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Art, celebrity and activism  

Political sensibilities have long been publicly shaped with the help of artists by way of music, literature, art and film. These days, that political activism is increasingly the province of celebrities from both the left and the right -- from Charlton Heston to Michael Moore, to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Barbra Streisand [For more, see cover story beginning on page 15].

click to enlarge Lisa Nicklas  -  - Teacher, Aspen Valley   -  - Penrose Hospital area -  - What do you make of the activism of actors, writers, - musicians and moviemakers in election years? - They're always trying to get a message and viewpoint - across that will influence people, but it seems like they - do it more in election years. -  - Why should we listen to what actors and musicians - say about politics? They're more out there than the - ordinary person, more in the middle of things. -  - Did Dylan make a difference? Dylan? -  - What artistic endeavor has most influenced your - politics? None, really. I make up my own mind.
  • Lisa Nicklas

    Teacher, Aspen Valley

    Penrose Hospital area

    What do you make of the activism of actors, writers, musicians and moviemakers in election years? They're always trying to get a message and viewpoint across that will influence people, but it seems like they do it more in election years.

    Why should we listen to what actors and musicians say about politics? They're more out there than the ordinary person, more in the middle of things.

    Did Dylan make a difference? Dylan?

    What artistic endeavor has most influenced your politics? None, really. I make up my own mind.

click to enlarge Rob Drumm  -  - Respiratory therapist -  - Wasson High School area -  - Why should we care what musicians and movie - stars say about politics? Part of the creative process - is questioning the status quo. Involvement in politics is - part of that. I wouldn't take their opinion over anyone - else's, though. -  - Whose impact on contemporary politics has been - greater: Michael Moore's or Charlton Heston's? With - me, it's Michael Moore, but this town is so conservative - that Charlton Heston probably speaks more to the typical - person on the street. -  - Did Dylan make a difference? Probably not. -  - What artist would you most like to discuss politics - with over beers? James Joyce, especially his - influences on Irish politics.
  • Rob Drumm

    Respiratory therapist

    Wasson High School area

    Why should we care what musicians and movie stars say about politics? Part of the creative process is questioning the status quo. Involvement in politics is part of that. I wouldn't take their opinion over anyone else's, though.

    Whose impact on contemporary politics has been greater: Michael Moore's or Charlton Heston's? With me, it's Michael Moore, but this town is so conservative that Charlton Heston probably speaks more to the typical person on the street.

    Did Dylan make a difference? Probably not.

    What artist would you most like to discuss politics with over beers? James Joyce, especially his influences on Irish politics.

click to enlarge Colin Epstein  -  - CC freshman -  - Berkeley, Calif. -  - Why do so many artists wax political during election - years? Well-known people can reach more of the - population and get their message to the average person - better. -  - Should we care what celebrities say about politics? -  It's valuable to know a lot of different opinions, - but celebrity opinions shouldn't have any more weight - than those of our neighbor. -  - Did Dylan make a difference? To his - generation, he did. -  - Whose impact on politics has been greater: Michael - Moore's or Charlton Heston's? I wish I could say - Michael Moore, but it's Charlton Heston. The NRA is an - enormously powerful organization with a massive impact - on policy-making. -  - What work of art most influenced your politics? - My politics aren't influenced much by art, but the most - powerful thing I've seen recently was a performance art - piece about Israel choreographed by Keith Hennessy at - the Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder. -  - Who had the most powerful political message: The - Grateful Dead, Ronald Reagan or Malcolm X? - Malcolm X because people should have the right to arm - themselves if injustice is going on. I also agree with his - change from Muslim separatism to world brotherhood. I - don't think it's possible, but I agree with him - ideologically. -  - What artistic figure would you most enjoy discussing - politics with over beers? The hip-hop artist Sage - Francis because he has such a powerful way with words.
  • Colin Epstein

    CC freshman

    Berkeley, Calif.

    Why do so many artists wax political during election years? Well-known people can reach more of the population and get their message to the average person better.

    Should we care what celebrities say about politics? It's valuable to know a lot of different opinions, but celebrity opinions shouldn't have any more weight than those of our neighbor.

    Did Dylan make a difference? To his generation, he did.

    Whose impact on politics has been greater: Michael Moore's or Charlton Heston's? I wish I could say Michael Moore, but it's Charlton Heston. The NRA is an enormously powerful organization with a massive impact on policy-making.

    What work of art most influenced your politics? My politics aren't influenced much by art, but the most powerful thing I've seen recently was a performance art piece about Israel choreographed by Keith Hennessy at the Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder.

    Who had the most powerful political message: The Grateful Dead, Ronald Reagan or Malcolm X? Malcolm X because people should have the right to arm themselves if injustice is going on. I also agree with his change from Muslim separatism to world brotherhood. I don't think it's possible, but I agree with him ideologically.

    What artistic figure would you most enjoy discussing politics with over beers? The hip-hop artist Sage Francis because he has such a powerful way with words.

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