Performing Through Crisis: Patrick Scully on Art and AIDS in the 1980s
Patrick Scully as told to Paul Schmelzer
Turning 27 in 1980, Patrick Scully left the dance collective he called home to work independently and “explore what being gay meant to me as an artist.” A decade that began with optimism yielded surprises as political conservatism, the destruction of his downtown block, and AIDS rocked his world. For our continuing series reflecting on the Twin Cities in the 1980s, Scully shares his memories.
The Walker Joins Minnesota’s Arts Community in Opposing Marriage Amendment
The Walker proudly joins with 120 cultural organizations in endorsing the Minnesotans United for All Families Campaign, which is working to defeat the marriage amendment on the ballot November 6.
The Lisps: In Defense of the Musical
Bucking band-culture expectations, the Lisps have added a nontraditional project to their recording and touring schedule: making a musical. The band prioritizes spectacle over, say, shoegazing, but their work FUTURITY is still “a musical made by people who don’t make musicals.” The group’s Sammy Tunis and César Alvarez weigh in on why they chose this form and how it kept their band together.
Human and Natural Ecologies
“If we compartmentalize the environmental question, the whole earth burns, so we might as well get everybody in any way that we can,” says Marc Bamuthi Joseph, whose new Walker-commissioned performance examines issues of environmental justice. red, black & GREEN: a blues uses hip-hop, spoken word, and audience participation to expand the discussion about how to define that “environmental question.”
My Hand or My Voice
Theaster Gates doesn’t use the word activism. “I grew up thinking that my politics would be more in my hand and in my body and in labor,” he said. This month the Walker presents an exhilarating work by Marc Bamuthi Joseph that features Gates’ sets and addresses environmental justice. He and Bamuthi recently discussed the project and the question, “Is my hand needed more in this situation, or my voice?”
Given the tumult in the Middle East, it’s no surprise that Lebanese theater-maker and visual artist Rabih Mroué is interested in revolution. But he doesn’t see his work as activism. Eschewing the term “political theater,” he says, “If there’s a revolution, it’s revolution against myself, to provoke myself.”
The six performers onstage in Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show could scarcely be more exposed. In a move to “de-objectify the performers,” all actors wear no clothing or makeup. But beyond that, they work without a script, without dialogue. In a recent interview, Lee discusses these choices as well as her strategy of building each show as “a trap” for audiences.
Out There 2012
How does the Walker’s Out There series reflect or reject broader performing arts currents in the Unites States and around the globe? Walker staff writer Julie Caniglia tests the waters surrounding the quartet of theatrical freethinkers appearing at this 24th annual festival of adventurous performance.
Performance is by nature slippery—the work exists only in the moment of its enactment; later, as something remembered or recounted in stories, it’s filtered through someone’s lens. So, if you’re a museum like the Walker that “collects” performing arts, where does this leave you? With plenty of questions and access to top thinkers in the field.