The Blind Ambition of Miss Columbia

“American Progress”  John Gast, 1872.  
Miss Columbia, a common personification of the US by the late 19th century, leads settlers across the North American western frontier.

            The Blind Ambition… is based on original songs by Bruce Benedict that critique the historical ideology of Manifest Destiny. This piece raises questions about collective cultural identity & memory. When white American popular art and culture romanticize the past, how do we own the truths of a damning history? Benedict’s story and character songs based on late 19th and early 20th century American blind ambition offer a somber meditation on an often over glorified “golden age”.

Photos by Anaïs Felt (2015)

            The first public performances of The Blind Ambition… happened in Grand Rapids, MI September 26th – October 4th, 2015, featuring choreography and performance by Angie Yetzke and Pj Maske.

Have a listen to the song ‘Ellis Island’ on SoundCloud!

(more songs to come soon.)