Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Presentation at Emerson College

Art Hennessey, playwright, actor, and director who works with the Essayons Theatre Company and whose Mirror Up to Nature blog I frequently read invited me to be a guest presenter in his "Arts, Entertainment and Society" class this past Monday at Emerson College. The class is part of Emerson's certificate program in Cultural Journalism which provides journalists with the background to report on arts and culture.

I brought along some video and a couple of masks to demonstrate my work, but the presentation, led as much by the questions posed by Hennessey and his students as by what I was interested in discussing was free-wheeling and ranged from how I came to be in the arts, how I came to be a mime (which allowed me the opportunity to show video of my work with Bill Barnum and James Van Looy in Cosmic Spelunker Theater), to how do I reach my audiences, my interactions with the press, the rising importance of blogs for dialogue about the arts, as well as how outside economic pressures structures what form art work takes and how it is presented.

I even demonstrated a short excerpt from my "Arlecchino Ever Ravenous."

Hennessey and I, being both writers and performers shared the observation that sometimes maintaining our blogs seems to cut into energies we should be devoting to our "real" writing and rehearsing, while at the same time noting that it is becoming a more important outlet for writing than ever before. In my case, my blogging has had influence on controversies in Burlington, Vermont, been included on the reading list of a course at Royal Holloway, University of London, led to my being interviewed and even allowed Hennessey and I to talk about the more structural aspects of playwriting as we shared the subway ride home.

Monday, March 17, 2008

This is Not A Protest (1999)

Chad Parenteau posted a previously unpublished account of prankster and spoken-word artist, Rich Mackin's performance piece "This is Not a Protest" in which I played a small role. The year was 1999, an innocent time before the so-called "death of irony."

Before and during this non-event, [Mackin] offered the following written statement on a small flyer: "The week of 8/8/99 the cover story of US News & World Report was '1000 years ago'; Time and Newsweek both featured 'The Blair Witch Project'—No news is good news.

"The First Amendment guarantees our right to freedom of speech–even though we have nothing to say! Forcefully assert your apathy!"

Read the rest of the article here.

If memory serves me correctly, the "Sarcastic People for Apathy" sign was my creation.

Pictured: Joselyn Almeida, Zoz, Rich Mackin, and Andrea Kulish