Last night I was at Gowanus venue Littlefield for Election Night Live, a performance event put on by political musical comedy group Political Subversities. The packed house was high-energy and receptive as they watched sharply-crafted musical numbers and sketches about voting, Michelle Obama, phone banking, lesbian feminists, and loving Hillary Clinton “more than I love my labia.” Interspersed throughout were stand-up sets by folks like Reductress associate editor Nicole Silverberg and comedian Aparna Nancherla, mind-reading magic by Vinny DePonto, and others. Pantsuits and political attire were plentiful, and spirits seemed high, if not a bit frantic and anxious.
As more and more states were called and performances came to a close, morale began to drop. Throughout the show, members of sketch group Gentlemen Party announced the latest updates, and cardboard cut-outs the corresponding states were placed on the right or left side of the stage. There was good news and cheering, until there wasn’t. The last time Political Subversities did this show, they called Obama’s victory at 11 pm. Last night, stone-faced stragglers sipped High Lifes and stared glumly at a livestream of Van Jones on CNN explaining how he is scared for his children. Everyone remained until nearly 2 am or later, when the sound guy started cleaning up. Many were crying, others frantically texted loved ones.
In my Uber Pool home, I sat with a blond woman in silence for a while. She said she couldn’t imagine going to work tomorrow, and I said neither could I. Of all places, she works for Planned Parenthood. Our driver told us that earlier, two women got in his car– one said she was a Trump supporter, which prompted one rider to exit the car before the ride was over. He asked how our days were. Bad, generally bad, we said. “It’s a nightmare day,” he replied.
But today came, and so will the next day, and the day after that. Action and dialogue is needed more than ever. Williamsburg concert hall National Sawdust has recognized this, and has made their programming tomorrow free of charge and open to the public. First, there will be a book release event for writer and activist Roger Bonair-Agard’s poetry collection Where Brooklyn At?, described as both manifesto and protest song. There will be live music and a panel discussion about “gentrification in Brooklyn and reimagining a better future.” Then from 8:30 to 10:30 pm, there will be a town hall event moderated by Bonair-Agard, composer and curator Daniel Felsenfeld, and National Sawdust’s director Paola Prestini and its director of programming Courtenay Casey.
“It is a tough thing to do, but in the light of this tremendous upset, we must reimagine our state,” Prestini said in a Facebook statement. “This is a call to action to think of a way forward. We are all ears.”
St. Vitus is also making an effort to let the healing begin– with free drinks. “To all the strong, smart, sensual women we know: tonight you drink for free,” the Greenpoint metal bar writes on its Facebook page. “It’s not much but it’s a start. We open at 6. Love, the Vitus family.” The bar notes that tonight’s bands are “aptly named”: U.S. Bastards, Against the Grain, and Hot Blood.
If you’re looking to organize events and actions of your own and need help getting the word out, PR firm WolfieVibes Publicity (run by former B+B contributor Kelly McClure) has your back.
From their Twitter: “We at WolfieVibes Publicity (owned and operated by a lesbian woman) are offering free signal boosting to any LGBT, POC, women’s issues, or otherwise marginalized groups looking for help in spreading the word about any upcoming events or protests in the wake of this horrible election. Email us at kelly@wolfievibespublicity and put us to work. No strings. No charge. It’s all we can think of to help right now.”