Philip Glass says he will join Occupy Wall Street members on Thursday at 10:30 pm at Lincoln Center for what is described as a debate about “the effects of increased privatization and corporatization of all aspects of society." The minimalist composer's Satyagraha will be in progress at the Metropolitan Opera as the protesters converge on the plaza.
Last month, about two dozen Occupy Wall Street protesters staged a demonstration at Lincoln Center after a Juilliard Opera Theater performance of Kommilitonen! by Peter Maxwell Davies. Also in Novemberg, a group of anti-war demonstrators called the Granny Peace Brigade also held a vigil on Lincoln Center Plaza, which ended peacefully.
Tonight's planned event continues the movement's claim to the space, drawing an explicit connection to Glass's opera, which depicts Gandhi’s experiences in South Africa and takes its title from the Sanskrit word meaning "truth force."
Lincoln Center Plaza is owned by the City of New York, which it leases to Lincoln Center. The arts center confirmed that all performances will take place as scheduled Thursday, including the opera, which is to end approximately 45 minutes after the OWS meeting begins. Glass has not responded to a request for comment as of press time.
A statement by Occupy Wall Street noted "a striking irony that Bloomberg L.P. is one of the Lincoln Center’s leading corporate sponsors." Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the clearing of the OWS encampment at Zuccotti Park on November 15, and his corporation donated between $250,000 and $499,999 to Lincoln Center toward their 2010-2011 season, according to the Lincoln Center Web site. In addition, the David H. Koch Theater is named after the head of Koch Industries, which funds several conservative causes.
Possibly inspired by Gandhi, members of Occupy Wall Street have threatened to begin a hunger strike should they not be allowed to protest on Lincoln Center Plaza.
UPDATE, Dec. 2, 11:30 am: Philip Glass did speak to the Occupy Wall Street demonstration at Lincoln Center Thursday night, after the police moved the protesters to the steps in front of the plaza. New Yorker music critic Alex Ross and James C. Taylor of the LA Times have reports on the scene.