The Feds Love Frankenstein (2017) – $10,000
We’ve written about the $300,000 Indiana “Frankenfest” festival that included everything from franken yard games to a Franks-N-Steins beer garden, but this year the Feds have classed Frankenstein up a bit, giving him his own night at the opera. A grant of $10,000 was awarded to the West Edge Opera in Berkeley, California through the National Endowment for the Arts to produce Libby Larson’s Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus. The production has been hailed as a modern classic, bringing the frightening tale of too much genius to stage. The only thing we’re saying that’s ALIVE is government waste.
“O Monsters,” O Government (2016-2017) – $10,000
Perhaps the best find of this year’s SPOOKY SZN is the New Paradise Laboratories Theatre production of “O Monsters,” funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Typically, we try to make the case that some federal expenditures are not a good use of your tax dollars. But we won’t try to persuade you this time, we’ll let a critic do that for us: “The show opens with a blaring cacophony that had some audience members covering their ears. The volume was so loud that once the performers began to speak, they could not be understood.The noise mercifully subsided, but the action became no less obscure…The children moaned through bullhorns, with their mother responding with her own high-pitched wail. Tiles with words fell from the sky, and Mother read off phrases including ‘maniac emits disaster furious captain’ and ‘master dark caress false.’ The family pretended to be on a train. The children pretended to eat ice cream, and scream about it, for a taxingly long time. If this makes sense to you, you are a greater aesthete than I.”
Zombie Ants (2016-2019)- $547,000
This Halloween season Thailand is under attack by ZOMBIE ANTS. No, this isn’t a 1970s cult classic, but a study granted through the National Science Foundation. The study sought to understand a Thailand rainforest “zombie ant fungus” that infects ants and manipulates their behavior. Essentially, the fungus leeches onto the ants and grows a stalk that infects other ants with the fungus. The fungus forces ants to bite the underside of leaves where it produces lock jaw and kills the ant. The fungus then sprouts more spores to infect more ants. Though the research hopes to one day find how to control ants and pests in farms, so far the only thing this research has produced is an idea for another terrible SYFY channel original movie.
Medieval Monsters (2017-2019) – $25,000
This traveling exhibit explores the “complex social role of monsters in the Middle Ages.” New York’s Morgan Library & Museum hosted the exhibit this past September, giving audiences a glimpse of how monsters were used as propaganda in the Middle Ages. Depicting certain faiths or women as monsters gave power to select groups. From sirens to unicorns this exhibit has plenty of oddities throughout. The 70 examples will tour the country this fall thanks to the generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Hopefully, we’re doing our fair share of depicting monsters – government waste that is.
Taxpayers Get Tricked, Despite The Promise Of Treats (2016-2017) – $40,000
Get out your candy buckets because this one should be sweet! The Detroit Institute of Arts was awarded a $40,000 grant through the National Endowment of the Arts to engage your five senses through Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate. The exhibition highlights 18th century “new hot drinks” like coffee, tea, and chocolate and how they “stimulated the body and mind, but also the desire for colonial expansion.” If you’re reading this now, there may be a desire for a government waste exhibition that stimulates the five senses…funding secured.
Paranormal Activity Meets the Theatre (2018-2019) – $30,000
You’ve seen the audience reactions. Moviegoers scream at the sound and movement of paranormal events happening on screen. Fans will be excited to indulge in this federally funded live stage performance of The Brothers Paranormal, thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts. The show “tells the story of two Thai-American brothers launch a ghost-hunting business in order to capitalize on the nationwide increase in sightings of Asian-looking ghosts.” While the show alleges to address healing among communities of color, we think their wallets would rather be healed through saved tax dollars.
Horror Movies Make a Slash in Austria (2017-2018) – $15,000
In September, Austrian horror flick lovers gathered at the 9th annual Slash Film Festival. The festival features films in all of the “fantastic” film genres including horror and science fiction. The 3-day film festival American taxpayers paid for through a National Endowment for the Arts grant boasts over 10,000 visitors and 50+ movies for them to indulge in. With such a popular following, it’s not unreasonable to think our foreign spending could have been put to better use…say, in Transylvania?
Monsters and Mythical Spending (2018-2019) – $100,000
The National Endowment for the Arts has been on a monster kick this year, now funding a surrealism exhibit that focuses on monsters and myths of the 1930s and 40s. “This exhibition explores the Surrealists’ portrayals of monsters, fragmented bodies, and other depictions of the grotesque as metaphors for the destabilizing consequences of war and psychological fears and fantasies of unbridled power.” According to the exhibition’s website, the exhibit at The Baltimore Museum of Art “may inspire comparisons between the turmoil of the 1930s and 1940s and the political instability of today.” If it draws comparisons between the outlandish waste, fraud and abuse of the past to this exhibition in the present, we may have an exhibit worth exploring…
Frankenstein Does It Again (2018-2019) – $10,000
Frankenstein is getting public funds coast to coast. This time, the Aquila Theatre Company in the middle of New York City will produce their own version of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein through a National Endowment of the Arts grant. The only thing more frightening than Frankenstein is the continual production of frankenstein’s government checks.
Halloween Costumes Coast to Coast (2017-2020) – $140,181
Finally, Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without the costumes! This year, Uncle Sam fancied himself a collection of Nordic costumes paid for by the National Endowment for the Humanities and then he’ll change into “Maine-Related clothing and accessories dating from the late 1700s through the 20th century,” paid for by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. What do you think will be Uncle Sam’s favorite? Dressing up as a Viking or a preppy bean boot wearing Mainiac (plural for Maine residents)?