In late March on a Thursday at the Community Arts High School, as part of the Marginal Arts Fest in Roanoke VA, John and I held a workshop for a class about writing & performing experimental poetry. One of the exercises we did was to pass out a chart of persons posed as the alphabet and ask teams of two to perform two word phrases. All phrases included the word ‘FOOT’. The writers Thomas M. Cassidy (Mpls MN) and T.J. Anderson were also in attendance, so that class was Hopp’in! We had really enjoyed Tom’s class, which came before ours, in which he read some of his incredible semi-biographical narrative poems. Many thanks to MAF organizer Warren Frye, who, along with Olchar Lindsann, was herding students into a frenzy of creativity.
Later that day on the walls of my little space at The Boxley (Headquarters of ‘Philosophy Inc’ aka Matt Ames) with the help of Tom Cassidy, b.b. grims, and JMB – I mounted a small exhibit of a few remnants from other artists’ fluxus score performances at the previous month’s 2013 Chicago Fluxfest – plus lots of multiples that had been distributed as freebies by that congregation of artists. Tom Cassidy had a room next to mine in which he displayed crazy & imaginative character drawings and designs, some were collaborations with JMB (maybe others too, like Jim leftwich and Scott Helmes and Marilyn R. Rosenberg).
I used one of my father’s old doctor bags that he’d used for house calls to carry around my fluxus score props, such as a ‘foot lamp’ and tongue depressors stamped with the word ‘FOOT’. One by one as a curious Boxley Bldg. onlooker would step into my office, I would examine mouths with a FOOT lamp & FOOT tongue depressor and then award each a certificate with lifetime permission to stick foot in mouth. This inspired Sue Leftwich’s son, Aaron, to demonstrate how he could put his actual foot into his mouth, and inspired Ralph Eaton (MAF parade organizer & clown shoe float construction engineer extraordinaire) to demonstrate how he could put his entire fist in his mouth!
Later that evening at The Boxley, many of us took turns performing for a seated audience. After performing my “Red Lips” score by siting one of Christine Tarantino’s last mailart projects (“Sometimes I Need Red Lips”) and putting on red lipstick, I passed out postcards I’d created with the mailart I’d contributed to her project & a B+W headshot of myself with red lips. Christine passed away last year from cancer.
After choreographing the short poem “WLK” by John M. Bennett using a circle of nine people, and assigning them words from the poem to utter as I walked past them, I then threw each of my shoes in middle of the circle at two separate points, waiting for Tomislav Butkovic to say “the” before I could “drop the other shoe”.
FORK LINT is a phrase that either John or I came up with, we’re not sure as we sometimes just bandy about words for two-word phrases, but I do remember ‘LINT’ being my contribution. With lint from our dryer and little silver plastic appetizer forks, I made about forty pins which I gifted to people during the Marginal Arts Festival – strangers and friends alike. In one of the photos here (by Matt Ames), I’m peeking into the workroom at The Boxley where collage & stamping materials were set up by Jim Leftwich to make art, vispo, or collabs, and I’m offering a FORK LINK pin.
Ginny Lloyd had asked me to perform her FLUXUS DIRECTIONS score while I was at MAF, and so on Friday morning I found an “X” in the form of an intersection outside Olchar Lindsann’s house (after being served breakfast by Susan Jamison, who is, along with Tif Robinette, a “Circus Pony” performance artist; and after an intrigueing lecture by Olchar about early avant-gaarde movements in France that included passing around rare old books from his library). An artist and friend from Maine, Robert Saunders, was there with spouse, Kala Ladanheim, who kindly documented the performance via digital video. See it on YouTube via clicking on THIS LINK
On Friday evening at The Boxley Bldg (Philosophy Inc), ROTTY WHAT did a performance. Members of ROTTY WHAT are our son, Ben Bennett (percussion on home-made instruments), my husband, John M. Bennett (voice/sound art), and Jack Wright (improvisational saxophonist from Pennsylvania). After a rousing performance Ben & Jack left Saturday morning to continue with a tour of the South East with a different band member (Evan Lipson on bass) with which, after 9 more gigs as a band called WREST, they would finish up in Dayton OH two weeks later before a crowd of 20 appreciative listeners.
On Saturday afternoon I paraded around in my junk assemblage bonnet (shouting “Fork Lint”) along with some of the other members of the Be Blank Consort who spouted poetry along the way. In the outdoor carnival at Community Arts H.S. that followed, The BBC performed a set after a band played; the high school’s principal was a hip member of that band! BBC members that day were (from left to right in photo) Billy Bob Beamer, Olchar Lindsann, John M. Bennett, C. Mehrl Bennett, Tomislav Butkovic, and Warren Fry.
Great times & meals were shared with all our friends during MAF, though we were sad to say goodbye to Tom Cassidy, our son Ben, and Jack Wright, who had to take off Saturday morning before the parade. Plenty of time was spent with Robert Saunders and his wife, Kala, bela b. grimm, Warren Fry, and Tomislav Butkovic and we twice visited Jim and Sue Leftwich’s home: Once to spray paint (using letter stencils & paint from Jim’s vispo creation tool chest) my cheap jumpsuit that I’d wear Saturday morning in the MAF parade with my junk assemblage bonnet and decorated red apron from Gautemala; and once again on our final evening in Roanoke when we gathered with these friends to improvise sounds to go with John’s (JMB) poetry. Billy Bob Beamer improvised beautifully on his saxophone and Tomislav Butkovic had a colorful home-made percussive-synthesizer hooked up to Billy Bob’s little amp; Most of us enjoyed taking turns making noise on it. Afterwards we made a posthumous tribute to The Blaster/Al Ackerman by reading a few of his stories from OMNIBUS and MISTO PEAS, and I summarized a tribute to Al I’d found from E.J Barnes on her blog (Posted March 26 – click HERE to read).
Now I need to return to my task of scanning art, poetry, stories, and hacks by Ackerman that appeared in Lost & Found Times during it’s 30 year run in preparation for an anthology. Luna Bisonte Prods hopes to have it ready for June’s congregation in Baltimore of The Blaster’s friends, colleagues, and followers. Stay tuned . . .