Free speech advocate, long time street performer, and all around rabble rouser Stoney Burke will take his loveable wisecracks to the Hannon Library tomorrow for a night of political comedy.
Thursday, January 28
5:00 PM, Meese Room
Stoney Burke first gained notoriety as one of the top street performers in Berkley. Since the ‘70s, Burke has made a name for himself through his crowd engaging act. Some people do not respond favorably to Burke’s work. According to Burke, he has been “arrested so many times practicing my free speech, I would bore you with the truth of it all.”
For Burke, the art of street preforming is more important than simple entertainment. Burke explains, “…I suppose it’s an ongoing experiment to see if the first amendment actually works in person.” He later explains, “I’m a political satirist, so I try to take chances talking about politics that maybe other people wouldn’t. I’m kind of old fashion in the way that I believe in the first amendment like some people believe in the second amendment. I think it’s important to take chances and speak your mind.”
In an age where South Park plays on televisions across America, and now more than ever the FCC allows obscene content on the airwaves, one has to ask if free speech advocates are still needed. For Burke, the answer is yes.
“There are a lot of free speech battles going on all across the world. I mean, there are bloggers in Pakistan that can’t dare mention that they don’t agree with religion. There’s school books in Tennessee that are being banned because they mentioned gay people.” he elaborates, “I’m not a big advocate of just saying the f word or b word. I mean, you can go to [my] book, I think there’s like one swear word. So I don’t think it’s a matter of doing the most gross [things]. Obviously my point is to enlighten people, not shock people.”
In addition to performing, Burke will also promote his latest book, Weapon:Mouth, My Adventures in the Free Speech Zone. In the book, Burke recounts his long career as an activist, street performer, and actor.
Burke will give away copies to guests that answer trivia questions correctly, and he will likely to sell and sign books at Omar’s afterwards.
Burke will present in the Hannon Library Meese Room at 5 PM. You can find Burke’s book Weapon:Mouth, My Adventures in the Free Speech Zone on Amazon.com.
By Alex Mesadieu