The National Endowment for the Arts has provided funding for the San Francisco Mime Troupe’s annual summer performances pretty much every year since 1998. That won’t continue in Donald Trump’s America, though, as the N.E.A. hopes to silence Mime Troupe by cutting off the federal arts funding the group has received for 18 of the last 19 years.
This doesn’t come as a surprise, after wingnut news site Breitbart ran a story this June with the headline “Trump NEA Grants $20K for Lesbian Illegal Alien Musical.” Breitbart, whose executive chairman Steve Bannon served as President Trump’s chief strategist, is that journalistic paragon who have also run stories claiming that Mexicans and Muslims started the North Bay wildfires, that Planned Parenthood works with the Satanic Temple, and of course the old go-to hoax that President Obama was born in Kenya.
But the Breitbart exposé appears to have been successful at snuffing out the S.F. Mime Troupe’s federal funding. “We do not know if this sudden evaporation of funds is a direct result of the relentless attacks on our friends at the N.E.A.” Mime Troupe resident playwright Michael Gene Sullivan said in a release. “We hope this will be a temporary circumstance, and that their friends and supporters will contact their representatives to petition for a resumption of funding. If the only people in Congress who talk about free activist theatre are those who oppose it, then theatre of, by, and for the people cannot survive.”
N.E.A. database searches show that the Mime Troupe has received federal arts funding every year since 1998 (with the exception of 2013). The grant has been $20,000 each of the last three years, and was as high as $50,000 in 2011 — during George W. Bush’s presidency!
A loss of $20,000 in annual federal funding won’t stop the 58-year-old S.F. Mime Troupe. But it does make their winter funding drive a whole lor more critical to their survival. The Mime Troupe has made it through a lot in their six decades, while President Trump’s time in charge of the country is spent eating McDonald’s and KFC.
We’ll see who survives in good health for longer.