Between celebrity-backed protests, arts events, and the on-going brouhaha over which artists will or won't perform at the presidential inauguration, the entertainment and cultural worlds are weighing in on politics to a rare and raucous degree. Here's a rundown on some of the recent news on who's doing what.
Comedians have had a field day with the long list of famous artists who have publicly turned down offers to perform at the inauguration, including Elton John, Moby, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Garth Brooks, Kiss, Idina Menzel, and, most recently, Broadway star Jennifer Holiday, who said yes and then no after an uproar, largely from the LGBT community that's a big part of her audience. A notable recent exception is Overtown-raised singer Sam Moore, who sang the classic late 60's soul hit "Soul Man" as half of duo Sam & Dave, and who announced this week he'd take Holiday's place. Moore, 81, who lives in Arizona and was an enthusiastic participant in a televised 2013 salute to soul music at the White House, told the Associated Press that "I am not going to let them, the left side, intimidate me from doing what I feel is the right thing to do for the country."
Moore is slated to perform at a pre-inauguration event Thursday along with country singers Lee Greenwood and Toby Keith. Along with teen former "America's Got Talent" competitor Jackie Evancho, who'll sing the national anthem (though her transgender sister Juliet will not be attending), Three Doors Down, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, that's about it for name musical talent.
Even the high school and university marching bands that traditionally take part in the inauguration parade have been part of the controversy, with DC area groups refusing to participate. A chorus and dance group from a Palm Beach private Christian school performs at a pre-inauguration event Thursday, according to the Sun-Sentinel; historic black Alabama college Talladega College started an uproar when they said their band would take part.
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Meanwhile, a long list of singers and actors are joining or promoting protests and fundraisers for causes and groups they say are threatened by the new administration. Scarlett Johansson, Katy Perry, America Ferrera, Zendaya and Cher are joining the Women's March on Washington on Saturday, where organizers expect 200,000 people. Jane Fonda, Jamie Lee Curtis, Judd Apatow, Tim Robbins and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco are among the headliners on Love-a-thon, a Facebook Live streamed fundraiser benefiting the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Earthjustice, which starts at 12:30pm Friday, directly opposite the inauguration ceremony. Rockers The National and hiphop artist Common are performing at DC's famed 9:30 Club in a free protest concert on Thursday night.
Across the country in Los Angeles, Prophets of Rage, with former members of Audioslave, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill, are holding an "Anti-Inaugural Ball" on Friday, with Chuck-D, Tom Morello, actor Jack Black, and others. Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore is busy, leading a protest Thursday in front of Trump International Hotel in New York, where he'll be joined by Alec Baldwin, whose impersonations of Trump on Saturday Night Life have kept Twitter churning, and even NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio. On Friday, Moore hops over to DC to join actors Ashley Judd and Amber Tamblyn, Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead, presidential candidate Evan McMullin, and many more for a day-long "Watch Us Run" event with workshops on running for office, grassroots organizing, and artists activism.
Here in South Florida, Miami New Drama looks to be the only local participant in the national Ghostlight Project, named for the lone light that illuminates theaters overnight. At 5:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, they'll step outside South Beach's Colony Theater with flashlights and signs reading "I am ------ and I stand for -----." Artistic director Michel Hausmann, who left his native Venezuela six years ago after the government there attacked his theater, is passionate about theater's political role.
"I don't understand this idea in America that the work people do is divorced from the political reality of the country," Hausmann says. "I feel like theater has to find its place in the conversation."
And at noon on Friday, Miamians can join the president elect in swearing their own loyalty to the constitution at the Miami Light Project.
For "Oath," a participatory performance created by Miami environmental artist Xavier Cortada, anyone who wants can join the president elect in swearing allegiance to the Constitution. At noon Friday at the Miami Light Project, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Marcos D. Jimenez will administer the oath of office to anyone who shows up at their Wynwood space at 404 NW 26th St. "Oath" launches Cortada's Culture of Resistance, a 4-year long performance project based at Miami Light.
You too will be able to swear “that I will faithfully execute my role as Citizen of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Then join others in reading the Constitution (in English, Spanish or Haitian Creole) out loud, so you know what you've gotten yourself into.