Both Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey are longtime advocates for government funding of the Arts. If you missed their testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommitee on the Interior earlier this month, you aren't alone. They were kicked off the schedule because of preparations for a congressional shutdown. These speeches were delivered not to the subcommittee but to a crowd of advocates and fans.
Both are well worth watching. Spacey, who is also the artistic director of London's Old Vic Theatre, has long been one of the most respected and articulate actors in Hollywood. (See his inspiring pep talk to a young actor on Inside the Actor's Studio here.) He packs more wisdom in these 12 and a half minutes than some performers do in a lifetime.
As for Alec Baldwin, his speech is shorter, but equally compelling. If you're in a rush, head straight to minute 4:00, which begins with this teaser: "I come from a business where we all know a great secret ..."
Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly.