Sunday, October 26, 2008

Infiltrating the Mainstream with underground subversive feminist art

A couple of weeks ago I received a phone call from the Independent Film Channel. They were interested in filming performance art performances around blood play at Femina Potens for Dave Navarro's upcoming tv show "Deeper". "Deeper" involves Dave diving into different edgy subcultures acting as both a voyeur and participant in some way. I feel like gaining larger wide spread exposure for queer and feminist art work is essential to destroying stigmas around different subcultures that lack visibility in the mainstream media such as queer culture and the sex worker community. IFC had come across Twincest's performances online and were interested in focusing on their work with some additional performances that also referenced the use of blood in performance and art. Enter performance artist Sadie Lune, who did some wonderfully creative blood portraits of the evening's performers. Dave also requested a portrait of himself which was painted using a combination of both Sadie's blood and Dave's blood.

I also contributed to the evening along with my dear friend and rope artist/collaborator, Lochai. Together we orchestrated a bloody rope suspension performance involving a ritual of dirt, cleansing in water and my body bound to the central post of the gallery and becoming drunken on rope in a beautiful suspension.

Twincest started off the evening by performing a very intimate piece involving the two artists drawing one another's blood filling up shot glasses with their fluid and swallowing in one big gulp. The air was thick with tension,fear, anxiety,eroticism and at the same time a sense of playfulness as Jez (who is actually afraid of both needles and blood) was instructed by her partner on how to find Shawn's veins and how to draw the blood and stick the needle. And then we watched as Shawn stuck the woozy Jez and filled the viles full of her blood.

The audience was all personally invited by the gallery and included local artists and friends such as Susan Forbes and performance artist and activist, Keith Hennessy as well as the fabulous writer and blogger, Violet Blue. All in all the evening could have been mistaken for any other performance evening at Femina Potens with the exception of the camera's and lights and producers running around making sure that we were all ready for Dave and that we continue to act natural when Dave entered the gallery. It was rather funny. They were a joy to work with but it's just the nature of inviting a little bit of Hollywood into our Queerdom of San Francisco.

Regardless of my feelings toward evil that is Hollywood, when it comes down to it we are choosing to create visibility for women and trans artists. If Hollywood is interested in helping us to further that visibility and getting queer performance art out not only to the mainstream but also to all of the emerging queers who are stuck in the suburbs of the midwest with only the tv as a window to civilization that exists outside of their small town, then maybe I'll believe in Hollywood this once. When queer youth are having a hard time finding communities to relate to, are failing to find resources in their small town, at least they can turn on the television to IFC and find a little bit of queer San Francisco in their living room, and that might just get them through the high school years.

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