Local Musicians Give Democracy The Finger

Neeki Bey rocks the vote.

With musical accompaniment from country-folk singer Annie Benjamin and CityChurch of Dallas music minister Neeki Bey, local playwright David Marquis will perform his new monologue, "The Purple Finger," about the importance of hands-on democracy, at 7:30 tonight at CityGallery. (The term “purple finger” refers to the ink-stain used by election administrators to mark voters who have cast ballots in certain countries, including Iraq.)

Marquis, an activist and Oak Cliff resident, describes tonight's event as an “old-fashioned Woody Guthrie/Pete Seeger rally.” He will recount his experiences as an elections observer in El Salvador and as a democracy advocate in Dallas as well as other countries. One story he’ll share is about an El Salvadorean fashion designer who stood in front of a tank sent to quell a demonstration.

“Back in the 1980s, I traveled to El Salvador, Nicaragua, South Africa, the Philippines, India and Pakistan to research freedom movements around the world,” Marquis says. “This particular monologue is about the importance of democracy and how we have to go out and really put our hands on it. Get the purple finger and vote and really put your hands on it.”

There'll be music, too...

Bey says the musicians’ role will be to energize people.

“We’ll be doing a mixture all the way from ‘Oh, Freedom,’ the old spiritual, to get people aroused, to ‘America the Beautiful,’ kind of like the Ray Charles version of it,” Bey says.

Other songs include John Lennon’s “Power to the People” and a Bey original about getting involved with democracy, with the chorus ”No more can we turn away, tomorrow is today.” -- Jesse Hughey

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