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Texts:   Essay:

Illegal Bride

Preface to War Prayer

The War Prayer by Mark Twain

from Chosen (2004-05)




Top 10 Dance Events 2005

Only in San Francisco? : Homegrown Trends and Traditions (05)

  Illegal Bride

ILLEGAL BRIDE (version 2005) (printable version)

(Performed in recycled wedding gown with fetish details by Jack Davis, periodically drinking apple cider vinegar with a straw, gagging and drooling excessively, while standing on the fire escape of Dance Mission is a piss and junk alley off 24th St. in San Francisco.)

A piss and vinegar letter in honor of the dead world citizens
since September 11, 2001.
Dear George W Bush
Dear Mr Cheney, Mr Rumsfield, Dr Rice, Mr Wolfowitz, Mr Gonzalez,
Dear Mr. Bechtel, Mr. Chevron, Mr Lockhead Martin Mr Monsanto Mr Smart Bomb Mr & Ms New American Century
Dear Mr. Billionaire who doesn't pay taxes
Dear all you poor suckers, you grief stricken and fear frozen, overworked and underpaid, flag waving Americans who are so lost in your own pain that ...
Dear all of you. Fuck you.
I told you so
I told you so

I fucking told you so

I told you that war always kills children
I told you that there'd be no way to win this war
without bankrupting the US,
without destroying the hopes of our youth,
leading to more hungry, illiterate, and orphaned children
I told you so
I told you so

I fucking told you so

I don't want to talk about it
It hurts
It hurts that the killing continues
as I speak, as I drink, and even as I sleep
It hurts while the starvation and bad water continue
While the profits of Carlysle, Bechtel, Chevron, and Haliburton continue
It hurts while the profits of the Saudi and Kuwaiti royal families,
the Bush and Bin Laden royal families, the Fox and CNN royal families continue
While the repression of female power, education, community and health continues
Don't make me give all the details
You fucking know it
I told you so
I told you so

I fucking told you so

Everyone told you so
Even your own goddamned experts must have told you that most Iraqi citizens would never forgive the first Gulf War
All the cruel killing, war crimes and destruction of water treatment plants, pharmaceutical factories, and other essential services.
You are responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children
and even more adults in the 10 years preceding 9.11 and yet you dare to brag, "We bring freedom to tortured souls!"
Meanwhile after 3 years of illegal imprisonment and torture there have been no convictions of Guantanamo prisoners! No terrorists found.
And the International Red Cross says that 70% of Iraqi prisoners in US custody were arrested by mistake, have no intelligence value, and will never be charged with anything, and yet you force them to suck each other off on camera.
You couldn't find a terrorist if you were looking in the mirror.
Instead of asking, "Why do they hate us?",
we should be asking,
"What will it take to disrupt America's fake-ass innocence and total denial of the crimes of the corporate state?
Crimes which we support every time we drive a car, lace up our sneakers, and eat an ear of corn."
I told you so
I told you so

I fucking told you so

I told you so
I told you so

I fucking told you so

I hate that revenge is culturally acceptable in Washington, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Hollywood, Ramallah, Jakarta, London, Beijing, Fruitvale and the Mission.
I hate the cynical tactic of terrorizing people into accepting the punishment of others, of accepting that entire nations are evil enemies to be violently contained.
Every war and occupation is based on the same fucked up logic that Hitler triumphed and that's why I name you all fascists.
I told you so
I told you so

I fucking told you so

With 15 million people in the streets on the same day I told you so
With the majority of the UN I told you so
But you don't seem to care about the UN.
What the fuck is the matter with you?
The entire hope of the UN is the promise of NEVER AGAIN;
of promising to the hearts ripped open with grief and betrayal that a liberation of body, soul and planet is possible blah blah blah
But you hate hope
What the fuck is the matter with you?
Over 3,000 humans died in the attacks of September 11, 2001
And since then you've killed more than 20 times that including 1400 US Soldiers, at least 3000 Afghani civilians and a minimum of 20,000 Iraqi civilians...*
How many need to die? How many need to lose a leg or an eye?
Your wounds cannot be healed by the blood of dead children.
Stop killing their babies!
Stop killing their babies!
Why are you so fucking cruel?
You don't fucking care about safety, about home, land, security?
You'll kill anyone anywhere just to make everyone more depressed, more afraid, more anxious, more likely to kill.
The more you kill, humiliate, and starve,
the more danger and terror you bring to your own home.
You're the number one inspiration for fundamentalist religious violence.
You have trained, funded, and armed terrorists.
You practically invented Al Queda.
You befriended and funded Saddam for years.
You collaborate with anti-democratic torturous regimes all over the world including Pakistan, Indonesia, China and Saudi Arabia.
You lied, you lied, you lied, and you lied again.
You're a bunch of mass murder war criminals who ought to rotting in a prison made just for wealthy cynics.
I told you so
I told you so

I fucking told you so

But you don't listen
You don't listen cuz I'm a drunk homo bride with no land to call my own
Yah you don't listen cuz I'm a drunk homo bride with no land to call my own and I confuse all the issues.
But I give up. You win.
Now fuck off and leave me alone.
PS. To all those gain grotesquely from Halliburton's pathological profiteering in Iraq, spending billions on US military bases and zero on hospitals, schools and homes, fuck you. And that includes Dick Cheney & Condi Rice, Halliburton's filthy rich thieving friends in the White House, and to Alberto Gonzalez who supplied the legal justification to torture anyone who gets in the way of those profits, fuck all of you.
PPS. And a special fuck you to each and every employee of the CIA for intentionally fucking up democratic hopes and movements from Guatemala to Guantanamo, from Haiti to Indonesia, from Iran to El Salvador. Instead of preventing 9/11 and catching your buddy Osama, instead of supporting peaceful uprisings to oppressive regimes, instead of feeding all the people and teaching the world to read, you're just a bunch of overpaid, dumb ass terrorists. Whatever. Fuck you too. Im out.

* (Iraq Body Count)


Mark Twain Preface

MARK TWAIN PREFACE (version 2005) (printable version)

The next piece is by Mark Twain, and is called The War Prayer. In it, Twain suggests that every prayer has an unspoken twin, a shadow prayer that completes the first, warning us, to be careful what we pray for.

He wrote it a century ago in response to the invasion and occupation of the Philippines. In two short years, between 1899 and 1901, the US military, without airplanes, killed over 500,000 Philipinos in a program called Benevolent Assimilation, ushering in an era of political instability and subservience to US economic interests that has continued to this day, and been replicated in various countries around the world.

In the perverted genius we might call the American High School of Historical Revisionism we are not taught that the invasion and massacre in the Philippines ever happened, nor that their existed an Anti-imperialist League, of which all-American author Mark Twain was a member, that actively protested that war.

Twain said, "I have seen that we do not intend to free but to subjugate the Philippines. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the Eagle put its talons on any other land ... I have a strong aversion to sending our bright boys out there to fight with a disgraced gun under a polluted flag."*

This is the shadow prayer to “God bless our troops and make safe our home.”

*Twain cited by Philip Foner in the book, "Mark Twain: Social Critic", p. 260.



The War Prayer

The War Prayer
By Mark Twain
written 1905 during Philippine-American War, published 1923

O Lord our Father,
Our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle - be Thou near them!
With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.
O Lord our God,
Help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells;
Help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead;
Help us to drown the thunder of their guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain;
Help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire;
Help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief;
Help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags, and hunger and thirst,
Sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter,
Broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -
For our sakes, who adore Thee, Lord,
Blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!
We ask it, in the spirit of Love, of Him Who is the Source of Love,
and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts.
(Shalom, Salaam)





(In no particular order)

1. Cunning & Guile , Chris Black & Ken James, Cartoon Art Museum

2. House of LaBeija dancers, Jack Ya Body Dance Series, curated by Traci Bartlow for Hip Hop Theater Fest 2005, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

3. everything by Fauxnique aka Monique Jenkinson, at Trannyshack, Tuesdays at midnight at the Stud.

4. ButterFLEE , Jose Navarette, performed at ManiFestival, Dance Mission Theatre.

5. Solo , Amara Tabor-Smith, excerpt from Urban Bush Women directed by Jawole Willa Jo Zolar, performed at Greening New Orleans Benefit, Brava Theatre.

6. Limerance , Twincest (aka Jez Kuono'ono Lee & Shawn Tamaribuchi), performed at Passing - Less Than Satisfactory, CounterPULSE.

7. Dear Fidel , The Dance Brigade, Dance Mission Theatre.

8. Flyaway Productions/ Jo Kreiter 's retrospective, Zaccho Studio.

9. Susan Voyticky on aerial hoop and Emily Leap on trapeze, various sites.

10. Touched , Jess Curtis/Gravity, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

*BONUS And the best dance of the year was by Keriac (RIP March 17, 2005) dancing in her bed a few days before she died.



ONLY IN SAN FRANCISCO?: Homegrown trends and traditions

Observations and projections by Keith Hennessy,
guest performance curator Bay Area Now 2005

(printable version)

Written for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Bay Area Now 2005 catalogue

• Burlesque, sideshow, circus, fire arts and a return to artists who entertain.

For the past decade there’s been a steady increase in aerial acrobats, fire spinning and sculpting, nostalgic & campy burlesque, and the word circus being used to describe just about everything from the entire genre of Tom Waits meets gypsy/Roma music to the Schwartznegger election. After years of deconstructing the spectacle, entertainment is back. For a few years anyone who could spin fire or climb 25 feet of fabric earned respect but that moment is over and for a few dancers, aerialists, contortionists, fire sculptors and spinners, and even hula-hoopists, it’s all about quality now, pushing craft and performance and obsessive training to the next level. It used to be that half of the adventurous contemporary dancers in SF were working as strippers and erotic masseuses, dividing their time between sex work and art. Now the sex work is art, whores R us, and all the straight people are talking publicly about butt sex and SM.
(Harlem Shake, Velocity, Vau de Vire, Devilettes, Xeno, Mystic Family Circus, Jade-blue Eclipse, The Lollies, Flaming Lotus Girls, Diamond Daggers, SF Circus Center, Odeon Bar, Frank Olivier, Fairy Butch, Va Va Voom, Big Burlesque/Fat Bottom Revue, Circo Zero)

Then there’s the almost high art cousin of all this entertainment: Aerial Dance. From annual festivals in SF, Boulder, and Boston to a plethora of suspended dancers everywhere from Vegas (Soleil) to off-Broadway (de la Guarda), from Half Dome (Bandaloop) to Islais Creek (Flyaway), aerial dance may be on the rise in the US and beyond but the Bay will always be seen as the source (Motivity, Zaccho...)

• Youth Speaks-inspired slam and spoken word.
Yes the hip hop generation has been around for years and slams are almost as ancient, but until you’ve been to the Living Word Fest or an event organized by Youth Speaks you haven’t seen the dynamo future of the word performed. Youth Speaks has mentored, inspired, incited and reclaimed urban youth voices that dare to break social taboos of hip coolness with intensity, intimacy, and wild honesty.

Of course we’ve still got the world’s most abundantly queer and kinky lit scene with half the authors in pervy anthologies around the English world coming from our libertine Bay. Performance venues range from bathhouse (Smegma at Eros) to STD testing site (Smack Dab at Magnet), with specialty events for any and all kinds of erotica (Blacksheets, Good Vibes, SF in Exile, Center for Sex & Culture).

• Trannybois and gender queers of the Mission-based dyke/post-dyke world.
SF has always been among the gayest, the queerest, the most feminist of art and performance communities, participating in a homegrown, Wild West meeting of art and politics, experimentation and evolution of art practices that’s as old as the first Gold Rush brothels. Today’s tranny fags, drag kings, and gender queer rappers, strippers, choreographers, writers and actors are appearing in many of the clubs, galleries, theaters, and art spaces around the Bay.

And then there are the new faces and voices of Hip Hop, which seem to branch into and out of both gender queer and progressive spoken word scenes. The folks in this list don’t even know each other, but they’re all pulling and pushing the squarest tendencies of hip hop mass culture where the kids just know it has to go. (Katastrophe, Bamuthi, Deep Dick Collective, Aya de Leon, Sisterz of the Underground, JenRO, Skorpio, New Style Motherlode, and Micaya’s annual Hip Hop Fest)

• Burning Man-inspired participatory art happenings.
These ubiquitous events (Bunny Jam anyone?) defy boundaries between club cultures and street arts, folk arts and Situationist interventions, kitsch and eco-art, mixing money with arte povera, from East Oakland and Hunters’ Point warehouses to the Commonwealth Club. Burning man is all kinds of things to all kinds of people but despite the way too many rowdy drunks hooting at bare flesh while showing none of their own, it remains one of the world’s biggest participatory art festivals, with hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on making interactive sculpture, installation, architecture, vehicles and performances. Even the biggest gossip and political debate re: B’man is about the quality & control of the art. (borg2.org)

• The ladyboys, faux queens, drag & genderfuck superstars of Trannyshack
Nine years ago, just when we thought avant-drag had atrophied or calcified, long before the Cockettes movie reminded us that SF is all about genderfuck and glam anarchy, Hecklina started Trannyshack, SF’s best and cheapest site for weekly performance art. Yes I miss some of the crazy shit that happened there in the early years (now you’ll start reminiscing about Uranus and Fiend) but where else can a bio-girl named Fauxnique play a man playing a girl and win a drag queen contest with a conceptually fierce lipsynch performance and a chorus of modern dancers? Only in SF. Go now cuz Hecklina’s thinking to shut down the T’shack when it hits 10. Queens still hate to age!

• A fierce renewal of DIY anarcho culture
From the activist runway of excess (Gay Shame) to pay-what-you-can warehouse events in Oakland (it’s been too long since Studio Four, Diesel Cathedral, and other SF warehomes!), from anti-capitalist fashion recycling in the middle of Ellis Street (In the Streets/Luggage Store) to daytime punk shows and late-night open mics at 16th & 24th St. BART, the newest breed of activist artists continues a long tradition of enriching the abandoned sites of city, body and imagination. (Kudos to whoever wraps/knits the dead bikes and locks of the Mission)

• Art about torture and war at home and around the world
From Ferlinghetti to Mattilda, from Extra Action to Brass Liberation Orchestra, from Dance Brigade to Campo Santo, the dance studios, theaters, bookstores, house parties and streets of the Bay are alive with political inquiry, protest art, community fundraisers, strategic mobilizations and poetic terrorism. Whether it’s the air we breathe, the ground we march & skate on, or the waves we surf on, San Francisco, & it’s Nor Cal surrounds, flaunt an unbroken lineage of weaving art with politics and spirituality that’s tough to recognize anywhere else.

The best next thing: a return to body art & body-based performance. Part of an international renewal from China to art school kids studying Ana Mendieta, Karen Finley, and others as the new canon. Maybe it’s part of the same late 70’s/early 80’s revival that brings us disco-inspired electro. I don’t care. Just keep finding new ways to get naked, push limits of belief and comprehension, obsessively leak or contain body fluids, and use your body to reframe alarming social contexts.

There’s a missing paragraph about dance, the work that’s closest to my own trends and traditions. When I get to it, I’ll mention Leslie Seiters’ little known dance company, Scott Wells, Erika Shuck Performance Project, Navarette x Kajiyama, Jess Curtis/Gravity, Lauren Steiner/Eat Cake, Lizz Roman taking over the ceiling of Cellspace, the weekly contact jams at 848 (soon to be CounterPULSE) in SF and 8th St in Berkeley, Inkboat and the East Bay scene that weaves butoh, art punk rock, Action Theater, and more...
And probably something about how Dance Brigade, Joe Goode, Sara Shelton Mann/Contraband, Zaccho, and others continue to be relevant, even from an ‘underground’ point of view... something about the inability for 99% of dance to remain outside of mainstream cultures.




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