Last night I had the pleasure of showing a few dozen college students giant pictures of wasp larvae bursting from the body of an adorable and helpless baby caterpillar. This was in the context of a lecture for the Encyclopedia Show AZ, but none the less I found the event personally edifying. Filling the Empty Space, a small black box operated by ASU, with a huge glowing projection of a female Costa Rican wasp injecting an orb-spider with her eggs reminded me of why I initially became attracted to performance.
It isn’t the power to shock or disgust (though both these lesser pleasures are endearing to me) but the magical bubble that surrounds all works of performance — the audience is both at your mercy and in your care. I did my best to fill them with obscure and obtuse knowledge about parasites and mind control while alternately disarming and disturbing. I hope they enjoyed themselves.More importantly, I had the unexpected pleasure of sharing the stage with Jack Evans, a storied and skilled poet from Phoenix. While I am not personally acquainted with Jack, I have always taken delight in seeing him perform. He has a whimsical puckishness that his demeanor belies, and is unafraid to experiment. I recall with some fondness a showing of Murnau’s “Faust” presented as a multidisciplinary display of dance, poetry, and music that featured Jack reading over the silent film while the RPM Orchestra played their particular brand of noir-noise-score. The experience of incidentally opening for Jack Evans reminded me that Phoenix is a unique sort of metroplex — one can share space with giants if one possesses only the commitment to simply show up.