Sunday, August 12, 2007

performance, Monty Cantsin


Smegma introduced me to the Neoist Monty Cantsin in 1980. He even says in this interview: "I always say I got trained at the Portland Academy." Nice! (I also wrote a bit about him here).

Monty, also known as Istvar Kantor, always had a thing for blood. He asked me to draw his blood while naked as part of his performance. The first I could not do as he needed a licensed nurse (something he somehow tracked down in every city he toured to, on his “Blood and Gold” tours). The second was actually not the unusual or revolutionary request he might have thought it was.

I have a lengthy description of the performance, full of strange details I would never remember, but no doubt you’ve all had your share of synthesizer-induced theatrics of splattered blood, crucifixes and whatnot! I’ve edited. It was actually the second paragraph, an “action” of his that I had completely forgotten about, which made me smile. (Alan is Alan Lloyd, a member of Smegma):

The audience had taken to sitting on the floor. Monty and I kissed – the video missed that one. Away with my lipstick, shit! Soon Alan killed himself and lay dead on the tables forming the shape of a cross. At the head of the tables is a TV with NEOISM on the screen. Monty began his DEATH action. I tried to bring Alan back to life, taping and tying him up. I lit a gloved finger on fire and then sat on the Neoism TV. Monty tore up magazines, moralism, Christ and his own Neoism and put them into a pot. I cut off his phallus, lit it and put it on the table. Monty has a huge tin foil ball he puts on his head. We covered it with rubber cement and lit it on fire. He and I twirl together, round and round in a swivel chair. That was the fun part. The synthesizer is roaring. The manifesto began. A nurse draws the blood. Part of it goes into the pot, part of it in Alan’s mouth, who then stands and screams with a loaf of bread in his hands: “This is my flesh, eat it!” He breaks the bread and out fly pennies: “This is my blood, drink it!” Monty is naked by this time, his penis was all taped down like he was a eunuch. That is the end.

Afterwards, I thought I loved Monty. This, to a certain extent, is true. He came over to our house and we all drank wine. He quickly (maybe too quickly) looked at my work. He’s rather anti-art and nihilist towards just about everything, including his own stuff. He wanted my magazines and I gave them to him – the last copies I had of everything. When he left, only a little bit of time passed before I ran out after him. I didn’t notice the steps or the lawn or if anything was different. I ran to him, we hugged and kissed and I felt I was alive for that moment only and fuck the rest. In the morning I exited the house and found all my magazines and work torn up on the steps, signed Monty Cantsin. I laughed; it seemed part of his whole trip. He asked for them.

I do not really miss performance art! But I kept those ripped up fanzines for the longest time afterwards. We kept in touch and sometime in the early 90s he sent me a "vacation" piece, and I made the above collage out of it. He was always good at slogans.

1 comment:

Steven LaRose said...

We've been in Ashland for five years, and I don't miss performance art. I guess it is all around us. I saw a twerp yesterday with a "Fuck Tibet" t-shirt. We came from Seattle. My wife Stacy worked at subpop for seven of the golden years. Steven Jesse Bernstein, Jim Rose sideshow, the thrown-ups, all gross and somehow life affirming memories. My journals read like above average acid trips.