Sunday, August 15, 2004

No more judging and Dyer bashing. I DO have reasons to be inspired. Yesterday Dillon McKinsey did an amazing “Writing on the Air” (a 30 minute radio talk show I co-produce on KOOP 91.7 FM) with Austin Mayor Will Wynn and his wife, Anne. Dillon interviewed them on the topic of “Poetry in the Public Square.” He had quotes from the likes of Mario Cuomo, “Campaigning takes poetry, leadership takes prose.” His questions were surprisingly good, stimulating. They opened up, talking as people rather than as figureheads. They genuinely like slam poetry; Anne sees more talent in the likes of Wammo than in Bonnie Raitt. (She called Will on his cell as he sat in a Bonnie Raitt concert to call him over to Ego’s to see a slam.) Will, interestingly enough, has all of the songwriter Guy Clark’s lyrics memorized, and he did a beautiful two minute recital of a set of his lyrics.

If the leaders understand the importance of art, and the people play an active part supporting and creating art, then Austin is redeemed. It becomes a place capable of renaissance, not just economic renewal.