Category Archives: Theatre

TEDxLafayette – Everything We Do and Don’t Do is Political

Thank you to everyone involved with the inaugural TEDxLafayette event.  Another fine chapter for the annuals of Tippecanoe history.

“Don’t limit your political life to the ballot box.”

Last week, I was afforded the opportunity to speak at the inaugural TEDxLafayette event that took place on November 22nd in Civic Theater’s lovely Historic Monon Depot Theater.

I was asked to participate and give a talk that was tentatively titled, The disappearing voter: Does anyone care about democracy or democratic processes?  The title as arranged was in need of orchestration and quickly explored the concepts of the disappearing voter, caring for democracy and its processes, civic participation, voting, subtly of the constituency, mutual knowledge, and Sisyphus.  The title I settled upon after much internal debate was Everything We Do and Don’t Do is Political. Thanks Sartre.

Creating TEDxLafayette ZinesFor the event, I also created a small zine to distribute with the TEDxLafayette material.  There was a problem with the copy room where I make copies, and I needed to come back later in the week.  Running short on time Friday, I had to staple the remainder of the zines at Myrdene’s.

Media is a major component when engaging politically, and with modern technology, any individual can make informative, fun political expressions and gestures.  You can download, Everything is Political,  We are our choices as a PDF:

TEDxLafayette - Everything We Do and Don't Do is Political Zine ScreenshotThe overall experience was quite enjoyable.  From the organizing individuals, to the other speakers and performers, to the audience, Civic Theater staff, media creators, and sponsors.  Everyone lent an extremely valuable hand, making sure we had a successful TEDx to reference in the future.

The event received some press from the Journal and Courier under the headline, TEDx speakers challenge audience to think local, and featured a few pull quotes from speakers Kris Taylor and Beth Carroll.  I was also featured in the article:

In his talk, titled “Everything We Do or Don’t Do is Political,” Zachary Baiel, a civic-minded resident and director of customer relations at Spensa Technologies, challenged the audience to think beyond the ballot box.

He said elections are not the only way constituents can engage in the political process.

All aspects of community involvement, such as the “Mosey Down Main Street” festivals and local farmers markets, are forums for political engagement, he explained.

The Indy Star reprinted the same article, but included a picture of me speaking in the print version:

TEDxLafayette-IndyStar-2014-11-24WLFI also ran a story about the event titled ‘Spark.Inspire.Change’ the focus at TEDxLafayette, which also included some clips of Kris Taylor, Keith Watson, and myself speaking:

My presentation can be read (visually) online.  Although there isn’t much text to read, it is still an enjoyable walk-through.  Thank you again to all the media producers (Journal and Courier, WBAA, WLFI, Owen Gunn, Zach Meddler, Aaron Bumgarner, Aaron Molden,  Thomas Kesler) and everyone else who helped make this presentation possible.

If you would like for me to give this or a similar performance to you, a local civic group, or other people who are interested in learning more about becoming a political entrepreneur vs. a wait-for-it voter, please let me know.

I was told that the videos of the various performances would be available some time in December.  Once I get sent a link, I will include it on this post.

I want to thank everyone again for the enjoyable, educational, and historic time.  Lafayette needs local individuals to be involved, share ideas, and become their own media.

Once momentum for a particular passion spreads across to a few others in the community, action becomes easier, and opportunities to change the world at the street, neighborhood, or city level can be celebrated rather than abhorred.


The Inspiring (re)Works of Charles (Chuck) Mee

I was going through some past notes in my Gtasks list and came across one that simply said: Charles [sic] mee

Googling his name again, I was quickly reminded about this amazing playwright and artist.

Taken from Charles’ web site:

Please feel free to take the plays from this website and use them freely as a resource for your own work: that is to say, don’t just make some cuts or rewrite a few passages or re-arrange them or put in a few texts that you like better, but pillage the plays as I have pillaged the structures and contents of the plays of Euripides and Brecht and stuff out of Soap Opera Digest and the evening news and the internet, and build your own, entirely new, piece—and then, please, put your own name to the work that results.

Artists, especially writers, forget that they are not creating in a vacuum; creating worlds, characters, and textures from the impressions their reality has set upon them.

A curry of humanity is expressed in every work of art.  The enjoyment is in how the particular chef prepares the ingredients.

His views on casting the works are also inspiring, encouraging us to challenge our view of the world.

I am an old crippled white guy in love with a young Japanese-Canadian-American woman, and we talk about race and age and polio and disability, but race and disability do not consume our lives. Most of our lives are taken up with love and children and mortality and politics and literature—just like anyone else.

My plays don’t take race and disability as their subject matter. Other plays do, and I think that is a good and necessary thing, and I hope many plays will be written and produced that deal directly with these issues.

Charles is an accomplished individual who has given his art to the world.

Taken from Wikipedia:

Among other awards, Charles Mee is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award in drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two OBIE Awards (Vienna: Lusthaus (1986) andBig Love (2002)), PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for Drama for a playwright in mid-career, and the Fisher Award given by the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Thank you, Chuck.  For creating art that is accessible.  On a multitude of levels.  Cheers!

Who are you America? – Modern Monologues

The Internet is amazing.  We all know that.  In one of my recent meanderings, I came across a series of 50 monologues commissioned by Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland. Being a recent transplant, Kwame Kwei-Armah, along with his team, asked the question “Who are you America?”

I was happy to see that Greg Allen of the Neo-Futurists was selected as one of the 50 leading playwrights. His piece is a lovely dance through the connected, tangental consciousness of the American fabric.

I have since watched dozens of others. Some hit very well and resonate strongly, others seem to fall flat. Obviously, this project is not immune from subjectivity. Regardless, a very fascinating study in writing, directing, acting, filming, and editing.

I recommend the consumption. Here’s a link to another, titled “one evening on the #14 bus“. It was written by Christina Anderson and performed by Pascale Armand.

Who hasn’t ridden a bus and experienced a similar situation of desperation and disconnect?