Words and Not Enough Words and Words Don't Say Enough

Co-written with Ethan Philbrick

There are words and not enough words about the outbursts of violence in Wisconsin and Colorado. We at Anna Deavere Smith Works are mindful that words can never tell the entire story. In fact, there are gag orders and other resistances to speech. And then there is political speech: the "haute couture" of language, that by its nature simply cannot, and should not, tell the whole story.

In the artistic realm, many of us strive to carve out, or even go as squatters into, a place where the search for meaning uses other resources than words. Ethan Philbrick, Assistant Curator here at Anna Deavere Smith Works, is an improvising cellist, who has been thinking about these violent acts, and doing musical improvisations in response to them. We include his latest improvisation, "Sketch #1," here:

In today's Los Angeles Times, clergy are speaking about the value of public lamentation. Art, I believe is always a public call. We invite any musicians who would like to respond musically to these tragedies to do so by sending a musical response to our website. Send a link to your piece here and we will gather them together to re-post next week. Maybe collectively our response, our call, our cry can be symphonically relevant.