Last night we saw the film, "Wrestling with Angels," just two days before it leaves NYC. It is entirely about three years, 2001-04 in the life of the playwright, artist/activist Tony Kushner. We see his work and his person as inspirational, profoundly moving, and funny. The film's publicity sums it up, "... from his childhood home in Louisiana to his development as a writer, politically active gay man...a force for a more literate and compassionate universe."
He and I, if one can be so bold, share a concern about the survival of the earth through doing something about it. Kushner's tikkun olam spirit toward "repairing the world" was shaped by a more Jewish-identified family than mine. My father and mother embodied the social justice focus typical of 1920s and 30s Jewish leftists but lacked the spirituality of religious observance and personal humanity of Kushner's parents.
In the film you can join him as he travels from his home in NYC during the 2004 election and risks arrest in Florida while helping people register to vote. You're a guest at his marriage ceremony, with female rabbi, to the writer, Mark Harris. Shiver in the cold of wintertime Central Park for the shooting of the teleplay of "Angels in America." And see his 75 year old father, musician and businessman, who has come to terms gracefully with the unexpected: a gay son.
For illustration of this post, I chose a kind of homage to Tony Kushner--a condom amulet titled "The Weekender." The knitted sweater remnant was a gift from another talented artist, Teva Durham. When I began this work to raise the consciousness of women over 50 about HIV, Teva had just completed her beautiful knit book, Loop-d-Loop. In the pile of leftovers from the free-spirit styles for the book was this sweater cuff. Perfect for wrist wear--holder of condoms, lubricant. I like to think that Kushner would appreciate my urge to get your attention about something very important in this quirky way.
Here, by the way, is a good piece about "Wrestling with Angels" from the New York Times as the film opened; this talks about what was not in the film. Others have commented, and I agree, that it would have benefitted from more on the bumps in the life of this extraordinary 50 year old. Opens November in Boston. Check out this screening schedule for other venues..west coast bloggers, Saz Secrets and Busha Full of Grace will find it Berkeley and San Francisco in December.