Tim Miller, who lost an NEA grant because of his work's gay themes, has manipulated that setback to great personal and political advantage. His latest piece examines the threat that his Australian lover, Alistair, might be deported, thus denied the rights heterosexual lovers can get through marriage. (Going to a straight wedding is akin to "patronizing a restaurant that doesn't serve blacks," according to Miller.) His arguments are trenchant, but they aren't art. Miller speaks with a quavery, perfervid delivery, spitting out his overwrought, ornate metaphors. As he and Alistair make love, their wet bodies "make little sounds like a snail slithering on glass." In other words, no sound at all? He muses that the "cock as weapon" theory doesn't jibe with "the reality of the Chekhovian soft penis." Huh? Miller's also untrustworthy. His central story -- he and Alistair fly to the U.S. and Alistair is forced to return home by Customs -- seems to take place both in the "future" and in 1997, so it's unclear if this horrific story actually happened, or if he's fearing it will. He states he can't do his work anywhere but the U.S. Why? The rest of the world's a no-bad-performance-art zone? And he cloaks himself in narcissistic victimhood. Telling of having a bottle thrown at him during a gay pride march in Bozeman, Mont., he mentions nothing of the strength and courage it must take for people to proclaim gay pride in such a place. There's no community in Miller's work, only he and his lover (and not very much of him) and a "fucked-up, hateful, ever-beloved" country that wants to rip them apart. Sucks to be Tim.
--By Joe Mader
The four women who wrote and perform in Femillennia, Sketch Marks' production of 13 skits of feminism rejected, maneuver between characters with chameleonlike dexterity and grandiosity. Cavalierly lauding the banality of female attempts at seduction, the skits parade a cast of grossly exaggerated women characters, all of whom fall prey to their longings for adoration. Janet Reno, played wonderfully by a stiff-lipped and hip-thrusting Carla Wilbur-Smith, lasciviously strips to her withered, bunched-up undies, attempting to reach a wider audience. Alycia Rodman, shaving her palms as she talks, reveals, in a tough, world-wise New York accent, the shamefulness and sheer hard work of being hairy. (Even the hirsute-friendly '60s were hard on her: She tripped on her armpit hair while running to the Ringling Bros.' bearded lady audition.) Gina Ottoboni-Stahl and Jane Aquilina, as the libidinous yet jaded Cuban sex advisers Carmelita and Consuela, knock any pretensions of naiveté out of the audience, responding to endearing, heartfelt questions with cynical wit. The sometimes obscene, often hilarious show ends with impassioned shouts from right-wing cheerleaders who endorse the National Rifle Association, homophobia, and, through the use of the word "bush" to its fullest, a certain son of Texas who is running for president.
--By Fiona Gow