a late night gush in 2008

just got home from drinking beers with Guillermo Gomez Pena (pena is actually spelled with one of those squiggly things over the n. where the hell is my squiggly thing?) Gomez Pena is the kind of performance artist that you dream about. watching him perform is like unplugging your alarm clock and sleeping in and having fucked wet dreams all morning. and when you wake up, you’re uncomfortable and turned on and you missed work and you don’t give a fuck.
the first time i saw guillermo perform i held a gun into his mouth. a big, militaristic looking piece of equipment. he was on his knees and i was standing above him. i stood there, with my arms locked and my gaze locked on his eyes. his eyes. his unflinching eyes. i stared and breathed and the room swirled about the focal point of his returned gaze. there was nothing there. there was just the moment swirling and constantly changing. and our breathe. i was sooooooo charged up after the show. that is what i want to do. it was so clear in me. i loved it. i wanted to bend the room with my gaze and my breathe. i wanted to stop time. i went up to guillermo after the show and said, look. i want to work with you. i want to learn from you. you do what i want to do. he said ok. he is so warm. he looked at me and said ok, give me your number and i will have my project coordinator call you. more elation. i gave him my number and it said lula, performance artist in training. and then i went to the office that his performance troop, pocha nostra, is based out of and made sure his project coordinator actually got my number. i found the torn piece of paper i had written it on in a pile of other papers on a table. i took it as a sign that it hadn’t been thrown away. do you know that part in dumb and dumber when jim carrey says, so you’re saying there is still a chance. that is how i felt.
well, they actually fucking called me a few days later and invited me to perform with them at the de young museum in the golden gate park. that performance was a dream come true. i was working with the most amazing and humble performance artists in the world and the dreamiest part about it was how they embraced me so immediately. guillermo told me right off the bat, he had invited me on a hunch. he didn’t know me. not a thing about me. but he had an intuition, he said, and his intuition has never been wrong. i worked with roberto sifuentes in this hot piece where he was this fetishized aztecan warrior/drug addict/jesus de christo badass and i was some kind of glammed up 20’s movie star. he flung me about his body and twisted my legs over his shoulders and pet me and bit me. and i bit him back. and i loved every second of it. there was this one part when he wrapped his arm in an american flag tourniquet and was about to inject himself with what was supposed to be heroin, but instead used it as tears streaming down his face. and the “heroin tears” fell on my sprawled body that laid at his feet. i was totally getting off on it. it was twisted and unplanned. anyways. so pocha nostra was pleased.
i am getting to work with them on two more shows this month.
they are actually fucking paying me for one of the shows. which is beyond anything i have imagined. or maybe it’s not.
so anyways. so i call guillermo to tell him about this performance art idea i have and how i would like his advice on how to develop it.
tonite, after work i met him at the 3300 club off mission st for drinks. this, for me is like meeting madonna for drinks. i have so much respect for this man. i can hardly believe he can make time for me. we meet. he is wearing a black cowboy shirt with white detailing. his big, black boots. his long, grey hair down and draping over his left shoulder and chest. he has a big, silver earring in his ear. i am pretty sure he has black eyeliner on. he is stunning. a fucking vision. he orders scotch with one ice cube and i get miller high life. it is one of the cheapest drinks i can order, but it has high life in the title, so i go for that one specifically. he asks me how my day was. i tell him, oh…good. i can’t remember how i spent my day. then, oh yeah, it was good. i went to the beach. it was beautiful. we then moved on to the topic of shamanism and our own personal stories of altered states of consciousness and connection. he has some good ones. i will just say this, when he decides to do something, it appears as though he does it all the way.
he asked me about my project. listened. and then, humbly, offered expert advice. work incrementally. safegaurd your passion. approach it as a scientist. performance art is much like shamanism. it is expeditions into uncharted territory. we, as performance artists, create our own language. it is our job as artists to fight for the dying imagination of the people. to look them in the eyes and remind them of the primal energy that exists within us all.
he asked me where i learned to do what he saw me do at the de young performance. he told me how thrilled he was to work with me (i swear, i know it’s crazy) and he wanted to know what my training was. i told him some dance, some theater, some yoga. but mostly it comes from my desire to connect with people and get a rise out of them. to hold people with my eyes. to fuck with their reality and drop them down into their bodies-out of their stupid heads. he agreed. we swapped stories about war wounds and our upbringing and hallucinogenic trips.
i feel so blessed to know this man. every time i come into contact with him, it feels like a life changing experience.


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