Shepherd Siegel will be joining us September 8 at 4pm for a reading of his new book Disruptive Play. Join us for a reading, conversation, and insight into culture.
Disruptive Play is recipient of both the INDIES Book of the Year Award and the CIPA EVVY Award. The book journeys from ancient folkloric appearances of Tricksters such as Raven and Èṣù-Elegba, to their confined role in Western civilization, and then on to Trickster's 20th century jailbreak as led by dada and the hippies. Disruptive Play bears witness to how this spirit informs social progress today, whether by Anonymous, Banksy, Bugs Bunny, or unrevealed mischief-makers and culture jammers. Such play is revolutionary and lights the path to a transformed society.
Original Play is the frolic and noncompetitive play that animals and human babies do in order to have fun and to keep on playing...not to win or to lose. It is a substance of the universe that occurs in all life. It is the behavior by which love and belonging are expressed, given, and received.
When play moves into contest or other roles and rules, with winners and losers, it becomes Cultural Play. Issues of ego and narcissism are issues for Cultural Play, not for Original Play.
Disruptive Play occurs in the rare times when the rhythms of Original Play suddenly appear in a political or cultural setting, settings conventionally fraught with Cultural Play. Like driving a clown car across the field during an official NFL game. Or Raven tricking Chief into releasing the sun, the moon, and the stars into the sky. Or a surreptitious Banksy graffiti that invades a museum or the public commons. Tricking power into performing an act of love.
Dr. Shepherd Siegel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, in the midst of that whole utopian Sixties thing. This led to his career as a professional rock and jazz musician, until his passion for education took over. His first teaching assignment was with youth in lockup in the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Detention Center. Striving to make the greatest positive impact, he earned his doctorate from UC Berkeley while inventing innovative internship programs for troubled and troubling youth. He has over thirty publications in the education field. He and his book—Career Ladders: Transition from School to Adult Life—have received numerous awards, including one from the US Department of Labor. From 1996-2012 he led Career + Technical Education for Seattle Public Schools. He then worked with the STEM-education organization Project Lead the Way until 2015. The KAPPAN published his article about a meaningful high school diploma.
Somewhere in there he played with the jazz trio Swingmatism and the power pop band Thin Ice. Dr. Siegel sustains a wide-ranging knowledge of music and can show you how to have fun with that. He has returned to his countercultural roots to write Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture” and to spread its message of playfulness and progressive change. His favorite hobby is to be with groups of people large and small, suss out the energy, find the funny bone, and see if he can’t help get the group rhythm to swing.