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Barry Crimmins

words to live near


political satirist Barry Crimmins

Dear Progressive Activists, Monday, September 27, 2004

My name is Barry Crimmins. I am a political satirist, author and producer. I am currently producing and starring in Satire for Sanity at Rocky Sullivan's on Lexington Avenue in New York City. We started the shows on  June 22 and promised to return every Tuesday until George W. Bush is "hounded, voted or impeached from office." It's my most fervent hope and belief that there will be no obligation for us to do a show on November 9, 2004. Our shows at Rocky's have been an unmitigated success. Sellout crowds have enthusiastically responded to the top progressive political comics working today.

We've received serious promotion for the shows from Air America Radio, in particular from the wonderful Randi Rhodes, for whom I write. We've also received generous support from Jeanine Garofalo and Sam Seder on AAR's The Majority Report. Beyond Air America, we've garnered numerous positive mentions in several other media outlets including Newsday, WBAI radio, WWRL radio and the Irish Times. Had we not had a problem with over-attendance at our shows, we would have pursued and received much more media attention.

That said, the electoral vicissitudes of the Big Apple are the least of our concerns. Even before the Reptilian Nationalist Convulsion came to NYC to further inconvenience the people who already suffered the largest collective agony from 9/11, the Big Apple was the Bluest of Blues. So we'll keep Rockys going on Tuesdays but its time to take our hilarious, persuasive and pertinent show on the road.  So On Monday, Sept. 27 we will be announcing The Satire For Sanity Victory Swing.

The pundits are telling us a Kerry victory is unlikely-- and they're right. A Kerry victory will come when we get more "unlikely" voters to the polls than the insiders could have ever estimated. Those voters have already been identified and registered. Our Motto: Get Out the Vote to Get Out the Scoundrels.

According to the Sept 26, 2004 New York Times, "The analysis by The New York Times of county-by-county data shows that in Democratic areas of Ohio - primarily low-income and minority neighborhoods - new registrations since January have risen 250 percent over the same period in 2000. In comparison, new registrations have increased just 25 percent in Republican areas. A similar pattern is apparent in Florida: in the strongest Democratic areas, the pace of new registration is 60 percent higher than in 2000, while it has risen just 12 percent in the heaviest Republican areas.

While comparable data could not be obtained for other swing states, similar registration drives have been mounted in them as well, and party officials on both sides say record numbers of new voters are being registered nationwide. This largely hidden but deadly earnest battle is widely believed by campaign professionals and political scientists to be potentially decisive in the presidential election."

Now that the sleeping giant of the Democratic majority has been awakened, we have no choice but to raise such a ruckus that it will not simply hit the snooze alarm and roll over. Our tour is meant to celebrate the grassroots heroes who accomplished this unprecedented empowerment of the citizenry. We also mean to help inspire them to finish the job, which is to say provoke an unprecedented voter turnout.

The other artists who have agreed to help in these shows include: A. Whitney Brown (The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live) Randy Credico (the greatest political impressionist of our generation, bar none and a remarkable progressive activist) , Reno (the legendary performance artist and activist who has been on HBO more often than the Sopranos),  Warren Thomas, the legend behind the legends who has written for everyone from Dave Chappelle to Robin Williams and is an explosive and uproarious performer and Jimmy Tingle, the former 60 Minutes II commentator and legendary Boston political humorist. Various combinations of these artists will perform on this tour.

Thats the general overview, here are some specifics: For starters we're going to need to nail down an itinerary. My plan is to start in northern New England, probably New Hampshire and Maine, to do a few dates with my good friend Mr. Tingle.

Then as we get into the month of October, here's the basic flow:

Philadelphia, State College and Pittsburgh. Then it would be on to Cincinnati (tentative Oct 6), Columbus (tentative Oct 9) and Cleveland. Next would be Ann Arbor and/or Detroit (NOTE - OCT 8 would be a great night to do Ann Arbor if anyone can help us line up a venue) and perhaps somewhere in western Michigan. Then we would head to Milwaukee and Madison. The Twin Cities would be next and perhaps one other Minnesota stop before heading into Iowa, where we should hit Ames, Iowa City and maybe Des Moines. On Oct 24 we have a firm date in Kansas City, wed also like to hit Columbia and St. Louis in Missouri. Then we'd sweep back east and try to hit Memphis, Nashville and Morgantown before returning home. Any other obvious stops or venues you might suggest will be given serious consideration.  

The next challenge is finance. We would need to rent a van and then wed need accommodations, food and other travel expenses. Nothing fancy but nothing seedy, either. Fortunately we can raise most of these funds ourselves, by charging admission to many of the events (when doing it for free is most effective, we'll do it for free). The performers are all canceling much more lucrative work in the Blue States so I want to make sure that everyone is at least covered for their basic monthly expenses. Since we are a bunch of  lefties, this shouldnt entail a major challenge -- rest assured there are no Humvee payments to make. I cant imagine wed ever charge more than $10 admission for an event and often as little as $5. Anything above and beyond a certain amount will be turned over to the local activists. I think our daily nut would mean wed need something like $800 vs. 50% of the door. Properly promoted via the internet, Air America Radio, flyers and so on we should be able to make sure funding is the least of our problems. After all, this isn't about money, it's about votes.

Air America broadcasts in several of the markets we'll be hitting and should help create large turnouts. This will help subsidize the cost of our appearing in the other markets. And it should be remembered that Air America has a huge "streaming feed" audience so the network will be an asset everywhere.

It would be great if some fiscally secure angel (or flock thereof) came forward and helped us in advance. Another possibility is doing a gala fundraising sendoff in NYC but I repeat, it's not about money and we will be flexible enough to find what we need.

The next and most obvious concern is venue identification. We will play student unions, clubs, coffeehouses, rallies, union halls, theaters or anywhere else a decent crowd can be gathered. We're willing to make multiple appearances each day --  doing whatever it takes to help snowball the voter turnout and energize the progressive base.

People leave our shows at Rockys excited, inspired, energized, educated, entertained and, above all - emboldened. And The Satire for Sanity Victory Tour will give the audience the informational ammunition they need - to do what needs to be done. Our promise: We will rock the Red States and provoke our audiences into working tirelessly to turn out the most important vote of our lives. A lot of great people will get a needed shot in the arm from this tour. And we will make progressive politics fun for our crowds.

Any and all organizational, promotional and financial assistance for our efforts will be most appreciated. Please understand that this is not a specific plea for anything, just a general request for support for a good idea. I hope you can assist us - and America. And youre all invited to the victory party at Rockys on November 2.  Thanks for all the great efforts you have already made.

In solidarity,

Barry Crimmins
please e-mail for phone info

updated: 15 years ago