Somewhere among the heap of silly rock 'n' roll clichés sits "the rider": that list of odd accoutrements touring artists require of their venues. Things like dry ice, sparkling water, pretzels, groupies, etc...
Next Friday, March 25, at the A\V Space, the rider is being taken to a whole new level.
"I have new requirements for some of the performances," writes Mexico's Sarah Glaxia to one of the gallery partners. "Need white cardboard of the size of the stage wall behind, three mop and three metal bucket, three gallon of each paint colors red yellow and blue."
Glaxia, who describes her performances simply ("uses playback and a microphone"), joins a clutch of noise musicians and performance artists from around the world who will be winding through Rochester next week on their way back from Brooklyn's No Fun Festival.
Take Australia's Lucas Abela, who, with a fistful of funding from his government, a pane of glass, and a mouthful of KY Jelly, transforms himself into the distressingly squeaky Justice Yeldham.
"it would also be useful if you all could find me some glass to play as i have a very busy schedule and may have trouble finding time to search for glass before shows," Abela writes the A\V. "any window glass is fine head size or larger. i'll be traveling with a glass cutter so if huge is ok. i'll trim to what i like."
Abela attaches a couple of contact microphones to his glass and runs them through a series of effects pedals hanging from his belt. So the sound of his well-lubed face smearing the glass can be distorted and contorted in limitless directions.
Then there are the contemporary Aktionists: folks like Switzerland's Rudolf Eb.er and Dave Phillips who take their cue from the Viennese abject art movement and push it further and further, incorporating things like dead fish, vomit, and tubing into their animalistic but meticulously choreographed and executed (not to mention Swiss government-funded) "aktions."
Whatever your sensibilities, there's no denying that these artists put on shows you can, quite literally, feel. No detached irony or written-in performances here. These people are invested in what they do. And what they do is like your worst childhood nightmare come to life.
Whether the A\V Space will survive to tell the tale is anyone's guess. In one particularly funny exchange between gallery partner Joe Tunis and Lucas Abela, Tunis writes: "just wondering what your experience is with getting blood out of hard-wood floors? : ) seriously though, i'm wondering if i should put some sort of drop cloth down. my gallery partners might get weirded out. let me know what you think. cool man."
Luckily, A\V will embark on something of a trial run three nights prior, on Tuesday, March 22, with performances by other No Fun vets like the kissy-faced and relatively subdued Dead Machines (Tovah O'Rourke with husband and Wolf Eyes member John Olson) and Rochester improv provocateurs Pengo, who join the amplified needles and kitchen utensils of Wisconsin's Right Arm Severed, The Haunting, and Sick Llama.
The A\V Space hosts "Post No Fun Week" with Dead Machines, Right Arm Severed, The Haunting, Sick Llama, and Pengo on Tuesday, March 22, at 9 p.m. and Rudolf Eb.er's Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, Justice Yeldham & the Dynamic Ribbon Device, Dave Phillips, Sara Glaxia, and the Mariano/Tunis duo on Friday, March 25, at 10 p.m. A\V Space is located at 8 Public Market (second floor). $5 each night. 423-0320, www.avspace.org.