Musicians, Artists, Actors Converge on Occupy Wall Street, from Russell Simmons to Jeff Mangum and Mark Ruffalo
One of the aspects of the Occupy Wall Street movement that has contributed to its widespread appeal, in my observation, has been the anarchic, creative, inspirational arts-based vibration emerging from Liberty Plaza.
This quality has allowed the movement to reach beyond the usual suspects and capture the imaginations of a wide variety of anti-establishment creatively-inclined Americans who may not ascribe to a rigid political philosophy--be it leftist or otherwise--but are eager to take action against oppression.
While some protest veterans will inevitably express scorn for drum circles and other "hippie" trappings of the goings-on downtown, the reality is that it's exactly these trappings that are attracting a lot of the positive attention of would-be dissidents beyond the mainstream media and establishment left, affirming the oft-repeated Emma Goldman adage: "If I can't dance, I don't want to be a part of your revolution" (in fact, here's a video of protesters dancing shot by my colleague Sarah Jaffe).
While Radiohead didn't show up last week (they did tweet their support for the protesters, though!) the place now known as Liberty Plaze and the circle of support throughout the country has become a hub of musical and artistic activity.
One of the biggest moments thus far has been the appearance of reclusive but beloved singer Jeff Mangum, of Neutral Milk Hotel. For fans and protesters, this was a majorly exciting event and it "injected new vibrancy" into the protests that night. The performance is embedded below.
Other members of the arts community who have been excited by the protests are hip-hop legend Russell Simmons who has been tweeting his thoughts, and actor Mark Ruffalo, who went on Keith Olbermann last night to talk about his thoughts on the protests last night, saying "This is a movement that’s transcending political ideologies... touching people all over the United States." Their interview also appears below.
Tonight, after the union/community march on Wall Street, a group of musicians are converging to express their dissent through sound. Read about the event here.