I’m Curious

February 3, 2010 at 12:27 am (Uncategorized)

Tell me about the best performances you ever saw. Any medium; whether it’s some guy on the street juggling knives or some band selling out a stadium, or anything anywhere in between. I ask because performance is something obviously all of us in this scene are interested in, but we belong to the group of artists called “writers,” who give “readings.” There’s only two readings – straight readings, in the traditional sense – I’ve ever seen that haven’t gotten me bored – Eckhard Gerdes at the first Bizarro Con, when he read the poem that begins his book The Million-Year Centipede, and Jeff Mock, who I’ve seen read three times at Pomfret’s Broken Bridge program in Connecticut (Jeff’s poems were the closers on my 2009 anthology, Avant-Garde for the New Millennium).

So we don’t do it like that. I live with Jeff Burk and Cameron Pierce, who’re masters of performance art, and even if we’re making different kinds of things I learned a lot from them – mainly, that the kind of “performance” that’s nothing more than a writer mumbling over his own text is something I don’t want to do. I’m developing things – things that blend Forrest Armstrong and Gasoline Monk into one messy person – and that’s what got me thinking about this… so tell me about your favorite performances, of any kind, and let’s think about things different.

1 Comment

  1. Daniel said,

    1. Great Gig in the Sky vocal solo — the most impressive single performance i’ve ever witnessed. (in the studio, Floyd told her to imagine “death”, and just sing).

    2. Eddie Vedder (de la Pearl Jam) slowly singing his words and good tidings to the crowd, placing so much significance on every lyric, fist pump, jump, standing on speaker drinking bottle of wine, and silence. He sings with so much energy in such a way it feels like slow motion, no matter how fast paced the music is.

    3. Phish. (playing on such a high level in so many different styles–whatever they play. they don’t have the word “wrong” in their jamming vocabulary; it’s all music).

    4. a high school senior a month before graduation playing Thunder Road, solo on keyboard, at a high school open mic (“it’s a town full of losers and i’m pulling out of here to win”). the situation, the story of NOW, and the talent, practice, and growth of all that IS blending together in active expression…

    5. 300 white birds dancing in the sky, their shapes and movements and shadows every-shifting, rearranging, displaying wow changing to woa back to wow and oh yeah, on the last morning of a 3 day canoe trip on an australian river.

    6. a boy standing in a dark field playing with glowing orbs on strings. he was shaky at it. i was watching him for a while, and then a girl walked up to him and she had her own orbs on strings, and the two made beautiful spinning light-art together. it was a silent romance novel in a few minutes of common art.

    7. every live pandatwists or twists set. (system, rage, HEIST!, bohemian, ready for the world / heaven)

    8. Dark Star Orchestra (grateful dead cover band)–their jams were calling on love and death, they were scary and exciting as a completely free mushroom trip.

    9. flute/beat-boxer (blending steez)

    great question. there’s more, like cats jumping, and people standing up to police officers, but basically anything with confidence can do anything it wants, more or less.

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