performance art; (1989) 10′
published by Sweet Child Music
Homage is my personal response to those who would deny me my right as a gay person to fully participate in American society, including the right to express my views through my creative work. It was written during one of the periodic (and idiotic) debates over public funding of the arts (through the National Endowment for the Arts).
The piece incorporates and reinterprets some of the rhetorical weapons of oppression often lobbied against gay and lesbian people. It unfolds slowly and ritualistically: the performers enter the stage one by one, singing different iconic religious hymns, civil rights protest songs, etc. They eventually spell out and immolate the name of a notorious anti-gay (and anti-arts) personage.
My intent in incorporating these songs and images is for the piece to be thought-provoking about the manipulative use of these icons, but not to be offensive. However, because an artist can never fully control the interpretation and response of his/her audience (and because some aspects of this piece are left open to improvisatory interpretation by the performers), the piece can elicit a wide range of reactions among its audience.