I Got Georgia On My Mind (as well as Wildside and Red Bull)

Wild politics and wild theatre sum up the beginning of the New Year

By Byron Toben

January 6, 2021

The song I Got Georgia On My Mind has had a new birth of popularity since composed and sung by Hoagy Carmichael back in 1930.

The reason, my friend, is not blowing in the wind, but due to the January 5 run-off U.S. Senate election for two seats from that fair state, which will determine which party will control the Senate. If Republican, president pro tem Mitch McConnell may well continue to live up to his nickname of “Dr. No” and block or delay any meaningful reforms.

The results were not available in time for this article, but it will be interesting to see if Donald Trump’s last-minute plea and threats claiming voter fraud in the November 3 general election will prevail against the Black Lives Matter/ACLU/Greg Palast lawsuit and documentation of about 190,000 Georgian voter suppressions therein to influence the run-off.

Either way, it may well add fuel to the fire on January 6 when a minority of Republican Senators and House representatives seek to overturn the mere ceremonial counting of all 50 states and the District of Columbia’s already certified electoral votes, and force yet another audit and delay of the January 20 inauguration of the Democratic President and Vice president-elect, as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

My fears are that some agent provocateurs will create violence and that he [Trump] will thereupon declare martial law to become, as Hitler did with the 1933 Reichstag burning, a dictator.

Outside the capital, Trump has called for a demonstration of thousands of supporters to yell and protest, promising that it will be very “wild.”

My fears are that some agent provocateurs will create violence and that he will thereupon declare martial law to become, as Hitler did with the 1933 Reichstag burning, a dictator. Sieg Heil, mien Fuhrer!

I hope and pray that my fears are wrong, but I agree with his niece, psychologist Mary Trump, that nothing is beyond this desperate wild man.

For wild times I much prefer to view the Centaur Theatre’s annual Wildside Festival, streamed this year, which runs from January 12 to January 30. Viewing is free but donations are appreciated.

Whiteface Cabaret

Scene from the Whiteface Cabaret – Image: courtesy of the Wildside Festival

Here is a quickie summary by initial dates:

January 12 -23 at 7:30 pm

The Whiteface Cabaret
Two performer/creators, Vanessa Cardoba and Todd Houseman recreate their Winnipeg hit, Whiteface, dealing with race and politics

January 13-23 at 7:30 pm

Black Balloons: Leila
Four performers in a dream of alternative reality, inspired by Dreyer’s 1928 film about Joan of Arc.

January 15-23 at 7:30 pm

Night Cows
“A queer feminist Fantasia” with movement and shadow puppets.

January 18-21, 25-28 and 29-30 at 8 pm

This “dreamlike reflection on human existence” may well turn out to be the hit of the festival. Co-created by three proven locals, Leslie Baker, Emma Tibaldo and Joseph Schragge and co-produced by Théâtre La Chapelle, it has different episodes each night (skipping January 22-24).

About experimental and creative play development. Saturday, January 23 features four short works in progress and Sunday, January 24, four different ones.

illustration of Richard III

Illustration of Richard III – Image: courtesy of Red Bull Theater

For other wild theatre fare, check out my latest discovery, Red Bull Theater in New York. It is not named after the beverage but after a bawdy Jacobean theatre.

Over the past 15 years, it has mounted 17 Off-Broadway plays, dealing with Elizabethan or Jacobean scripts adapted to contemporary issues. On January 11 it will stream The African Company Presents Richard III.

This show deals with an 1821 presentation of Shakespeare’s play by a black company in New York. That show was drawing audiences away from an all-white company playing elsewhere in town, leading to attempts by the promoters of the white company to sabotage the competition. All this while slavery was still going on in the South!

The show will be available for a few days after January 11. Again, free while donations are accepted from those who can afford it.

Feature image: illustration depicting Skin, courtesy of the Wildside Festival

Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre –

More articles from Byron Toben

Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.

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  1. Patricia Dumais

    With what happened at the Capitol on January 6, your fears are confirmed. The government must invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office (and prevent him from ever running again.) There are 13 days before Joe Biden steps in as President – Trump could do a lot of harm till then.

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