Jenny Heinz, 72, refused to remove a sign affixed to the back of her jacket that said: “NO! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America.”
Dear Katherine Farley and the Board of Directors of Lincoln Center:
The other night I was at Lincoln Center–sort of my home away from home–to hear a glorious performance of Beethoven’s 8th and 7th, my favorite symphony since I began listening to symphonies many, many years ago.
I was in what you are now calling David Geffen Hall, the place I still call Avery Fisher Hall because he’s the guy who gave you the initial funding and I’m not promiscuous: I go home with the guy who brought me to the dance.
Which brings me to your absurd action in barring Jenny Heinz from that very same hall a night or so earlier for wearing a jacket with a sign on the back saying, “NO! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America.”
Let me remind you of the First Amendment, of which Ms. Heinz availed herself really quietly.
Let me inform you that our city and its citizens have been confronting this Horror called Trump daily and en masse.
Let me bring you into the loop so clearly stated on Jenny Heinz’s jacket, and covered every day in the New York Times, the Daily News, the Atlantic, the New Yorker, Newsweek, the Washington Post, Harper’s, the Nation, MSNBC–and on and on.
Here’s the loop: we are confronting a White House occupied by fascists.
Jenny Heinz’s clarion call was discreetly on the back of her jacket. It was not a huge placard being waved around accompanied by chants. It would not have blocked her fellow audience members’ view of the stage and performers, as did the tin foil helmet and horns once worn by someone sitting in front of me at the Met before a performance of Gõtterdämmerung. (It was funny, we all laughed, she removed the helmet before the prologue.)
I have no problem with Geffen personally or politically. He’s a very rich guy and if he feels like donating $100,000,000 to Lincoln Center, providing you put his name up on a hall, hey. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to make such bargains with very, very rich people. Our taxes would be high enough so that the performing arts would be amply funded by one or several of our governments.
Short of government funds, though, I’d like very, very rich guys to have the strength of ego not to demand that stick-my-name-up-there-or-else quid pro quo. You know, a sense of proportion would be appreciated.
But now let me deal with Lincoln Center’s State Theater. I will not inscribe here the name $100,000,000 slammed onto the home of the City Ballet. Oh, wait, yes I will: David Koch.
The Kochs–whose private political confabs I term the Neu Wannsee Conference, i.e., the Koch Bros Final Solution to Democracy–are more to blame for buying the scary fascist politics we now have than anyone, more to blame for Jenny Heinz’s jacket than Jenny Heinz.
What is thoroughly repulsive to me is that David Koch gave you $100,000,000 not only to advertise his brand on the State Theater but, like a medieval tyrant, to buy an indulgence for his big, big sins against this country, from the premier arts organization in the very city that despises him and his doings. You put his name on the building, he comes to events, is photographed, is a cynosure, and he’s bought his way into being one of us? The hell he has.
Jenny Heinz’s jacket caused you to throw her out of David Geffen Hall?
What festering hypocrisy! In the name of humanity you should be throwing David Koch off the State Theater.
I don’t know Jenny Heinz but I hope she persists. I’m with her.
Most sincerely, Naomi Fein