Artless: The Odyssey of a Republican Cultural Creative : a Memoir

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Ooligan Press, 2006 - Political Science - 295 pages
Gary Cole tried to walk the fine line between the bourgeois and the bohemian, only to find himself on a journey of self-discovery that challenged his most cherished convictions. Replete with good humor and dry wit, ""Artless"" is a commentary on censorship's many forms-both overt and subtle. Finally, it is the memoir of a man who, against all odds, deftly carved out a niche for himself in two seemingly diametrically opposed arenas.

At the apex of a brilliant career, Gary Cole was forced to re-evaluate his most fundamental beliefs after a Presidential appointment to the lead the grant side of the NEA was withdrawn. A Republican true believer and activist for decades, Cole learned that controversy surrounding his production of two plays, ""Straight"" and ""Poona the Fuckdog,"" led to the job's withdrawal.

Cole recounts the journey from his formative years at Berkeley campaigning for George H. W. Bush, to his days as an attorney at the CIA during the height of the Iran-Contra affair, along with his passion for theater as both actor and producer. He focuses on his efforts to weave these disparate threads into a cohesive tapestry and the culture wars that threatened to tear it apart.

Besides being finance chair of George W. Bush's Oregon campaign in 2000, Gary Cole co-founded two theater companies in Portland, Oregon, CoHo Productions and StageDirect. Born and raised in Chicago's suburbs and Stanford educated, Gary worked as a CIA attorney before practicing corporate law in Oregon.

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Being a Republican in a highly Democrat environment, I can relate to a lot of what the author says. Having said that, I don't think you have to be a Republican to enjoy this book. I think Democrats and Independents would also find this book enjoyable and even enlightening. The author has a very pleasing narrative style. The author's past provides for some very intriguing stories. Lawyers, politicians, and artisans don't frequently interact together, and it's even stranger to find all three of these things in the same person. 


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