Results tagged “Obama” from ARTicles

On this eve of one of the most significant US presidential inaugurations in history, music producer Quincy Jones is asking President-elect Barack Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts.  While many other countries have Ministers of Art, the United States has never created the position.  In fact, according to, Jones says that the U.S. and Germany are the only countries who do not have a culture minister. 

Jones has started a petition, which has so far garnered over 150,000 signatures.  You can sign it here.


Jones may want to check out some new talent to help promote his cause, like six-year-old Lil Yani.  His new rap video, "Obama Made Me Proud," is becoming a hit on YouTube.  With lyrics written by his great-grandmother, the San Pablo boy salutes the president-elect, saying "There were tears/ Love and pride/ I could see them/ In my Granny's eyes/ As she looked at me/ Looked at me to say/ Boy you could grow up/ To be president some day."

To update my last blog entry "The Hits Just Keep On Coming," San Francisco's Magic Theatre will stay open, having held a successful donation drive that raised over $455,000.  That's some uplifting news in this pessimistic time for the arts. 

Let's hope for more.  Perhaps all those artists performing at his inauguration will inspire Obama to act upon Jones' recommendation.  When can we expect the new Department of the Arts, Mr. President? 
January 19, 2009 6:07 PM |
The Fox series "24" aired its 2-hour special "Redemption" Sunday night, a season 7 prequel which bridges the new season with the last.  It's been about a year and a half since "24" brought us its adrenaline-charged, real-time, terrorist-ridden action.  This time its president is America's first female commander-in-chief (played by Tony award-winner Cherry Jones).  

"24's" virtual drama got me thinking about the nation's real-life drama.  When I look back at the "24" Hall of Presidents, I can't help but wonder: Did Fox actually help President-elect Barack Obama get elected?

When "24" entered the American post-9/11 zeitgeist in the fall of 2001, it introduced us to a major party's first African-American presidential candidate (who incidentally was also a senator).  By the second season, David Palmer had become president.  Played with aplomb, smarts and empathy by actor Dennis Haysbert, President Palmer proved to be a president to love, one worthy of being saved, repeatedly, by hero Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).  

"24" became an addictive hit, and viewers initially thought, "Wow, an African-American president.  That's a novel idea."  But Fox made Palmer believable, as if he could happen in real life. "24" addicts became so accustomed to a black man leading them into action week after week that many (including me, I'll admit) wanted Palmer to run for president in 2004.  Now he could have beaten George W. Bush.  

This year America skeptically asked itself if the US would really elect an African-American president.  But the 12 million Americans who watched "24" had not only accepted a black leader, but had rooted for him.  So is it possible that Palmer paved the way for Obama?  Haysbert seems to think so.

Now that "24: Redemption" has introduced the series' first female president, will the show go 2-for-2 as a presidential predictor?  Could this mean a victory finally for Hillary Clinton?  Or God forbid, Sarah Palin...  


Speaking of Palin, don't miss her recent television interview on KTUU News.  Palin may need to retake some of her college journalism classes.  According to Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, she chose the shot for her own interview, but broke the cardinal media rule: Never give an interview in front of a man killing turkeys.  Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008 12:43 PM |

You've probably seen this already, but for those who haven't, it's balm for the arts, artists, educators and journalists.

Senator Barack Obama, who earlier this year accepted Americans for the Arts' challenge to adopt a bold arts policy -- and, btw, was joined in this enterprise only by Mike Huckabee -- speaks in this YouTube clip of the value of arts education. Lucky is the person who will head the National Endowment for the Arts under Obama should things fall in his favor in November. He not only designed one arts policy, but TWO. He went a step further and convened an arts policy committee chaired by George Stevens (on which Steve Lavine, president of CalArts, also served) and it delivered.

But first watch:


Town Hall meeting April 2, 2008. (Thanks to Danielle Brazell of Arts for LA, who helped with this report.) 

May 20, 2008 8:44 AM |

If and when you ever get the great, good privilege to be a critic, for god sakes, know -- if you can -- the generation ahead of you. Critics are the thoroughbreds of the newsroom. But there ain't no newsroom no more, and so, with the advance of technology, we say good bye to Deborah Jowitt at the Village Voice, perhaps a victim of print journalisms' inability to comprehend the deep need within this Youth Generation to take stock, be real, see what's in front of their eyes and go to dance.

I am not talking platitudes. I am talking straight.

Once we leave the consumerist, mainstream stupid world that persists and persists in persisting (please let us get out of that as soon as we can, and I am not preaching Obama. I am just saying that we need to live a little and breathe and know our flesh, which is tantamount to preaching Obama and, forgive me, knowing dance), we find real human beings. Deborah Jowitt -- who was recently "fired" (I quote my colleague Jeff Weinstein, because, lord knows, has the press written about this since yesterday, though the blogs be blogging, and when oh when will bloggers be considered press? Yesterday, like yesterday?) -- Jowitt taught me that you never look at your pad.

She took minimal notes. And yet -- remark upon this -- she is the best descriptor of dance around. She let herself be absorbed, see what the choreographer (artist) wanted her to see at the time, in the moment, for you, now.  If you want to find out what a dance actually looked like, I mean, what happened in it then, read Jowitt.

She is a historian's best friend. My gratitude, Ms. Jowitt.

Your departure means much. 

March 28, 2008 10:44 PM |


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