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Week 2 June 27 - July 1

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

Weekly statement: Discipline intention, all that. Messy execution, all that. Anything is art.

So far, I have been punctual 10AM-10:15AM, but I have not been so disciplined as to be truly prepared with what’s to happen for the shows this week before the day or night of. I have, a couple times now, found myself realizing the set up at 9:45am and setting up until the 9:58 marker point where I plug the lights in. Sometimes, the timing has been overlapping right when the calls of nature come round, and for about half of these, I have been stuck on the toilet within 4-10min of performing. It’s pretty typical I guess to use the restroom before a performance. That’s often the way I start any musical show. In those settings and any other setting I’ve performed really, starting a minute late doesn’t matter so much. However, this space is called TENAM, so the embedded punctuality permeates its reality. I have been a good disciple of at least punctuality, but beyond that, this week was mostly punctual chaos.

Monday June 27th

Title: “The Tick”

Instructions: You are a tick. You have poor eyesight. All you know is your desire for sweat and blood. Find something safe to climb on, and outstretch your arms. Smell the air with your arms. Remember the smell of blood? Remember the smell of sweat?

Rehearsal discoveries: I had to think of something to climb on, and the ladder was present. Using the ladder in front of the mirror, I realized wrapping my limbs through it would be a nice touch. I needed to secure it well so that blindfolded Lexi wouldn’t be a falling tick. I envisioned being blindfolded from the beginning, but who is going to open the curtains and plug the lights on?

Performance write up: I did a little research to find the tick has 3 stages, and it needs a good, blood meal to move from one to the next. This was helpful to know in justifying repeating the performance (:P). I had hoped 15min would be a single climb to and fro the “blood meal” lipstick taped to the ceiling if I could only move slowly enough. When the timer did not go off, I figured climbing for meal #2 would be the next imperative, naturally.

This was the first performance I have ever done blindfolded, and that’s very nice. The safety of the doors and familiarity with the ladder and space made being blindfolded a relatively comfortable activity. The primary discomfort came from the physicality of the exercises to hold arms, but it wasn’t much for me, as I have spent time on my core and distribution. Speaking to the audience perspective, I imagine witnessing a blindfolded, slo moving, queer looking woman climbing a ladder was pretty hilarious. However, I did not speak to anyone who may have seen the performance.

Another nice experience I was hoping would eventually happen was ending and not seeing anyone in front of the doors. I took the blindfold off and at first, saw no one. Did someone watch? Did anyone notice? It was a nice thought for a moment. Then, I gazed across the street, and the local friends over at Dink’s Barbershop were giving me a standing ovation! I was like “wtf literally LOL and wow.” I appreciate them. I am so happy to imagine what it may have been like for them. I did not have time to go over or say hi or anything, as I am very overwhelmed with a long list of tasks, but that was a special moment in time.

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Tuesday June 28th

Title: “Masher the Maestro”

Instructions: Mash something with a maestro vibe.

Rehearsal discoveries: Figure out what to mash. Some fruit to mash. Think about how to mash it. Draw a picture of how it will be mashed. Think by conducting and poofing up hair. Mash it. Paint the drawing with the mashed fruit. Take the painted drawing and tape it to the window door.

Performance write up: A friend and two local artists came to this performance specifically to watch and not by chance. We hopped into chatting concepts of silence, fluxus, works they’ve done on moments that pass, repetition, and community. The context of chatting after performing is on which I am interested in reflecting, as it serves to change my outlook on the event. For instance, some bits of this performance were ridden with uncertainty and insecurity. Why can’t I draw a foot? What’s so difficult about taping a picture to a wall the correct direction? How easy it to overthink this ridiculous task? The answer is…very easy. It was a definite relief to experience that other artists were just delighted by it, and this relief fuels a sense of purpose. I am thankful to feel the light of wonder and excitement of the taboo coming from others’ on these instances of connection following the shows. I believe this is exactly what the they/them god was going for when they told me I should do this ridiculous, and often called necessary, project.

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Wednesday June 29th

Title: “Sticky Sticky Sticky”

Instructions: Think of something sticky and write on a post it note, then place on your body. Goal is to use as many as possible in 15min.

Rehearsal discoveries: being strategic about placement as it goes with costume. Sitting on a chair is cool.

Performance write up: I was already wracking my brain on what would be the instructions for this performance, and continuing that process into the performance (the process of asking “what is sticky?”) is, to me, hilarious. I was tired and went through a disorganized brain pool to spit ideas out. You can definitely see and hear the frustration I was experiencing in that. As I thought through sticky, I remembered a song I wrote that never got recorded called “Gunk,” and all the associations I had with gunkiness in relation to that song. It sent my head in the direction of the lyrics which was a spiraling dead end. Not that I had much of a flow state going before, but I had a few brief moments.

I felt rough and without focus this day, having been without enough sleep on and off these past weeks. I have been able to keep up with the larger scale intention of creating performance art concepts, but to the inner challenges and work built within them I feel I have not hit the bar desired. I have been able to put time and emphasis into concept, execution, staging, color, and parameters of time, but in this instance of being forced to meditate and expand on a single word, I haven’t arrived with the focus and mental clarity desired to execute the task according to my plans. I wasn’t even writing sticky things at one point. I was just writing any word that came to mind as a sticky thought. It all just became degrees of separation from sticky. I felt I was off path most of the time. There may have been no difference in what anyone outside the glass doors would see with their eyes. They wouldn’t know the feeling I was experiencing of getting my ass handed to me by myself time and again.

A few local artists came to watch, and we chatted about form. They said someone walking stopped to ask what the colors might mean. I said if this is what I’m doing, getting people to ask what something might mean, then that’s really great.

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Thursday June 30th

Title: “Food traveling through the body”

Instructions: Vocally interpret the process of food traveling through the body.

Rehearsal discoveries: did not rehearse. Looked up a video of the process and wrote down on a white board for myself and others to follow along.

Performance write up: I had phlegm at the start that I had been working to drink water to clear, but alas, when the clock struck 10AM, it was not clear. I did not warm up properly beyond a 30sec lip trill yawn sigh and about a glass of water and a glass of chai tea. This made getting into the technical flexibility of the performance delayed. However, I did my best to respond to my initial phlegm and lack of support and flexibility as naturally and audiophile as possible.

I had an audience of friends at the start, which brings forth a flexing and sometimes wandering mind that regrets not being prepared technically for them, then feeling guilty, then feeling prepared as well with the white board, then getting over it to put all focus into the task, then enjoying freely parts of the task, then having moments of uncertainty about the length of 15min and timing, then being rushed to end by the timer. Perhaps you may see all of these honest feelings within the performance if you watch it.

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Friday July 1st

Title: “Impersonating pasta”

Instructions: ..

Rehearsal discoveries: Probably just take photos and make a slideshow. Go for it.

Performance write up:

Lexi: That was fun. Definitely a party I game I recommend. You can impersonate pasta from many angles to include the attitude it may carry, its straightforward physical form, it’s potential motion, or even the way it relates to its fellow pastas. I wanted this to be easy and whatever, so I didn’t have plans with Batya beyond trying to match outfits and just going for it. She sent me a pic of her striped shirt, and I had a striped shirt. We ended up looking pretty fun carnival vibes, and that was sick. We began pretty much silent with the procedure, and I quickly didn’t want to be super serious silence for 15min, so I started thinking out loud. The whole experience became very goofy and just so fun.

Batya: Impersonating Pasta was a blast! Doing this piece made me realize that pasta has so many facets. It’s familiar, it’s comforting, it’s funny, it’s architectural. It implies motion! It’s solid and flexible. It’s communal- pasta hangs out together, in groups. It’s a blank canvas, it’s collaborative. It reminds you that shape matters! The prompt to impersonate is significant in this cool way of considering that pasta has personality. It’s radical and it’s respectful in that it acknowledges existence itself. Hey pasta, we see you!

Lexi and I chatted about this a little as we set up. Up til then, we hadn’t discussed anything about the performance other than what to wear, which brings up a lot around the idea of performance, of what constitutes something being “good”, or “worthwhile”...concepts that are entwined into industrialized/commercialized performance practices...and what a relief it is to toss those away and just show up for the the task at hand.

I really liked that Lexi came up with a way to display the pastas that we were impersonating, so that the audience could see them. I definitely had some fears running through my mind regarding my ability to do the performance well, familiar anxieties tied to the issues I mention above. I let those be there. Lexi’s vibe was playful yet committed, which was great and helped me focus and enjoy myself. Sometimes she talked through her ideas as she tried them out and that encouraged me to do the same. We explored stillness as well as motion. It was fun having to quickly interpret the visuals, to grab onto something that struck me or work with an idea that Lexi tossed out and then expand on it.

Some of my favorite impersonations were bow tie pasta (jazz hands!) and a cake of uncooked ramen noodles, where we attempted to entwine our limbs, and then proceeded to imagine loosening and separating as we became cooked. Liberation!

I was concerned about filling the time and running out of pasta images to work with. Maybe we didn’t take enough time for each one? I looked at the timer around 5 minutes and panicked a little. I was grateful to be able to connect with the audience, watch them laugh. That helped me keep going.

Huge thanks to Lexi for inviting me to do this performance. I am very inspired by Tenam, which is to say, by Lexi herself. Her ideas, her attitude, her curiosity. So. Cool. Stoked for more!

View on Youtube ----->

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