<%@ Language=VBScript %> <%response.buffer = TRUE%> Adventures in Performance Art
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Adventures in Performance Art

Putting a pretentious art scene in check, our author lays down his own brand of art for an unsuspecting crowd and becomes the hit of the night much to his pleasure. What does a French-to-English dictionary, a hockey mask, and cheese have to do with art,
you say? ... Exactly.

by Uncle Doobie
Illustration by Palmor Saylor III

July.24th.2001

"Did you hear what that guy just said?" my friend asked me at a recent trip to the Guggenheim. Being from New York City, I expect it. I expect the artsy crowd to be obnoxious and overbearing sometimes, but I am programmed to ignore it. The comment, about the painting before my very eyes, was some ridiculous explanation of the meaning of the painting. As if he painted it himself or possess the sole of the artist as his very own.

It's not only in museums that you hear these comments. Everything in New York -- from art to music to theatre to Ann Rice novels -- has a deeper meaning. The art scene is full of itself believing there is a deeper meaning to everything. And this brings me to my story.

It starts at my place of work, where I met Chris Hollywood. I never allowed myself to get close to people at work, but something in Chris made me want to. He was someone who intrigued me. Conversations with him could go on for hours and were never dull. One morning he gave me a book of his poems. I didn’t even realize he wrote. As it turned out the poems were good.. And when Chris read them to a group of the workers, his performance was incredible. We convinced him to do some spoken word in Manhattan.

We made this a company trip with some ten people. I went with my friends Brian, Victo,r and Joey. In our humble opinion Chris was the best. But he was not the one the crowd was buzzing about. It was the Japanese women just before him that everyone spoke about. Her deep meaning ... her depth. She sucked. All she had was a bunch of cards with Japanese charters on them, spoke them out loud with some whining violin in the background. I turned to Brian and saw the exact same look on his face and at that moment we decided we must out do her.

First we needed a nonsense poem, or any writing. Many attempts at English poems failed. Everyone could understand the cynical nature of them. So it was decided to use a foreign language, and what language is more snotty and pretentious than French. I am glad I got to use all those useless days of high school French. (thanks Ms. Murray) The poem must have no true meaning. After a few hours of intense thinking, the poem was done:

Mon nom est David
Je suis le fromage
J’aime le fromage
Mais je deteste le formage
Je dois tuer le formage

Mon nom est David
Le formage est bon
Apportez-moi une biere
J’aime la biere vraiment
Le formage doit mourir
Tuez le formage
Mon nom est David.

Translation for you non-Frenchies: My name is David/ I am the cheese/ I like the cheese/ The cheese is me/ The cheese must die/ I like beer/ Beer is good ... and on from there.

A poem truly meaning nothing, a poem with no redeeming value. But performance art is not just the spoken material; there must be more.

It was decided that we would need is hockey sticks, hockey jerseys, goalie masks, bongos, and a wheel of Brie. I would read the poem, in my hockey mask and jersey. Every line in a super dramatic fashion, after every line, three beats on the bongos, played by Brian in a similar get up. In the end, picking up hockey sticks and smashing the wheel of Brie all over the crowd. We practiced for weeks, except the smashing the Brie part, it was damn expensive.

The night came upon us very fast. We were to be after Chris’ reading of his latest poem "My Dick." I was tense, nervous, very wasted, but in the end not afraid to pull this off.

We stepped on stage to a silent crowd dressed in black, with the desire to feel my pain. We let them have it full force, the poem, the bongos, the soft tasty Brie. The crowd applauded when we were finished. Covered in tiny bits of Brie, they spoke of understand the underlying meaning of the poem. The angst, anger, frustration toward man, toward the hostile world we live in.




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