In Toronto, we too often try to silence our performers, visionaries and freaks who take transgressive ideas about the body, art, politics and performance to the next level. I refer specifically to rebellious relics like Donnarama, Reg Hartt, Enza “Supermodel” Anderson and Chris Edwards. Dreaming of these four encountering similar desperados such as Nick Zedd, Anne Heche, Margot Kidder and Jack Smith at a future Occupy event makes me have a hot flash. Thankfully, there are still spaces for those who refuse to be defanged. Places like Buddies in Bad Times, Videofag and Pleasure Dome.
Pleasure Dome has been presenting experimental media art since 1989; it isn’t really a place so much as a state of mind. This time around, the art collective welcomes Dirty Looks NYC — a platform for queer experimental film, video and live art — to Toronto, screening a program of films and videos culled from their defining first three years of existence. Also at the Toronto event, New York performance-art doyenne Narcissister will present a rare and special show.
What is a Narcissister? She is a trompe I’oeil; a soothsaying, virtuostic, hyperbolic, renegade weirdo whose performance style tips over the edge of political camp using mask, dance, storytelling and raw athleticism. As an extension of her screening and performance at the Dirty Looks party, Narcissister will offer her first-ever workshop at Videofag. The event will investigate what it means to use disguise as radical and physical transformation. “My performance refigures narcissism through radical acts of self-love,” she says. “Using a mask and a handful of merkin, I play with the limits of burlesque, masquerade and performance art.”