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Political satirist Roy Zimmerman responds to the outrages of the current administration with humor



In case you have been frozen in time for the past few months since #45 took the nation's highest office, it's clear the political climate in the United States has changed. With this change comes dismay from individuals on both sides of the poll booth as well as passionate responses, often taking musical form.

"Everybody has their response to what is going on; we have this new political landscape and unfortunately, it's a Jackson Pollack," says political satirist Roy Zimmerman. "A lot of people, especially on the progressive side, have a great deal of dismay about what's happening. People are responding in various ways. Some people are responding with amazing activism. The way we respond is by putting these things to funny lyrics and melodies."

Zimmerman, who has more than 20 years experience on stages across the country, started on this journey of humor and current events in junior high. At the time, he had started listening to master satirist of the early '60s, Tom Lehrer. This inspired Zimmerman to start writing songs of his own, with a humorous and politically charged twist.

For the past 20 years, Zimmerman, and his wife and writing partner Melanie Harvey, have focused on presenting current events and the hot button topics of racism, gun violence, climate change, bigotry, ignorance, war and greed in a funny way. Based on the current political landscape, Zimmerman has no shortage of material and inspiration.

"Because the outrages of the Trump Administration are so reliable, when something terrible happens in Washington, you look at your watch and go, 'Oh my watch is fast.' You can set you watch by the outrages of the Trump administration," Zimmerman says. "The way that we've begun to respond is by doing a song a week. Melanie and I are posting on Facebook and Youtube and Twitter and getting it out there as best we can. Of course, that's not even enough to keep up with it, but we try to choose a salient feature of the week's outrage."

Zimmerman comes to Bend as part of a benefit for KPOV, Central Oregon's community radio station. In addition to strong, left-leaning political affiliations, Zimmerman loves community radio, which makes him an ideal performer to help raise funds for KPOV.

"Community radio is where you hear the voices of the people that you live with. It's where you hear perspectives that are, if not exactly like your own, at least they are coming from the same place. You can bounce those off of the national perspective," Zimmerman says. "Community radio is full of personality. The bigger you get in the media business, the more watered down and generic it can tend to be because they have to appeal to everyone. You listen to community radio and someone is just going on there and being themselves. I love that."

Roy Zimmerman - "ReZist"

Wed., June 7, 7-9pm.

Volcanic Theatre Pub

70 SW Century Dr., Bend

$17/adv, $15/KPOV members adv, $20/door

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Anne Pick

Music Writer | The Source Weekly

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