If listening to President Donald Trump's first State of the Union does not sound like your cup of tea, a group of resistance-minded celebrities are hosting an alternative. The People's State of the Union will bring celebrity activists and musicians together for a night of speeches and concerts to "celebrate the remarkable growth and success of the Resistance Movement."
The event is being held on Monday night in New York City, and the celebrities in attendance include Mark Ruffalo, Rosie Perez, Michael Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg. Tickets are on sale for those interested in attending the event, starting at $47. It will be held at Town Hall, a famous progressive theater near Times Square that was built by suffragists in 1921.
But the event is organized to reach beyond the walls of the theater. Starting at 8 p.m. ET, it will be live streamed on peoplessotu.org. The website redirects to a MoveOn.org Facebook video where a note currently reads "make sure to click the 'Set Reminder' button above to join us." The event's Facebook event page explains the night will be a "hopeful, public" alternative to the real SOTU that will be given by President Trump on Tuesday night. The Facebook says:
The #PeoplesSOTU will celebrate the remarkable growth and success of the Resistance Movement and outline a plan of action for the coming year — focusing on voter rights, voter registration, and voter turnout. Together, we will win back our country!
In addition to the celebrity speakers, there will be musical acts by Rufus Wainwright, Common, and Andra Day. Common and Day will perform the Grammy- and Oscar-nominated song "Stand Up for Something” from the movie Marshall.
Mark Ruffalo, an actor and vocal opponent of the Trump agenda, told People that the event is "a better reflection of our state of the union based on a more populist point of view, based on the people’s point of view."
I think it’s important because we have a president who has a difficult time with the truth, who has a radical, divisive agenda, and spends an enormous amount of time focusing on the negative and hopelessness and despair.
Ruffalo said he sees the event as a celebration of "what is now probably one of the most influential and powerful and really beautiful movements to come into play in the United States since the civil rights movement."
MoveOn.org Political Action and Stand Up America are joining the lead organizer of the night, We Stand United. The group is officially kicking off at the event, and its campaign director Julia Walsh noted that it's also important to look ahead to "win back Congress in 2018 and hold this president in check."
"No matter what the president says on Tuesday, we all know what we’re going to be doing from Monday night on," Walsh told People. "We’re going to continue to work together, we’re going to continue to build this broad-based movement across many different areas, and we’re going to win back Congress. This night is meant to be inspiring and empowering to all the people across this country that care about the state of this country and want to see it change.”
Other celebrities expected on Monday include Wanda Sykes, Zoe Kravitz, Cynthia Nixon, Kathy Najimy, Lee Daniels, and John Leguizamo. Representatives from other progressive groups like the Women's March and Planned Parenthood have also planned to participate.
For those accustomed to holding viewing parties of the State of the Union, this event offers another possible attraction, complete with music and inspiring words. And if you're in New York City and able to go in person, you get to hear Common, Andra Day, and Rufus Wainwright live in concert. It sure gives the standard SOTU a run for its money.