Theater & Performance Texts
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Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Written in 2006, as yet unproduced.
STANLEY'S GREAT JOURNEY FROM SEA TO SEA“While on this disastrous march he lost five of his people, who wandered on helplessly, fell down, and died.”In a long Nuutaq sled near the Fissures of Trotsky, off the harsh coast of Nova Zemlaya. Leader of the expedition, Colonel Baby Baby Baby, surveys the wreckage.
Baby Baby Baby:
Stave noncontributing cockiness dragger. Bent harbor lack. Monocot gallon venture. Bugger.
Dictum perlocution interpolator.
Lightheartedness.None truly sense the impending. Their carrack slides inexorably across the Adenauer Plateau. The Aachen Narrows lay between them and their goal: the Chimborazo Fist.
Onvoid, Cretin sutures.
Poleward magnetically. Radiopathetique compulsiveness.
Baby Baby Baby:
Adrenaline’s adrift. Anglicized Argonauts’ abject attempt.
Adana pledge nightlife. Cylon cyclotron neon café promendade. Liquor in Ice. Land.
Baby Baby Baby:
Accountability’s accosted, accursed.
Abdul against Abelard.
Abraham’s apeish abrujo. All arrogance abrogated again.
Aeneas and Aeolus anticipate Aeschylus, apparently.
Alternatively, Aesop, arguably.
Baby Baby Baby:
(from the crowsnest
Agriculture. Animals. Aperitifs. Anouk Aimee.
Ahab’s abattoir. Achilles’ acropolis. Agamemnon’s Alamo. Aladdin’s alabaster airport.
Misty equestrian illusion. Indianan foal ogler. Adipose toughly towards indorsed geranium mutableness.
Unarguable phaeton production centralizer inflictor.
Rescind starry eroticism tartly.
Eldest bawdy grease diver tubing obscenely.
Baby Baby Baby:
Avicenna tessellated seventieth peruse medicinal Dore emoter activation atomizer horsetail ingeniously mappable binational Wren melodramatics reportage Pilate anneal sulfa jitteriness gerontology metabolize refurbish waggery Baden manageably minuscule bluets tipi instantly fusible actinic Methodistic layperson unsupportable nibble predisposed sooth gawk shortie cheaply Darryl pellagra preemie torsion inherent undeterred kabob nonagenarian disturb frisker adopt estivate nobly Latino marauder nontarnishable dungarees tendon radicalism diplomatic Durban sweatpants cassock Writings overexertion donkey Beduin herpetological hotbed angelic denunciative flouncy ouguiya Saipan shillalah
Stereotypical protofascist tremulously speaks.
Agreed: another of Appalachia’s abstruse academics.
Alleluiea! They wander off helplessly, fall down, and die.
Written 1996, as yet unproduced. Photo is from my performance "Open World" in Beograd, Yugoslavia on July 21st, 1990.A COFFEE-HOUSELights up on three characters seated at a small table.
Strabismus the Archigion (waving his left hand near his left ear, as if shooing a mosquito
Polcross the Phlogician (taking a quick sip from a glass of golden liquid just before he speaks
Giolconda the Escricci:
I can see Kirk, and Yoeman Rand, dressed in pastel abstract Hawaiian shirts and khaki shorts, carrying round trays loaded with margaritas and crab dib, but I’m not really in the same room with them.
(Giolconda the Escricci flings himself backwards out of his chair onto the floor, where he lies motionless.
)After a long “significant” pause:
Strabismus the Archigion (waving his left hand near his left ear, as if shooing a mosquito
Polcross the Phlogician (taking a quick sip from a glass of golden liquid just before he speaks
Tentantun.Lights out.Lights back up very soon after. A man in a suit stands facing the audience, holding a microphone, as if reporting live from the scene.
Bechtidus the Straumpdort:
A detailed analyses of these dramatized events reveals-A man in the audience snorts loudly and derisively, jumps up as if exasperated, and stomps out of the theater. Bechtidus stares sorrowfully after this man even after he’s left the theater. About fifteen seconds after the man has left, the lights go out for good.
Written 2006, as yet unproduced.C’EST UN AMI"We're going to spend all summer looking at this thing. On one piece of paper or one canvas and we're going to look at it until we get it exactly the way it is. Then we're going to keep working on it until we kill it. And then we're going to keep working on it until it comes back on its own."
-de Kooning“We're summers already going past what examines this thing. We're this part of the document or a canvas, and will examine précisement the manner jusqu'nous with death. Then we're this jusqu'à us is be to with and will hold active when we're this, will hold with activates on its cost.”
(A few stragglers occupy Outcrop Zero, a military base/refugee camp on a windy, rocky promontory overlooking an ocean.)
Tough tactics. I long for a piece of self-absorbing ass.
As soon as whales’ ghost gives up Daisey’s tush & booboos.(Clock ticks)
Pull chains, fold in mechanism’s sprung lungs, broken links, calling foul.
Global Villager (reading lips
According to my expectations, the Sea intends big waves to flavor the partyline, bloom like Big News on the day’s recitals. Papyri bob like apples.
Inside, outside or upside down, it’s all just rectal brunt to my stone-ground nose.
Drops design the ocean, drunks design the road. Drivers’ edges earn crap beach space, say “cheese” and bite deep into chino pasture.
Koran harlots may guzzle copula prism like puffing hot bobble heads, but mature sprites, we ark the lactase cellophane knife, help Kobe flap labs, juggle erotic euclidean tasks.
Taste embosses the center’s deceit-wide myth while stinking thief Uncle Dotcom rifles baggy-waist jeans in pantheistic mid-life transition. Months haggle, time runs outs, Nature runs all hacks to ground.
Man, the cuts tic d'erts botched! Donut we lung for soma ocher pierce?
Poor us! Right when the toe of the dish soap suits the portions, right when we finally obtain the rights of the radon ring, the edge of wild disco wind sweeps habit out the edge of our backyard ermitaño, falsifies the dirt-yellow periscope, hasjiejs the matinee out the edge of the next street! Slumber falls! And where the spur of the wolf frows, the edge meows by maymythe, for which they Tarn!
The transfer of khaki hydra starts off the prolix texts of wily young snoot kin: street octopi filling parking lots to the brink.
Piqued parking glut.
Code lurks in ratio to patio.
Read burnt rugged byline, mope.
Glossary = All Knowing = Thumbtacks
We axe the lasts cipher bagel. Woeful impetus.
Cuprous digression candidate!
Hey, young person-nap of CHÈVRE, go pneumatic tumble hasjiesjmatinee edge zalige! By the may my my, why the muskus of the hiring store? The typestyle afflicting with oodjeimpuls? Pemmican without leaven to penetrate the coa? Curb your few blurts while slates tern in wind-bootlegging shambles. Whittle mantic ore botch, browse cain phase secretive roisters, spell drinks for effect. Climb down off your fief hoarse and let shops hire chord musk tarns, tumble graft wherever cotton hashish matinee!
The lung works at the edge of hocks up, at the edge of the meat gepooide. The disco edge of the crap hound pings the infinite diplomacy. (sighs)
(Zeefje, snapping snaar muskus, uses the store
Myth of the slipped-on sausage portions of the soap dish on the ice cream sidewalks of Musewelhaak.
Global edge-cap dyed diameter of the impact at Outcrop Zero.
Minutely-felt dirge of the wild emptiness of the blue cotton sky.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Written early 2006. As yet unproduced. Photo is from my performance "Action Is Ineffable" at The Lab on October 5, 2001.ENORMOUS
I freely broke wind in the dairy. Another summer day crowbarred its way in through the rotting rafters of the barn. The broken sunlight blew my mind. DMT is nothing like BGH. I was bored and there was no closure.
- Gerry O'NanymousSome number of characters on or off stage. Lights on or off. Stage bare or not.
Some armed invasion. These pierced spells. Blood sinking in my breath. Drowning 1942.
The canoe filthy never stopped. Consumer weakness body. Abundant free freeway.
A liquid meditation. From economic bones and hail mary blood. Filthy pee free.
Death a spell. Hints flung by collapse dummy. Get the job off the freeway.
I’m here devoid. Empty comes under the bunkhouse. Pity raccoons.
Rain it’s Mary the Red Army. Our holes our Mary. Weakness of ripe blinks.
Drugged duty at bunkers. I remember the form. After lunch oops.
And blinks drop me. Stain shrunken dead didn’t. A thing with that.
Geronimo poured forth until there was not a single drop of peaceful goddamn.
Get out your hidden old USA. Let the army love facts. Nobody there.
Come on grandma. Finally in broad daylight nazi Germany.
Come to death again fluttering all aflutter.
That’s great gerandma but sex that big shouldn’t stop.
Face it. Hard weak gangbusters sex had you looking pretty dim.
American flowering unfortunately.
Hugs and kisses to all except Sacagawea.
I think I wrote this late 2005 or early 2006. As yet unproduced.HOOLIGAN’S ISLANDLights up suddenly & very bright, to reveal Napoleon standing downstage center in strong frontal spotlight. Whole stage is fully lit also. Napoleon is wearing a fully-buttoned greatcoat and his trademark hat. Left hand is inserted fully into coat, right hand is wrapped with a blood y bandage. He is facing the audience but looking out over it rather than directly at it.
Beached here. Sans ocean. Sucking moisture from sand, in lieu of water.
I will not weary the reader with a description of measured, floating, unconcerned intervals, taken for targets, into which the storm has fallen, destroying the object before it.
Pretend instead we are secure again in the presence of the military, in the dark tides of safety, watching church towers slide down into ruin, carring away both rudder and anchor, night and the dawn rising up like flotsam, and an almost continuous streamer of loneliness in human skins.
Apparently we are getting ready for a struggle. Schoolboy dreams of battle and heroism amid the failing hands we throw to mark our place. And in the sky the sight of all this armament, imagination mysterious as well as busy, and morning contains only a vague, sketchy description of the killing of an inch of ourselves, every jolt, the blood busy in our pit with a hollow sound of hammering as the dead on the outskirts lock up, lights out, and leave.
The man in a ditch with a flag on a long pole, become belligerent for some desperate glory without success.
We are helpless in that pit of ours, swollen full of flags and pennants and sadness come clattering down like hussars burst into smoky red flame under the railway bridge where men fall into heard music and the colours of earth. The horrible eyes all vaguely flickering with the inevitable suggestion of dense black shadows and the night swallowed up with wind, and every morning bitter.
Our heritage, that colossal mechanism so lonely laid away. The night skies coil into burning funnels of broken red fragments upon the flower of dawn.A wounded soldier runs in from stage left, in a tattered uniform, head bare except for a bloody bandage wrapped horizontally around his forehead. He is reaching towards Napoleon but collapses face down at Napoleon’s feet. Pause a few beats. Soldier raises his head to speak.
HEAD WOUND SOLDIER:
Music means more words. Then the widows start to cry. I don’t know how Márechal Rumsford manages it. Pause.
They say he is a pretty remarkable man: the bread of life that motivated and sustains these wars. The manna of the hour. His legacy is, perhaps, the saddest song ever written.Head Wound Soldier dies.
Some funerals, okay. Rise, arise, rise again other nations from the tomb.
Everyone is OK with captured plunder and lands to count. From the tomb to the sacrament we rise.
So many of the dead are women and children and a justification for nothing in particular. Exult, rejoice, not having a chance to warm up.
And there's dust in my eyes, that blinds my sight from death to triumph.
Empire into funeral. I left friends like that. In chaos and unable. It's always the young that lose their lives.
From death to triumph you arise, you rise again, sweet terribleness of war. Behold, what thou hast already desperately needed, flown dark and troubled to an oily sea.A wounded soldier stumbles in from stage right, in a tattered uniform, one of his arms in a bloody sling. He slumps to his knees at Napoleon’s side. Pause a few beats. Soldier, remaining on his knees, straightens his spine and raises his head to speak.
BLOODY SLING SOLDIER:
Grave report from the lands around. Taps on a boombox, lowered into the grave. Brave, likable soul mourned for just a few seconds. The nation's way of saying thank-you, and goodbye. Pause.
For his army remembers him as a heavy burden, a grim intimation of what is to be.Bloody Sling Soldier dies.
Both mine eyes run down with water. There's sadness, of course, at a funeral for old laws.
Nowadays, Paradise lies out of reach for us. The rapid spread of war makes foes of us all for evermore.
One of the advantages of being a member of the conquered nations is that all that is on earth will mourn you. How you are crushed. They mourn in groups, wearing the river of lost love and dedication. Sad songs from sweet mouths acting out the day's grief.
Or, here's another view: 'How can I compensate you?' As you were destroyed through betrayal.
By then, the rapid white golf pants and navy blue blazers are again attracted with anxiety to their fount of faith: conquest. Fresh blood without remorse.
And bear this paranoia upon mine heart for ever.A wounded female soldier stumbles in from stage left, in a tattered uniform, one of her legs in a bloody splint. She stumbles across the stage and comes to a stop just behind and next to Napoleon. She is bent over slightly because of the pain. Pause a few beats.
BLOODY SPLINT SOLDIER:
Another catalyst emerges from the battlefields, restricted by taxes and weakened like locusts at the moment of truth. Your bridegroom is absorbing the burgeoning success of conquering countries with ease.
O sorrow! O woe! An honor guard lies over the land. One world, one soul enslaved, denounced and departed.
Times pass, the rivers roll. The bugler finally cracks the sixth note.
How can we not bemoan the death of a trumpet player?Bloody Splint Soldier does not die but sinks slowly to her knees, clutching her stomach.
All those faint, lurid reports.
The Nile, the Euphrates, the Thames. It's hard to get a bugler to all of them.
Now the people find themselves crucified and the bugle spread to the unused land. It was the eve of unclear lights. Sword, rapine, and flame where there had been a garden. Subjects belonging to the place which was as yet unused.
The melody, unadorned and understated, wiping out riches, terrorizing people with the defense of itself. Paired with aggressive expansion, it seems a fitting tribute to the spirit of pitiable murder.
Everyone attacked but in awe, a delusive transition between the last note of each phrase, which had been taken down, and silence. Sounds like music coming from nowhere.
From a purely technical standpoint, it isn't a difficult song to play.
The people were the property to be defended, a scene that he mourns for. I let my emotions get to me.
Burial customs connect all the broken functions. Numerous and ardent.
Life, it’s obvious: inches beyond the possible.
Also that you be made to remember.
BLOODY SPLINT SOLDIER:
Had Mr. Rumsfeld willed, he could have explained the prodigious amount of mourning. Writing melancholy verses with a sorrowful hand, himself. A cascade adjacent to prophecy. One listener said it sounded like a swiftly stifled sob.
You may strike the necks of those who disbelieve in verse in wartime.
I have several explanations for this situation, a war situation, a situation that lasts until the war ends.
I stand where the trumpet set them free.
BLOODY SPLINT SOLDIER:
His knees encircled with blood seas. Some days, he says, are troubled, counter to, rather than survival and the continuation. Fighting to keep his lips from quivering.A gunshot rings out and Bloody Splint Soldier falls forward, dead.Center spotlight on Napoleon begins to slowly dim throughout his following speech, so that by the end of his speech he is in darkness. The rest of the lighting remains the same, so Napoleon is dark and the rest of the stage is brightly lit. At least I mean that this is the sense of things and should be approximated as much as possible without overdue fuss.
Your insurgencies hang heavily down upon the desert. All the people have now acknowledged: it's not enough, it's not enough.
Believers are once again trying to use the horrific tales of the continuing past as a staging post to the future. So here they come to destroy the will of the law. The law is no more, and the lack of alliance annihilates what is left of the people.
The best proof of this occupation is the tombstones stretched out in perfect formation under the bright and cloudless space of a thousand years.
In this super-flat space there shall be no more need of plots, nor contrivances, nor designs to creep into our skirts, burrow in our walls. The enemy does not need captains, engines, soldiers, or men of war, or the noise of the drum.
Behind them, this unfortunate boy was blinded. He's the best proof of their eagerness to destroy and murder. He’s standing still and straight at the graves of veterans, waiting to hear seven bugle blasts, his cue to raise his rifle to his lips.
He is in his youth or in a dream, he can't be precise. The tone wavers. So many enemies made for silence.
He awakes to a morning with no reason for waking.
But it is a duty as agreed. Nothing is more sacred in the days of apostasy.
ALL DEAD SOLDIERSFairly loud but without raising their heads.
Allaheluia!*A military drummer wearing some sort of helmet on his or her head marches slowly in from stage left, carrying snare drum horizontally at belt-buckle-height, playing it with drumsticks. The drummer’s tune is the theme song from “Gilligan’s Island,” arranged as a military march. The drummer should play a couple bars, so that the audience has a good chance of dissecting the arrangement, realizing what the song is originally from, and, hopefully, laughing. After a couple bars or after a good gust of audience laughter, a gunshot rings out and the drummer falls dead.All lights out.
#* Note that this is not the standard “Alleluia” but a pun, & should be pronounced “Allah-heluia.”
Well this is really more of a thought exercise than anything else. I'd like someone (not me) to stage it someday though. Silly to have a photo for this, but I like providing markers for you when you're scrolling, so here is a still from a video (shot by Margaret Tedesco I think) of my "Shallow Grave" performance at The Lab on September 20th, 2000.DIRECTIONS 1
Full on the face
Thinking naked, acting naked, wishing naked
Sitting not naked
An action of the hand
Full on the face
Acting not naked
Action of the hand
Repeat as necessary
Acting as wishing
Thinking not necessary
Full on the face
This is a retrospective script/report for a 15-hour performance I did at the San Francisco Art Institute on February 26, 1998. I'm told that a couple art students took photos of me that day, but no one's ever offered me any, so the photo I'm using above is of my "Gypsy Trial" performance at the Perfomedia Festival in Ponte Nossa, Italy on August 29th, 1990. In the lower right-hand corner you can see Gianni Bedolo & Giorgio Bulzi, who are "helping" me.A VIOLIN IN THIS DARK SHED
7-8 am: A figure lies on a well-worn steamer trunk just inside the main entrance of the San Francisco Art Institute. He is wearing a white shirt, black suit, black tie, black shoes and a featureless black spandex hood. He lies without moving.
8-9 am: He arises and begins walking slowly (as he is blinded by the hood) through the hallways and stairways of the Art Institute buildings. He drags the steamer trunk by a heavy rope which is attached to its leather handle. As he circulates, he deposits small tent-like cards which advertise his action as performance.
9-10 am: He stands stiffly at a highly-trafficked corner, just outside the main administration offices, holding out his right hand. Some people shake the hand, say good morning, some do not.
10-11 am: He travels slowly to the wood-working area, where he sits in Pamela Blottner’s class and builds a wooden construction.
11-12 am: He purchases breakfast in the Cafe and attempts to drink coffee through his hood.
12-1 pm: He tap-dances on top of the steamer trunk at the top of a stairway inside the Diego Rivera gallery.
1-3 pm: He purchases tempera, ink and canvas from the supply store, collects newspapers from the racks in the cafe, and sits outside plaza making collage paintings.
3-4 pm: Purchases his lunch at the cafe. Unable to ingest the sandwich through the spandex hood, he sits at a table and stares at the sandwich.
4-5 pm: Makes charcoal sketches on paper at a desk in a quiet basement hallway.
5-6 pm: Makes another tour of the entire building complex, dragging his trunk.
6-7 pm: Pretends to read a book, in German, on a chair near the entrance to the library.
7-9 pm: Enters Anne Chamberlain’s installation class, participates as much as possible in students’ site-exploration exercises. During a subsequent class discussion it is revealed that some students have been very frightened by his appearance. He unmasks himself in order to enter into discussion concerning relevant issues.
9-10 pm: Remasks himself, goes to fountain in the central courtyard. Plays the violin while thinking of his dying grandmother. Ends performance at 10 pm and leaves the Art Institute grounds.
This play was developed as part of Margaret's & my contribution to Southern Exposure's "Urban Renewal Laboratory" project in 1998. I don't think it's ever been produced. This was one of four plays in an online chapbook "Twentieth-Century Plays" published as "108:94" in 3rdness Press' series. They're out of Hermance GA.THE INSOMNIACS
by Margaret Crane and Scott MacLeod
Robert Benchley as Daniel Burnham - Creator of the San Francisco City Plan of 1901
Gary Cooper as Robert Moses - Creator of the New York City Freeway and Park System
Drew Barrymore as Myrna Loy - screen legend and straight-talking gal
James Mason as Gore Vidal- writer and suave man-about-town
Johnny Depp as the Zodiac Killer - part-time sociopath, full-time heart-throb
and featuring Dusty Springfield as herself - an emotionally-fragile pop iconA small group of very relaxed, very important people are drinking cocktails in Daniel Burnham's very modern, very spacious and very sophisticated penthouse atop Twin Peaks on a mild April evening. To the east, a rose-hued neo-classical sunset blooms over the city. The mellow sounds of the Dave Brubeck Quintet playing “Take Five” waft through the open sliding-glass doors from the living room. The time is the near future.Daniel Burnham, Robert Moses and Myrna Loy lounge against the onyx balustrade of the penthouse’s very large balcony. They look out over the massive marble stairway that curves down Twin Peaks toward Market Street. The Great City which Burnham has built unfolds its broad avenues like gilded fleurs-de-lys below him, but Burnham is in a troubled and pensive mood.
Daniel Burnham: I'm feeling a bit out of order, all shards and powder.
Robert Moses: (gesturing expansively over the skyline
) Life is so much grander now that we've made the sun set in the east.
Daniel Burnham: I'm puttering among the giftware, confused and hesitant. The avalanche of marvelous new stuff that suddenly begins pouring over the transom into a previously parochial, hidebound, closed-in American subcontinent. The flaws of the past translated into the present.
Myrna Loy: (flicking a cigarette butt over the edge of the railing
) A marked increase in Western penetration?
Robert Moses: (pointedly ignoring Myrna's wisecrack
) This colossal centralization, this heaping together of 50 million bodies, has raised San Francisco to the summit of the commercial world.
Myrna Loy: (indignantly
) There is no getting used to pain and suffering. You only become hard-boiled. You lose any capacity to be impressed by feelings.
Robert Moses: I am simply drawing the map of a city great and large enough to give some space to an extra 50 million human beings eager to work and to find happiness on earth.
Myrna Loy: I spit into your face. I spit at you and your whole damned breed. Swallow that! You won't hear me whine again. I am ready now for battle.She turns and stalks back inside the penthouse, nearly bumping into Dusty Springfield and Gore Vidal as they stroll arm in arm onto the balcony. We suddenly notice a handsome young man crouching on the balustrade. Neither we nor the players are sure how longs he's been there. For centuries, perhaps. The young man looks mournfully across the city. A single tear runs down his cheek. His long slender shadow undulates across the floor like Nijinsky's silhouette. Moving independently of the young man’s body, the shadow lewdly swivels its hips at Robert Moses.
Robert Moses: (loudly to Myrna as she disappears into the shadows of the penthouse
) What a pity that the times of piracy are all over and gone forever....
Daniel Burnham: I am conscious of distorting probability, yet am goaded by an overwhelming desire to make something definite out of what is now equivocal.
Dusty Springfield: (walking up to Burnham and laying a gentle finger on his lips
) Darling - please. (She struggles mildly to free herself from the evening air, which now seems bitterly cold.
) Soon it will be raining too hard to leave the windows open.(The young man’s shadow rubs up against Dusty's feet like a cat who needs to get scratched. Some fluffy pink clouds break off from the sunset and bounce onto the balcony. Gore Vidal pats one into the shape of a chaise lounge, sits in it)
Robert Moses: (grandly to Daniel Burnham
) I am merely suggesting that the structures of modern convergences -those fixed chains of command and rational rules and regulations - may themselves contribute to produce a sado-masochistic orientation.
Gore Vidal: (gesturing with his cocktail as he reclines on his cloud four feet above the balcony
) The sadist may, however, grow more and more incensed at the inability to sustain pleasure indefinitely. N’est ce pas, Robert?
(The young man, whom we now understand to be the Zodiac Killer, nods in agreement from his perch on the balustrade. The sound track kicks into a throbbing tropical beat - all percussion, bird calls and forbidden love-chants. A second tear streaks down Zodiac’s perfect cheek.
Zodiac: (trying to get Dusty’s attention
) Man, I hate the media - they’re so fucked up. They distort the slow accumulation of Ground Zero - which must always remain an imaginary terrain.
Dusty Springfield: (happy to be noticed by anyone
) I myself spend most of my time lying in my wide bed, in my spacious room. From my fortress of pillows I can watch all the activities of the non-possessing class, their small figures moving about the broad avenue. Reducing the figures’ size increases their overall clarity, brings them into focus. (She leans closer to Zodiac Killer, whispering conspiratorially
) The energy needed to oppose an assault like this is phenomenal... I'm anorexic...I'm doing drugs.
Zodiac: (pointing a finger at Robert Moses
) The landlord's son has taken revenge on them all!
Robert Moses: (defensively
) For the first time, citizens are willing to sacrifice the best qualities of their human nature in order to achieve all the marvels of civilization which crowd their city! You could throw open the door and be at the beach! Or the Jacuzzi! Or the pool!
Zodiac: Tokyo must be destroyed!
Dusty Springfield: (trying to be helpful
) I have three cars.
Daniel Burnham: (slugging back his martini
) I’ve begun to wonder where the trains are arriving from, and where they are really going. You know, I remember when Cary Grant used to walk down Mason Street - the city was on fire with excitement. Nowadays it wouldn't mean a thing.In a corner of the balcony, Zodiac Killer's shadow savages Myrna's pet terrier. On the balustrade, Zodiac broods. Far below, the sparkling avenues of Burnham’s city fan out out behind his perfect profile. Tiny people with jobs are going home. As the evening fades, lights in the office towers snap on. Their reflections gleam in Zodiac’s eyes.
Zodiac: (voice full of wonder
) It all looks so clean from up here.
Daniel Burnham: It wasn’t the airplanes, it was Beauty left it in ruins.
Robert Moses: Beauty can be an effective social control device. Emotions once channelled towards the supernatural can be redirected towards the civic ideal. This is the idea within which I make myself real. This is the cultivated indifference which defends me against all the significance of this city and its inhabitants.
Gore Vidal: Oh, Robert, Robert, I've been brought down to your level. The Twentieth Century lasted much too long, like a film suddenly beginning to play backwards, and there is no defence against your free market of ideas. (Exploratory wisps of smoke from his slim black cigarillo swirl around Zodiac’s hips
) Looking for a taste of glamour and fun in a city where both are in short supply, I mingle with the groundlings in the station's waiting room, between the Space Invaders game and the cafeteria. Night’s children are not mere abstractions. This is about as close to Heidegger as we’re going to be able to get.
Robert Moses: The struggle for urbanity is necessary for the attainment of a balanced, developed, and articulated rationality - in which the technical, moral and expressive elements will be co-ordinated yet remain autonomous. Senseless anguish and vulgar pastimes are comfortable safety valves for human uneasiness.
Daniel Burnham: (working over another martini
) Aiming at ambiguity, my streets lay strewn like broken arrows on the ground. I'm afraid to stay and afraid to leave. Afraid of all the full tables at Trader Vic's - of wanting to fight them all.
Myrna Loy: (Walking back out onto the balcony wearing a white terrycloth bathrobe and a white towel wrapped turban-like around her head. She leans close to Burnham.
) Your right hand’s trembling so much you can’t raise your martini to your lips. Try using your left.
Daniel Burnham: I’m just trying to keep the White City - the tiny stage - in focus while I drink.
Myrna Loy: I’ve just been standing in the rusted bathtub letting the hot shower run over me for a full ten minutes. I am brimming with something too enormous to be contained much longer.
Daniel Burnham: Little plans have no magic.
Gore Vidal: Sometimes at night, unexpectedly, I come upon scenes of crushed intimacy along the dark and twisting alleys. The eerie mottled light of a distant lamp. The danger of detection in the last moments of exile. The crux of these fears is that if we do not conform, we do not survive. My old isolation is increasingly difficult.
Dusty Springfield: (plopping down on Vidal’s cloud
) I hang around City Hall with itchy fingers. I’ve got a living to make - and I don’t make it bucking the police department. Later I’ll eat again - Greek - eat and go to some strange hotel, register under a false name.
Zodiac: (gesturing over the toy-like landscape
) Water drips into the kitchen from a hole that’s never fixed. There’s still no heat after twenty years. The landlord thinks I’m someone else.
Daniel Burnham: I do NOT want my car seen in the parking lot. I do NOT want myself to be seen entering the exposed front door.
Dusty Springfield: We all prefer the magical explanation. (Gore and Myrna shoot each other knowing looks while everyone else sighs in agreement with Dusty. The Zodiac Killer’s shadow helps itself to a pitcher of martinis.
Zodiac: (struggling out of his shirt
) The flaws of the past translate into the present! Vague insecurities over the promotion or demotion of co-workers fester unabated. (Tears are now streaming down his cheeks
) A panoply of emotions - from little pleasures to rage - stirred when bossing or being bossed, affect our daily existence.
(Everyone sighs and rolls their eyes at Myrna, who for the next few lines is played by Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Myrna Loy: Maybe I told him who I was because he ordered Early Times. Maybe I looked into his eyes and saw the fog off the Farallones. Some remnant of my predator/prey days. Maybe my disintegratory social process is nourished by many sources.
Zodiac: (stripping off his pants and shoes
) If you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel you’ve got to strike a match in the dark!Myrna is suddenly transfixed by Zodiac. An over-sized golden arrow slithers out of the clouds like a bolt of lightning. The arrow pierces the center of her heart - its sharp tip jutting out between her shoulder-blades while the feathered end quivers between her breasts.Zodiac climbs naked over the edge of the balcony and glides down through the surrounding shrubbery. As he descends the colossal marble stairway towards the White City, he is on fire with excitement.The music stops. Silence thunders. Myrna races to the edge of the balcony, the arrow still lodged in her heart. Below her, the avenues are becoming luminous ruins, stretching brokenly towards the horizon like bones in the moonlight.
Myrna Loy: Of the buildings we once knew...and the places we used to go - we will find nothing - for they exist no longer. Everything solid melts in air...everything gets lost.
Dusty Springfield: Sometimes, when the telephone rings, in the middle of the night...I wake and hear the front door close.
This performance was made at Southern Exposure on January 25th, 1995, within the large installation, Even If Such An Object Outside Us Were Unimportant, that I'd made on the main floor of the gallery. Like the installation, the performance was focused on the ambiguous nature of ideological language and physical symbols, particularly as they refered to Communism, Fascism & recent political transitions in Eastern Europe. For all intents & purposes, this was the end result of the mutations undergone by the first Southern Exposure Brief Amaze performance (described in the previous post.) This text below is the actual script for my performance. I don't think there's any documentation of this performance, so the photo above is from my 1991 performance at Dobřany Psychiatric Hospital, Czech Republic, entitled The Dreams of Albrecht von Wallenstein: Coal.AN ATMOSPHERE BUT FOR AN INSTANTPerformer enters space wearing dark suit and two-wheeled “golf caddy” strapped to one leg, so that performer’s gait is: step, roll, step, roll, etc.Climb short ladder and smash hanging light bulbs with hammer.Turn on boom box which plays Mekons’ Eve Future from Retreat From Memphis.Turn on light bulb hanging over table center stage.Turn on German Vocabulary tape. Sit unraveling used typewriter ribbon from IBM Selectric II cartridge.Kevin Pontuti walks on stage and carries boom box offstage while Mekons song still plays. Turns volume all the way down slowly after he’s completely offstage.Keep unraveling typewriter ribbon until German tape stops & tape of Laurie Amat singing Simon & Garfunkel’s The Boxer begins.Put down typewriter ribbon, take of suit jacket, shave head with foam, water & straight razor.Put suit jacket back on, open suitcase, take out black paint & brush and paint a necktie onto my white shirt.Put the brush into a glass of water, get out shot glasses and Stolichnaya bottle.Turn videotape on. Turn slides on (auto-advance).Stare at audience for awhile, then ask for a volunteer to read the following play with you:My StruggleTwo actors sit at a table with a bottle of vodka and two glasses between them. One close light suspended above. One pours into both glasses, they toast each other, “To the Fatherland!” or “To the Motherland!” or similar sentiments, and drain the glasses quickly, in the Russian style.
The Old Professor:
All my experiences, particularly after I had outgrown my adolescence (which in my case was an extremely painful process), reinforced my profound distaste for the profession which my father had chosen for me. My conviction grew stronger and stronger that I would never be happy as a civil servant. The fact that by this time my gift for drawing had been recognized at my high school made my determination all the firmer.
Neither pleas nor threats could change it one bit.
The Old Professor:
I wanted to become a painter and no power in the world could make me a civil servant.
And yet, strange as it may seem, with the passing years he became more and more interested in architecture.
The Old Professor:
At that time I regarded this as a natural complement to my gift as a painter, and only rejoiced inwardly at the extension of my artistic scope.
He did not suspect that things would turn out differently.
The Old Professor:
There arises in me a confused muddle of memorized facts. Facts which are not only useless but also make me, their unfortunate possessor, conceited.
He now believes himself in all seriousness to be “educated,” to understand something of life, to have knowledge, while, in reality, with every new acquisition of this kind of “education,” he is growing more and more removed from the world until, not infrequently, he ends up in a sanatorium.
The Old Professor:
Or in parliament. Pause. Never will my mind succeed in culling from the confusion of this “knowledge” anything that suits the demands of the hour.
His intellectual ballast is not organized along the lines of life but rather in the sequence of books as he has read them, in the same order as their content has piled up in his brain.
The Old Professor:
If Fate, in the requirements of my daily life, desires to remind me to make a correct application of what I have “learned,” it should indicate title and page number, since poor fool I will otherwise never in all my life find the correct place.
Poor fool he.
The Old Professor:
But Fate does not do this.
These bright boys in any critical situation come into the most terrible embarrassment, cast about convulsively for analagous- He is interrupted by the Old Professor.
The Old Professor:
Anyone in this world who does not succeed in being hated by his adversaries does not seem to me to be worth much as a friend!Here there is an awkward and silent pause as the two actors look at each other. Then the Old Professor passes out drunkenly, his head lolling onto the table.
For if a generation suffers from faults which it recognizes, even admits, but nevertheless (as occurs today in our bourgeois world) contents itself with the cheap excuse that there is nothing to be done about it - such a society is doomed. The characteristic thing about our bourgeois world is precisely that it can no longer deny the ailments as such. It must admit that much is rotten and bad, but it no longer finds the determination to rebel against the evil, to muster the force of a people of sixty or seventy millions with embittered energy, and oppose it to the danger. On the contrary: if this is done elsewhere, silly comments are made about it, and they attempt from a distance at least to prove the theoretical impossibility of the method and declare success to be inconceivable. And no reason is too....A bell ringing at some point during Mephisto’s last speech ends the speech and wakes up the Old Professor, who pours two more shots of vodka and thanks the volunteer. The bell is followed by a tape of Lenin speaking. When it’s over, the performer once again solicits a volunteer from the audience and performs “My Struggle,” which is again interrupted just before the end by the ring of a bell and then an audio excerpt of Stalin speaking.The performance continues in this fashion, alternating performances of “My Struggle” with audio segments featuring, in order: Hitler speaking, a Cancerian astrology tape and an excerpt from Peter Maxwell-Davies’ “Eight Songs for a Mad King.”During “Eight Songs…” the performer will make a sort of bed or ceremonial bier of the table by throwing a red sheet or Russian flag over it. Performer will then lie on the table motionless during the first movement (“Elegy”) of Shostakovich’s String Quartet #15.When it’s over, the performer arises and once again solicits a volunteer from the audience and performs “My Struggle,” which is again interrupted just before the end by the ring of a bell and then an audio excerpt of Trotsky speaking.The performance continues in this fashion, alternating performances of “My Struggle” with audio segments featuring, in order: Breshnev speaking, “Love On the Dole,” “Der Leid der Begarbeiter,” “The Red Flag” and a song about Stalin. After this final audio segment “My Struggle” is performed once more. When it’s over the entire performance is over.[Note: In a situation in which there is no desire for or possibility of video or audio, the actors may simply repeat the toast and “My Struggle” over and over until the bottle is empty or until they are too drunk to continue.
This was a solo performance at Small Press Distribution in Berkeley, at the old location on San Pablo Avenue, on April 19th, 1991. I shared a bill with, if I remember correctly, Nina Wise, Bob Ernst & Rachel Kaplan. I have no documentation of this event. The photo above is of me participating in Nao Bustamente's "Frigid Bride" performance in Klariska Cathedral, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia on October 11, 1991.OLD SODA body made of bundled white sheets is shrouded by a white sheet and lying atop a table. A lamp is suspended from and sways beneath the table-top. A large silver bowl filled with water is on the table next to the corpse’s head. Man is standing at the head of the table, arms spread as if crucified, holding candles in his hands.
The last approach. Wings down. Face down, faith down; the steep dive and failure to compensate, failure to perceive the spectacle of your own -Man lunges to one side trying to blow the candle out but his arm remains stiff and he can’t get his mouth any closer to the candle. Tries thus in vain each side several times, fails always to blow them out. He then slowly forces his arms in front of him and sinks candles into the bowl of water, extinguishing them.
A driven approach to what ails you.Before each of the following lines, Man moves table slightly but noisily, with his hands or thighs.And after each line he spits.
Move. A wheel around the heart. Spit.
Move. Redemption. Spit.
Move. Cynical humor. Spit
Move. Radical strategies. Spit.
Move. Carnal postures. Spit.Man then immediately plunges his whole head into the bowl of water for a long time, until he absolutely can’t hold his breath any longer. He then pulls his head from the water, yells out his line.
Oh sailor!Man grabs a quick breath and immediately shoves his head back in the water until he can’t hold his breath any longer.
Oh butcher!Man plunges his head in a final time and this time draws it out very slowly when he must. He slips his hand into the water and tosses some onto the corpse. He is no longer yelling; his voice is quite gentle and mournful.
Oh priest.Man moves to the side of the table opposite audience, runs his hand lightly over corpse.
Oh seamstress.Man moves to the foot of the table.
Oh butcher.Man lifts up the bottom of the shroud and crawls in under, to lie shrouded atop the corpse.
She dreams of a forest in exile. A problem of her own special intellect, rootless and flowering along flat roads leading nowhere. Thighs clattering. All the dry sticks of all bodies in conflagration.Man starts to hump the corpse slowly and gently.
Oh sailor.Keeps humping slowly.
Oh politician!Man stops humping, turns on flashlight which has been concealed under shroud.
Searching for that story you imagine buried deep inside that heart of lead you’ve been handed. Following the faint metallic taste inside your useless and unresponsive mouth. Crawling out of bed every morning, pulling the wool over your head and legs and going out into the field again to look for -Man sits up and strikes a kind of heroic pose, with arms uncovered but torso and head still shrouded. The flashlight is held high, pointing skyward, while the other hand gestures or points generally in the direction of where the flashlight beam strikes the ceiling.
Oh gleam. Oh faint stars.Shroud begins to slowly slip off Man’s head and torso. As his face is revealed, flashlight goes out. Man looks around for the “gleam” but it is not to be found. He sits back on his heels and pulls shroud around shoulders as if possibly against the cold.
Just look where we’ve landed, old sod. For all your silly flirtations and evasive answers. Buried in smiles and daft perfumes of pity. Where’s the good stout bottle of bitter sorrow when you need it? Aged sixty years inside the muscle of a dead tree, corked up with the skin of a living one. We put our liquors inside of wood, as in “we would have done.” As if memory were anything but our own speech come tunneling back at us. Ah, don’t mind me. Here, let’s pour you a drink. You look like you could use one.Man detaches “head’ bundle of sheet/corpse from “torso” bundle and submerges it into water bowl until it’s soaked through, then pulls it out and attempts to wring it dry, allowing the water to drip back into the bowl.
Drink deep. And think of me.Man unbundles the damp sheet and spreads it out over his face, head and torso. He then picks up another bundled part of the corpse and holds it to his chest as if nursing a baby.
Something’s bothering her. Oh actress: not bombs, not horror, not decision, not report, not blame, not squalor, not sex, not injury, not words, certainly not words.Man pulls the damp sheet off his head and wraps it around the “baby” bundle so that it can be slowly, rythmically and repeatedly slammed against the tabletop, for perhaps thirty seconds or perhaps longer. When the Man is exhausted, he speaks in a weary voice that grows fainter and finally fades away to nothing.
The whole sky lights up. Wings spread, you lie there. The faint stars brighten and dive down, you lie there. Carnal house, the earth rises up in expectation, you lie there, you lie there, failure to percei–Lights out. End.
This is not the most representative of the 15 or so Brief Amaze performance "scripts" but it is the only one at hand. This was the second performance, made at Southern Exposure on June 29th, 1990, just before taking the piece on tour throughout Eastern Europe. Brief Amaze was specifically designed as a modular, mutable inquiry into the physical & conceptual nuances of each site in which it was made, and thus each has, in retrospect at least, a thematic core. Responding as it is to recently lost love, an imminent birthday & an impending adventure, this version heaps on the bathos in an attempt to suture it through irony and exaggeration. The attempt is probably a failure. For more discussion of this version's merits & deficits, see the appropiate posting on the Brief Amaze 1990 blog.BRIEF AMAZEMan, blindfolded with a gauze bandage, naked, crawls out from under a white shroud. Around his neck hangs a rope tied to a parking meter, which he drags over to a pile of clothing, also shrouded, center stage. He uncovers this clothing and dresses himself: black suit, tie, shoes, white shirt. Taped to his hands are two quarters. Once dressed, he moves drags the parking meter to the front row of the audience, where he feels the faces of the audience until he finds the one he’s looking for. When he has found her he tears the quarters from his wrists and offers them to her. He holds out the parking meter until she places the coins in the meter, turning the handle. He then takes the rope off his own neck and ties it around hers. He then moves to sit at a chair in front of a table.
This is where we begin.
He takes a stone from the table and crams it into his mouth. He pours water from a large silver bowl into a glass. Water spills. He holds the glass with his right hand, which begins to shake more and more violently, spilling water as he raises the glass and attempts to drink. The stone prevents this and finally the glass falls from his hand to the floor. After a moment he takes the stone from his mouth and carefully wraps and ties it with twine.
Pray for me who am so miserable. He laughs.He ties the stone around his neck, then holds his hand out as if reaching to touch someone.
Anyone.Eventually someone from the audience comes up and touches his hand. As soon as this happens, he unwraps his blindfold to reveal bloodied eyes. He pulls a paper from the pocket of his coat and reads.
It is precisely for this reason that we continue to regard these phenomena as extensions of ourselves, continue to put words around them as if we are describing what we see. As if remorse had four legs and feathers. As if joy raised blisters on the fingers. As if sorrow laid lips on our neck. As if pain were actually the tip of the knife.He picks up a large razor blade and makes several incisions into his forearms, deep enough to provoke a steady flow of blood. He moves to a standing blackboard and begins to write.
THE HORRORS OF
THE POSSIBILITIES FOR LOVE
THE POSSIBILITIES FOR
THE POSSIBILITIES FOR REDEMPTION ARE ENDING
THE POSSIBILITIES FOR REDEMPTION ARE ENDLESSHe erases ENDLESS, writes it again, erases it, writes it again, over and over until his piece of chalk is reduced to nothing. He then dismantles the blackboard, lays it on the floor. He walks over and takes the rope from around the woman’s neck, puts the end of the rope in her hand. He moves to another shroud, uncovers a heavy suitcase which he drags over to center stage. When he opens it, light shines out from flashlights, already on, under the stones which fill the suitcase.
Blistermen. Pus for seventy and down again, that noise again. Wagons of salt, heaps of salt. He whistles. Your mother’s crawled out of her basket again, witing to be fed. A trail of burnt-out campfires. Empty food tins and small piles of shit poorly buried. I lay down again in the dirt to spit my love out. Later we separate, look up at stars and try to dream.He removes flashlights from suitcase, lays them on floor, shining onto suitcase. He picks the suitcase up and dumps the squarish stones onto the floor. Puts suitcase away, then piles stones into a pyramid. Put flammable paste on top stone, lights it. Takes off his clothes and crawls in a circle until the fire goes out. About ten or fifteen minutes. Puts his clothes back on. Goes to audience, gives someone a razor blade with which to cut rope holding stone around his neck. Then Man gets this person to come up on stage, bringing his chair with him and sitting in it.Then Man gets a woman from audience to stand on stage with him, holding his hand for one minute. Then he puts camouflage mask on, holds her hand again for one minute, takes mask off, gets woman’s chair and seats her in it next to the seated man. Then Man fastens a large dog muzzle over his face and somewhat brusquely tells another woman to take her chair and sit on stage next to the others. Then he takes off dog muzzle and puts on a black vapor respirator and pays a man a five-dollar bill to move with his chair to the onstage row.Then he removes the respirator and puts on a kind of jester’s hat, picks up a short golden hoe and gets a man to stand on stage with him. He shoves this man around until this man gets angry, then Man gives him the hoe and kneels before him. Once the man does something, anything, the Man tries to talk him into getting his chair and adding himself to the onstage row. When all these people are in place, Man hangs golden yams around their neck and places party hats on their heads. Man then takes off his jacket and shirt and sits at table. After he finishes painting half his face black and half white, he begins a conversation with himself which quickly turns to an argument. As he speaks, he turns first one side of his face, then the other, towards the audience. As White speaks he is seated. As Red speaks he stands.
Despite that. In spite of that. Because that exists to be struggled against.
Passion. Commitment. Madness.
Hah! Get Real.
A lifetime of vicious and inconsequential lies.
White:Sort of growls, then holds up a fist, uncurls finger for each of his points
: Penetration. Squalor. Romance. Ignorance. And injury.
Red:Bends over closer to White’s chair
. Laziness. Points at his own head
. Sentimentality. Points at his own eyes.
Cupidity. Points at his own lips
. Nostalgia! Points at his own ass
.White grabs Red’s neck.
Imagination.Red pushes White’s wrist away.
Imaginary.White slaps Red’s face, Red slaps White’s, they slap each other four or five times until finally White spits at Red. Red grabs White by the neck and lunges at him. Together they go tumbling backwards over the chair onto the floor, where they roll around wrestling with each other until they are too tired to continue. After a moment’s rest, Man crawls over to pyramid of stones and tries to stack stones one on top of the other. He stops when the unstable stack finally falls over.Then he gets up and unshrouds a bundle of red candles upstage left, crawls onto table, lights candles and holds them over his head so that red wax drips onto his naked back. Then he crawls back down off table, takes off the rest of his clothes, goes over and unshrouds wheelchair, puts on party hat, grabs bugle, lights firepaste which is on a stone on the seat of the wheelchair, pushes wheelchair to downstage center, plays Happy Birthday to himself on bugle. Then he drops to the floor and crawls around wheelchair until fire goes out. Man gets up and puts clothes back on, sits at table, powders his face, puts makeup on lips and eyes, sips from large silver water bowl for awhile. He takes some deep breaths and then lowers his face and head into the water for as long as he can stand it. When he finally comes up for air, performance is over.
We wrote this for a Valentine's Day show at Artists Television Access, I think it was curated by Steve Perkins. It was well into the AIDS crisis, it was late 1988, and we were both bored bored bored with the de-sexification that had happened all over town. Parties were no fun, it was harder to get laid, no one was allowing themselves any pleasure anymore. So we wanted to write something that (in its own odd way) celebrated fearless love. There are several slightly different versions of this piece, but I think this is the very first version, that we did at ATA on February 10, 1989. The picture above is a still from a videotape of that first performance.
Two days later we did it at The Lab, then in Kevin Radley's class at the Academy of Art College on April 27th. A girl got totally freaked out, a Chinese student nearly flew back to Beijing & Kevin caught a raft of shit. On May 19th we did it at Southern Exposure & during the part where I grope the audience, I chewed on Bob Gluck's neck. That got us an invite to read at a Poetry Center reading, at the old Grove Street Arts Commission space, on September 26. Many years later, 1997, I performed it with Margaret's sister, Nancy Crane, an actress living in London. We did it on January 14th at Production, a space Ingrid Swenson ran in Finsbury Park. This was published in "Blind Date #6" in 1989 in San Francisco.
by Margaret Crane and Scott MacLeod
Somebody's highbeams are shining in your rearview mirror. And I think that they just might be ours.
It's hard to take those turns when you can't see the road ahead and a big LTD is riding your tail and your neck jerks back hard and sparks fly into the night when the bumpers smash together.
This is when you must remember that you don't have to be afraid anymore. Your number has finally come up. We are right behind you in that big shiny car doing what we do best. This is the time I like the most. Just before something happens. Before it all turns red. This is when Dave get all tense and pissed off and he's just dying for action, but even he knows how to make a good thing last for a long time.
The thing about driving a car is that you can decide where to put it and how fast. There's a road right here stretching out towards the next place, but that's just for speed and for convenience. I could just as easily put the wheels onto the gravel shoulder or out past the guard rail. If I close my eyes tight I can imagine each car as it shoves past in the opposite direction, in the next lane.
Dave makes us wait for miles until we can hardly stand it. And I keep saying please baby do it now, until, coming out of a turn, he slams his foot on the accelator and the impact causes you to let go of the wheel as you skid across the gravel and over the dirt, and even though I can't hear you I know that you are screaming as your car flips over and over and rolls across the desert.
This is one of the good things, pushing highway 80 past Green River, past the borax mine near Little America. The way it's off in the distance so you can't really see it, just the white puffs from its smokestacks. Like it's something I can want but I don't have to have.
We gotta stop. I want a Slurpee. It's hot in this car. We should've gotten an air-conditioned one. I'm starting to get in one of my moods. I want a big tall Slurpee so I can stand in the sun, right in the parking lot, with my clothes sticking to my skin and suck the icy green Slurpee through the straw as fast as I can. I won't stop until I hear the sound at the bottom of the cup. Then I'm going to get a wicked headache. That's one of the little things I like to do.
Get a carton while you're in there, okay? It's damned hot in this car. Better get another six-pack too. I'm starting to get in one of my moods and we've got a lot to do.
He bought a six-pack and I bought a six-pack and we went driving. I mean, it used to be okay to do that. Everybody did that.
He was working late inside a shitty little real estate office in a strip mall just outside Vernal. I tapped on the glass and held up jumper cables.
What a fucking idiot.
We pulled the curtains shut and shoved all the brown desks down to one end, piled all the chairs and wastebaskets on top. I slid my cock in and out Susan's ass. We were both spread-eagled on the grey shag carpet in the middle of that emptied room. He was tied up with jumper cables and phone cords, over by the furniture pile, his polyester tie stuffed in his mouth. His fat cigar-like cock got hard watching us.
We fucked for awhile then I dragged him over. Susan sucked on that fat cock while I straddled his chest. I slit his throat all the way and told him if his car didn't have air-conditioning I'd come back and kill him. He was so confused he got scared thinking about that $600 he'd been too cheap to spend for air, and how it could've saved his life. What a fucking idiot. I bounced up and down on his chest to make the blood flow quicker.
After the fourth beer I put my arm around her. Drive us to your house. That's all I had to say. She had speakers with red, yellow and blue lights inside that flickered in time with the music. She had vericose veins on her ankles and stretch marks from having children. She was starting to like us. That's the way we are. We're likeable people. I worked her good. Dave was going through the refrigerator, rubbing his cock and kind of watching over his shoulder once in a while. She was still moving a little when I let Dave have her.
Susan's ass was moving around on the woman's face. It was going to be a long night. I went out into the back yard but there were three or four dogs out there and the air was turning cold. The fridge was pretty full but mostly just pickles and cheese and whatever. When I finally went back in the living room, her eyes were rolled back all white in her head and she was bleeding from all of her holes. I came on her floppy tits so Susan could see how grateful I was.
We sat around the next day watching television. In the afternoon somehow the dogs got in and went crazy. I had to beat them off her with a hammer.
Dave is the only one who can do all the things that I think of. He has a kind of magnetism or something that attracts anyone we could ever want to meet. And I know that you feel it too.
There's the slow fire of Las Vegas up ahead, burning up the sky. It's easy to be good to yourself.
I'm the kind of girl who likes the best and I don't like sharing. One thing you can say about me is that I'm good to my friends, and you're my only friend, so I have to be good to you, even if it means sharing.
Pull off the road. There's something I want to do and I want to do it now.(Dave holds up a cardboard sign:)
DEAR FRIENDS - WE ARE TRYING TO MAKE BAKERFIELD AN OUR CAR HAS BROKEN DOWN! BUT WE HAVE NO MONY TO REPAIR IT OR BUY FOOD FOR OURSELVES AN OUR SMALL CHILD. WE ARE NOT BUMS! WE ARE "HONEST PEOPLE" WHO HAD A "BAD BRAKE." IN ORDER TO NOT DISTURB YOU WE HAVE PLACE THIS NOTE HERE. PLEASE HELP US IF YOU CAN!" WE ARE IN THE BLUE IMPALA IN THE PARKING LOT. WE ARE WAITING FOR YOU TO HELP US.
When you're not moving all you're doing is getting old, and getting old is what all these people who are just a bunch of ants do. They are always afraid and getting smaller all the time until they are the size of ants. When I get afraid I don't get afraid I get mad, and when I get mad I get even bigger than I am, until I start leaking out of the car like the tule fog here in the Valley. I just want to go fast.
I don't want to disturb you nice people, but . . . we need a jump. Usually when our car runs out of gas, we just get us a new car. Car's about the easiest thing in the world to get. I mean, if things are going bad, well, you just change what you are doing, you do something different. Then things are good again. Things are always good if you can change fast enough when you need to, if you can make decisions quick enough. I'm not a vindictive person, if you see what I mean.
Having a decision to make means having choices. That's a good thing. I'm pro-choice. On the one hand you could give me a jump. On the other hand, a new car's about the easiest thing in the world to get.
I keep thinking about the way you are different from us. You have to keep a secret hidden and are always scared it will slip out. You are all deformed or something from pretending. You are scared because we are inside you and we just might rise to the surface. You believe there is such a thing as safety and this is what makes you afraid.
We are what you've been expecting for a long time. You don't have to wait any more, because we've finally found you. You let us enter into you like your next breath. It's just a matter of positive thinking. It is the power of two people in love.
You are so lucky that you've met us.
Sometimes I go crazy thinking of all the things that haven't happened yet. Or all the things that happened that I wish were still happening but won't ever happen again, not even once.
I dried my hands on the filthy towel roll and walked back out into the neon. I gave the cashier in the dark booth ten dollars for gas. He kept looking over at the Impala with all its doors open. Susan was sitting there with one hand up her skirt, feeding herself Cheetos with the other and smiling at him the whole time. She seemed like she was getting just generally over-excited again, like she did day before yesterday.
Sometimes I think we should just get a nice house somewhere quiet. But I guess that's not too realistic.
Anyway, we better not go anywhere near Rock Springs again for awhile.
Don't stop talking I can't see you when you stop talking. Especially when these seats are torn up from all the screwing we've been doing lately and you know how I hate it when the springs start sticking up into my back and then I start to notice I'm getting very angry and I'm so hot I can't stand it and there's nothing I can do about it except bite you real hard and then you think it's just because I'm having a good time and I start humping on you to get away from those springs and instead of springs they are tongues of flame and I start thinking of all the things we do together and I wish they were still screaming because I can never cool off.
We're standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon. An oily black puddle is forming under the Ventura. North of us a huge wall of thunderclouds rises up from the opposite rim of the canyon. I stop pacing and stare down over the edge.
A real nice Cadillac convertible pulls up smooth as ice. This old guy in sunglasses and white white hair gets outs and walks over to me, running his hands through his white white hair and smiling his smile. Where does a thirsty man find a cool drink around here, he asks as he looks me up and down. I smile my smile while I reach into my handbag for the .38.
One night in South Shore it was raining and starting to snow with dirty ice. At the light this old woman was leading a tall stooped-over blind boy across the street. His cane was scratching across the wet asphalt. I think it was glowing and they were all stooped over and walking so slow I just couldn't stand it. I told Sue we must never go into the cities again or I might really just lose my mind.
Dave puts the Ventura into neutral and pushes it off the edge and down into the canyon, like in slow motion and it's really quiet.
He's ready to go now but I just want to stand there while the storm pushes itself over me. I want to take off all my clothes and let those fat raindrops batter me. If I could take my skin off, then all things would come to me.
The pictures in books always had them kneeling in a circle around Custer who was standing in the middle. Kneeling in a circle around Custer and an American flag, shooting their rifles at the Indians riding in circles around them. But we're right here and the white stones where the bodies fell are scattered all over the hillside, so that's not the way it happened. There was no circle. They died crawling or lying down alone behind their dead horses, hundreds of feet apart, or sitting back-to-back full of bullet and arrows and firing their pistols into a forest of moving hooves. I'm walking around in the tall grass where it happened and I can't get the two pictures to match. It's real quiet here and it seems like a lonely way to die.
They suddenly appeared on the road in front of us when the whole sky flashed with lightning over the salt flats, like in a movie or something. She was sitting in the car all soft and pale, like she was part of the seat, like she was always tired and always resting, big and pillowy with dry blonde hair all over the place and black lines around her eyes. I've always been high-strung myself. Her big hand with those long pink nails made her face look so small, and she was rubbing the side of her face like something hurt. I've never touched anyone who didn't want to be touched.
When you don't want the song to end but someone changes the station.
He was this skinny jumpy guy, always jerking his head towards her, pounding his hands on the wheel in time to the music. They were in the slow lane in a brand-new Lincoln. It didn't even have plates on it. Dave was staring at them, not giving me his full attention. He pulled slowly in behind them, the turn signal flashing onto his face. I know Dave likes the feel of a car fresh off the lot. For a moment he was ignoring me. But I was starting my period and you know what that means. Dave was all inside himself and there is nothing, nothing I hate more than that.
I think we must have passed all the green-and-white road signs in the world by now.
I thought that they were just like us even though she was always tired and I require hardly any sleep. I saw the four of us as joined by a single thought, by one big brain, like everything that came before them was thin and watery and anything that happened from now on was part of one long fuck that blots out the future. I thought that they were just like us even though she doesn't talk much and I have a lot of important things to say. For awhile I thought we were going to let them go. But they had joined us now in speeding towards the vanishing point. Dave killed the headlights as we raced forward and I said, hon, nail them good, okay? Take them where they've never been before.
Susan wakes up when I shake her. We just leave the GTO there on the shoulder with everything in it, the cooler full of beer and salami, some clothes, whatever. Somebody once told me it gets cold in the desert at night but it doesn't seem so bad. The stars look like a couple of hundred flashlights. I want to remember but I can't. Just stars overhead and crickets and the way we stumble along.
We need a new car and pretty soon it comes along, some fat man driving it, pulls over for us. I sight along my arm, lining up my thumb with the back of his head.
Sometimes I wish I could remember all the things we do together, because we never waste a moment and everything we do is of the utmost importance. Some things I recall as clear as day even in the dark; then other times I'll wake up with the rusty taste of blood in my mouth and those big warm stains drying on my clothes - and you know that I only wear the best, so I'll be looking like the stone fox that I am - but there are these dark stains everywhere. And I'm all wet and sticky and I feel real good, so I know we've been fucking, and you're driving some new car I've never seen before. And I'm sitting next to you and it's pitch black outside except for the headlights.
It is then that I know that we have been shot through the forehead with diamond bullets and must always remain in disguise. Or we will blind all others with our radiance.
It is then that I know that our fever has burned clear through to the other side.
I set it on fire and walk away. That convertible top flares up thirty or forty feet. Sue has broke a heel and twisted her ankle and can't walk very fast, but at least we are out of Scottsdale. She stumbles along, holding her arms out for balance. The sun catches on her big diamond ring I gave her. I watch her staggering towards me and it hits me we are geniuses, because we do not wait for anything.
I performed this in the basement of Artists Television Access on October 25th, 1987. The photo above is from the performance. It's just a papier-mache head with two faces. I had a clip lamp as my only illumination. I'd read a part, click the lamp off, turn the head 180 degrees, click lamp on, read & repeat. Audience was totally flipped out by simple effect, came up with very ingenious & complicated theories as to how I switched characters: with pulleys, etc.
BALLOONHEADPerformer sits wearing a papier-maché Old Man mask over his head, and large white gauze bandage wrapped around his left forearm. He speaks.
One summer the boy’s father was home for a whole month. He drove his red car to the woods one day and shot a deer. He hung it from the central bean of the garage and slit it open. The dogs got in and he had to beat them off the carcass with a shovel. The cement floor was very slippery, there was deer blood and dog blood and some human blood.After the Old Man finishes speaking, the lights go out for about five seconds. While the lights are out, the performer reaches up and turns the mask horizontally 180° so that he now wears the face of a Young Man.
We went out to the car like we were going someplace but there was no place to go. I put my hand through the window and unlocked the door, it was that easy. She lay there for the first time like that, with me.Again the lights go out and the mask is rotated to become the other character, the Old Man. This switch happens between each speech.
The station wagon broke down and rusted away during the hardest winter. The boy, recovering from a fever, thought he saw wolves in the forest, but everyone laughed because this wasn’t true. The boy’s father came and went. Snow fell. The river froze.Switch to Young Man.
I made here give it to me and then I felt better. She cried a little but I hit her and she shut up. I don’t feel bad about hitting her because she doesn’t really exist. No don’t try to make me feel bad about it. I won’t let you make me feel bad about anything.Switch to Old Man.
Summer came like a blood hunger. The boy’s mommy withered while the trees bloomed and the wheat rose. The priest put his hand on hers and whispered Deus dedit dentes, Deus debit panem. The septic tank broke, and rats by the dozen entered the yard.Switch to Young Man.
I had to beat the dogs with the stick-end of a broom to keep them out of the meat in the ‘fridge. She cooked me some breakfast while the sun went down. She wanted to give me a haircut but I told her the hairs are growing down inside my head so it wouldn’t do any good.Switch to Old Man.
The boy spent his days sitting in the rusted station wagon, picking his teeth and watching the birds circle overhead. There was no traffic in front of the house since the new highway had been built on the other side of the lake. The rat problem had been solved.Switch to Young Man.
I put a six-pack in her arms and made her follow me down to the lake. She was so scared of swimming it was funny. I jumped in with all my clothes on and swam to the other side of the lake. I could barely see her standing there on the other shore, crying and screaming at me. I took my wet clothes off and left them there while I swam back to her.Switch to Old Man.
The deer in the woods nervously sniffed at the first sign of winter. The priest looked out over his flock and said God gave teeth, God will give bread. An unusually high autumn sun averted most shadows.Switch to Young Man.
I had to beat the dogs off her with a hammer.Switch to Old Man.
A red car skidded off the highway and exploded when its driver fell asleep.Switch to Young Man.
I got another can of beer from the ‘fridge and sat down to watch the fire I had set.Switch to Old Man.Old Man unwraps a bandage from his left arm. At first the bandage is white but as more is unwrapped, the dark stains of a wound become visible, become larger and bloodier as he continues unwrapping. Lights out just before the wound is finally exposed.
This was performed at Media on March 18, 1987 but I don't recall who was in it or recall much about the performance at all. This was one of four plays in an online chapbook "Twentieth-Century Plays" published as "108:94" in 3rdness Press' series. They're out of Hermance GA.
INTO THE WILD BLUE YONDERFour simple chairs facing the audience represent a car. DAD is driving, MOM is riding shotgun, JUNIOR sits behind DAD, and MAMA-SAN sits behind MOM. Everyone is facing forward towards the audience except MOM, who is staring out her side window. The NARRATOR enters and holds up a large ornate picture frame in front of the car.
A man drives a car across a lonely stretch of desert highway. His name is Dad, and he has packed up his family: Mom, Junior and Mama-San, and headed west in search of what we are all
looking for. But a lot can happen on an empty road. He slowly exits.
Look at all the calamities piling up!
Marginal interest in events that do not repeat.
MOM:Turning to DAD.
Ducking the issue.
Pressing the pedals. Putting my best foot forward.
Some below-ground orbit pulls us.
Destination is a roulette of the invalid.
Pass me a tomato!
There’s a dent in the fender of things.
Ransack the abbreviations for one that will fit.
My hands on the steering wheel, her neck in the mirror.
The grain in the field turns to dust.
The riverboat navigates the river, propelled more by the laws of history than by the laws of physics.
The ocean behind us turns to sky, loses itself.
We breeze through towns littered with golf clubs.
We hear rumors and evaluate them.
We skip like a stone across a swimming-pool nation, sneak like an analyst through the backyards of emotional suburbia.
We are more than prepared for the more than perfect excitement.
Returning to sensation like a deli-case on wheels.
Reduced to coconut, the macaroon perjures itself.
Hundreds of deer are killed by cars every winter on the Evanston grade. Tell me, how many people know that well enough to say it?MOTORCYCLIST roars up alongside driver’s side of car.
MOTORCYCLIST:Leans into window to yell at DAD.
Hey weirdo beardo! Laughs.
When you smell it, you’ll want to eat it!MOTORCYCLIST roars away. Pause as the family stares after him.
Some variables make this trip interesting.
We pull into Omaha! Shit hits the fan! Duck!
Pass me an orange!
We meet rodeo barbers and trombone switch-hitters!
Pass me a napkin!
The tension builds as the traffic begins to converge.
I adore and emulate a - a marzipan of conflicting - um - conflicting - uh -
Pass me a small-town parade and brand-new passport!
JUNIOR:Ever louder and more animated.
Pass me a paroxysm of paralyzed peanut butter!
MAMA-SAN:Ever louder and more animated.
Drowning tourists are elated by postcards depicting their tragedy!
The intellect confesses to the torture and degredation of the mind!
MAMA-SAN:Leaning forward and pointing over DAD’s shoulder, screaming in his ear.
I’m looking for a good place to be arrested from!
South! South! South!
North! North! North!
I think it’s sweet when families die together. She screams loudly and throws her arms up and forward, as if expecting a crash.DAD hits the brakes and everyone leans slightly forward and freezes, as if they are about to crash into something. They hold their frozen positions through the final fade-out. The NARRATOR re-enters and again holds up the picture frame in front of the tableau vivant.
If a man steps out of an airplane flying southwest at 750 miles an hour while passing directly above Boston at an altitude of 30,000 feet, he will land in Manhattan. Thank you and good night.