The Visitor who wasn't There and A Weekend of Performance

photo of Bruce Nauman

Last week, my dear friend Christy from Chicago, called to ask if I could help find a place for one of her projectionists to stay as they attended a conference. I sent out a general facebook email to film and art supporters. With amazing generosity Gary Passanise offered up his cave studio- as he had moved out and the new tenant was not yet in the space. The one condition was that Doug M, the visitor, had to vacate the space on Friday for a performance. I thought that Cam and I would not be great hosts for Doug because we were preparing and then installing at Snowflake's Drive By Space.

When Doug rolled into town on Wednesday I had him meet me at Local Harvest for a vegan lunch meal. I then took him on a fast South side tour to the studio spaces. If you have not been to Gary's studio, it is an amazing space carved into the rock wall of the bluffs along the Mississippi. The entrance is an Alice in Wonderland keyhole that opens up into a giant space. Complete with primitive kitchen, zen bathroom, contemplation room, James Bond bedroom, and 18ft studio painting walls, visitors leaving this space also like to call it the bat cave. (or maybe I heard Laura Fried say that and it just stuck?) Anyways we were just sort of giddily joyfully walking around the space feeling amazed that Doug got to stay there and that it was a sort of one of a kind experience. This made me wish that we could just regularly have a visiting artist program where people could stay at Gary's space.... Em H. also stated something of the sort to me. I left Doug there with promises that he would leave no trace behind and went to work....
I kind of like being a tour guide because when someone else finds St. Louis amazing, I find it to be a little more exciting as well. Each time I called Doug the next couple of days, he continued to express his delight about the almost magical experience he was having as he visited St. Louis this felt sort of contagious to me.

If there is too much to do over a weekend is that a strong sign of the city's vitality?

Friday night went to the Here they are once again for their very first 7th Annual Midwestern Assorted Produce Snuff Shorts Film Triennial, a video and performance exhibition that includes no films. Performance at Boots. I Watched a guy Ross Moreno try to "break" a Guiness Book of World Records for most balloon animals made. Dressed in clown shoes, rainbow wig, suspenders, shorts, fake nose, no top, he reminded me slightly of Bruce Nauman's piece currently up at MCA. His actions were different in that he interacted with the audience by passing out dog twisted balloons. The harder he tried to make the balloons rapidly the more he became flustered and the more balloons that popped. Finally he had an all out tantrum, someone from the audience threw a beer at him (planned) and he left the room. Perhaps some commentary on masculinity , the futility of a sisyphean task, or a commentary on the people that go after this funny little feats. The human need to be important and immortalized.

Left this performance for one at Gary's Studio or "Studio E" as performed by BFA Webster Student Nick Jacobs. After a long wait, the lights turned down and Nick walked out topless in jean shorts and socks. He climbed up onto a row of dressers that were painted black and lined up like runway. Moving to the front of one of the dressers, he began to talk about early sexual warnings; like never wear socks while having sex. So he pulled off his socks one at at time. Then while clutching two neon lights, he said how sex would hurt like hell and the threw the light down. They shattered. I was unfortunately seated on the ground and nearly pelted with light shrapnel. Then he said something about "wanting to do it over and over" and threw the final light. Next he began to chug tons of creamer and then spew it towards the audience, towards the ground, onto himself, and then finally onto reflections of himself in the mirror. This repeated. I interpreted it as coming to terms with sexual identity that involved revulsion but also act of acceptance in the retelling.

Ran into Doug again Sat. morning and he continued to celebrate his St. Louis love saying he thought he liked it even better than Chicago and heralding a street like Cherokee where "vintage shops, music shops, and galleries, lay side by side". Cam and I went for a long day at Snowflake were we began to build our latest incarnation of the Ant Circus installation.

I rushed home so I could pick Keith Bucholdz up in time to prepare for Fluxus Performance at Artica. Keith invited Eric Repice and I to perform with him. He had created Fluxus score of pieces from the 60's till now. Before we went on, I even got to make a music video to Prince's Raspberry Beret, by way of Eleanor Balson's Music Video setup. Cam announced each of our performances from the stairwell. I had fun trying to keep a straight face as we did small actions like shuffling into and around the room, or standing and doing absolutely nothing for a few minutes. I especially enjoyed George Brecht's Water Music where we slowly dropped water into a bowl on the ground and a small sound piece developed in the action. Photo below of George Brecht.

Heard from Doug last night he even scored tickets to Leonard Cohen. How did he do it? Today we went back to Snowflake for several hours, we've been gifted with unconditionally warm weather, it's been a great day to install. This next week I'll be preparing for CAT workshop again and finishing up the Drive By Install.


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