During the 2003 gubernatorial contest, out-of-state media turned Nao Bustamante sister of Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante into a derisive footnote. Taken out of context, how were people in Orlando, Florida, supposed to interpret a performance artist in San Francisco who straps on a burrito-dildo for men to eat on their knees? Orlando is home to Disney World and characters like Mickey Mouse. San Francisco is home to the Lab and characters like Nao Bustamante. For a quarter-century, the Mission arts organization has pushed the edges of nearly every artistic medium, championing courageous experimentation regardless of reputation. PastForward: The 25th Anniversary Performance Series brings together some of its most beloved perpetrators for three weeks of events. Tonights show features Miya Masaoka, founder of the San Francisco Gagaku Society. Masaoka first began combining traditional koto with MIDI controllers in the 1980s. Her work has led her into even more unexpected terrain: At the Lab, she has performed live with Madagascar hissing cockroaches and more than 3,000 honeybees. She has also strapped naked men with EKG and EEG sensors and integrated the sounds of their insides into aural landscapes, and turned philodendrons into musicians. Tomorrow, Bustamante turns her own body into a backdrop for 1940s Dominican starlet Maria Montez, known for her exotic looks and bejeweled costumes. In her piece Silver and Gold, Bustamante offers an exotic jewel of her own.
July 9-18, 8 p.m., 2009