Art: Grabbing Your Nuts As Political Dialogue.
There’s a direct line from conceptual art to grabbing my nuts at a City Council meeting. If feminism brought about environmental art, dialoguing with institutions is the next modern art wave.
We live in politics just like we live in air. It envelops us like environment.
How does one talk to an institution?
You can sue them but that’s not very artistic.
I think about this stuff eating huevos rancheros at the Plaza Restaurant looking out to the postage stamp size park that is the heart of Santa Fe. The Catherdral and the Catholic Church thinks they are the heart of community and even put up garish signs proclaiming it. City Hall thinks it’s not only the heart of Santa Fe but the entire obese body.
Talking with Fat Bill’s transvestite looking receptionist is not a dialogue with the State of New Mexico. If I want to communicate with the City of Santa Fe, you just can’t talk with people no matter if they’re staff of elected officials.
I have tried for seven years to get an appointment with our Mayor Larry del Jello. I am trying to solve a dangerous problem concerning an un-dedicated trail and asshole yuppie dog-walkers who invade my life daily. I have during those seven years pleaded my case with the Governing Body from the “Petitions from the Floor” segment of the City Council meeting.
About twice a month, citizens of our Capital city are allowed to speak for two minutes in front of the Council, on TV, oh yah… live. The reciting of memorized “poetry” to dumbfounded City leaders has become my forte. Frank Zappa and Jerry Garcia mixed in nicely with Robert Frost and Ogden Nash as applied to politics. Who said, “Everything is relevant if you’re a writer”?
As slopped up the last of my eggs with the tortilla I could see Cliff Mills setting up his Plaza vending table. I’ll go see him. He does petitions himself.
“Hey Governor.” I call Cliff Governor sometimes because of the fact his family owns the now worthless founding bonds for the State of New Mexico. But that’s another story.
“Do you know KSFR is using your last performance as a promo for them covering the Council?” Cliff beams.
“No. They didn’t ask me.” I respond.
Both Cliff and his friend laughed being hip to art, the media and Santa Fe politics. The ‘political performance’ in question was my adaptation of Mick Jager /Kieth Richard’s She So Cold. Right in the middle of the song lyrics poetry political performance, where the Stones say “Put your hand on the heat, put your hand on the heat” I grab my stones.
A gasp comes from the audience. Because of placement of the podium and the TV camera, the Mayor and City Staff may have been the only people in the room who didn’t to see my Michael Jackson imitation. As I finish in a crescendo of “I’M THE FREAKIN’ VOLCANNNOOOO” Mayor del Jello calmly interject “You made your point. Your time is up. Thank you John.”
I actually didn’t make my point until the radio station KSFR used my words as a promo. When dialoguing with institutions… Rule One: It doesn’t happen without the media.