You Want Real Hope, Real Change?

Dave Cho at Manifest HOPE

Photo by GoTellMama! — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

You want real hope? You want real change? Sure. But why would you believe hope and change can come from a politician — a politician?!

There is no doubt that Obama has brought a new vision, a new vibe, to America and its place in the world. However, if you want a tangible sense of a new vision and a new vibe check out what is happening in the arts, worldwide.

Honestly. Think about it for a moment. If the campaign slogan was “Yes, We Can” then there are a lot of festivals around the world that every day demonstrate the slogan, “Yes, We Do.” The change in our world is taking place and you can hear it in the performers and see it in the audiences.

Last week, New York was the center of two remarkable festivals: Under the Radar and globalFest.

Under the Radar (a description of theatre works that applies only to their pre-UTR Festival life) presented companies forcefully on the edge from Ireland, Korea, The Netherlands, Scotland, UK, as well as American-based work, including a deeply personal and intimate performance from Hip-Hop’s extraordinary Lemon Andersen, Reggie Watts’ theatre of multiplicity, and, of course, Mabou Mines (what would an American festival be without Mabou Mines?).

globalFest brought together a soundtrack for everyone’s daily life from Sufi Music as Bollywood, Calypso, Boushehr of southern Iran, Intuit throat singing via today’s sounds, rumba Catalana, French cabaret, a Balkan and Berber combo, Brazilian samba, and “Amazonian psychedelic surf-cumbia” (how’s that for a PR person’s promotion?).

As vibrant as the mixture of cultures, points of view, and experience was on the stages, the audiences, too, were a sight to behold: multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-national, and multi-passionate.

A politician can give a speech to the world; but, at festivals like these, one can dance with the world.

Dance with a common cause: maybe a bit naive, surely idealistic, but genuine and real.

You want real hope? You want real change? Just wait until Obama’s poetry of politics meets the politburo of the US Congress.

Still, somewhere near you is a festival that proves the global ideal of common hope, peaceful change, and a better tomorrow.

That’s something to believe in.

- Bill Reichblum

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