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.