Saturday, April 18, 2015

Emergency Index: The Wake of Fallon McPhael

Trixie Sparx begins the burlesque portion of the Wake of Fallon McPhael

One of the thousand reasons Ugly Duckling Presse numbers among the most exciting small publishing ventures in America is the annual appearance of Emergency Index, a compilation that documents performance pieces large and small across the country and around the world.  It's a democratic assemblage, with big names and big-budget spectacles sitting side by side with the unknown, the marginal, and the full-on freakish.  The nature of ephemeral nature of performance makes something like the Emergency Index incredibly valuable: just paging through the 700 pages of the thing broadens one's sense of the possibilities for what kinds of events could be put together—and awakens an appetite to put on a show of one's own.

The latest volume of Emergency Index, #3, edited by Sophia Cleary and Yelena Gluzman, includes an entry on a performance I helped produce, along with Larry Sawyer, Valerie Archambeau, and Lina Ramona Vitkauskas: The Wake of Fallon McPhael, a fake wake for a non-existent poet, including tributes to the late, fictitious man by his former associates as well as audience participation, presided over by the Revered Pat McDonald, and concluding with an invasion of the stage by male and female burlesque dancers, as per McPhael's final will and testament.  It was, I'm proud to say, a TimeOut Chicago pick of the week, in a city with a lot of staged events from which to choose.  Here's the Emergency Index entry:

You will note the image of two unsightly mourners, Larry Sawyer and myself.  Frankly, I'm surprised the editors didn't go with a shot of the burlesque dancers, Saucy Jack and Trixie Sparxx, for reasons that should be evident in these photos by Valerie:

Saucy Jack near the climax of his act.

Trixe mourns Fallon McPhael's passing.
Saucy Jack in manly tribute to the late poet.

The grand finale.

Here, from the photographic archives, are a few more shots of the assembled mourners:

Kathleen Rooney and Virginia Konchan console one another.

Mourners consumed with sorrow.

Mourners grieve.

Palpable sorrow.

Surprise appearance by the late Jim Morrison.

Barbara Barg recounts her exploits with the late McPhael.

The view from the lectern.

The same crew of miscreants is hoping to stage a similar event this summer.  Working title: "Hollywood Pitch: Apocalypse Now Meets Mean Girls."  More as things develop!