2004 and Other Desert Cities

A Brief Look Back in Time – 2004
2004 Summer Olympics logo.svg  

Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities, though seemly contemporary in its language, characters, thematic messages, and familial relationships, is a play deeply encapsulated in the archives of American politics and Old Hollywood glamour.  The play reinserts audiences into a regime in which President George Bush was in power, the 2004 Olympics in Athens recently concluded, and “the war on terror” was gaining momentum.   Politically, it precedes the death of President Ronald Reagan, the Democratic era of President Obama, and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

A historical piece, the characters are unaware of the Boston Marathon bombings, the widespread internet security breaches, the New England Patriots “DeflateGate” controversy, and ironically, the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.   Instead, in the world of the elite Republican Wyeth family, the Republican party is in power and “Al-Qaeda” is the reigning political terroristic organization.  Applauding relics of old Hollywood, famous Hollywood restaurants such as “The Brown Derby” and “Chasen’s” were still in business.

The original Wilshire Boulevard Brown Derby

In sports and entertainment, the New England Patriots are well on their way to winning SuperBowl XXXVIII (2004) and XXXIX (2005).  Likewise, reality television gained greater prominence with popular shows such as American Idol (2002 -), Survivor (2000 -), and Big Brother (2000 -).

By Artistic Associate Tamera N. Izlar

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