- - Friday, May 2, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

With subpar schools and ramshackle roads, it’s hard to believe that the District collects 43 percent more in taxes from residents than the national average. The answer to where all that money is going can be found in the latest city budget.

Washington’s Commission on Arts and Humanities is slated to receive a $16.5 million windfall to promote the arts, including $14.6 million in local funds and $1.7 million in from the feds. The wads of cash will be redistributed to artists, theaters, dance companies, galleries and other arts organizations in the form of grants.

The nation’s capital is home to many cultural treasures, but that’s not where this money is going. The commission, for instance, granted $5,000 to Armando Lopez-Bircann, a member of the D.C.-based homosexual art collective “Boys Be Good.” His art projects include standing on stage in front of a projection screen wearing gold lame hot pants, an aluminum foil headpiece and platform shoes. He also created a psychedelic video of a woman in a latex bra applying make-up while surrounded by an image of broken glass. This is supposed to be filled with “meaning.”

Julia Bloom scored $10,000 of taxpayers’ loot to make sculptures out of twigs that look like bird nests and flimsy teepees. Maggie Michael, whose artistic vision includes hanging vinyl records with words cut into them from the ceiling, collected a $7,500 grant.

A jazz saxophonist and a puppeteer each pocketed $10,000 in handouts. A hip-hop performer and the co-host of a liberal talk show pocketed $5,000.

D.C. taxpayers are also subsidizing the career of singer Ayanna Gregory to the tune of $10,000. The little-known vocalist is the daughter of legendary comedian and activist Dick Gregory, who is worth millions thanks to his comedy tours, albums and books. Apparently, Mr. Gregory is tired of underwriting his daughter’s music career, so now taxpayers can do it for him.

Perhaps the most controversial expenditure was a $21,000 handout to support the Environmental Film Festival in the nation’s capital, an event held each March to showcase movies that celebrate the latest liberal fads. One flick demonizes the modern farming techniques responsible for feeding the planet.

The film “Atomic Africa” condemns efforts to bring nuclear energy to impoverished areas in Africa that struggle with little or no electricity. Three more of the festival’s documentaries attacked fracking, the exciting technology that is cleanly and safely providing the United States with a reliable domestic source of energy. Small children left the festival afraid that “climate change” disaster was just around the corner.

Another event, the D.C. Shorts Film Festival, took $15,000 in tax dollars to screen “Jesus Beer,” a spoof commercial touting an imaginary beer that pours out of the stigmata wounds on Jesus’ hands, and “Cats in Space,” a sci-fi short where cats save the universe, and “Come Clean,” a short film in which two strangers take some drugs and sit naked in a bathtub.

There are probably people who like twig sculptures, sci-fi films starring cats and guys prancing around in shiny hot pants, but they ought to support these endeavors with their own money.

Art is too important to the cultural fabric of our city to be left to government. Art should be celebrated, supported, encouraged and appreciated by the people who consume it, rather than be dictated by bureaucrats who wouldn’t know good art if it did drugs naked in a bathtub with them.

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