Mayor Moonbeam Rated PG
June '98

The city that brought ebonics, to the nationís consciousness, is now the host of "Mayor Moonbeam," one of newest and the funniest plays in recent memory. "Mayor Moonbeam" centers around a 60-year-old character named Moonbeam, a one-time priest, turned governor, turned presidential candidate, turned philosopher, who develops a mid-life crisis and decides he will run for mayor in a city that is the last hub of black culture on the West Coast. This play is not to be confused with Bullworth, a current film about another white politician who has a mid-life crisis and finally decides to tell the truth.

The Moonbeam eyes a city is a mid-sized diamond in the rough, that has all the amenities of a major city, but it's image is tarnished by the negative perception of crime, lack of economic development, and the other ills that plague urban communities. Although the city hasnít had a white mayor in almost 21 years, Moonbeam is more than ready to step into the slot, despite the fact he hasnít held a political office in more than 15 years. The previous two black mayors of this city were nice fellows, but according to one of the principal actors in "Mayor Moonbeam," the two black mayors werenít black at all. One was colored and the other was a Negro.

In any other area where blacks where shut out of the political process, changed it and opened it for themselves, Moonbeam wouldnít have a chance in hell of getting elected mayor. But in this town that Moonbeam has his eyes on, he knows the black leadership doesnít have its act together. He can look at a mayoral field of 10 candidates, including 8 black candidates (6 of which shouldnít have ran), knowing he has nothing to worry about.

So as Moonbeam begins his campaign he flashes back to his radical chic rhetoric of 20 years ago when he was Governor. On the stomp, Moonbeam blasts big corporate interests, without disclosing a large portion of his familyís money was made dealing with these big corporate interests. Instead of discussing the problems of economic development, which the city needs, Moonbeam says the cityís problems are "due to a colonialization of the mind." He goes on to say he wants to transform the city into a green "ecopolis" like a city in the Italian Hills. Although this hyperbole is confusing to most of the black and white people within the cityís electorate, Moonbeamís rhetoric engenders him with some black radicalís leftover from the mau mau days who didnít get government jobs or grants. This attraction between Moonbeam and the ex mau mauíers, makes him a rainbow coalition kind of guy, and he can feel comfortable knowing he has some support within the black community. He can now concentrate on getting support within a white community that likes him, and is afraid of the other black candidates.

Meanwhile the 8 black candidates in the mayoral race, really get it on with each other. They cuss, fuss, buck eyes and smash teeth at each other during debates as the black and white public look on in disgust, and Moonbeam kicks his feet back and looks at them shaking his head- he is above the fray.

On the stump, Moonbeam dropís celebrity names like PeeWee Herman, and Tina Marie, that makes the crowd go oh! In debates, Moonbeam philosophizes like Confucius, as he gives utopian views of what the city will look like with populists slogans such as "my city first" in regards to jobs, without giving any substantial plans on how he will do it. This frustrates the black candidates, as they lob attack after attack on Moonbeam and his harebrained philosophies, but it is too late. Moonbeam has won the praise of all of the local media outlets like the San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle, The Oakland Tribune, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. These papers praise him and his feisty attitude which they say can turn this urban center around (for whom? them).

As the election approaches, everyone knows Moonbeam is the front runner, but his rivals want to force a run off so they can show his enormous flaws, but it doesnít work. Moonbeam wins over 58 percent of the vote becoming mayor and he knows he is something else. Even if one candidate had amassed all the votes that were tallied by the other l0 candidates, Moonbeam would have still avoided a run off due to his celebrity status instead of the substance in his views.

But the story isnít over as it has just begun. The newly re-named "Mayor Moonbeam" knows the current form of government, which features a weak mayor and a strong city manager doesnít cut it. He wants to change this, so he has initiated a ballot initiative to change it, so he can have real power as a mayor, and take credit for the economic windfall which is already beginning to take place all ready in the city. This move will set him up for his next presidential run in the next millennium, but this bait and switch has some black folks crying foul. Although they want the change, these blacks feel this new found ground swell of support for a strong mayor, by white folks, was nowhere to be found when the colored and Negro mayor were in charge and put similar proposals on the ballot. White folks didnít want this form of government then, but they do now. Hmmm.

The plot thickens for Moonbeam and he has a crisis on his hands. How can he explain this newfound interest by white voters for a strong mayoral form of government, to his black constituents? Besides this public relations fiasco, Moonbeam has made a lot of promises on the campaign, which people will make sure he will keep each step of the way. "Mayor Moonbeam" has to bring business to town, after spewing a boatload of anti-corporate rhetoric; Gentrification is a major issue as many people feel Mayor Moonbeam" wonít say a word as a whole sections of black communities are moved out of town by yuppies like himself; and the issue of crime, which he tells black crowds isnít that bad, but in white crowds, he gives a Nixon-like law and order spill, as he talks about "zero tolerance."

"Mayor Moonbeam" is a must see and this play has a run date of four years, but it could be cut short if Moonbeam decides to leave the play in boredom, which is a real possibility considering the flakiness of the star.

Lee Hubbard can be reached by e-mail at

written by
Lee Hubbard

For interview requests, questions or comments call Lee Hubbard at (415)671-0449 or e-mail him at
Look at your nearest newsstand for his profile on Latrell Sprewell in the premiere issue of the Source Sports magazine and his profile on Ishmael Reed in the April/May issue of American Visions Magazine.

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