In the summer of 2016, original art (a painting I did for posters), photographs, slides used for rear projections, scripts and other emphemera from my performance piece the Onyx Fool were added to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute archive of American. Although I have been in a few in a couple of exhibits at museums, I was never in a collection before, so it was kind of a thrill. Here’s the catalog entry.
The Onyx Fool was a serial that I created, directed, and performed in, with an mind-bogglingly large and talented cast and crew (30-40 people) that in its totality was every bit as oddball as the project’s creator. It started at 8BC in the fall of 1984, where episodes 1 through 6 ran on a weekly basis. Each episode was performed twice – once on Sunday and once on Wednesday.
Just south of Tompkins Square Park, in the East Village, tucked in between shooting galleries and crumbling tenements, 8BC was the fulcrum of the avant-garde performance scene of that era. You can see the diverse performances available in the jpg of the schedule that appears on this page.
Later in 1984 there was a staged reading at the Mark Taper Annex in Los Angeles (with a cast of local LA actors) and there was a consolidated performance of episodes 7-9 at the Courtyard Playhouse. A 2 part condensed version was presented in 1985 at the Nameless Theater in 1985 under the Title Danger’s Back/Is Danger Finished.
The Onyx Fool was a monumental project for me. I have put off blogging about it because it’s a little hard to wrap my head around. But in the meantime here are 3 photos of about a quarter of the wonderful cast, by Lynn Kanter. The color photo (from 30 years later) is of Mary Savig, Smithsonian curator, holding up an original poster that is now in their collection.