I saw this great new show Passing Strange last night. The title of the show, of course, reminded me of one of my pieces in “The Assassination of Barack Obama.” The idea of “passing” is so interesting to me and one that I know is still so sensitive in the Black community.
The show is about a young boy, appropriately called “Youth.” He has to travel the world (literally) to figure out who he is and what he most wants. It’s sort of a bio-show of performance artist/musician Stew, the show’s creator (who also stars in the show as the narrator). It’s not like any show I’ve ever seen on Broadway. I related to it on a lot of levels, the least of which is the idea of self-discovery. So much of who I am is a result of my ability to travel while in college/grad school. I’m actually going to Asia in less than a month, which has always been a dream of mine.
The show speaks to people in different ways – I spent a good deal of time talking with another friend who has seen the show too. He was the one who remembered the title of this post – for him, that was the central them of the show.
A rock ’n’ roll autobiography of an artist in search of himself, “Passing Strange” is bursting at the seams with melodic songs, and it features a handful of theatrical performances to treasure. It is undeniably playing on Broadway, after transferring from a summer run at the Public Theater downtown.
But please don’t call it a Broadway musical. You could scare away too many people who might actually enjoy it.
Call it a rock concert with a story to tell, trimmed with a lot of great jokes. Or call it a sprawling work of performance art, complete with angry rants and scary drag queens. Call it whatever you want, really. I’ll just call it wonderful, and a welcome anomaly on Broadway, which can use all the vigorous new artistic blood it can get.
I pretty much told off one of the gallery owners yesterday. She called me to ask when I would be sending people over to get my pieces from the gallery, and I pretty much let loose on her. I told her how disappointed and angry I was about the whole situation and how I felt that she did very little to help me in the process. I told her I would find alternative space to show both exhibits and would try my hardest to never refer to her/her gallery by name.
So thanks to a few really great friends, I have several meetings over the next two weeks with people who may be able to help me with funding/space/party/etc. I really do feel like this is going to work out again…I am trying to be positive. There have been a few ideas floated around which, if any of them actually happen, will be amazing and so much better. I’m not going to jinx the possibility of any of them by writing about it right now, but my fingers are crossed. I have worked too hard on these exhibits to let this all die now.
And yes, I say FUCK YOU to the two shitty galleries that I trusted my artwork to and who, in the end, didn’t have the balls to continue to show my work.
In trying to come up with something I could proactively do, I began a guerilla marketing campaign. Last night, about 10 friends helped wallpaper parts of the city with small flyers that have the web addresses for the exhibits. It was exhausting and we didn’t cover half of what I wanted to, but I noticed today that traffic to both sites has increased dramatically. I am talking to GoGorilla, which specializes in this type of marketing in NYC. I am also in talks with some people who believe in the exhibits and who would like to see them shown again.
So I think I will hold off for now in doing any more late night runs until I have a date/place for (maybe) a party to show some of the pieces. I doubt we will be able to find a place to show all of the pieces (the cock alone breaks up into 16 pieces that take up 128 feet of wall space), but even if we could show 4, I would be happy at this point.
When the reporter called the U.S. Secret Service to confirm the story, they apparently didn’t know anything about it. They have no record at all of anyone from the agency shutting the exhibits down. So this is either the George Bush government acting typical or something is really fucked up with this whole situation.
Needless to say, the AP chose not to run the story since they couldn’t confirm with the Secret Service. I am so overwhelmed with disappointment (I totally had myself psyched up for this) and with a huge sense of not knowing what to do next. So now what? What do I do?
The exhibit is only supposed to be open another week…and then the galleries have other exhibits coming in. So for what was supposed to be a month-long engagement, I got to show my artwork for a week and then live in limbo for 3 weeks. Now what?