Performance in the theatrical sense implies backstage. A binary of public and private. Dressing room to take off makeup and uncomfortable head dress. Green room, to nibble baby carrots with other participants.
I tend towards dying arts that thrived in my childhood. The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego where I cut my baby teeth on “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Othello.” In graduate art school, I saw a lot of experimental theatre because it was happening all over campus near constantly. What else does a carless thirty year old in the dorms have to do at night? Otherthen drink too much red wine.
I have never been an actor, but learning how to perform my writing and ride along with the energy of a crowd was a thrill. Being in queer performance art in Los Angeles and West Hollywood was last I was on a stage. Played Los Angeles Pride in 2015. When I still could be around people. Now I perform via tech device when I get the urge. Thank you, Internet.
In a satiric YouTube video I make called, “Behind the scenes at Lambert Studios,” I film and splice clips of my house’s interior where DIY solo YouTubing occurs. Bathroom as dressing room. Comfy covered porch as green room. Costume closets #1 & #2 bursting with fantastical clothes I wouldn’t dare wear past my door step. Invaluable now. I can barely leave my house as it is.
I wrote thirty eight experimental plays with my only the interior of my home as settling in 2018. Same number as Shakespeare, says the Echo Dot. Guess we’re both stoners. Writing down the voices in my head as other characters. With myself as the one human in the script. An effective way of putting my psychosis to work until I could sleep.
A family friend theatre amateur in Reno judged the script I sent him as not even a play but a free verse rant. He suggested I actually see and read a few plays. Errrrr….. This experimental was unstageable in Reno’s pay to play theatre scene. In that way he did tell me what I needed to know. “The Buttcracker,” and “Menopause: The Musical,” is the level of performance in this biggest little backwoods. I couldn’t get tickets for that musical, because the Pioneer Center doesn’t allow online ticket booking with an out of state phone number.
I’ll bite my tongue now because all I need is a slander lawsuit. Along with death threats have came lawsuit threats, only spoken anecdotally but apparently I qualify for giving away my life and pain away for free online. Not all opinions are positive. I use my own life as material. I can’t make this shit up. I try so hard to be ethical, but people are unscrupulous.
I dropped the class “Narrative Ethics,” at CalArts after a brutal critique deemed an essay “performing an ethical disaster.” I was wasted drunk when I wrote most of that text, true. As a queer from the eighties had a lot of feelings about HIV and how to navigate writing about it in such difficult ethical waters. I got reamed in workshop for having feels about Rent.
At CalArts, experimental writing and critical theory were vaunted over populist heartstring pulling.
Some high art groupie trying for snark said, “Oh AIDS, that’s so sentimental and passé.” At a David Wojnarowicz retrospective in Los Angeles. At the end of the 2000s. I wanted to throw my plastic cup of red wine all over her white rabbit jacket. If I wasn’t so intimidated simply to be there. A decade later, I will hex a bitch in such situations. Maledictus erit.
My Schizoaffective auditory hallucinations make crowds intolerable now. Mass shootings are common in this Wild West. Lax gun laws guns are considered way more important then adequate healthcare. October 1 is not only my birthday, but Las Vegas’s most dire massacre.
I don’t fight, I just leave. I fled a family outing to see my uncle perform in the Reno Philharmonic this summer. For all that I love his music. That many potentially armed Nevadans were terrifying to multiply marginalized me. Incapable of inconspicuous. Even at something as wholesome as a classical music picnic.
I may never be able to sit in a theatre again.