Our lovely intern Coco Segaller, who edited the good majority of video you see on this archive, is moving on to new adventures on the west coast. In the midst of logging and capturing, editing, and researching we had her choose a piece that stuck out to her to write about. Below is one of the more humorous perfomances that have happened at a Present Tense event, Benjamin Bellas and Justin Cooper at Rough Trade in 2007.
Thanks for all your help Coco we’ll miss you!!
Performance art, most would agree, is best observed first-hand. However, performances frequently are subject to fragmentation through word-of-mouth recollections and opinions. Justin Cooper and Benjamin Bellas’s performance was one that I did not witness, but definitely heard about. Watching it for the first time, I was struck both by how different it was than in my imagination when I heard about the piece, and how faithfully its witnesses had relayed the performance’s incredible humor.
As Sandrine recently said, performance and theater are two different mediums that share characteristics, which can often be confusing for thespians and performance artists alike. Cooper and Bellas have done a wonderful job of bringing out the best of the familiarity of stand-up comedy or theater, while totally juxtaposing it with the attitude of farce that performance art encourages. I was reminded while watching this piece of great absurdist comedy, like Monty Python’s Flying Circus, or George Carlin’s stand-up routines—with the added bonus of the (slightly) controlled mania of a dynamic performance. Jazz Wolf is a performance that one watches and wishes to pass on to anyone else who hasn’t seen it, and the Present Tense is pleased to share it with you.