Sunday, September 14, 2008

Behind the Curtain: The San Francisco Theater Festival
By Rajesh Srinivasan July 30, 2008 | 10:10 pm

The San Francisco Theater Festival was a far-cry from traditional theater festivals. It was a combination of both the expected and the surprising, the traditional and the unorthodox. One thing is certain: There is no way you could cover every facet of the 6-hour non-stop event. Still, I made an effort to go to as many different performances as I could so that I would experience the full breadth of the festival.

Recovering from the Addiction of White Supremacy

If there was one piece of evidence that showed that this festival was not traditional, it was Marvin X’s speech on white supremacy. The act was not so much of a performance as a lecture, as Marvin X delivered an fiery sermon about white supremacy based off his book “How to Recover from the Addiction of White Supremacy.” The speech received a less-than-lukewarm response from the audience; in fact, some of the audience members left during the presentation. After the lecture, I spoke with a professor of African-American studies at the University of Nebraska who attended the performance. Professor Patrick Jones said that Marvin X was “coming out of a particular tradition in the black arts movement…rooted in the late ’60s and ’70s” and that there was truth to what he said about white supremacy.

“His vibe and his anger and his frustration are real, so I appreciate and respect that,” Jones said.

“The question would be is that the best tactic to take to reach people at this particular historical moment. And therein lies the question for all of us.”

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