Barack Obama

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Interview: Holly Near

Singer-songwriter Holly Near has been combining music and activism for over four decades, dating back to the turbulent early-70’s when as a cast member of the Broadway musical Hair she was part of a silent vigil for the victims of the Kent State shootings, and as a member of the FTA (Free The Army) Tour she traveled with Jane Fonda and others to protest the Vietnam War.

Over the years Near has also lent her talents to feminist and LGBTQ causes, and she has worked with other socially conscious musicians including Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and Joan Baez.

Near is also notable for being one of the first women to found her own record label, Redwood Records, which released her own recordings and those by “politically conscious artists from around the world”.

Near’s honors include being named Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine, and being nominated as one of the “1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize” in 2005.

Near answered the following questions by email on 11/16/12 for a preview article for the 11/28/12 benefit by her and actor/activist Mike Farrell (of B. J. Honeycutt fame from M*A*S*H) for Antioch University Santa Barbara.
(Irene Young photo)

Interview: Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard is widely regarded as one of the top stand-up comedians of his generation, with a surreal, stream-of-consciousness style that’s a hit in Britain, America, and pretty much everywhere else in the world.

Izzard started doing comedy during his only year at the University of Sheffield in north-central England. He spent a decade in relative obscurity until a performance at a 1991 AIDS benefit lifted his profile. He went on to win a British Comedy Award for “Top Stand Up Comedian” for his 1993 show Live at the Ambassadors. His U.S. breakthrough came from his show Dress To Kill, which was shown on HBO in 1999 and for which he won two Emmy Awards. He recently became the first solo stand-up comedian to perform at the famed Hollywood Bowl.

Izzard has also acted in many movies (including Velvet Golmine, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen, and Across the Universe), starred in in the television show The Riches with Minnie Driver, and provided his voice to the animated films Igor and Cars 2.

Other notable things about Eddie Izzard are that he ran 43 marathons in 51 days for charity, he appeared briefly onstage with his heroes on Monty Python Live at Aspen (and has been referred to by John Cleese as “the lost Python”), he was a huge supporter of the London Olympics, and he is a heterosexual cross-dresser.

This interview was conducted by phone on 11/9/12 for a preview article for Izzard’s stand-up comedy performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara on 11/17/12.