Don’t Shoot the Critic (Again)

You’re not going to believe this, but tomorrow night – Thursday, October 21, at 8 PM at New York’s Cooper Union – I’m going to play Abraham Lincoln in a new work by Gloria Coates. The piece is titled Abraham Lincoln´s Cooper Union Address, and I’ll be reading, in costume, a speech that Lincoln delivered in Cooper Union on February 27, 1860, disputing the notion that the framers of the U.S. Constitution supported the furtherance of slavery. I suppose what qualifies me for this role, beyond my enthusiastic support for Coates’s music, is my past performances in my one-man theater piece Custer and Sitting Bull. In short, I’ve developed a reputation for impersonating people who eventually get shot.

The concert, organized by Birgit Ramsauer, is titled “Spinet: an experiment on Gesamtkunstwerk – Totalart.” The rest of the European program comprises:

Pär Frid, Totentanz für Spinett, 2004 (Sweden)

Stefano Giannotti, L´Arte des Paesaggio, 2000 (Italy)

Heinrich Hartl, Cemballissimo, 2003 (Germany)

Horst Lohse, Birgit´s Toy, 2004 (Germany)

Katharina Rosenberger, Echo, 2004 (Switzerland)

Coates is American, but has lived since the 1970s in Munich. Complete info about the concert here.

By the way, some may note an irony in a Southerner like myself reading the part of Abe Lincoln. In the first place, Gloria wanted a Southern voice because Lincoln was born in Kentucky and grew up in southern Indiana. Secondly, what little genealogical research we’ve received indicates that the Ganns of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas were Northern sympathizers, and that, in fact, one of my ancestors was hung by the Confederacy for giving aid to a Union soldier. So I reckon I’m not too far out of line, and I’m fixin’ to do it regardless.