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Body Blows

Six Performances

Tim Miller

Publication Year: 2002

    Hailed for his humor and passion, the internationally acclaimed performance artist Tim Miller has delighted, shocked, and emboldened audiences all over the world. Body Blows gathers six of Miller’s best-known performances that chart the sexual, spiritual, and political topography of his identity as a gay man: Some Golden States, Stretch Marks, My Queer Body, Naked Breath, Fruit Cocktail, and Glory Box. In Body Blows, Tim Miller leaps from the stage to the page, as each performance script is illustrated with striking photographs and accompanied by Miller’s notes and comment.
    This book explores the tangible body blows—taken and given—of Miller’s life and times as explored in his performances: the queer-basher’s blow, the sweet blowing breath of a lover, the below-the-belt blow of HIV/AIDS, the psychic blows from a society that disrespects the humanity of lesbian and gay relationships. Miller’s performances are full of the put-up-your-dukes and stand-your-ground of such day-to-day blows that make up being gay in America

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xii

As a tribute to Tim, I’m typing this naked. No, really, I am. I have never typed naked before. It would no more occur to me to type naked, in the ordinary course of things, than to eat dinner naked, which I have also never done and probably never will. My mother would not have approved, to put it mildly. I grew up in Louisiana...

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pp. xiii-xiv

Though this book now hangs out on a shelf or bedstand, it really was birthed on the stages of theaters, universities, and performance spaces all over the world. I feel lucky to have had these works nurtured by so many heroic arts organizers who gather their communities and make events happen on a dream,...

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pp. xv-xxix

This book explores the tangible body blows—ones taken and ones given—of my life and times as explored through my performances. The lights come up bright on stage and we find ourselves right in the middle of some kind of queer boxing ring. The blows come fast and furious. The gay-bashers’ blows. ...

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Some Golden States

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pp. 3-33

Where do I begin? Las Vegas lounge singers and performance artists always ask ourselves this question when we decide how to get started— whether it’s crooning at the piano for the late set in the Rainbow Room or choosing what the new performance...

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Stretch Marks

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pp. 35-77

While part of me can still admire the blithe chutzpah it takes to title a performance “Stretch Marks” at the callow age of thirty, from my current perspective it seems a little over-determined, a tiny bit drama-queeny around the edges! But the truth is that by the time I turned thirty, I did feel profoundly...

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My Queer Body

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pp. 79-121

Okay, I can’t resist it one second longer—My Queer Body is my most seminal piece. And not just because the show starts with me as a queer sperm getting ready to be ejaculated out of my dad’s dick—though that’s clearly a tip-off. In My Queer Body I wanted to weave a funny, scary, and emotional gay boy’s alternative creation myth, an odyssey of swimming upstream...

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Naked Breath

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pp. 123-167

I wrote Naked Breath because I wanted to do a performance that was full of the raw, intimate stickiness of blood and cum. I began working on the piece shortly after getting beaten up by the Houston police during my visit there with ACT UP during the Republican National Convention in 1992. We dragged...

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Fruit Cocktail

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pp. 169-201

I cooked up Fruit Cocktail in 1995 because I had just fallen in love and was ready for a break. Finally giving myself a much-needed furlough from the AIDS and culture wars—vacations come hard for WASPs—I wanted to focus on a sweet and fun story I had never told. What I was going to do on my art...

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Glory Box

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pp. 203-241

I am currently moving my butt all over the United States (from Salt Lake City to Durham, North Carolina!) doing my solo performance Glory Box. The show deals with the situation Alistair, my Australian partner of seven years, and I are facing in a country that gives lesbian and gay couples none of...

E-ISBN-13: 9780299176839
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299176846

Publication Year: 2002