Tuesday, October 25, 2011


   In the mid-1970's I began working in what was then called "performance art". I didn't have a clue as to what that was. I'd just moved with my young wife, cat and dog to the Bay Area and enrolled in the sculpture department at The San Francisco Art Institute. I'd started out as a printmaker and was bored with the anal approach to art making. Somehow I ended up in Howard Fried's video/performance class in Studio 9 with Tony Labat, Debora Iyall, Karen Finley and a hand full of other lost souls. Between that class and devouring everything I could get my hands on that explained the work of Chris Burden, Vito Acconci, Yves Klein, Joseph Beuys and even that Frenchman Duchamp.....I started to get a handle on performance.
     Fast forward 10 years. I'm "performing" at Limbo Lounge on E10th St. in NYC. I have a burning cross in one hand and I'm flinging pieces of raw chicken with the other, all the time reciting a stream of consciousness poem. The crowd of jaded hipsters recoils and heckles. My sister is in the audience. She's brought a straight couple out of suburbia to see her big brother rock the NY. The couple are so insulted and freaked out by the display they leave my sister alone in her chair. Obviously performance art is not for everyone. Sis and I spend the night hitting the bars. She leaves in good spirits.

What I do now is a far cry from those halcyon days. Hell, I recently saw a display of brightly colored mouses at Best Buy under the heading- PERFORMANCE ART by So and So. Performance art has been co-opted by the mainstream. I haven't used the term since 1985. Yesterday I went to a new dentist. Just so happened he was at Saturday's End of the World Temple. As he climbed through my mouth I asked if he had a good time? He hesitated. Seems he had brought a couple who had no idea what they were walking into. After burning their dollars they watched a supermodel whip a bare assed German with a butt plug as the congregation gleefully counted to 10. I guess they'd never been to church before, because they were shocked and disgusted. Oh well. There's the door.
   Over and over I hear congregants complain over how difficult it is to explain the CLGM. They say Church or Temple to friends and watch them glaze over and back away with patronizing smiles. "No thanks." Then there is the reticence of people who KNOW what it is but won't get on stage. They think they have to have an act or be "good" at something. If I can impart any wisdom in my role as pastor of this bunch, let me just say. This ain't performance art. This ain't theater. This ain't no disco. But it is ALL about fooling around. The unbelievers may or may not see it our way. We aren't for everyone, but for some salvation is at hand.    


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