My thirty-five years working with Peter Schumann and his Bread & Puppet Theater has been the longest, deepest, and most provocative “institutional” attachment of my life. I use the word “institution” because Bread & Puppet is the only theater, much less political theater, that has been around continuously since the sixties, and thus has institutional status for longevity alone. I use quotes around “institution” because it is the most un- and anti-institutional institution that can be imagined, astonishingly beyond the norms of theater and the business of theater.
The text in this book consists of anecdotes and reflections on more than three decades of experiences with Peter (that’s Peter in the photo) and many other artistically brilliant, politically committed puppeteers from all over the world. The texts deal with eight major archetypes central to the work: Death, Fiend, Beast, Human, World, Gift, Bread, and Hope. It recently won a ForeWord Book-of-the-Year award as the best theater book of 2004. Read reviews
Back in the 60s, some weird instinct sent me digging paper out of garbage cans, stripping flyers off telephone poles, and pocketing all sorts of leaflets at demonstrations. It was more exhuberance about what was going on than a historian’s amassing of sources. Into that collection I interlarded what my own political theater group was up to in the belly of the beast in Washington. The line between theater and life was very thin. This, my first published work, will give you some sense of that.
Vermont recently passed its first death sentence in fifty years after the intervention of John Ashcroft in the murder trial of Donald Fell. The case was traumatic in many ways, and as a result of the trial, it is now possible that capital punishment will be reinstated in Vermont. I published this piece in Counterpunch shortly after the verdict, a consideration of the victims‘ rights movement in propagating the death penalty, and of the culture which nourishes it. The original article can be found at
The first important book to catalogue the contradictions between the official story of 9/11, and the facts — visual and analytical — was David Ray Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. Strangeness and impossibilities stare anyone in the face at the first serious glance at what happened. The implication of the questions Griffin raises (gently, without coming to conclusions) are profound, even world-shaking. I felt the need to draw public attention to both the book and the problems it raises. This review was published on Counterpunch in 2004, shortly after the book appeared. The original article can be found at Counterpunch.