So Funny It Hurts, last night

Last night at LACE was a rich and full experience for me. Paul Outlaw’s performance “What did I do to be so black and…” first, was a beautiful thing and second, pushed a lot of my own buttons. The “So Funny It Hurts” panel discussion, which followed and which I moderated, was exciting and fruitful. More as we go along.

I always find myself nervous and frightened after the fact of such a public event. During the night and then again this morning, as I reflected on particular moments in the 90 minute event, I found my face clenching without my conscious direction. “Oh god, did I really say that? Damn – she looked at me like I was nuts” and “crap – even when I’m being stable and in charge, (or ‘performing’) people can still see me. My body and the phrases I use completely expose what I’m feeling, even though I’m trying hard to think and look smart.”

Um, yes indeed everyone is a performer – or at least I am.

I was reminded how important it is for me to quiet controversy and to avoid conflict. (I am sort of a natural ‘moderator,’ perhaps.) At a point when the questions became juicy I began to flush and stammer. I know once again that my focus is often on the conflict as a fact, and not on the facts under discussion. This moment became a turning point in our discussion, and my instinct was to attempt to move away from the confrontation. I am lucky that others in the group were eager to take it on!

For a charged time we all called back and forth, questioning the difficulty of writing about performance. One gentleman gave a lengthy and erudite sort of run down of the challenges of both performance art and of writing. From that nice moment of clarity we were posed another puzzler: can writing be generative and point to a future, in addition to or instead of being a record and critique of the past?

Complete Native Strategies and So Funny It Hurts posting:

So Funny It Hurts, March 9, 2011

So Funny It Hurts, Part 2, March, 17, 2011

Native Strategies – Brian Getnick helps us look at Performance Art in LA, posted on March 20, 2011

NoL: April 7 thru tbd, (scroll down to “Someone’s finally tellin’ mah story…” for Asher Hartman review), April 7, 2011

So Funny It Hurts, last night, April 15, 2011

Paul Outlaw, So Funny It Hurts performance April 16, 2011

Nathan Bockelman: UCR Thesis show and So Funny It Hurts performance posted on April 19 and 23, 2011

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