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Checking in with NYC and LA Rabble-Rouser Tim Miller
Dec 01, 2010
Name: Tim Miller
Career: Queer Rabble-Rouser
Home: Los Angeles
Relationship Status: married to Alistair McCartney
Spotted on a typical New York Saturday night: Performing at PS 122 then drinking red wine and eating humus at Cafe Mogodor in EV
Tim! We’re so excited about Lay of the Land!
Here is a video trailer for the show. It includes a prostate exam!
Sexy. What’s the show about?
The show is my response to Prop 8 passing. Lay of the Land is a “lay” in all kinds of ways: a sex-assignation, a queer citizenship map, and of course a narrative ballad with a recurrent refrain. (My favorite way-down-the-list definition for “lay”.) I travel constantly performing my shows and this performance careens from my sexy misadventures performing in 45 states, to marriage equality street protests, to the electoral assaults on gay folks all over the country, to my life as a grade-school flag monitor (or as I was called at my school “Fag Monitor”), to choking on cheap meat caught in my throat when I was a 10 year old gay boy. Lay of the Land friskily gets at that feeling of gay folks being perpetually on trial, on the ballot, and on the menu.
Where is it running and how can we get tickets?
My old stomping grounds PS 122 (Performance Space 122).
You’re one of the founders of PS122. We hear you guys are having a big 30th Anniversary Party in the spring.
Seems like just a few minutes ago I was a teenager arriving in NYC to seek my fortune and shortly after I co-founded PS 122. The building is gonna have a huge makeover–as should happen to all of us at 30.
And I hear you’re doing a mentorship program with three lucky performance artists
I will be working for six months with three emerging LGBT performers and we will all perform at PS 122 in June. The three performers have been chosen and they are super great.
Hey, how is Lay of the Land different from your past few shows?
Its funnier, dirtier and more pissed off. Plus I give the Statue of Liberty the Heimlich Maneuver. It ‘s the piece I made in response to Prop 8 passing in California. I think it is my funniest show, for sure, but also my kinkiest, strongest and most topical. It is going to be really charged doing this new show about Prop 8 in NYC as the Federal 9th Circuit Court takes up Prop 8 in televised hearings on Dec 6 during the middle of my run.
Pre show ritual?
Coffee. Banana. Panic attack. Adrenalin. Rock-n-roll.
Where might we run into you after the show?
I am always starving after the show. I always encourage the audience to buy me a glass of red wine at Cafe Mogodor on St. Marks and then I eat up all the humus in sight.
Any dinner recommendations
Cafe Orlin and Vesleka.
I need to loosen my Borscht Belt just thinking about their pierogies. I just reread Shirts and Skin and am struck by your stories of the East Village back in the day. It seems like a different city.
Yeah, I wrote about the neighborhood, from wandering around with my fellow nineteen-year-old pal Keith Haring spray painting DISCO SUCKS-CLONES GO HOME signed FAFH (Fags Against Facial Hair) to witnessing so many friends die in my twenties (including Keith).
What are the differences between the East Village then and now?
Now, more expesive, more NYU, but still one of my favorite neighborhoods on Planet Earth.
What’s the best thing about the East Village?
PS 122. And Vesleka.
For sure. Tell us about the NEA 4.
In 1990, I, a wandering queer performance artist, had been awarded a NEA Solo Performer Fellowship, which was promptly overturned under political pressure from the Bush White House because of the lush, wall-to-wall homo themes of my creative work. We so-called “NEA 4” (me, Karen Finley, John Fleck and Holly Hughes), then successfully sued the federal government with the help of the ACLU (if you’re not a card-carrying member, become one!) for violation of our First Amendment rights and won a settlement where the government paid us the amount of the defunded grants and all court costs. The last little driblet of this case was the “decency” clause went to the US Supreme Court and that part we lost.
You’ve shifted gears to focus on marriage equality recently. Are there organizations we should know about?
Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. If you live in one of the 45 H8 States like New York where people can’t get married, go with same sex partners and try to get a marriage license- you will be refued- then chain your self to the doors. Oh, and straight folks, it is immoral to get married anywhere but one of the 5 states with equality and DC. That is how we will change the lay of the land.
Photo Credits: John Aigner and Leo Garcia