Unless things change drastically, I will be performing my play A CLOWN, A HAMMER, A BOMB, AND GOD at Tompkins Square Park in NYC on August 8 at 1 PM. This is part of a War Resisters League commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the dropping of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A CLOWN, A HAMMER, A BOMB, AND GOD is about a pacifist priest named Carl Kabat who disarmed a Minuteman III missile on Good Friday 1994 (which also fell on April Fool’s day that year) while wearing a clown suit. There’s more about its storied history here. When the play was first done, the Cold War was over and the reasons for keeping the weapons were few. Now the US seems bound and determined to get involved in Ukraine’s problems, and our meddling could lead to the splitting of atoms. The Russians are not afraid of us, and will not roll over. Thus, the play (although dated in certain ways) is as timely as it was when it first opened at the New York Fringe Festival.
There’s going to be a lot going on in the park that weekend. This year also marks the 27th anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park riots, where police and demonstrators clashed over the gentrification (and forced displacement) of the Lower East Side. There will be a campout at the park starting on Friday night and continuing throughout the weekend. There’s more about the event on the Facebook page here. Here’s the press release (in part):
Protest the NYPD “sniper tower” in Tompkins Square Park 1988 with a weekend long campout to celebrate the 27 years since the bloody NYPD riot that injured hundreds of innocent and unawares local citizens in our neighborhood. The arrogance of the NYPD was never greater since the recent erection of the “sniper” tower outfitted with cameras and recording equipment. A clear and blatant violation to first and fourth amendments rights to public assembly, free speech and privacy. Bring a tent, water and noise makers. Support the right of homeless people to enjoy a public park. Its real estate maggots like Jared Kushner who are destroying our community.
For all I know, the NYPD will close the park prior to the beginning of the protest. So watch this space for updates . In the meantime, if you haven’t seen me perform as ‘Father Ben’, please join me. The title promises a clown, a hammer, a bomb, and God, and I personally guarantee you’ll see at least three of those things at my performance.