A National Security Musical

What does Karl Rove have in common with Rogers and Hammerstein?

Andy Kirshner is a professor, composer, performer, and filmmaker who makes work about thorny social, political, and existential questions.

For many years now, I've been interested in the subject of political propaganda.  As someone who makes large spectacles and media works that are intended to evoke strong feelings in an audience, I realize that with a little more moxie, and a few less scruples, I could be doing the same job that Karl Rove does.  (Or that Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin used to do, for that matter.)

And there is a particular kind of propaganda that interests me the most: musical propaganda.  I'm interested in the way that homespun contemporary Nashville sound encourages us to yearn for that mythical small town that Opie and Gomer used to live in.  I'm interested in the kinds of songs that are played at national political conventions, and to what effect. (I got a big kick out of seeing which entrance music was played for which public figures at the most recent RNC and DNC conventions.  Michelle Obama got "Isn't She Lovely," Ted Kennedy got "Still the One," and Sarah Palin got "Redneck Woman.")  I'm interested in that fine line between opening the listeners heart and jerking him around.

So in the feature film I am currently developing, "Liberty's Secret: The National Security Musical" I am exploring, among other things, that intimate link between rhythm, harmony, melody and political/cultural manipulation.

In the coming weeks, I'll be offering samples from the musical as it develops -- storyboards, music, script pages, images -- so I hope you will follow along and let me know what you think.

Here's a little number to get things started.  A tango to be sung and danced by the National Secruity Council in the White House Bunker.  Hope you enjoy it.

Connect the Dots: A Tango


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