Activist / Performer/ Revolutionary Artist — Robert Galinsky Takes His Message to the Stage
Robert Galinsky is the definition of a renaissance man, he is an actor, a writer, a poet, a producer, an educator, and an activist. His work embodies the coolness of the Lower East Side, as he hob nobs with the Hollywood elite from Barry “Shabaka” Henley and Chris Noth to 50 Cent.
After a stellar extended run in New York City and Los Angeles, Galinsky took his celebrated one-man show The Bench, A Homeless Love Story on a collegiate tour that continues through the year. But up next is his new work, Everything in New York Goes BANG!, which he will debut in Hollywood.
How do you describe Everything in New York Goes BANG?
I say with humility and deep respect to those who have created great art before me, that ‘BANG!’ is 55 minutes of touching, sweet, grungy, and humorous theatre, spoken word, and poetry. The wordplay has a musicality to it that is likened to the beat poets of the 50s and at times, dips into the coolness and complexity of a Charlie Parker bebop jazz piece.
Why debut it in LA?
I am debuting in LA because New York has so much rumbling, thumping, and banging going on right now; I wanted to play the first version in a town that understands that fact but is not currently immersed in that environment. I also want NYC transplants living in LA, to have flashbacks and flashbangs of their time here in New York!
You seem to have done everything on stage and off, is there an aspect you prefer more — writing, or performing?
I love writing words that go into other characters’ mouths. I love writing character dialogue and monologue that isn’t really understood until it’s said. The meaning flows from the action of speaking it. In reality, I can’t make people say things, and I can’t say certain things myself, but theatre and poetry allow me to give my thoughts, observations, and opinions a life that otherwise might not be allowed, both legally and morally!
As a multidisciplinary artist (Poet, Actor, Writer) which do you feel is best at getting your message across?
Both being a character in a play, and the voice of my own through poetry. I believe I can earn the respect of thoughtful people by making them laugh and by making them cry.
You ran the leading reality acting class in the country, where you were teaching people how to be performers, what drew you back to the spotlight yourself?
I never left the spotlight. The spotlight is actually best when it’s turned off, that’s when the truth is lit up. I’m in it all the time, just not always when the switch is turned on.
All of your work has an activist component, why?
That’s who I am. A loving, pissed-off human, nauseated by lies, labels, and their limits. I learned as a child, from both of my parents, that everyone deserves love and respect. It’s in my DNA as I come from a long line of educators, civil servants, and prideful peasants.
And what issues are currently most focused on?
Incarceration of our youth and the modern-day slavery that is fixed in our incarceration system. I work with teens in detainment, refugees, people experiencing homelessness, and the elderly. The currency I respect, and bank is empathy, compassion, and love.
If you had to offer any piece of advice to up-and-coming artists, what would it be?
Speak your soul and stop trying to fit in. Stop measuring your work with wins and losses and stop being upset when you don’t get what you want. You’ll be just as disappointed working to support someone else’s vacation home, as you will be working for your own- but you’ll have way more satisfaction and fun knowing that it all boils down to you and your dreams — not someone else’s. Also, advice for writers: write everywhere! Have a pen and pad on you at all times. Any words / phrases that come to you record them even if you have no idea what to do with them. Jot down what you overhear, and speak it into your phone recorder. It all will find a place in your work, and you can’t rely on your brain to retain everything.
Will Bang come to NYC? When?
“BANG!” will come to New York when Bo Burnham agrees to direct it.
What is up next for you???
Two things: Next up is my solo show “The Bench, A Homeless Love Story” is scheduled to play its second college date at Sing Sing Prison. Sing Sing is a maximum-security prison and is the only correctional facility in New York State to offer associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. Also, next up: getting Bo Burnham to direct the show: “Everything in New York Goes BANG!”
Galinsky is an acclaimed actor, poet, and coach and most recently was honored to perform his poem “East Village Hip” at the Whitney Biennial 2022, where it now resides in the permanent collection. He will be seen in his first ever appearance on “Law and Order” this October (“Benefit of the Doubt” episode 6, season 22.) His solo show “The Bench, A Homeless Love Story” (Directed by Jay O. Sanders) debuted Off Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC, and had an extended run in Hollywood at the Hudson Guild Theatre. “The Bench” also staged multiple charity benefit shows in LA with renown actors lending their talents including: Barry “Shabaka” Henley, Lin Shaye, Gary Cole, Laura San Giacomo, Josh Peck, Chad Morgan and Monique Coleman. He is currently working with the Tamiment-Wagner Collections, NYU Special Collections, to research and develop a theater piece based on William Kunstler called: “The Annoyance Project” (“This is New York, and there’s no law against being annoying.” William Kunstler.) His first book of poetry “Scribbling on Spaghetti” is available on Amazon and bookstores throughout New York and Galinsky hosts a monthly series “Poetry in New York” in the Lower East Side’s most intriguing book store “Book Club Bar.” He is recognized, and extolled, for his work as head speaker coach of TEDxTeen (for over a decade) as well as for his unique ability to engage incarcerated and imprisoned youth with literacy, writing, and theatre while also taking the same methodologies and successfully applying them to CEO’s, lawyers, professional athletes, and scientists. Notable clients include: 50 Cent (actor, Hip Hop artist), Edgerrin James (Hall of Fame football player), Kambiz Shekdar (AIDS scientist), Brooklyn Bar Association, TEDxFultonStreet, TEDxYouth.
The Bench, A Homeless Love Story