Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Homeless Numbers Rise in Congress and Opera

You either have to be passionate beyond all reasonable doubt, a Trustfunderkind, or out of your goddamn mind to try and pursue a career in something like opera.  I know that actors, musicians, dancers, painters, and many other artists alike are in the same boat, but I cannot speak for them.  This art that depreciates in value amongst the general public each year is an uphill battle, with five feet of snow in all directions.

I don't pretend to be a politically minded person, but I do pay attention, and when something resonates with me, I investigate to make sure I am well informed (sometimes that just means watching Real Time With Bill Maher because like a good man, he does most of the work when I don't feel the urge).

This morning I watched a report on MSNBC about several of our Congressmen sleeping in their offices when away from their home state.  I immediately felt a kinship to these men (in this case it is all men) who are a bit gypsy-like when in D.C. and simply want to stay focused on work while putting their $174,000 salaries toward things like their children's education.  Most performing artists, unless they find a residency somewhere, depend upon the kindness of strangers, the companies they work for, or cheap motels to lodge their wandering minstrel ways.  Sometimes it can feel a bit demoralizing to not have a place you call your own, especially when the average office Joe cannot comprehend why anyone would live that way.  I for one, am completely on board with our Congressmen.   I may make a small percentage of their wages, but at least they are humble enough to get creative with their lodging to save a buck and not demand that we, the American people, pay for them to have a place in Washington.  Sure, the members of CREW (not to be confused with J. CREW...they really should get a different font) are up in arms about these 30 or 40 men not paying taxes to sleep in a Federal building.  I am sure they would gladly do so to avoid the added expenses of the rent, gas and extra doctor's visits due to exhaustion.  Go ahead Melanie Sloan, lobby a tax law for those guys and while you're at it, Robin-Hood the hell out of that money and give it to the poor (starving artists)!!

It's a Fantasyland wish to think that the government might subsidize the living expenses of the creative minds of its country, especially when next to half of the members on Capitol Hill are ready to cut the budgets of PBS and NPR.  I won't make the audacious statement that they should find a way to help us lowly performers just yet, because god knows I'd rather have free health care first.  Baby steps.  I will say however, that France has BOTH of these issues worked out hurry up USA, if you really want to think you are better than the French, figure out ways to pay for my hospital stay and part of my rent while you're at it!  Until then Vivre la socialisme!, Vivre la France!, and let the Congress sleep wherever they like if it will problem solve a little faster (again...wishful thinking). 
Now, while I admit I cannot support nor refute Jason Chaffetz's politics (he's a Republican from Utah, so I'm sure we know how he feels...) I can't fault the guy for utilizing his after-office-before-bedtime hours to speak to his constituents...especially with his "cot" as part of the set decor:

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