Tag Archives: keith glab

Occupy My Heart anniversary: Which cast member was the FBI mole?

One year ago today the Occupy inspired play, Occupy My Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol, hit the stage for the first in what would be a series of standing room only  shows across Chicago. Amid revelations this week that the FBI gathered extensive intelligence on the Occupy movement, according to formerly secret documents recently obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. The documents clearly show that the FBI gathered and shared intelligence about the movement, which it acknowledged as “peaceful and non-violent” that was then shared with corporations, Wallstreet, banks and media, all groups that w ere clearly and loudly in opposition to Occupy’s demands for reforms, transparency and an end to government corruption and collusion with corporate and banking interests to the detriment of the so-called 99% of the nation un represented, or under-represented. http://www.democracynow.org/2012/12/27/the_fbi_vs_occupy_secret_docs

Despite the increasingly overt violent rhetoric by the Tea Party, a corporate and media invention playing on the  base fears of a predominently male and elderly conservative constituency,  there was no parallel scrutiny by the FBI. Tea Party members regularly showed up at rallies with weapons, including a presidential stop in Arizona by Barack Obama, all implicit threats.

The FBI gathered extensive intell on Occupy movements across the country in a coordinated effort with proxies, local law enforcement and private agencies such as Stratfor to undermine and discredit Occupy. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which obtained the documents under the Freedom of Information Act, told Democracy Now this week that “there is repeated evidence of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, American intelligence agencies really working as a private intelligence arm for corporations, for Wall Street, for the banks, for the very entities that people were rising up to protest against.” Click the link below to view the documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund: http://www.justiceonline.org/commentary/fbi-files-ows.html#documents

The documents show that the FBI rationalized its actions, by stating that Occupy might “provide an outlet for a lone offender exploiting the movement for reasons associated with general government dissatisfaction.” Interesting that they did not apply that same template to the Tea Party movement, which was openly hostile to the government, and whose rhetoric maintained and built on an underlying threat of violence.

Occupy My Heart, the Occupy inspired play arose from the Chicago movement in November of 2011, drawing its small cast from within the movement. The play made national headlines, filled theaters and generated a radio play on WCPT, Chicago’s progressive Talk radio. The play helped change the national media’s negative narrative about Occupy. Now, in light of these recent revelations, the question arises; which member of the auspicious and talented cast was an FBI mole. As writer and producer of the play, I can confidently exclude myself, failing some Manchurian Candidate scenario. So, I will offer the suspects, and ask the readers to hypothesize which of the cast was a possible FBI infiltrator?

Zachary Johnson-Dunlop: “Josh” in the play, Zach played the banker who is visited three spirits in the play. Over the past year Zach has changed his appearance several times, and has become a vegetarian. Zach is an imposing figure. At first, recalling the outdoor play in Chicago’s Grant Park, I recalled that Dunlop’s suit was wrinkled and a bit tight, something I had trouble imagining any self-respecting FBI man would allow. Does that remove him from suspicion, or was it pure genius for an undercover agent?

Teresa Veramendi: Playing the female lead. Teresa is brilliant. Perhaps too brilliant. She played the part of  a passionate Occupy protester, and Josh’s love interest almost too well. A founding member of “Theater for the Oppressed” in Chicago, could she still be gathering intelligence among the artists and actors she openly associates with?

Timothy Calwell: Tim’s contribution to the play was incredible, helping to bind the cast and production. He played several parts, including the Spirit of Christmas to come, an unemployed worker, homeless man and security guard. Within months of the end of the run, Tim moved to New Orleans. He claims to work for a film company there, but what  a perfect excuse to have a lot of surveillance and camera equipment around. Tim remains, in my book, a  strong candidate for FBI informant.  

Hannah Friedman: Appeared out of no where, offering her amazing talents as director for the show. We met surreptitiously one evening at  coffee shop, as if she did not wish to have too many witnesses around. Throughout the month-long rehearsals Hannah disappeared several times, traveling east to “visit family.” Hannah still directs and produces with the “Theater for the Oppressed” group, as well as other theater efforts. Theater and the arts has always been a breeding ground for subversives. Is Hannah, if that is her real name, a deep mole?

Rebecca Kling: Rebecca delighted audiences playing several characters in the play, a TV producer, Josh’s mother, and Josh’s cruel and heartless boss, as though she was trying extra hrad to gain their trust and favor. The ease with which Rebecca moved between those characters makes her suspect as  a deep mole. She continues doing theater and recently released a new book, “No Gender Left Behind,” available on Amazon. Does that only deepen her undercover profile?  

Donier Tyler: Donier, impassioned and talented as Zach’s floosey girlfriend in the play is in my opinion the least candidate for an FBI mole. She is outspoken on middle east affairs, having travelled there several times. Earlier this year she portrayed another character from my last novel, The Last Man, in a dramatic reading in which she wrested the part of the Black male character in the book and redefined it as a feminist/humanist piece; both which in the released documents the FBI have shown themselves to be opposed to. It might have been the perfect cover.   

Keith Glab: He played a cop in the play, and nailed the part, almost as if it was part of his past. Hmm. He also played the jilted boyfriend to Teresa’s character. Keith lived through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. He worked at Major League Baseball Advanced Media, and was the In-stadium operator of a system used to track and locate every pitch thrown in baseball games at Wrigley and US Cellular Field, both perfect covers, and excellent places to pass sensitive intell over to FBI contacts without being detected.

Agnes Otap: A student at the University of Illinois at the time, her parts as the “Corporate” journalist, who becomes disillusioned with the corporate slant on Occupy, and also as the quirky street-kid spirit of Christmas past were  stand-outs. She was quiet and reserved, even nervous before rehearsals, but came alive during her parts. It was almost as if she was two different people. Suspect?

 Write in with your suspect, or like the Revolution and Beer facebook Page for regular updates, and you choice.

Tune in every Sunday 9-0am only on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT for the Revolution and Beer segment as Brian Murray and I sample the beer of the week with the Our Town gang, and run down the grassroots calendar for the week. If you’re tired of talk, talk, talk radio, this is do something radio. Have a beer. Get involved.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook  at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., www.glunzbeers.com. And check out their fine beer glasswear selections  at the “Beerables” link  at the bottom of the page.  

With thanks to the good people at Louis Glunz Beer Inc, a family owned business for 125 years in Chicago. Happy Holidays! Visit them @ http://www.glunzbeers.com/Site/SeasonalBeers.aspx?hd=1


Occupy My Heart: The radio Show on Best of the Left

The Play that made national headlines, changed hearts and energized a movement is now available on Best of the Left at the link below:

 
Filled with heart and truth, Occupy My Heart: A revolutionary Christmas Carol is not just a story for the holidays, but a tale of our times. You will be touched in this modern retelling of the Dickens classic.

Please share it with your friends, especially those who still think the struggle of our times is not the co-opting of our great nation by corporate and financial greed.


Staging a protest — on a makeshift stage: Outdoor reworking of ‘A Christmas Carol’ makes use of actors who have been drawn into the protest movement

originally published in the Chicago Tribune. All ights reserved by B. Brotman and the Chicago Tribune:

December 24, 2011|By Barbara Brotman, Chicago Tribune reporter

The audience members began to arrive, walking behind a man carrying a sign reading, “Where are the jobs created by the tax cuts for the wealthy?”

Occupy Chicago was putting on a show.

The set was ready. In front of the memorial to Abraham Lincoln in Grant Park, a bench was hammered onto pieces of plywood to keep it from being blown over. Rolling wardrobes on the sides were anchored against the wind by backpacks. Scene lists were duct-taped to the tall columns on each side.

“I like that Abe Lincoln is looking over us,” said Teresa Veramendi, looking up at the president’s somber, seated figure. “I think he would approve.”

“Occupy My Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol,” by writer-activist William Turck, is a modern take on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”:

On a cold, snowy Christmas Eve, an ambitious Chicago banker loses his job and his money-hungry girlfriend, encounters a former love who is part of the Occupy movement, is visited by three spirits who show him painful truths, and finds redemption.

“It really stays pretty true to the classic Dickens tale of somebody who has sold out all their values to the pursuit of money and isn’t really happy,” said Zach Johnson-Dunlop, 28, who plays the banker.

The action is set amid a protest, and last week it was seen by audience members who had just come from one. The premiere — a single outdoor performance Friday afternoon — was coordinated to begin at the end of a protest march that set out from LaSalle and Jackson.

The small and chilled crowd, joined by several perplexed tourists, watched and occasionally participated, to director Hannah Friedman’s delight.

The actors gently shooed away a man who had walked on stage to take close-up pictures of what he thought was a real TV newscast but was actually part of the show. And one Occupy regular kept joining the actors portraying protesters in the show.

Turck conceived of the play just before Thanksgiving. As he attended Occupy Chicago’s general assemblies, he was struck by how many theater people he was meeting.

“I thought, ‘Boy, if we could channel this talent, there’s no better form of communication, heart to heart, than art,'” he said.

Christmas was a little more than a month away. And Turck happened to be a great fan of Dickens.

“On DVD somewhere, I’ve got just about every version of ‘A Christmas Carol,'” he said.

Turck had his concept. He banged out the script in a week, returned to Occupy’s general assembly “and tried to convince people I was sane.”

“He jumped up and said, ‘I have written a play,'” said Veramendi, 26, an actress who teaches theater in Chicago schools. “People were very excited. … Everyone cheered.

“It’s a great vehicle to get people interested and to bring more people into the conversation who might not come out to a protest — but who might come to a play.”

Friedman, 22, who has been an assistant director and stage manager at Lookingglass Theatre Company, Piven Theatre Workshop and Chicago Dramatists, saw a notice on a Chicago theater website asking for actors and a director for an Occupy play. She met with Turck and Veramendi.

“I got a chance to read the script, and I really liked it a lot,” Friedman said. “He’s taken this classic — it’s almost become an icon in American culture — and turned it into a revolutionary story.”

Turck’s version differs in one important respect. “Our banker, Josh, is a likable character. He’s not Scrooge,” he said. “His arguments are compelling.

“We tried to be very realistic. We didn’t want to be cartoonish. We really wanted people to think.”

On Friday, actors changed costumes — all of which included coats — on stage, in the open. No one used mics, and though traffic hummed, sirens yowled and trains whistled, the actors generally made themselves heard.

The audience, standing behind or sitting on the steps up to the memorial, chanted along with the play’s protesters and tried to stay warm. One young man passed out chemical hand warmers; another, cookies.

At the end, people wiggled upward-raised fingers, an Occupy expression of approval, and gave enthusiastic reviews.

“It was funny, but it also had real events and actions. And I liked the turnaround of the main character,” said Ryan Griffin, who added powerful praise for an outdoor performance in winter:

“I was really getting cold, and I wanted to get out of here. But I really wanted to see the play.”

“Occupy My Heart” will be performed indoors, for free, at 8 p.m. Monday at the Prop Theater, 3502-04 N. Elston Ave., and at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at Studio BE, 3110 N. Sheffield Ave.

A radio play the cast recorded was to be broadcast at 10 a.m. Saturday on WCPT, 820 AM, during Marshall Stern’s “Awakened America” program. A podcast of the show was scheduled to be posted soon at bit.ly/uH3oBb.

bbrotman@tribune.com


%d bloggers like this: