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the best images of complacency and control , of the programmed man in the play is of Tom Yemm, his face blank, his eyes rolling from side to side to the beat of funky music. Although the piece doesn't resolve the questions it raises, both the questions themselves and the manner in which they were staged were provocative. Lenora Champagne Badomi De Cesare, Kiss Me, Kill Me. Economy Tires Workshop, A.T.L. (April. May). David Antin. Victims & Victimization: A Question of Fit, Franklin Furnace (April). KissMe, Kill Me is the story of Lucky Legs (aka Victoria Lake, who changed her name "so as not to be confused, if there was ever any doubt, with Veronica") a down (and perhaps on her way out) B-Movie actress and singer. The piece was conceived and performed by Badomi De Cesari, written by John Howell, and directed by Seth Allan. Lucky has left her seedy past (i.e., one murdered boyfriend/club owner) in New York for a shot at success in Hollywood. The Los Angeles police are very interested in her whereabouts, she is interested in a screen test for The Lady in Black; the transitions between the police questioning and the screen test, between screenplay and reality, and between fact and fear are provocatively negligible. The piece opens with a studio thunderstorm , and De Cesare, clad in a raincoat and fish-net stockings, enters with a swank that would put Bette Davis to shame. A crime has been committed; there is the sound of two gunshots, a siren, and some deliciously sleazy detective music (the 44 Perry Mason theme). Lucky is questioned by two (unseen) policemen, one sweet, one tough. She answers their questions (unheard ) with jokes and banter, alternating between coy and defensive, becoming demure, getting hard: "He didn't say anything to me. He was already dead." A shadowy figure makes his first appearance in the darkened wings, hovers, then disappears . Is he the murdered Johnny? Lucky Legs sings (in her raincoat, in her corset, during rehearsal for a screen test); she sings vamp songs and torch songs, some Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald, some blues tunes, a rock and roll number, and she is very good. The cynicism is hot and passionate, the self-analysis brutally truthful. De Cesari sings "Samson and Delilah", and "Kiss Me, Kill Me (Slay Me with Love)," but only the Shadow knows for sure. Rumor has it that Kiss Me, Kill Me will be performed again sometime next spring, and it's worth catching if it does. It is one of those rare pieces where artfulness and entertainment mesh nearly perfectly. In an era when nostalgia for the pop cultures of the past is in itself an aspect of contemporary pop culture, Kiss Me, Kill Me has a special timeliness. David Antin's talk poem, Victims & Victimization .A Questionof Fit,as performed at the Franklin Furnace, could have been the slightly crazed lecture of a manic psycho professor. Or one voice from one of those late-night, caffeine-induced dialogues that get recorded in journals the next morning. Or the mimicking routine of a stand-up comic. Or the gleefully opinionated testimony of a witness under crossexamination . Whatever it was, the audience sat up and listened, like good students, because Antin talked about talk. Victimizers know a victim when they see one, he said, but sometimes they make mistakes. For instance one time a mugger had the misfortune of reading "mug me" in David Antin's walk, when in fact the -r Kiss Me, Kill Me (De Cesare, John Erdman) hesitant step and slumped shoulders meant, "I just came from a Gertrude Stein reading." David Antin informed the would-be mugger in no uncertain terms that he, David Antin, was by no means a victim. The mugger, realizing his.error, turned and ran. Moral: one will not be victimized if one does not send out "victim" signals. Antin went on to talk about "mad discourse," the signals sent out by the senile, the psychotic, the neurotic. It is the exception in performance art when the performer can intimately deal with personal experience without making the audience feel as if they have...


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pp. 44-45
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