Occupy Houston: "Who Killed Democracy?"

Craig Malisow
The Death of Democracy, by Occupy Houston
Before marching to Discovery Green Saturday, the Occupy Houston folks occupying a sliver of Tranquility Park performed a brief play about how corporate greed blows, but it's all good 'cause capital-D-Democracy will come back to kick ass.

Written and directed by Caleb Travis, "Who Killed Democracy?" featured former City Council candidate and OH Maven Amy Price as Lady Democracy (in a coffin), Matthew Loughran as Uncle Sam and Dustin Phipps as a pipe-smoking, trenchcoated police inspector.

Frankly, Hair Balls has grown pretty tired of the Occupy movement, so we appreciated the injection of a little theater into the proceedings, especially since the play had a sense of humor. However, the play suffered from the same overarching problem plaguing post-Civil Rights "movements"; namely, the message will not likely resonate outside the group's little bubble. This is especially true for any message that is inherently vague, and for any group that prides itself on not having a leader.

Craig Malisow
To wit: Probably our favorite performance in the play came from 20-year-old Jocelyn Viera, working toward her teaching certificate at Lone Star Community College. She played the outspoken, passionate "Sister," and has a real stage presence, as it were. Viera told us, before the play, that she's always been interested in sociopolitical movements. Before joining the OH crowd, she had started a group called The People Pushing Liberty. She told us she's always been inspired by the likes of Che Guevara, Martin Luther King and Gandhi.

Those were some pretty impressive dudes. One of the reasons for that was because they were true leaders. They were master tacticians who knew how to choreograph the shit out massive demonstrations; how to use the media to their advantage; how to -- dare we say it -- create a brand. Decades after their deaths, they still inspire Viera and countless others.

We enjoyed the play, but we're not sure it crystallized the brand, and it certainly didn't preach to anyone outside its choir. Which is a shame -- there's a lot of heart in Occupy Houston. We just think there needs to be a lot more direction.

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