25 July 2005

Shout Out: Margaret Tedesco

I went down to Yerba Buena, today, to revisit Bay Area Now before writing my review. I got there just in time to catch a performance by Margaret Tedesco. In a slight disguise, she sits and narrates films whose sound has been turned down and are projected into a corner. (She narrates for the whole 2 hours!) The only seating option is on immovable benches set up so that it's easier to watch her than the film she faces. Today she narrated The Conversation, and she did a great job. The film is one of my all-time faves but I hadn't seen it in about five years and I've had lots of deep, personal revelations about surveillance and word/sound/image relationships since then--especially as I lived in surveillance-heavy London for a year in-between. (Ironically, I had fallen asleep watching Enemy of the State, a pseudo-coda to The Conversation, also starring Gene Hackman, last night--I know, I live an exciting life!) Anyway, there were many great "conversations" between Margaret's performance and the film, mostly along the lines of putting spectatorship on display, questioning one's memory of a photographic document or sound recording (ie Margaret's of the film, or mine), and general questions about truth, horror, and sound. The other interesting connection was that the eponymous conversation was recorded less than a mile from the gallery. Anyway, I could go on and on about what a great performance it was. It really made me think about a number of interesting things. It even inspired me to fine-tune some of the details I've been mulling over, re: my upcoming 21 Grand performance. Incidentally, for those who don't know, Margaret is a sort of performance art institution in the Bay Area. She's not only a long-time performing artist but also an active curator who's helped to shape and cultivate the local arts community. Whenever I'm at an art event with her, I feel like I'm with a royal figure, as everyone's waving at her and she's always waving right back. There are no pix of her YBCA performance, so the one above is from a show I curated at White Columns, last summer, where she did an opening-night performance that entailed standing in front of a strong fan (lucky girl--hot opening!) and constantly trying to draw a line in her hair, with a comb... It was a hit!


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