The central character of Credo: A Pilgrim is A Pilgrim, who is known to the people who know him only as The Amateur Baritone. The Baritone travels only with a few possessions, the most precious of which is an invisible box containing religious items (a rosary; a Bible; the Philokalia; a small statue of Buddha; and three talking bobble heads who are his religious advisors – a retired abbess, a Catholic priest and a Baptist preacher. He ekes out a living doing odd jobs and singing spirituals for change. The other major characters include A Churchlady, a grandmotherly, well-intentioned type who after hiring him as a gardner now cleans his clothes, feeds him and – convinced he is gay – tries to turn him straight, including introducing him to a Yoga instructor, even though she thinks Yoga is heathen and that her Yoga friend is a slut. A Churchlady’s house is his most frequent stop in his travels. The Yoga Instructor is the sixth major character; rather than try to seduce him, she is trying to teach him “soul,” a quality of which his spiritual singing is sorely lacking.
Every second and fourth Tuesday, 9 AM Pacific Time/5:00 PM UTC, beginning January 17 and January 31, 2017.
Reposting this after a week of pre-anxiety before broadcasting from one of my home theater spaces this morning to a performance art festival in Jakarta and ending the week with exhilaration.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a “live” online performance art festival. I did not know how to do that, but I was a no-budget solo theater artist for almost 20 years, performing in all kinds of spaces and under all kinds of conditions. So, I accepted the invitation and started researching so that I eventually could fill out the application form by the October 14th deadline and know what I was talking about. Since as a YouTube partner I am eligible for streaming on YouTube, I set a goal of having the right setup and know-how to perform live online. I scheduled a live performance for October 10th, which was four days before the festival application deadline.I teched every day for over two weeks. As a theater artist, I hated tech rehearsals more than anything. They seemed so endless and redundant; and I never understood why the directors and tech crew needed to keep actors (who sometimes were still learning lines) past midnight at times. But now that I have gone through this recent process, I am grateful for every single one of those tech rehearsals. My October 10th dry run was not just a good idea for mastering the basic technical requirements of broadcasting, but also for the simple reason that I have not been onstage as a solo actor for almost 10 years. I adapted my studio (i.e., living room) into a small black box, my favorite type of space as a solo theater artist. I bought a projector so that I could create a multimedia performance with one of my The Harpy videos. I knew that I also needed a good quality webcam. I am not an expert, so I am not going to recommend any products in this post. As I am still using my first HDD camcorder, which I bought in 2007 after months of research, I swear by: 1) deciding how much you want to spend; 2) window-shopping in your price range; 3) comparing reviews of several different products. I learned when I went to the YouTube help page on streaming that I needed encoding software (Set up your live streaming encoder). Since my “control panel” is a Mac laptop, I bought Wirecast Play – again, I am not recommending a product, but the Wirecast tutorials are exceptional. The very worst thing that ever happened to me while I was doing a play was my first play as an adult in college when I had to make a running exit, go down a hallway and around a corner in the dark and then make a running entry back onstage – all this was supposed to happen in about a minute during a short scene between two other characters. While turning the corner, I ran into a door. Most likely, the stagehand who was guiding me and I probably had not practiced enough. One of my contact lenses flew out; and I was dazed and getting a shiner. The stagehand thought we should stop the show. But not I, my mama’s daughter, who was the main character in this particular show. I kept going and was back onstage on cue. What’s more
A portfolio reel of video performance art created between 2008 and 2014 (Color/Stereo 34:10 mins USA). The second movie, Depression as Geography 2009, was selected for CologneOff 7.
As I plan a video essay about greenscreening and collect my thoughts, including why I greenscreen, I have begun to look at my older video works. I realized that almost as soon as I bought my first camera, I was taken with layers, beginning with shadows and reflections; and that eventually led me to keying out the visible world and replacing it with imaginary environments.
As an extremely introverted person with Asperger’s, I learned the hard lesson that if I do not consciously take my inner life with me everywhere I go, I feel awkward, uncomfortable, frustrated, unhappy and dissociated.
It seems such a paradox that staying inside my head, my comfort zone, helps keep me in the moment and grounded in the “real world.” In a way, greenscreening allows me to create a real geographic location out of my inner life.
For about a minute (3 years, actually, I think), I had a fiscal sponsor so that I would be eligible to apply for grants as an artist. I think I applied for three grants in the first six months of my sponsorship. I did not get even a nibble of interest in my proposals, which I expected to happen, having been competing for exhibitions, gigs and cash as an artist for most of my adult life and thus knowing rejection is part of the artist’s life.
I suppose I could say that I gave up, even though I maintained the sponsorship just in case while feverishly creating work that I spend (not that much cash outlay on, really) most of my waking hours making, somebody else magically appeared and offered me a grant that I needed a fiscal sponsor to administer.
But I could also say that since I’ve mostly paid for my own work and dealt directly as an independent artist with art dealers, collectors, theater producers, casting directors, video art curators and film festival administrators, that nobody is my boss except me and I am not beholden to anyone except my husband who is periodically inconvenienced by stage sets all over the apartment.
Anybody who puts their work “out there” is participating in the System no matter how much they might rail against it – as I will never stop pointing out that art dealers, curators and producers would not have anything to do if artists stopped making art or just didn’t play with art dealers, curators and producers anymore.
Independent artists, even ferociously independent artists like me – who would rather fail and or be repeatedly rejected than take commissions, fill out forms and reports, create and justify budgets, follow protocols that exist primarily because of bylaws nobody’s ever read since the person who wrote them, and commingle with patrons – are just as much part of the System as those folks who get all the grants.
The System is anybody considering your work at all for any reason and to any end.
I am very pleased that”before chill” was selected for 2016 Creative Arts Film Festival and nominated in CAFF’s ‘Perfect Spirit Award’ category. This movie is a video poem about aging/the changing of the seasons. It was inspired by the signs that winter is about to happen here in San Francisco, this town that “has no seasons.” Just like everywhere else that I’ve lived, however, there is a pungency, a dryness in the whispering breeze that will grow into a raging wind in a few weeks, a stillness and a beautiful pearlescent sky. I shot this movie on my way home from dayjob as I the scenic route through San Francisco’s beautiful Civic Center. I edited this movie in first-gen Splice on my IPhone. What a lovely way that was to begin twilight. A limited edition DVD is available on Saatchi Art