Talk of the Bay from KSQD
Talk of the Bay from KSQD
Tricking Power into Performing Acts of Love - Shepherd Siegel on the role of the trickster in history


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 was a rock and jazz musician, then educator. His first teaching assignment was with youth in lockup in the 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 and has been recognized for many achievements, including but not limited to awards from Foreword Reviews and from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association for his 2018 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 delves deeply into music’s spiritual and swinging rhythms.

“Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture” spread its message of playfulness and progressive change. Its essential follow-up is 2022’s “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, time travel, and what vision trickster holds for us today. Shepherd works hard to play with you, 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 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.