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An Evening of Firsts: An Intern's Look at Laughing Liberally's "Stand Up For Freedom!"

by Ben Lust

This past Wednesday, I went to my first event as an intern for Living Liberally. "Stand Up for Freedom!" presented by the PEN American Center and featuring Laughing Liberally, was a huge hit. In a quick summation before I begin, the night was highlighted by many wonderful first-time experiences.

I was not sure what to expect when I walked in those doors of the Galapagos Arts Center at 6pm, two hours before the show started. To be honest, I did not even know right away. It took a good thirty seconds of staring into what I thought was an oddly placed black mirror on the ground before I realized it was in fact water...there was water all around the stage and the tables! Expecting to walk into a customary theater, this urban setting was a breath of fresh air to me.

Following this water-revelation, I began to chat with Beth, one of the event planners from PEN. After telling her that this was the first time I was in Dumbo (amazing name), she encouraged me to wander around a little. I walked down the boardwalk and got some great photos of some afternoon views and the giant merry-go-round.

When I returned to Galapagos, I took my position of selling tickets at the front door. Happy to help out, we collected a fat stack of money as people began to roll on in. The chatter as they opened the first door was pretty great, some people immediately saying things such as "this place smells like a pool." Little did they know how right they really were. As showtime inched closer, it suddenly hit me that, although I love comedy routines and watch them all the time, I have never seen one in person. This revelation served to even further my excitement for the show.

Katie Halper, the MC, started the show off right with a great set, warming us up to see her several times through the night as she performed before introducing each comedian.

Next was Negin Farsad. Negin was the only one of the comedians I was familiar with, due to her role in the Campaignful video series, which makes politics more approachable by way of a hilarious behind-the-scenes satire of a Republican "War Room." Negin did not disappoint, blending hilarious stories from her escapades on the dance floor, to casually breaking a toilet in Iran, with observations on politics and culture.

Next up was Baratunde Thurston. It brought a tear to my eye when Baratunde built up the courage to confess his biggest fear to us: being killed by a drone strike ordered by a white lady scared he is going to take her purse. Baratunde continued to explain awkward racial encounters he has experienced as well as his opinion on Mitt Romney and his team (far from enthusiastic about the possibility that he is the next president).

Once Baratunde exited, Katie took the stage once more. This time, she vented about a quirky past boyfriend of hers, whom seemed far from ideal after hearing several stories about him. Just when I began to wrap my head around her ex-boyfriend's relationship with his mother, Katie said goodbye one last time. Throughout the night, Katie did a great job combining true humor with current events. Katie touched over topics ranging from human rights to freedom of speech.

Next up, John Fugelsang. John proceeded to display his extreme political knowledge whilst humorously expounding the different types of liberals and conservatives in the world. All in all, each comedian had an intelligent set that had the audience laughing all the way through.

As I was saying before, this night was filled with firsts for me. My first time in Dumbo, my first time working for Laughing Liberally, and my first time at a comedy show. It turned out to be an amazing night with lots of laughs and great memories. One of the most rewarding parts of the night was learning about the PEN organization. PEN works to promote free expression across the entire world. By utilizing mediums such as comedy shows, PEN makes itself a very approachable organization that serves of such importance in the scheme of things.

Thanks to the whole Laughing Liberally and PEN team for allowing me to help out!

The GOP Is Banking on Replacement Refs

Romney's 47% insult to America
was quickly followed by his 14% tax returns
and an ever-diminishing percentage in the polls
but he says it's still "early" in the race.

Ryan's runs for VP like it's a marathon:
a long, painful course requiring hard work
at which he's mediocre, but claims he's world-class.

GOP candidates everywhere are alienating
women, youth, gays and non-white Americans,
yet argue they represent the real America
…or at least the aging white male part of it.

If elections were football, the GOP would be scrambling
for one Hail Mary pass to change their fortunes.
But with Super PACs, Fox News & voter suppression,
this game isn't on an even playing field.

...and Republicans are banking on replacement refs
getting the call wrong in the end zone.

Florida 2000...it's happened before.
Voter purges, ID laws...it could happen again.
It's time we get real referees back in this game.

Share your election theories and queries
as you raise your voice & raise a glass
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Mathematics vs. Mitt-Thematics

Mitt calls half of America dependents,
implying they are freeloading moochers
-- including the working poor, seniors
& middle class families who pay payroll taxes.

Mitt says these voters all support Obama
though Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia,
Idaho, South Carolina are among the top states
for residents paying no federal income tax.

Mitt says he doesn't worry about these people.
He should worry because these people
are regular Americans, voters, and the deciders
who are about to keep him unemployed.

Mitt's math led to Mitt's myth about America.
Truth-challenged Romney finally got a fact right
but he drew all the wrong conclusions.
No wonder he usually sticks with fiction.

He tried to win us with mathematics
but he lost us again with Mitt-thematics.
And now 47 is the new 99...

Bill Clinton did say the secret was "arithmetic."
For Mitt, he should've added "Don't be a jerk."

Liberals + drinks + good conversation
adds up to a welcoming scene & fun night,
so join the math of politics and pints
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Campaigns Bounce, Then Reality Bites

After the DNC got us re-fired and ready to go
the next day's jobs report was ready to stall,
so while the Prez enjoys a strong bounce,
too many still suffer a weak slide.

On Labor Day we honored working Americans
and committed to move forward with them,
and then Chicago teachers were forced to strike
against Obama's anti-worker ex-chief-of-staff.

We solemnly marked 9/11, but also were grateful
that bin Laden is gone, troops are returning,
& for the hope that bloomed in the Arab Spring.
Then violence in Libya took our Ambassador's life.

A convention can make us all soar,
until the real world returns with a thud.
Campaigns bounce…and then reality bites.

These folks may all enjoy being candidates
but we hope they realize governing is hard.

If you choose, share the news, share your views
and do it all over a sip of liberal booze
as we share a drink & what we think
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

Speech Us, Preach Us, But Will He Reach Us?

Michelle moved us, Castro connected,
Warren whipped us up & Bill blew us away,
but after a series of inspiring addresses,
it's ultimately Barack Obama on the ballot.

The President & VP will take the stage
to stand by their first term and seek a second,
yet it's not just if the past four were good,
but convincing us the next four can be better.

We know the President's orations can inspire
but also that his actions at times inspire less.
Can tonight's words renew our hope for change,
as well as prove these are more than just words?

Mr. President, you'll preach us and teach us,
but in the end, will your speech truly reach us?

And set your bar higher than Mitt's speech.
In the competition for best address,
it's the First Lady who is your main rival.

Your convention of neighborhood liberals awaits you
so come out for a night of good company
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find a local convention watch party
or start a chapter near your.

Drinking Liberally During the DNC

Many of our chapters will be hosting watch parties this week for the Democratic Convention. Check out your local chapter's page to see what they are up to. Don't have a local chapter? Now could be a great time to start one.

If you are in Charlotte for the Convention, there are special Drinking Liberally events each night.

Tuesday night from 9:30 on, DL will be at Dandelion Market at 118 West 5th Street.

Wednesday night, the local DL chapter will move its regular meeting to Big Ben British Pub at 2000 South Blvd

And Thursday, we'll be back at Dandelion Market for convention watch and after party.

If you want more details, email justin [at] drinkingliberally [dot] org or mark [at] drinkingliberally [dot] org

The Unconventionally Conventional GOP Convention

Chris Christie announced he'd speak blunt truths!
...then repeated common conservative canards,
tired baseless attacks & predictable outright lies.

Paul Ryan promised fresh ideas for America!
...then recycled reworded trickle-down rhetoric
and found fresh ways to choose fiction over fact.

Next, Mitt Romney will think outside the box!
...but really will speak out both sides of his mouth
while remaining trapped in a right-wing corner.

This management consultant candidate promised
his party would bring an unconventional approach,
but with misleading myths & feisty falsehoods,
this GOP Convention's been, well, conventional.

Share an unconventional perspective
an inclusive night & enjoyable company
as you raise a glass and raise your voice
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.

The GOP Is Akin All Over

The GOP thought they'd be flyin'
high on the boost of Paul Ryan,
but instead they find themselves brakin'
to avoid the disaster that's Akin.

Just when they thought we'd get misty
at the excitement of keynote Chris Christie,
their convention plans all started quakin'
as they try to shake free of Todd Akin.

Republicans are assailin' and wailin'
from Scott Brown to old Sarah Palin,
but they're failin' to drive the last stake in
to the heart of their candidate Akin.

Their House hopes are already insaner
as voters flee from the caucus of Boehner,
and now Senate dreams may be foresaken
thanks to the likes of Todd Akin.

The truth is Mitt's whole party all over is achin'
because his party all over is a lot like Todd Akin.

Awaken! No flakin'! Your night now is taken
and your thirst for a drink you'll be slackin' --
there are pints to raise and shoulders to rub
at your local progressive social club.

DRINKING LIBERALLY
Find - or start - a chapter near you.