural parameters and serve as corporate watchdogs of the status quo. But Direct Action Theatre crosses the lines of social disapproval, institutional control, copyright power, and good taste (which is the bugaboo of even the most liberal supporter of the great artists of past and present.) We will be exploring the essential roll of the 'trickster etc.' in this modern technological imperium.

James Brightwolf has toured the planet for over 40 years doing what he calls "the theatre of the public controversy." After an advanced in degree directing and design from the Art Institute of Chicago in the early 60's and quickly getting absorbed into the big charities of official art in official centers, he started generating anti Viet Nam war theatre in places such as Stockholm, Copenhagen, Heidleberg, Aache, and London. He spent the 70's in Johannesburg and Nairobi producing anti-apartheid theatre and smuggling South African black actors out of South Africa into the United States and on a world tour. Later efforts challenged the reintroduction capital punishment in the U.S. and helped the Central American Sanctuary movement to rescue death squad victims from Central America on the underground railway through Arizona to California to Canada. He was arrested and jailed in the 80's for performing street theatre in Berkeley that linked the University of California, the CIA, the Contras, and the cocaine business in the U.S. The University paid him damages for this false arrest, which he promptly used to take his show on the road to Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the 90's he wrote a Rock Opera about Waco Massacre and worked on issues surrounding pollution at Los Alamos. Now, after five years in Sydney organizing a national protest against the American owned and operated refugee prisons in Australia, he is back in San Francisco to unleash his brand of activism which he calls Direct Action Theatre to reclaim the arts from the hands of government and big business.

Howard Whitehouse is an artist and psychologist with over 20 years of experience researching cross-cultural systems of healing with a focus on shamanism. He co-founded the Human Science Research Institute at the State University of West Georgia in 1984. His dissertation entitled THE CHALLENGES OF THE RETURN FROM A SHAMINIC ODYSSEY: A HEURISTIC EXPLORATION drew on his 10-year experience working with a CURANDERO (or Native American healer) while studying at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Details available at www.ylem.org.

Contact: Torrey Nommesen - ylem@ylem.org - 415-445-0196



Records of Previous Forums:

JULY 2005: Patterns in Nature
MAY 2005: ARCHIMEDIA from Australia
MARCH 2005: Art Enlivening Biology