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Life is Art 

Wednesday, Mar 29 2000
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It's oddly appropriate that right across the street from the infamous alley where local ladies of the night ply their trade, the "Scarlot Harlot" (Carol Leigh) helps kick off the first of three weekends of "Live Art LAB." In the tradition of "life as art" performance artists like Linda Montano, Karen Finley, and Annie Sprinkle, the Harlot styles herself "an autobiographical journalist... using myself and my life as an example, employing the image of whore in order to reclaim female sexual symbolism."

And what an example it is: As a prostitute, filmmaker, writer, and activist, the Harlot's performances are irreverent and often downright hilarious. In 1987 she organized the "Whores of Babylon" to protest a papal fund-raiser, singing a take-off on Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach": "Pope don't preach -- I'm terminating my pregnancy..." In 1990, she countered New York's solicitation laws by offering her services on Wall Street -- during lunch hour. In addition, she's produced highly acclaimed films, including Sex Workers Take Back the Night (1991) and Yes Means Yes, No Means No (1992), and directed Annie Sprinkle's new video The Herstory of Porn. There's no telling what she'll do Saturday night at the Lab, but it's sure to be satirical and razor sharp.

But if that doesn't get your juices flowing, the series offers plenty more. Also this weekend, the Noodles anchor Friday night with their "instructional" piece "Tell Me What To Do," using midi-sampler effects and found sound in the vein of local artists like Negativland and Tim Perkis. Next weekend's highlights include Janis Joplinesque improv vocalist Kattt Sammon with creative musician Ron Heglin, doing Dada-like improvisations for voice (Friday, April 7); and Toychestra, an all-woman, all-toy-instrument ensemble (Saturday, April 8). And the weekend after that, Lexa Walsh and George Cremaschi help bring the series to a close, using music, movement, and text both projected and spoken in their situational improv performance (Friday, April 14).

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David Cook

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