Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Farewell Howard Zinn

He was a beloved teacher of mine when I went to Boston University. I read his book "A People's History of the United States" from cover to cover, never missed a lecture and worked in the Little Flags Theater company under the direction of his friend and cohort, Maxine Klein. Klein directed Zinn's "Emma" (about Emma Goldman, perhaps my greatest hero - she stood up for women, and despite being ugly by conventional standards, had many lovers; she defended the workers of this country and had the backbone to follow her convictions even when they caused her to be deported back to Russia.) I was in awe of him - the way he made us laugh and think and do; how he turned the biggest regret of his life, dropping bombs from planes during WWII) into a mission that would have a positive effect on so many. Even though he was 61 at the time, I had a huge crush on him and when he invited me to lunch to hear about my trip with Little Flags to what was then the USSR, I was in heaven and wore my "intellectual sweater." This was to make up for any stuttering I was likely to do. I adored him: his wit, his courage, his commitment to telling the truth. Though he was denied pay raises at Boston University because of what he taught in his lectures, though he was thrashed by the right wing of the press, he never stopped moving forward. I was sure he would move forward past 100. Like Moses, say. But instead, his time came now, too soon for me. But perhaps he was tired after all. May he rest in the peace he has always stood for.

I do not lecture about peace as Professor Zinn did. I hope to move people through the arts. For years it was in the performing arts and through the written word. Now it is more visual. Instead of creating works depicting the horrors of our world as we know it today, I am hoping to regain a child's perspective; something pure, simple, and magical. I am hoping that from there I as well as my audience and folks who purchase my work can dissolve the rage and the paralysis of fear and find the will and imagination to make positive change reality.

Images from "Return to Innocence" on display at Cafe Carolina, Encino CA Feb 6 - Mar 31

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