A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
At 448 dense pages of legalese, the Mueller Report has swiftly, improbably become a sort of touchstone of the sordid times. Since its albeit-redacted release, about two dozen House Democrats held a 12-hour live marathon reading of the report, Sen. Elizabeth Warren read portions of it into the historic record, VICE read it online for 11 hours, and print versions are at or near the top of both the New York Times and Amazon bestseller lists. This weekend, it hit a New York theater, with over 100 performers from several theater and arts companies offering a 24-hour live reading titled “Filibustered and Unfiltered: America Reads the Mueller Report.” The event, billed as “a celebration of the power of the American citizen,” was held Saturday and Sunday nights at The Arc, a venue in Long Island City, Queens – one of the country’s most diverse areas, and Trump’s birthplace.
Director Jackson Gay came up with the idea from an only half-serious social media post. Her primary goal was not so much presenting a performance as facilitating “a bunch of people coming together and finding their voice. We shouldn’t just sit back on our couches and let other people tell us what to think.” The invitation urges we the people to come “party and politic…Let’s unite, read and listen. All of Us. Together.” People were invited to stop in throughout the reading or stay for it all, with food available and musicians playing during the redactions, “just for our own sanity.” Tickets started at $10, with proceeds beyond covering the costs going to immigrant rights groups RAICES Texas and CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, which provides legal services to detained immigrant mothers and children. Performers were reportedly psyched for the event; said Broadway veteran Carson Elrod, “My 15 minutes will be fire and fury.”
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.” – Robert Mueller
First published in Common Dreams.