Episode 14. Come Out to Play with Shepherd Siegel, PhD.
In the third in our series on "The State of Civility in America," Dr. Shepherd Siegel poses the question: Can You Come Out and Play?
Things are getting scary out there -- very UNcivil -- and with our Civility Series we're searching for ways to turn that downward spiral on its head. How do we redirect all that anxiety & anger into something positive?
Dr. Siegel brings us something entirely different. In this first of a two-part episode, he talks about Play, and the role of the "Trickster" in history, mythology and culture. Shep's a fun guy to talk to, but don't be fooled... he takes his Play very seriously.
Dr. Shepherd Siegel, a descendant of oil barons and bootleggers, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the midst of that whole utopian sixties thing. He attended Palo Alto High School, where he occasionally ran into our Director, Rob Wilson, at various protests and rallies. Shep is remembered by Rob as a seriously smart and courageous Trickster who once threw a water balloon at the School Principal. Somehow, he never got caught.
Shep was was a rock and jazz musician, then educator. His first teaching assignment was with youth in lockup in the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Detention Center, the only un-mellow job in bucolic Santa Cruz, California.
He earned his doctorate at UC Berkeley(*), with studies in anthropology and special education, all the while implementing innovative internship programs for troubled and troubling youth, including those with disabilities.
Siegel has over thirty publications in the education field, including the widely-acclaimed guide, "Career Ladders for Challenged Youths from School to Adult Life." He has received numerous honors and awards, including from Foreword Reviews and from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association for his first book, "Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture."
Somewhere in there he played with the jazz trio Swingmatism and the power pop band Thin Ice. While more active as a writer, Dr. Siegel sustains a wide-ranging knowledge of music and can show you how to have fun with that.
Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture came out in 2018 to spread its message of playfulness and progressive change. The essential follow-up to Disruptive Play is Tricking Power into Performing Acts of Love: How Tricksters through History have Changed the World. It explores the Trickster archetype in African American culture; the female trickster; slapstick, and what vision trickster holds for us today. Shepherd works hard to make you laugh, make you wonder. His favorite hobby is to be with groups of people large and small, suss out the energy, find the funny bone, and see if he can provide some of the beat to get the group rhythm to swing. Dr. Siegel has lived the longest in Northern California, and in Seattle, where he now resides.
(*) Shep prefers that PhD. be pronounced "Phud," as in "Elmer Fudd."