PERFORMANCE TONIGHT

Presented at the
First International
Queer Disability Conference
San Francisco State University
June 2 & 3, 2002

 

On Sunday night, June 2, John R. Killacky, Director of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, produced two hours of indescribable, indefinable, uncharacterizable queer crip singing, dancing, prose, poetry, comedy, and performance art (and Yes, there was an accordionist!).

Perfomers included Terry Galloway, Chris Hewitt, Nomy Lamm, Laurie McKiernan, Michael Perreault, and Julia/Dolphin Trahan.

The conference also welcomed queer crip writers who read memoir, poetry, fiction, and erotica in several more traditional sessions (no accordions).

Here are two selections from the Performance Evening and one from a session called "Writers Read Their Work."

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PERFORMANCE EVENING: SELECTION ONE

Monologue

by Michael Perreault

Created for and originally performed as part of
Axis Dance Company's "Hidden Histories"

[Enter carrying stool]

Heads up! [Set down stool and sit]

Let's talk! I'm a fifty-year-old polio survivor. Many people have told me I don't look fifty. No one has told me I don't look like a polio survivor!

As a teenager there was only one thing, one activity that I would do, that I would feel comfortable doing in front of a group of people. And that was dancing. I loved it. I was always self-conscious, but my desire to dance was stronger than my desire to stay hidden.

My Visible Difference: Once there was a kid I knew at the orthopedic clinic. Twice a year, April and October, three doctors, two nurses, one physical therapist, two aides, and his mother gathered to watch. This kid, stripped down to his underwear, had to walk up and down a long rubber mat with three mirrors at the very end. He watched himself being watched by all these grownups. They were evaluating what kind of surgery he would be having next. They were looking at his body as something needing to be fixed. They weren't looking at . . . him. He felt like he was the scene of an accident.

[Pause] Most of my life I've had that separation. Me from my body. So there's not many times I can honestly say that I like being looked at. This is a rare occurrence. [Big sweeping gesture] I'm inviting you in.

When people stare, when they gawk, they don't know the history of me. They don't know what it takes. People just assume my body is a wreck. So, go ahead, take a good look! What you see is what you get. And then some.

Not many people have ever looked at me as if I were a marvelous mechanism.

My hidden history is that my body is really working rather well, considering what I've gone through. It's amazing: Many of us don't get told how good our bodies really are. We each have a unique architecture of form, fit, and function.

Visible differences? Yes, indeed. We have 'em by the pound! Hidden histories? We have them by the pound, too. We'd be happy to share.

[Big smile] Here's looking at you!

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PERFORMANCE EVENING: SELECTION TWO

As A Good Father Should

by Chris Hewitt

This excerpt from Chris Hewitt's memoir, "Brittle Bones," was published in the May issue of BENT.

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A SELECTION FROM "Writers Read Their Work"

The Boy I Used to Be

by Raymond J. Aguilera

This essay was published in the January 2002 issue of BENT and was read by its author at the conference session devoted to poetry, fiction, and erotica.

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BENT:A Journal of CripGay Voices/ July 2002