Friday, December 05, 2008

Last Voyage of the Body, Dilston Grove Church, Southwarke, London England UK, 2001

Monday, December 31, 2007


I think performance art happens in the moment & between artist & audience. Being trailed by video cameras ennervates me, so I've rarely allowed it. Even when I do allow or am forced to allow cameras, I don't allow any lighting other than the lighting I've set for the performance. That lighting tends to be only a few candles or flashlights, so it's usually too dark to shoot decent video or even in many cases still photos. So my performance documentation is slight & dodgy. Here it is - such as it is - below.


Saturday, December 01, 2007


The Last Voyage of the Body, Span², Dilston Grove Church, London UK


Unholy Union, California College of Arts & Crafts, San Francisco
Shallow Grave, The Lab, SF
Exhibition-Inhibition, Walter-McBean Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, SF
A Moving Walk, Dogpatch to the Mission, SF


A Violin In This Dark Shed, San Francisco Art Institute, SF


Road Kill (w/Nancy Crane) Production, London, England


Speaking Names, (w/Alistair McLennan) Art Department Gallery, SF State University
Appointment, King Street, SF


Anne Frank In Jerusalem, 111 Minna Gallery, SF
Piano Concerto, Hermit, Plasy, Czech Republic
Looking for Martin Klapper, Hermit, Plasy, Czech Republic
The Bread Rises to the Window (w/ Jíří Levy) Kozojedy, Czech Republic
An Atmosphere But For An Instant, Southern Exposure, SF


Up Late w/Bill And Hillary (w/Lise Swenson) Yerba Buena Center For The Arts, SF
Metamorphosis of the Text (w/Nina Iskrenko et al.) Intersection for the Arts, SF
Sacred and Profane (w/Kathy Ketman) KUSF, University of San Francisco
A Short History of Communism and Fascism, Worth-Ryder Gallery, U.C. Berkeley, CA
Lullabye (w/Laurie Amat) The Back Room, SF
I'm Not Unhappy, I'm Just Sad (w/Laurie Amat) Homestead, Oakland CA


Heaven Is Just A Parking Lot (w/Knee-Jerk Dance Project) Zaccho Dance Theatre, SF
Blood Conjure (w/Laurie Amat) Intersection for the Arts, SF
Washington HillBillaries: The A Teams (w/Lise Swenson & Laurie Amat) The Lab, SF
Flying Dutchman (w/Laurie Amat) AntiMatter, SF


The Dreams of Albrecht von Wallenstein: Burial (w/Knee-Jerk Dance Project), Stalin Monument, Prague, Czechoslovakia
The Dreams of Albrecht von Wallenstein: Water Děvin Castle, Děvin, Czechoslovakia
Quartet (w/ Nina Iskrenko & Latco Kerata), Klariska Cathedral, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia
The Frigid Bride (w/Nao Bustamente et al.), Klariska Cathedral, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia
The Dreams of Albrecht von Wallenstein: Coal (w/Laurie Amat) Dobřany Psychiatric Hospital, Dobřany Czechoslovakia

Paper Bird, Kunstverein Horn, Horn, Austria
Iron Tree, Kunstverein Horn, Horn, Austria,
Transmission (w/Yvonne Austen) Galerie Theuretzbacher, Wien, Austria
Spuds (w/Yvonne Austen) Shedhalle, Zürich, Switzerland
Thread (w/Yvonne Austen) Shedhalle, Zürich, Switzerland
Vacuum/Weights (w/P. Sidler & J. Lenzlinger) Mehrzweckanlange Teuchelweiher, Winterthur, Switzerland Island (w/Yvonne Austen, Fritz Vogel & Mark Hudson) Helmhaus, Zurich, Switzerland
Old Sod, Small Press Distribution, Berkeley, CA


EuropaBar, De Media, Eeklo, Belgium
Ether, Galerie Fisch, Braunschweig, Germany
Party/Platform, 1st Int'l Festival of Contemporary Art, Moscow Univ. Students' Theater, USSR
Forensics (w/Igor Irtenev), Mayakovsky Museum, Moscow, USSR
Versailles Banquet, Miejski Osrodek Kultury, Bydgoszcz, Poland
Secret Meeting, Klub Kulturka, Piła, Poland
The Thirty Years' War, Stadtbezirkskabinett fur Kulturarbeit Sud, Karl-Marx-Stadt, DDR

Refugee, Galerie H, Kostelec nad Černymi Lesy, Czechoslovakia
Open Market, Prior, Pardubice, Czechoslovakia
Brief Amaze, Dobřany Psychiatric Hospital, Dobřany, Czechoslovakia
Judge Dread, Divadla Dialog, Plzeň, Czechoslovakia
Heimlich Maneuvers, Raum F, Zürich, Switzerland
Gypsy Trial (w/Darkene) Perfomedia Festival, Piazza Municipio, Ponte Nossa, Italy
Puppet Walk (w/Italo Chiodi) Performedia Festival, Clusone-Ponte Nossa, Italy

Open World (w/D. Kamperelic, A. Djordjevic and D. Markovic) Miloš Duríc, Beograd, Yugoslavia
Brief Amaze, Southern Exposure, SF

The Infant Carlos III Dreams of the New World, Justin Herman Plaza, SF (commissioned by Intersection for the Arts Projects/Off-Site Spaces)


This Commemoration (w/Raegan Kelly) New Langton Arts, SF
Brief Amaze, The Lab, SF
Road Kill (w/Margaret Crane) San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery
Road Kill (w/Margaret Crane) Southern Exposure, SF
The Story Of My Life, Artists Television Access, SF
Road Kill (w/Margaret Crane) Academy of Art College, SF
Heimlich Maneuvers (w/Steven Strauss) Intersection for the Arts, SF
Euphoria, Komotion, SF
Road Kill (w/Margaret Crane) The Lab, SF
Road Kill (w/Margaret Crane) Artists Television Access, SF
The Abduction of MJG (w/Margaret Crane) Lyon's Restaurant, Hayward, CA
Heimlich Maneuvers, Artists Television Access, SF


Women Love Stories, The Lab, SF
Making Intelligent Choices In An Intelligent World, Cafe Cafe, SF
Stories Love Women (w/Sue Carlson) Channel Arts, Richmond, Virginia
Stories Women Love, Johnny's Irish Pub, Paris, France
Ausspeien, Festival of Plagiarism, Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst, Braunschweig, West Germany Necromancy (w/Dede Puma) The Lab, SF


Mr. Phonehead, Komotion, SF
Spirit Ceiling Zero, New College of California, SF
Balloonhead, Artists Television Access, SF
Into The Wild Blue Yonder, Media, SF


In The Liberated Zone (w/Jeanne Gallo) Intersection for the Arts, SF
She Was A Really Big Woman (w/Martin Cox & Caitlin Morgan) Intersection, SF
Terrorism: An Annotated Reading (w/Clifford Hunt) Noe Valley Ministry, SF


Home On The Range (w/Jeanne Gallo) New Performance Gallery, SF
Arsondale (w/Jim DiStefano) The Lab, SF


Home On The Range (w/Jeanne Gallo) Polyphonix 8, San Francisco Art Institute
The Drunken Jungle, Eye Gallery, SF
Audience Revolt, Just Press Forum, SF Museum of Modern Art Rental Gallery, SF


Rock Start, Peace Or Perish Benefit, On Broadway Nightclub, SF
Necromancy (w/Michelle Soleau) Student Union Art Gallery, SF State University
Book Burn, Clarion Café, SF
Caravans (w/Sarah Rossell) Post-Science Fair, Golden Gate YMCA, SF
Game Theory (w/Sue Carlson) Spaghetti Factory, SF
Active German Idioms (w/Sue Carlson) Tattoo Rose, SF
The Mummy's Curse (w/Amy Elliott) Tattoo Rose, SF
Sex As Entertainment & Scheherazade/Sub-Text, Tattoo Rose, SF CA


Canned Food Via Satellite (w/Peter Edlund & Zoviet Youth) Ink Gallery, SF

Thursday, February 26, 1998

A Violin In This Dark Shed

San Francisco Art Institute, 2/26/98

I don't have much to say about this 15-hour performance except to point you to this hour-by-hour description of it. It wasn't a bad performance. 15 hours is a long time in this context.

Tuesday, January 14, 1997

Road Kill London

(w/ Nancy Crane) Production, London UK, 1/14/97

Road Kill's co-creator Margaret Crane's sister Nancy is a professional actress & writer living in London. She was the Angel in the London premier of Angels In America. She's talented & fun & graciously agreed to perform Margaret's part when I did it in London at Ingrid Swenson's space Production. I'm certain I drove her nuts because I tried to 'direct' her. First I'd ask her to read her lines as if she were the Susan Hayward of I Want To Live! sitting in the cafe of Petrified Forest, then I'd say no no do it more like Juliette Lewis in Kalifornia only she's 50 years old instead. And next I'd say do it like Karl Malden. What an idiot. Of course Nancy managed to do a fine performance in spite of me.

Monday, August 07, 1995

Anne Frank In Jerusalem

111 Minna, 8/7/95

This was really mainly a reading with a performance element. At Galerie Theuretzbacher in Vienna, Mark Hudson, one of my collaborators in the Feed-Back-And-Forth project, slid his tongue down the length of one of the corners of the room. Actually, a couple of other artists had held him up in the air & rubbed him like a pencil on the wall. About halfway down, his tongue became so abraded that it started leaving a trail of blood on the wall. It was great & I wanted to do that too somehow. So here at this reading I had my chance. I would read a section from my novel Anne Frank In Jerusalem & then turn & lick the wall behind me for awhile. I'd rubbed my tongue with sandpaper beforehand so that I'd be sure to start bleeding in good time. I did manage to leave a bloody smudge on the wall but it was very much inferior to Mark's action.

Wednesday, January 25, 1995

An Atmosphere But For An Instant

Southern Exposure, 1/25/95

While I was installing my large installation Even If Such An Object Outside Us Were Unimportant in SoEx's main gallery space, I realized that I'd never really fulfilled the proposal I'd made to Jon Winet regarding the series of Brief Amaze performances I'd done in Europe in 1990. I'd done Brief Amaze at SoEx right before leaving for Europe & the intention had been to present the mutated version at the end of the European tour. But the European experience had been so overwhelming & created so many other projects during 1990-92 that I'd simply forgotten that original intention.

My SoEx installation was primarily influenced by issues relating to ideological & semiotic transformations in Eastern Europe, so it dawned on me that now would be the time to present this final performance, and inasmuch as the installation directly addressed the "theatricality" of ideological expression, it would be logical to do it inside the installation.

My working script for this performance is posted HERE - and since it is a very descriptive script, I won't write anything more about it here but simply encourage you to read the script.

Sunday, February 27, 1994


This was one of several performances Laurie Amat & I collaborated on. I would make a cassette mix tape, a sound-score with a theme, that Laurie would listen to for the first time, through headphones, blindfolded, during the performance, ie the audience could only hear her spontaneously-improvised singing, not the tape score she was singing in response to. In this performance, while she was singing from inside of a broken chair, I lay on my back on the floor under a flourescent light fixture suspended only inches above the length of my body. Otherwise the room was dark.

In each hand I held a red Sharpie magic marker above a large piece of paper. I wrote spontaneously in response to Laurie's singing & to what I knew of the score & theme. I tried to write the same text simultaneously with each hand. Of course I'm just right-handed so the left-hand text was basically illegible, but the right-hand text was also deeply flawed by my being blindfolded and by the splitting of my concentration. This thing I was attempting was difficult and oddly interesting to me; it's very satisfying to me both conceptually & visually. I've always wanted to do it again, but haven't.

Saturday, January 22, 1994

I'm Not Unhappy, I'm Just Sad

Homestead, Oakland CA

Thursday, December 09, 1993

Heaven Is Just A Parking Lot


Wednesday, October 13, 1993

Blood Conjure

Saturday, October 09, 1993

The Washington HillBillaries: The A Teams

Sunday, May 30, 1993

Flying Dutchman

Friday, July 26, 1991


(w/ Yvonne Austen) Shedhalle, Zürich, Switzerland, 7/26/91

This was the first day of a two-day series of performances in the Shedhalle space, which was the primary venue for the Feed-Back-and-Forth project organized by M. Vänci Stirnemann & featuring more than a dozen performance artists from Switzerland, Canada, Spain, the UK & me.

It was only a week since our group's big blowout & split at the Helmhaus performance, so tensions were still high but we were all attempting to work together as well as possible to make something professional for Shedhalle & the audience. The group mainly worked in pairs or solo, but a fair amount of thought & planning had gone into choreographing the day's events so that peformances would overlap or be sequenced somewhat logically & hopefully to the benefit of each piece.

Yvonne & I began by standing shoulder-to-shoulder, each of us wearing 7 or 8 white shirts. We'd hand-sew the shoulders & elbows of our top shirts together, then wriggle out of them and sew our next top shirt to that pair. So that after 15-20 minutes, we'd gotten going on a string of connected shirts, kind of like a laundry line. Yvonne was kind of the main pariah in the group by that point & I was surely right behind, all a long story I don;t have time to go into today, but in any case this performance may have been about the bonds one decides to form with other people, the external surfaces of social relations, etc. We may have had as many shirts as people in the FB&F group, but I'm not sure we'd thought it through quite so precisely. Some potatoes we'd put into a pot of water were boiling on a hot plate the entire time we were sewing, but I'm not sure why. Cooking metaphor relating to community? Meal as product? When we were finished sewing our shirts, we took off the last ones & the performance was over.

Friday, April 19, 1991

Old Sod

Friday, June 29, 1990

Brief Amaze

Southern Exposure, SF 6.29.90

This was the tune-up for my impending European tour. In an attempt to make a modular, flexible performance that could be influenced by the sites in which I'd perform it, I'd expanded upon the basic structure of the performance of the same name that I'd done at the Lab eight months earlier. The intent was that the actions could be rearranged, deleted & aded to, in response to each new physical & social situation I encountered. In light of that, this performance was successful, in that it clearly reflected the stress I was going through at that time, preparing for a long difficult trip into unknown circumstances & coping with the end of a valued relationship.

I gave myself a slightly mawkish birthday party, serenading myself on fake hunting horn while candles burned atop a stone "cake" on a wheelchair:

At one point I went little over the line while bullying an audience member on stage:

At another point, as a nod to that failed relationship, I tied a parking meter to Raegan Kelly's neck & put a quarter in it. I thought this was hysterical & witty, but RK looked so pissed. I always assumed that she'd hated that, but in early 2007 she told me that had been one of her favorite parts.

One thing that went wrong undermined the credibility of the piece for many of the audience. At one point I slit my wrists, not fatally of course but I got a few good slices into each wrist & there was plenty of blood. I like blood on stage. It's a loaded material that looks good & has a vigorous odor. People usually respond pretty strongly to blood. Here I was attempting to use blood/slit wrists as markers, as signs, in the same way I was using the other elements in the work. But there was so much red tempera paint on my shirt & skin & table that the blood didn;t read as blood - so as far as the audience could tell, I was merely performing a theatrical gesture representing the slitting of my wrists. So what the audience read was 180 degrees oppositional to what my intent had been. Not the last time something like this would happen during performance of this piece.

Anyway, Frank Moore laughed himself silly during the whole thing, so I figured I'd done something right.

There's a slightly different description of this performance on my blog about my performance tour of Europe in 1990.

All these photos are screen captures from video shot in impossible lighting conditions by - I think - Todd Edelman. The fact that they are poor quality is entirely my fault not his.

Tuesday, February 27, 1990

The Infant Carlos III Dreams of the New World

Justin Herman Plaza, 2.27.90

The Infant Carlos III...continued 1

Monday, January 01, 1990

This Commemoration

New Langton Arts, 11/30/89

This collaboration with Raegan Kelly was part of an AIDS-related evening & had something to do with duct tape, wine, blood & memory.

Brief Amaze - Lab

The Lab SF 10.15.89

Road Kill - SF Arts Commission Gallery


This was a Poetry Center reading curated by Bob Glück & held at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery on Grove Street, just before the earthquake that shut the gallery down. Margaret & I did Road Kill & then Carla Harryman read. I think we used actual car headlights & battery for this performance. Afterwards, Barrett Watten told us he "especially enjoyed the meta-qualities."

Road Kill - Southern Exposure


The audience at Southern Exposure was less fragile than the Academy of Art College one but more shockable than the battle-hardened one at ATA. A higher percentage of older, more bourgeois artists & attendees. No one seemed too bothered by us feeling them up. Pinching their nipples through their blouses, stroking their cocks through denim jeans.

The only time anyone got upset was when I tried to carefully lift a woman's necklace of large green stones from around her neck. She grabbed my wrist & started resisting me forcefully. I pressed on, thinking it was important that I assert my dominance, but she was so adamant about protecting her property, so loud in her verbal protestations, that to continue would have changed the performance into something else - something else that didn't seem to me to be very attractive or interesting to pursue - so I left her & moved on.

At some point I sat on Bob Glück's lap & chewed on his neck. After the performance, he invited Margaret & me to perform the piece for in the series he was curating for the Poetry Center.

The Story Of My Life

Road Kill - Academy of Art College


Kevin Radley asked us to perform for his class. The room was so packed with people that there wasn't much room to walk around & get at the audience. I had to mentally plot out a path down the central aisle to the back of the classroom, along the rear wall over to the right-hand wall, down that wall back toward the "stage" area. I thought I might be able to force my way in to one of the rows of seats at that point, but I wasn't sure. In any case this was the only passable route.

I touched a few people lewdly in the front row, then headed down the central aisle, only coincidentally towards a young blond woman student who got a panicked look in her eyes & started backing away from me. I kept coming in her direction & she looked like she was going to freak out. As I made my way up the central aisle, I touched people's faces & shoulders. I slowly rubbed one seated tall male Chinese student's spiky black hair, scalp & ears.

I was trying to delay my advance to give the blond more time to get away. As she reached the rear wall, I prayed that she wouldn't turn to escape towards my right. I tried to give her subtle eye signals without breaking my "character." She turned right. I had no other possible route & had to follow her. She was really starting to lose it & just kind of crumpled when she reached the corner. I was so happy when I was finally able to force myself past her without touching her.

In high school, I'd once involved myself in some horse-play on the school bus, the boys-chasing-girls kind of stuff that happens in eighth grade but is less appropriate in 11th or 12th, as we were then. One of the girls reacting strongly to being cornered, even though no one touched her. She told me several months later that she'd been raped when she was younger. Ever since then, I've been hyper-alert to a certain over-the-shoulder look & shift of the torso movement that usually indicates prior sexual trauma.

Kevin sort of got fired a couple weeks later because of our performance, or at least it was a good excuse or last straw or more fuel for that fire. He told me after the performance that the Chinese student whose head I'd touched had nearly quit school & flown back to China the next day. In Kevin's class the following week, the student explained that in China the head is considered the temple of the body, a sacred & private space that I had invaded quite forcefully & traumatically.

Heimlich Maneuvers 2


Road Kill - Lab


I have no memory at all of this performance.

Heimlich Maneuvers 1

Michelle Simmerer dancing, Piper Heisig drumming, Scott MacLeod shaving

Artists Television Access, 1.6.89

This ludicrous & charming (to me anyway) first live version of Heimlich Maneuvers was enlivened by the participation of my ex-stripper roomates Roni Bowen & Michelle Simmerer, and the musical accompaniment of ____ led by Steven Strauss.

Women Love Stories

Road Kill - ATA

Artists Television Access, 2/10/89

Steve Perkins had asked me to do something for a Valentine's Day show at ATA. I'd been wanting to work with Margaret Crane so I asked her if she'd write & perform something with me. Our working styles meshed right away & we quickly started working on a piece that - well - we had both become dismayed that the AIDS crisis had not only killed so many people but it had also repressed the survivors' ability to feel pleasure. Nothing was sexy anymore: parties weren't sexy, openings weren't sexy, no one was flirting. So we wrote a piece about two people who let nothing stand in the way of their pleasure: a brother & sister who were also lovers, Susan & Dave raped & killed people & stole their cars, in the service of the twin pleasures of sex & velocity. In spite of its [pre-Tarantino] superficial subject matter, this was also a sincere attempt to examine the nature of unconditional love. ROAD KILL was a LOVE STORY for the 80's. Here's one version of the script.

Making Intelligent Choices In An Intelligent World

Stories Love Women

Stories Women Love



Collaboration with Dede Puma
The Lab, San Francisco May 19-21, 1988

Mr. Phonehead

Spirit Ceiling Zero


Artists Television Access, 11/9/84

I wore a two-faced papier-mache head while I read from a

Into The Wild Blue Yonder

Tango Planet

Martin Cox

In The Liberated Zone (with Jeanne Gallo) & She Was A Really Big Woman (starring Martin Cox & the voice of Caitlin Morgan), 3/22-23/86, Intersection for the Arts

Calling ourselves Tango Planet, Jeanne & I had partnered to create more experimental theater. Jeanne & I performed in In The Liberated Zone, which was a sort of urban sequel to the more rural post-apocalyse of Home On The range, and as such was co-created in the same manner as the earlier piece. I wrote She Was A Really Big Woman for Martin & Caitlin, while Jeanne & Caitlin co-created a third piece whose name escapes me. The work was all pretty good, didn't - as usual - get much attention from audience or press, which was discouraging. Jeanne & I worked well together & we probably should have done more projects together, but this ended up being the only production by the short-lived Tango Planet.

Terrorism: An Annotated Reading

Home On The Range (2)

New Performance Gallery, 5/12/85, with Jeanne Gallo

I think we made some minor changes to the piece for this gig, but I can't remember for sure. I think the part where she cut off my hair with scissors was a new thing.


Home On The Range - SFAI

Jeanne Gallo & SM

Polyphonix 8 Festival, San Francisco Art Institute 11.9.84

When Jean-Jacques Lebel & Jacqueline Cahen brought their Paris-based Polyphonix sound-poetry festival to NY MOMA, Ellen Zweig got an NEA grant to bring all the European artists to SF as well. She rounded up a crew of her students as associate producers: me, Marsha Vdovin, Amy Elliott & Andrea Dace. Among other duties, I was stage manager for one or two evenings. We put on a four night extravaganza with over a dozen performances a night by the likes of Carolee Schneeman, Armand Schwerner, Jerome Rothenberg, Jackson McLow, Ann Tardos, Larry Wendt, Eleanor Antin, Bernard Heidsick, Guilia Niccolai & scores more.

The sublime Greg Goodman played piano under a parachute. The monstrous genius Joel Hubaut frantically read from a book in English though he didn't understand the words, eating the pages as he read, till his cheeks were red & distended, bits of paper spitting out with every attempted syllable. I plagiarized this performance (poorly - though the German audience liked its "formal elements") at Der Festival Das Plagiats in Braunschweig, West Germany in 1988.

As the last act of a stressful, exhausting festival, Terry Allen played a couple of songs on piano, one of them about a herd of prairie dogs sucked up by a tornado and slammed into a tall shiny bank tower in Dallas or Houston. The last notes of the song were thunderous minor chords that broke my heart & snapped me in two. The Jack Daniels helped also. I started bawling like a baby, had to be carried to the car, driven home, fed, fucked & allowed to sleep for 22 hours.

The major perk for us student producers was being able to curate ourselves onto the same stage as these major figures. I was nervous, being still more or less a novice, so I sought out my pal Jeanne Gallo, a veteran of experimental theater work. We intuitively developed some core thematic elements through physical experimentation, until at some point I got inspired & banged out a short script in an hour or two. We honed the script & the gestural components & came up with a nifty seven-minute performance. I think this is still one of the best things I've done. We got on stage, did our thing, got off stage. When the lights blacked out after we'd finished, there wasn't a sound in the house for about 10 seconds, then someone exhaled a sincere "whew" that I still remember & feel to this day & that is really all the affirmation & reward I could ever ask for.

The Drunken Jungle

I'd been very inspired by the Poet's Theater work done by Eileen Corder, Carla Harryman, Nick Robinson & others, and was beginning to try my hand at theater. I corralled a couple of actors, rehearsed with them & was raring to go - but none of them showed up at Eye Gallery the night of the performance. I had no choice but to enlist some friends out of the audience on the spot & have them perform the piece with me completely unrehearsed. I believe it was Amy Elliott & Steve Perkins - & maybe Michael Doty as the Dutch sea captain - who came to my rescue. Later this piece was produced by John Reiger with funding from New American Radio & aired nationally. Here's the link to the script.

It wasn't until a couple years later that I realized this piece was about me & my parents when we lived in Indonesia & Venezuela.

Audience Revolt

Rock Start

Necromancy (version 1)

Book Burn

Clarion Café, SF, 9.25.83

When I was starting to build my resume back in the ur-murk of the early 80's, I adopted a less-than-stringent definition of "performance," so much of this early work might be more accurately described as theater or, in a few cases, poetry readings. Not to say that a high percentage of the readings I've done are listed here; no, for several years I used to do a public reading about once a month, and only a couple of these are listed here, and only if there was some extra extra-literary component or incident or context.

This was actually just a short reading at a publication party for a volume of Dave Bedell's Violent Milk magazine, the one that documented several years of Clifford Hunt'S & Tim Badger's live Just Press Forum events. What got this listed here is that I read from a copy of Violent Milk that I had set on fire. I read until I was in danger of burning my fingers.

Hey as far as I'm concerned if there's fire it's a performance.


(w/Sarah Rossell) Post-Science Fair, Golden Gate YMCA, SF, 9.18.83

My roomate Sarah was a good actress with a big stage personality, kind of an Ethel Merman but more attractive. During this 10-minute dialogue with minimal action, I probably managed to get her to completely suppress this big personality of hers. I think this was a post-apocalyptic set-in-a-desert type of thing. Some of you may remember this large group event. It was meant to to replicate a high-school science fair of the late 60's early 70's. Patti Davidson hung up dozens of pieces of toast - she'd been investigating penicillin mold. That kind of thing.

Game Theory

Spaghetti Factory, 5/12/83, with Sue Carlson

Sue & I performed some more mini-playlets that were, if I remember correctly, constructed from Sue's poetry and from some of mine that Sue would soon publish in her literary magazine Channel.

Active German Idioms

Tattoo Rose, 4/27/83, with Sue Carlson

Sue & I performed some conversations I'd found in German language primers. The centerpiece was one that spanned the entirety of a very accelerated romantic relationship, from first chance encounter to last jaded farewell, in about fifty lines of dialogue.

The Mummy's Curse

Standing: SM, Amy Elliott (wrapped as mummy); seated: Patti Davidson, Chuck Z, Ellen Zweig & others.

Tattoo Rose 4.13.83

An archeologist/explorer presenting a paper on his recent discovery of Hatshepsut's mummified body is suddenly possessed by her unleashed spirit.

I made poor Amy stand completely wrapped, doing basically nothing, for about 25 minutes under hot spotlights. This piece was later expanded & incorporated into Necromancy.

Sex As Entertainment & Scheherazade/Sub-Text

This was my solo performance debut. Clifford Hunt, Tim Badger & Dave Bedell were hosting group poetry readings named for their press, Just Press, hence the Just Press Forum moniker. Each forum had a specific theme, e.g. Erotic Formalism or Cheap Surrealism or this particular evening's: Text As Entertainment.

I had never performed in public solo before so I was nervous & decided to try to do something humorous to get the audience to like me. I started doing a lecture about Sex as Entertainment, using a chart that had Duration of Sexual Activity as X-axis & Entertainment Value as Y-axis, ie for the first 3 hours, the entertainment value of sex rises, then plateaus till hour 5, when it starts to taper off. At this point, Clifford Hunt, acting as my shill, stopped me & told me the evening's theme wasn't Sex but rather Text As Entertainment. Only momentarily abashed, I tore off the chart's X-axis label to reveal another: Number of Pages ie the rising entertainment value of reading plateaus after the first 300 pages & starts to decline after 500.

Everyone was laughing now as I segued into a discussion of how text had been exclusively used to make lists: of names, dry goods, livestock, offspring - until Scheherazade had been forced under threat of death to repurpose text in order to entertain her husband In order to delay her death, she'd invented many of narrative and its primary tropes: suspense for example. While I was talking to the audience about Sheherazade's invention of narrative, my hands were flipping through a series of index cards, visible to the audience, which humorously discussed sub-text and its relation to narrative.

My debut was a big success: people bought me drinks, I got laid, I got published. The whole arc of coming up with an idea in the morning, writing & rehearsing it in the afternoon, performing it in the evening & receiving instant gratification & affirmation, seemed to me to be an excellent way to occupy my time. Of course it would never quite be so simple ever again.

Canned Food Via Satellite

Ink Gallery 12.2.82 & 12.9.82

Amy Elliott, Patti Davidson, Lise Swenson & Peter Edlund had formed Zoviet Youth to play Soviet punk rock camp songs at places like the Sound of Music. Desperate to ingratiate myself into their charmed circle, I did menial tasks, designed posters & made a pest of myself until finally they let me play in their sandbox too. Ink gallery wasn't really a music venue, so the sound was lighter, more acoustic, and there were more arty agit-prop sequences. I let Patti drag me around inside a trash bag, slamming me into walls and hurling crockery & invective at me. Finally my bit came: a dual-screen slideshow with accompanying texts, written by me, spoken by me & Peter. All about the north wind howling through the hollow silos of nuclear missiles. It was good, I thought.

Peter Edlund, Amy Elliott, Lise Swenson & Patti Davidson at the Sound of Music, 1982