Emotiolitical 08/05/2011 1:39am

Politics upset me. Or people do. Or other people's politics do. People who don't agree with my politics really piss me off. Mostly because they're obviously wrong, but also because they're running around thinking they're smart when they clearly don't know what the hell they're talking about. They should sit down and be quiet so I can speak my mind. On Facebook. I did that for a while, angrily letting people know how wrong they were, and then the Minnesota Senate passed a bill that would put up for a vote an amendment to the Minnesota state constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, effectively discriminating against our LGBT fellow citizens. I was actually in the Senate gallery and watched the entire four-hour debate in person, which wasn't as much a debate as it was the Democrats eloquently laying out all of the reasons why doing such a thing was morally, ethically, politically, and socioeconomically wrong, and two Republicans mumbling something about activist judges and letting the people vote, because "it's only fair." So a few weeks later I co-founded a volunteer community organization called Minnesota Artists for Equality which is building a database of Minnesota artists who are willing to volunteer their time and talents to support the fight to defeat this amendment. In one month we went from an idea to having a logo, shooting a promo video, selling T-shirts at our Pride festival booth, signing up artists on our shiny new website, and getting invited to join the statewide coalition of politicians and organizations who are doing the hands on work. Someone thinks what we're doing is important. We do, too. More on this later. The thing is, art upsets me, too, especially when it's bad. There seems to be a lot of bad art, particularly theatre. Mostly bad acting. Too often everything looks, sounds, and feels beautiful, and then people start talking and moving around, ruining everything. Too many people think they can act and too many more people think the people who think they can act can act. I think a lot of actors should sit down and be quiet so the real actors can speak the playwrights' minds. On stage. My wife tells me I'm a snob, which is just another way of saying someone is closed-minded and judgmental. I always thought I was a just really nice guy with standards, but she's right. I don't like a lot of things. Unless I'm deeply moved on an emotional and intellectual level to the degree that I have intense physical responses, like feeling like I want to leap out of my seat during the performance, then it's no good. I've got ridiculous expectations of other people and of myself. It's a terrible way to attempt to enjoy art, and an even worse way to live. This is why I don't drink anymore, but that's a whole different blog. So yeah, I'm a professional actor who doesn't like politics, art, or the Fringe festival, who recently became a political activist and was subsequently asked to blog about politics, art and the Fringe festival. Good luck with that. To you, I mean. Reading this blog. And good luck to me, because I'm going to try to approach this with a completely different attitude. The world is what it is. It's our perceptions that shape our reality, and mine are often skewed. No one sets out to make bad art. They don't wake up and say, "I think I'll spend lots of money and time doing something terrible that will disappoint people and make them want to stay home the next time they think about buying a ticket to something." Everyone wants to do something good in their life. That's why we have this festival. So good luck to everyone in the Fringe. You're brave, and I'm not an expert on art or politics, and I'm definitely not a critic. Let's see what happens. Up next, something amazing that happened. An amazing evening seeing an amazing piece of politically themed dance full of amazingly talented people who agree with my politics. Do yourself a favor and see the Christopher Watson Dance Company and Jeffrey Peterson Dance's How Do You See It? Yes, I leapt out of my seat.
Headshot of Adam Whisner
Adam Whisner
Emotiolitical: A professional actor turned political activist attempts to connect art, politics, the Fringe, and the desire to change things without being so mad all the damn time.