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On eve of Trump inauguration, event planned to celebrate ‘Last Night in America’


The Last Night in America: A fundraiser for the ACLU of Iowa

The Mill — Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Image provided by event organizers.
Image provided by event organizers.

An event hosted by Iowa City comedian and playwright Megan Gogerty at The Mill in Iowa City will kick off the eve of the presidential inauguration with comedy, music, door prizes and “perhaps some primal shrieking,” the event’s Facebook page teased, while also raising money for a cause.

Entitled “The Last Night in America: A fundraiser for the ACLU of Iowa,” the event will include, according to the event description, local artists, comedians and musicians expressing their dissent and raising money for the “most vulnerable citizens and our most sacred rights” the night before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.

A $10 donation at the door is suggested, with all proceeds from the event going to the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa.

Jonathan Hansen, a local musician, and Robyn Calhoun, a local actor and educator, have partnered with Gogerty to plan the evening and recruit friends and colleagues to perform.

Gogerty said the idea for the event came to her in a cloud of post-election despondency.

“I was staring at the wall in utter despair after the election, trying to fathom the devastating consequences of a Trump presidency,” she said in an email. “It feels like we’re entering a new age, and the America I know and love — one that values country over political party, one that takes it as a given that Nazis should not be tolerated — is going to disappear. And for the next few years, we’ll be living in a new America. I don’t know what to do about that. All I know how to do is make jokes and raise money. So that’s what I’m doing.”

She clarified that the event isn’t a protest because a candidate other than the one she and other artists voted for won the election.

“I know how losing elections feels. This is different. This feels more elemental,” she said. “Trump doesn’t worry me because we disagree on economic policy or on ideological grounds. He is threatening the fabric of our democracy in fundamental ways.”

She said she hopes the event helps to create a feeling of solidarity and that it helps people start to turn any post-election frustrations into action.

“I think the resistance is going to take every single one of us making calls, showing up, being loud, and being visible,” she said. “The time for weeping in a fetal position is over — that’s what Christmas was for!”


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