The Committee: Watts Translator 1965

John and Mel

John Brent and Mel Stewart. Photo by Fred Ross.

A while ago Alan Myerson lent us some reel to reel tapes and audio cassettes for use in our documentary project. WIth the help of the Bay Area Video Coalition, we digitized a number of reel to reel recordings from 1965-1967. We’ve found many gems, including recordings of workshops with Del Close, live shows, live sets, and rehearsal recordings.

One piece of material was particularly relevant in a year that was marked by a summer of uprisings against systems of white supremacy. We’re proud to present you The Committee from December 1965, looking back on the Watts uprisings from the previous summer. With John Brent, Mel Stewart, Jessica Myerson, and Scott Beach – and music by Ellsworth Milburn and an introduction by Garry Goodrow – we give you: The Committee: Watts Translator 1965.

We hope this brings you a smile or two.

Have a safe and healthy holiday season.

Sam Shaw and Jamie Wright


Who Says Satire Has a Limited Shelf Life?

Forty-Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, to stand for the National Anthem reminds us of how The Committee depicted a similar instance of non-violent resistance. As spot-on today as it was almost 50 years ago, The Committee’s “Star Spangled Banner” scene is emblematic of their vision of American nationalism, the militarism at the heart of our national identity, and what happens to protesters who won’t stand up and salute the flag. This clip is from 1969’s “A Session with The Committee”, but the scene goes back with the company to 1966 at least.  Featuring Peter Bonerz, Barbara Bosson, Carl Gottlieb, Christopher Ross, Garry Goodrow, Howard Hesseman, Jessica Myerson, and Mel Stewart. #respect #Kaepernick #nationalanthem

Wanted: Everett Cornell

everett cornell

“Everett Cornell, a dropout from both Roosevelt University and The American Conservatory of Music, comes from Chicago’s ‘middle ghetto’, where he was a member of The Blackstone Rangers. He gave up a serious study of the saxophone to study drama with The Committee Workshop. He joined the ranks of the review this past summer when Committee member Melvin Stewart left the company to start his Bantu Theater in the Hunter’s Point area of San Francisco..” – San Mateo Times, Nov. 8, 1968.

Cornell was one of four African-American members of The Committee ensemble. The pic below is from an extensive photo shoot that The Committee participated in when putting together The Music Scene television show.

Cornell was in The Committee for a couple years, but other than a few newspaper mentions and photos, we’ve completely lost his trail. If anyone has information about this actor, please let us know.