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Poster art advertising a "Not My Presidents Day" event in St. Louis, Mo. (This is Who I Am Now: Artists on Politics/Facebook)

'Not My President's Day': Artists and Performers to Resist Trump with Feb. 20 Events

Coalition of artists has set in motion a 'series of DIY performance events held around the world to help mobilize and channel our anger into art and activism'

Nika Knight

"Not My President's Day" performances and shows will be taking to stages nationwide on Monday, using the federal holiday to highlight artistic resistance to the Trump administration.

From Baltimore to Seattle, artists, musicians, and performers of all stripes are planning to showcase responses to President Donald Trump as a way to fuel resistance. There are even anti-Trump performances planned in Europe.

The plan for artistic protests took root shortly after the election, the Detroit News reported, when Holly Hughes, a performance artist in Ann Arbor, Mich., channeled her anger and sadness over the election results into a proposal for a local cabaret-style event in which artists would showcase their response to the new president.

"I was thinking maybe we'd get 100 people at some dive bar in Ann Arbor," Hughes told the Detroit News. "Within a couple of hours, I had almost 2,000 people contacting me through Facebook and was quickly overwhelmed by people wanting to do something like this."

In fact, the proposal was so popular that it led to the formation of a national coalition of artists called BAD AND NASTY (also known as Bad Hombres and Nasty Women), defining itself as "a loose knit coalition of artists and activists from the U.S. and beyond who are tired of waking up every morning since Election Day 2016 feeling angry, scared, and sad."

BAD AND NASTY released a guide to help artists put on anti-Trump shows on Presidents Day in cities around the country.

The performances are left to local artists to create, and range from music acts to drag queens to improv comedy to plays and films, with the overall aim "to mobilize our ongoing resistance and channel our anger into art and activism," according to BAD AND NASTY.

Several renowned artists have also donated "scripts" for performers to read, such as one from award-winning poet Eileen Myles called "Acceptance Speech" in which she imagines an alternate world in which she won the election: "[Y]es I promise you poetic presidency," Myles writes. "We will occupy all government buildings and memorials housing and holding and loving the homeless and the sick and the starving."

A separate group called Not My President's Day is organizing on Facebook a series of rallies and political protests in cities around the country, from Chicago to New York to Los Angeles to New Orleans, to take place throughout the holiday weekend.

Find a "Not My President's Day" event near you here and here.


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