On Sunday, March 22, 1998 Kathleen “Snatchleen” O’Shea and I collaborated on the performance-installation Spin the Bottle (in our alter egos as Twinkie and Star – the Giovanni sisters). Spin the Bottle was just one of the installations in Day of Beauty + Ritual, a performance art circus celebrating spring as a time of rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation, which we curated with Kokoe Johnson at Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago. Day of Beauty featured a collection of performances, installations, and unique beauty treatments by Radical Faeries climaxing with a Spring Equinox Ritual created by Sache.
The lineup of planned performances, installations and beauty treatments included:
- Jo Jo’s Sleeping Beauty, a shrine for Greer Lankton
- House of Nails with Kokoe and Penny, the bovine princess
- DJ Tyler Carpenter
- Geoffey Mac’s Birthday Party with fashions
- Dr. Motae, resident therapist
- Doctress Nette E. Brenner, PhD, resident therapist and aftercare specialist
- Bretski “Bug” Mc Williams with a sound piece for insects and humans
- The Lollypop Twins
- Nettles and her Sensory Map Community Project
- Murray McKay and assorted go go boyz
- Belly readings provided by Kim Olesen and Trevor Martin in Navel Academy
- Subtle Change Sessons by Picolina (oak-tree-she-devil-tow-truck-vitch) with Mistress Kelly
- Shrine for Serena organized by Gwynedd and paintings
- Saftey First with Firemarshal Kale
- Uncle Spankey and his daughters
- Juba and hir drawings
- paintings by Rubinnelson “Mr. Shrimp”
- hand puppets by Perrabachus
- Temptress Patti
- Floral arrangements and decorations by I Li
- Julep, decorations committee member
- Bathhouse by The Bathing Snatches (Busty Chesty, Jucey Pany, Freddie Junkie,
- Creamy Foxy, Kinky Winky, and Chaisy Cherry)
- and The Ritual by Sache
Proceeds went to support the Coalition for Positive Sexuality – a pro-sex, pro-queer, pro-choice, pro-girl sex education organization – and to Horizons’ gay and lesbian youth programs.
Special thanks to: The place once known as Randolph Street Gallery, Hotel Kafka; Paul Brenner; Alan James; Gwynedd; The Crest of Fine Flowers; Ted Frankel at Uncle Fun; Great Harvest Baker; Meredith (Di Di) Castro at Della Robbia; Rocky, Nash, and Wendy from Starbucks; Whole Foods Market; Print It; Laura and Diane from Kinko’s, Kate Phillippo; Honey West; Hillary Farrell; Milios Hair, Skin, and Tattoo Salon; Jamie Kiburtz, The Mr. Motae Fund; The Ronald A. and Dolores T. De Lellis Endowment for the Arts; and to the entire family that is the Chicago Radical Faerie Circle for making the gathering not only possible, but beautiful.
It is difficult to sum up the Radical Faeries in a sentence or two. One of the most important things to remember is that no two faeries will agree on a single definition for the group. In keeping with this fin tradition, faeries on the Internet have an FQA (Frequently Questioned Answers) list instead of an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). In spite of this, the faerie movement has flourished in the United States since the 1970’s and “chapters” have recently sprung up in Europe. The faeries are a circle of loving friends seeking an alternative to urban gay culture. The faeries are concerned with issues of spirituality, sexuality, gender, nature, and the celebration of individual expression. To be a Radical Faerie is an act of self-definition.
Randolph Street Gallery (RSG), founded in 1979, is Chicago’s largest and most distinguished artist-run center. Internationally recognized for its inventive and prolific programming, RSG is known as an innovative forum presenting alternative multi-disciplinary work that engages the public in art addressing contemporary issues.
From the Chicago Reader, March 13, 1998 Section Two, Critic’s Choice section by Albert Williams:
Randolph Street Gallery may have ceased operation as a presenter of visual and performance art, but the River West space is due for one last event – a week of indoor camping (in several senses of the word) by the Radical Faeries, a loose-knit international movement “concerned with issues of spirituality, sexuality, gender, nature, and the celebration of individual expression” (to quote a press release). The faeries are dedicated to finding alternatives to mainstream gay and lesbian culture, an effort often characterized by a whimsically irreverent, rural-flavored sensibility and an interest in pantheistic neopaganism. Next week, a flock of faeries will nest in the RSG space, seeking to create an “urban utopia” – and the public is invited to their almost daily performances, screenings, and rituals. Hosted by the Chicago Radical Faerie Circle, the Faerie Frolic Arts Festival features as special guests the Eggplant Faerie Players from Tennessee, performing their decidedly unorthodox Jewish biblical pageant, Next Year in Sodom. The week also includes a video screening, a program of short theater pieces, a cabaret evening, and a climactic spring equinox ritual; participating local artists include Lawrence Steger, Fausto Fernos, Gregg Shapiro, Brian Gary Kirst, Rico Hewson, Peter Mohawk, and many others. At the space formerly known as Randolph Street Gallery, 756 N. Milwaukee, 773-327-4302. March 16 through 22: see the listing under Performance for full schedule and prices…
…Faerie Frolic Arts Festival
Monday, 8PM: The Chicago Radical Faerie Circle presents an evening of videos, including Faerie Film, by Matt Bucy and Jim Jackson; It Never Was You, by P. Simmer and L. Steiger; and Faustian’s Favorites by Fausto Fernos. $5.
Tuesday: closed for Saint Patrick’s Day
Wednesday; 8PM: Voices from the Sky and Other Works, an evening of short theater pieces. The program includes Voices from the Sky, director Fausto Ferños’s “musicological view of the history of radio astronomy and its search for extraterrestrial signals” based on the works of Carl Sagan, Edward A. Abbott, and Frank Drake; Sing Song, a collection of “pagan inspirational” by Andrew Leopard; Marilyn, My Mother, Myself, a comedy about a young man coming to terms with his sexuality; written by Gregg Shapiro and directed by Brian Gary Kirst; and solo works by performance artist Rico Hewson and choreographer and glass contortionist George Fuller. $5.
Thursday, 8PM; Feast of Fools Cabaret, hosted by Faustina and featuring Damien “Mint Julep” Fosse, Kale, Penny, Kevin Newhall, Sache, Murray McKay, Peter Mohawk, George Fuller, Shellac Grace Murthy, William Wheeler, Ross Ravel, Web, Noam, and Joesph Ravens $5
Friday – Sunday: a Gathering in the Gallery is open to the public from noon to 10PM Friday and Saturday and from noon to 6PM Sunday. Free
Friday 8PM: Next Year in Sodom, the Eggplant Faerie Players’ comic exploration of Jewish theology and universal issues of liberation. $10
Saturday 1 to 3 PM: A Sensory Map, workshop for gay and lesbian youth and seniors. Free.
Saturday, 8PM: Next Year in Sodom, a repeat of Friday’s performance by the Eggplant Faerie Players.
Sunday 2 to 5PM: A Day of Beauty and Ritual, a performance art circus celebrating spring as a time of rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation through a collection of performances, installations, and “unique beauty treatments” $5
Sunday 5 to 6PM: a Spring Equinox Ritual brings the festival to a close. Free.