I was inspired by a friend of mine over on Facebook that made a note listing her top 13 favorite live performance that she will always remember. I replied to her and had such a good time meditating on my list that I thought we could do it here also.


List the top 13 live performance that have influenced you. Mine are all contemporary performance makers but you can list bands, public speakers, plays, dances, religious services... anything live.


I'm looking forward to discovering your top 13!


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Such a delight to read all these, seeing more of my favorite artists on the lists of others (and feeling as if I should have included more!), remembering more and more work that has moved me... I need to revisit these works and artists in my mind when I am sad in the face of seeing lots of work that is not so interesting to me. Important to remember how many performances HAVE mattered to me in wildly different ways over the decades, from Peter Brook's The Ik and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon concert back in the seventies, to the magical Micro Teatr puppet performance performed in the palm of my hand in Budapest in the nineties, to the charming Le Petit Salon de Temple et Jenette I saw in a 100 year old garage here in Baltimore last year. 

Thank you for starting this inspiring list, Caden!

Eszter Salamon: Tales of the Bodiless (Kaai Theater 2011)
Ivo Dimchev: Som Faves (ImPulsTanz 2010)
Keith Hennessy: Crotch (Dance Theater Workshop 2009)
Larissa Velez: Making Ends Meet (Dixon Place 2007)
Jack Ferver: When We Were Young and Filled With Fear (Dixon Place 2007)
MGM Grand: Gree (A bar in Chapel Hill North Carolina 2007)
Claude Wampler: Career Ender (The Kitchen 2006)
Asubtout: The Lady Centaur Show (Dixon Place 2006)
John Jasperse: Prone (The Kitchen 2005)
RoseAnne Spradlin: Nova (Studio 65 2005)
Tere O'Connor: Frozen Mommy (Dance Theater Workshop 2004)
Big Dance Theater: Plan B (Dance Theater Workshop 2004)
Miguel Gutierrez: Retrospective Exhibitionist (American Dance Festival 2004)

These are 13 performances that have inspired me, the first 13 that popped into my head, listed in no particular order:


Frozen Mommy (2004), Tere O'Connor 

Fase (1982), Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker

Poor Theater (2004), Wooster Group

Prone (2005), John Jasperse

All Together Now (2008), Meg Stuart

parades and changes/replays (1965/2008), Anna Halprin/Anne Collod 

Retrospective Exhibitionist and Difficult Bodies (2005), Miguel Gutierrez

career ender (2006), Claude Wampler

in their name (2011), Philipp Gehmacher

Point Blank (2007), Edit Kaldor

It's in the air (2008), Mette Ingvartsen and Jefta van Dinther

Life and Times, Episode 1 (2009), Nature Theater of Oklahoma

While we were holding it together (2006), Ivana Müller


...now that I've seen Michael's post, I also have to add NOVA (2005), by RoseAnne Spradlin

no part order:


1.  Meg Stuart at YBCA:  On the Table

2.  Robert Wilson's at ACT:  Black Rider

3.  Death of Meyerhold by Mark Jackson

4.  S.O.S by Big Art at YBCA !!

5.  Hamlet on Alcatraz island SF Bay by We Players

6.  My left hand dancing free under the neo-n green exit sign to jazz and woody allen at the    embacadero cinema

7.  clown provoceteur with red nose on 4th of July on Subway train holding sign saying:  "Fireworks not bombs!" and eating a bananna cell phone

8.   The Bomb by Wow International/  Many shows at BAM

9.   POMO Ballet from NYC at Umbria Festival Italy, full moon night

10.   'The Method Gun' by Rude Mechs in Austin by the river

11.   Cleaning sand off Hannahs back at a public beach on extreme west coast with many water based buddhas nearbye 'in assembly' smiling

12.   the imagined room at 'Life and Death of Marina Abromovic' at Manchester Intnl

13.  SQAURT at Headlands center

More difficult to choose than expected.

1. "Back to the Present" Constanza Macras/Dorky Park, DTW, NY, 2006

2. "Masurca Fogo" Pina Bausch, BAM, 2001

3. "Nothing is Forever" Meg Stuart, DTW, NY, 2008

4. "No Dice" Nature Theater of Oklahoma, NY, 2007

5. "Feed Forward" David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group, DTW, NY, 2008

6. "Highway", Elevator Repair Service, HERE, NY, 2007.

7. "Taming of the Shrew" Propeller, BAM, 2009

8. "HOUSE/LIGHTS" The Wooster Group, NY, 1999

9. "The Success of Failure (or, The Failure of Success)" Cynthia Hopkins, St. Anne's Warehouse, Brooklyn, 2009

10. "Topdog/Underdog" Suzan Lori Parks, NY, 2001

11. "Devotion" Sarah Michelson, ODC, SF, 2011

12. "Drummer Wanted" Richard Maxwell, PS122, NY, 2001

13. ChameckiLerner in Central Park, 2001 OR "Exit" The Kitchen, NY, 2007 

BONUS: "C.L.U.E." robbinschilds, SFMOMA, 2011,  "Crotch (all the Joseph Beuys references in the world...)" Keith Hennessy, DTW, 2009, " Umwelt" Compagnie Maguy Marin, The Joyce, NY, 2008

My list would be:

1) The Living Theater, Antigone,

2) B.Brecht/H. Müller, Arturo Ui,

3)Theaterzentrum Acco, Arbeit macht frei...

4),T. Kantor, Die tote Klasse,

5) J. Grotowski, The Constant Prince,

6) O. Wilde/E. Schleef, Salome,

7) P. Bausch, Kontakthof/Nelken,

8) Forced Entertainment, Speak Bitterness,

9) Reza Abdoh/Dar A Luz, Notes from a ruined city,

10)Squat Theatre, Mr Dead and Mrs. Free,

11) R. Wilson, The Civil Wars,

12) G. Büchner/D. Gotscheff, Woyzeck,

13) Jan Fabre, Die Macht der theatralischen Torheiten


-Marilyn Arsem's Persephone + Hades, Mobius, Boston, 1990

-Jeff Buckley, Late Night Cabaret, PS122, 1992?

-Mimi Goese, See No Evil, PS122, 1992

-Ron Athey, Martyrs + Saints, PS122, 1993

-Jeff Weiss, et. al. Hot Keys, PS122, 1993

-The Advice Ladies, Soho street corners, 1995-ish

-Jennifer Miller's Circus Amok, NYC parks + playgrounds, 1990s

-Yoko Ono with IMA, Irving Plaza, 1996 

-Patty Chang, Candies, Exit Art, 1996

-Amanda Coogan, Molly Blooms, PS1, 2004

-Marina Abramovic, The House With the Ocean View, Sean Kelly Gallery, 2005

-Marina Abramovic, the Artist is Present, MoMA, 2010

-John Kelly, Avant Garde Arama, PS122, 2011


There are so many, many more historic, iconic pieces, or others that I've read about or seen documentation, but I am listing only work I actually saw live. (And I wonder what I was doing between 1996 and 2004...)

  1. A Toy In Blood - Josh Chambers, CalArts
  2. Quotations of a Ruined City – Dar A Luz
  3. Permanent Brain Damage – Richard Foreman, Ontological
  4. Dollhouse – Mabou Mines, Royce Hall, UCLA
  5. THEM – Dennis Cooper / Ishmael Houston-Jones, PS 122
  6. FLICKER – Big Art Group, Redcat
  7. Throwin' Bones – Creation Production Company
  8. Kiki and Herb – Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman, Flamingo East
  9. Performance Career Ender - Claude Wampler, The Kitchen
  10. Digital Underground (when Tupac was still with 'em), Palace Theater, Albany NY
  11. Dress Suits For Hire (revival) – Split Britches, Austin TX
  12. Throbbing Gristle reunion in LA 2009
  13. For An End to the Judgment of God/ Kissing God Goodbye – Peter Sellars, Redcat

Theater of Cruelty (San Francisco 1996), Sten Rudstrom,
Club of No Regrets (San Francisco 1997), Forced Entertainment

Small Lives, Big Dreams (NYC 1997), SITI Company

Boshibari and Sonezaki Shinju (Berkeley 2005), Grand Kabuki Theater of Japan
Gatz especially Scott Shepard's performance of the epilogue. (TBA Festival 2007), Elevator Repair Service
Ten Chi (Berkeley 2007), Pina Bausch

Quizoola (TBA Festival 2008), Forced Entertainment

Big 3rd Episode/Happy Ending (TBA Festival 2008), Superamas

1. Have you been here before? 2. No. This is my first time. (Stanford 2008), Robert Wilson. I couldn't walk after seeing this performance. I felt like I was coming apart.

Boléro Variations (TBA Festival 2009), Raimund Hoghe,

Small/Metal Objects (TBA Festival 2009), Back to Back Theater

Willie Mullins in SOS (San Francisco 2009), Big Art Group

Cedric Andrieux performed by Cedric Andrieux (TBA Festival 2010), Jerome Bel

1. My Mathematics - Rose English

2. Box Story - Bobby Baker  http://www.bobbybakersdailylife.com/BoxStory_video.html

3. Surfacing - Troika Ranch http://www.troikaranch.org/vid-surf.html

4. Cancer Caged - Dawn Rose

5. The Street of Crocodiles - Theatre de Complicite

6. Tanatmount Esperance - Rose English

7. the A to Z piece - Penny Howe

8. Better Midler at the Continental Baths (FIlm)

9. 'Queer' Exhibition and London Film Festival showing of 'The Garden' - Derek Jarman

10. Ikea kitchen departments 

11. The Anderson Project - Robert Lepage

12. The Europeans - The Mercury Theatre, Colchester

13. Giving 'til It Hurts - Sandra Bernhard, London 1992


No particular order...

Rough stab at this and I can't remember most exact dates and locations or sometimes titles:


"Shockheaded Peter" (UCLA,90's)

Berkoff's "Greeks" (early 80's)

"Cloud Nine" (also early 80's,LA Stage Co perhaps)

"The Wiz" (original production, Shubert Theatre 1970's)

"Pee Wee's Playhouse" (Roxy Theatre, early 80's)

Kipper Kids outside at UCLA, mid 80's

Solo piece about the LA riots, by Kedric Robin Wolf, LACE mid 90's

"Angels in America" NY 1993 or 1994

"Mad Love" Del'Arte early 2000's

Hittite Empire/Keith Antar Mason peice, Highways, early 90's

"Freaks", Actors' Gang Tiffany Theatre 1987

"Midsummer Night's Dream" Cornerstone Theatre at Highways 1992

A play by Ebbe Roe Smith at the Odyssey, late 80's.  Can't remember the name, but there were buckets of water in it.




Thirteen Artists whose performances I like:

1. Johanna Tuukanen

2. Lone Twin

3. Dominic Johnson

4. Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens

5. Barbara T. Smith

6. Linda M. Montano

7. Kris Grey/Justin Credible

8. Alejandra Herrera

9. Jeff Huckleberry

10. Jamie McMurray

11. Paul Waddell

12. Sandrine Shaefer

13. Many, many more...








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