Cliff Crego's blog, whitebark—
Notes scratched into a stonepine snag, open to the light, clear air . . .

July 2024
« May    
THEATER OF THE NEW—3rd revision
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 5:53 am

a collection of 100 progressive DVD
theme projects, grouped in 10 sets of 10.

Change is the second most difficult thing;
Understanding, the first.

Paperback version will be coming out this week.

We’ve added quite a few new films, removed others.

The ideal is a cluster of three complementary
documentaries, one of which might be watched /
studied collectively, the other two individually.

I’ve also added some new essays at the back,
mostly concerning ethics, war & waste.

This is a true work-in-progress, a product
of the collective progressive cloud, so if you
have ideas, suggestions, recommendations, etc.
let me know.


our perception of the world, one new idea, one new
documentary, at a time

This is a collection of some 400 films and documentary
DVDs clustered around 100 progressive and topical theme
projects. The theme projects are grouped in 10 sets of 10.
Working together with many friends, I’ve brought these
films together over the past four years. Still very much
a work-in-progress, it is designed both for individuals—
young and old—to start their own viewing and discussion
groups, or for self-study, or weekend theme workshops.
This might happen at schools or universities, or in communities,
both large and small. These film-viewing / discussion
gatherings might be entirely casual, simply watching
films now and then that for whatever reason strike
one’s fancy; Or they might constitute a more sustained
and serious kind of enquiry, adding additional materials to
selected films, discussing themes intensively in dialogue
groups, and going through the list from beginning to end.
Indeed, the basic intention is to scatter the themes and
films like seeds in the wind. How and where and why they
take root and perhaps flower will very much depend on
the situation, and the needs, skills and experience of those
involved. I can easily imagine a gifted yet isolated young
artist with nothing but access to a laptop and the internet
devoting his- or herself—entirely alone perhaps—to a
kind of solo journey through the whole of the project. At
the other extreme, I can also see before me a dialogue
group—either virtual or working physically together—using
the content of each film as a means to focus discussion
and dialogue in a very much more general way.
Most of the films brought together, as a kind of Umberto
Eco-styled infinite list, are happily now readily available,
sometimes streamed on-line for free or for a reasonable
price, or at your Public Library, or as old-fashioned neighborhood
rental DVDs.

The why of the THEATER OF THE NEW is very simple.
Despite all the advances of communications technology, in
my view, citizens of Western democracies, even though they
enjoy the tremendous privilege of freedom of speech and
expression—not one of the project’s films would be possible
without it—are tragically asleep at the wheel. It is as if all
the violence and all the injustice of the world is taking place,
so to speak, off stage, out of view. There are many reasons
for this, some of which are explored in the featured films.
The basic idea is to shift our focus to these “dark areas”
which are to my way of thinking of great relevance for the
future of humanity and the planet. My guiding principle is
this: if the most basic crisis of our time is the crisis of perception,
which I think it is, then what I demand of a film—
regardless of when or where or by whom it was made—that
it should make a difference in this regard.
I would say to one and all: Have at it! Clean out your garage,
borrow a beamer and hang up an old bed sheet! And
get going! Like Bertolt Brecht said: “Change the world; it
needs it.”

Start your own THEATER OF THE NEW, today!

View as webpage at:

Or download this booklet for free at:

If you need help setting up a group, or would like me to help conduct a
dialogue group or workshop, or have suggestions for new films, email to

Leave a Reply