Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What The World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love

So, Friday's performance took a lot of mental preparation. I woke up and spent the day listening to chants, imagining myself being a love beacon and basically being totally focused on what I was going to be doing later that day. My friend Isidoro, who'd agreed to be my assistant came over and hung out with me, while making the mask he would wear. (Matt was at work most of the day.)

Arm painting!

As 6 drew closer, Isidoro painted designs on my arms, Matt came home & I cooked us dinner, managing not to get wet paint on my dress, somehow. After eating, I grabbed my big box of pastels and drew on my face, trying to create a mask-like effect. (I used pastels instead of makeup because makeup makes my skin break out, but pastels don't but it one bit). Since the wig I'd borrowed covered my forehead more than I realized, I drew two blue lotuses on my cheeks with swirls around them, matching the pattern in the dress I was wearing.

Face painted!

Then I put on the wig, a new teal scarf I got to match the dress I'd had for a while, and my flower crown, which I've built up over about 2 years. I added some of my "power" jewelry - a necklace I made with a ribbon and an old-fashioned key, another necklace with an image of the Egyptian goddess Isis, and a silver bracelet that was a gift from a friend. I was trying to evoke the idea of an ancient priestess with this outfit...

Isidoro & I "masked" for performance

Then I nervously danced around the house, packing up everything I would use to decorate my table, and trying to remember to breathe deeply because I had major butterflies! My 2nd oldest brother had volunteered/been coerced into donating a table & chairs for me to use, as well as transporting me, Isidoro & Matt back & forth to the Crossroads.

Day 307 of my 365 self-portrait project

So he eventually shows up and we pack up & head out. When we got to the Crossroads at Grinders, I decided to set up a block down at 18th and Oak, because there was more sidewalk space and less to compete with people's attention there. Then I made Matt be my first "experiencer," and Isidoro filmed it for us (tho he got a bit distracted with the wind blowing stuff [which he eventually just held] and recording, so Matt's minute was a bit long, but it's all good).

(Click here to see embedded video)

I spent the next two hours in a blissful, meditative state, aware of what was going on around me to a certain extent, but mostly focused on my breath and on holding a state of love within me. My favorite reactions were:

  • My uncle sat down across from me and started laughing in surprise. "I'm sitting right across from you and I don't recognize you! How did you do that?!" Made me feel my costuming was totally successful! :)

  • A woman sat down from me late in the second hour of my performance and was fairly chatty through the whole thing (at this point I'd eased up on my no talking rule because so many people wanted to talk to me! I was not very verbose however as I was still focused on my breathing and love). Part way through her minute, she exclaimed that the experience was almost overwhelming her, and that she was feeling whoozy. I felt psyched to hear that! Clearly it was working!
Photo by Robert R.

After the light faded from the sky, we decided to pack it in. I had fun stalking queenly through a few art exhibits afterwards, but soon headed home.

After my meditation high wore off, I felt a bit sad that only ~15 people chose to experience my performance - not surprised but still sad. Most people reacted to the invitation with suspicion and fear or distaste, which I guess is to be expected given the culture in which we live. But I still thought more people would take advantage of something with no-strings-attached. Why else would I advertise it as "unconditional?"

Oh well! I did something I never thought possible, and know I can do it again in the future. So that makes me smile.

Related posts:
Experience Unconditional Love
My 10 Year Performance Art Itch
Queer Sexologist/Performer Annie Sprinkles

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Average Jane said...

How wonderful! I wish I'd managed to make it over there but I never made it past Main.

Freebox said...

I think it's fantastic that you did this May and I'm sad I missed it. My reason for missing it makes me wish I could have been there all the more, but the love you offer radiates far beyond that bench and this page and I am receiving it even now. Thank you!

Freebox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
May said...

Thanks AverageJane & Mary :)

Sarah said...

i would have totally done this. great performance piece. i say don't give up on KC - we're a little slow to understand beauty sometimes. I encourage you to do another performance soon. Such a great idea.

May said...

Thanks Sarah :) I might repeat the performance next month assuming my brother is still around to lend me his stuff (he's got to do something with the Army Reserves which might get in the way) and if I can stand the heat!