Note to reader:
When one must write one's own 'bio', the writer ususally refers to him or her self by his or her first name, surname, or first and surname.
This seems a little too unnatural to me this time around (I've done this aplenty) so in the instance I will prefer to simply make a stream of consciousness, chronological list of actions and accomplishments beginning with 'I' or 'My'.
What follows then is not my bio, rather it's my 'io', or a 'myo' .
I was born (in 1957) and raised in the small factory town of Hopewell, Virginia.
The Washington Post once described Hopewell as being "the meanest town this side of Hell."
I earned a BA (as a sculptor) from Virginia Commonwealth University.
I earned MFA from University of Texas, Austin.
I was a member of the UT faculty (teaching sculpture and performance art) 20 some years later.
I moved to the East Village, NYC in the mid 80's.
I worked for a variety of great artists. Most inspiring for me was my time spent working as a studio assistant for Nam June Paik and working in productions with Pat Oleszko.
I have been creating public spectacle as an artist / daredevil in the cultural arena of performance art in NYC art houses and club venues since the mid eighties. My addiction for art and adrenaline drove me to my first stunt in SOHO, when I attempted to fly a small single seat rocket over a mountain over watermelons. That night I almost broke my neck and was nearly burned alive in the flaming wreckage. I loved it. Throughout the mid to late eighties I offered up many outrageous acts and actions mostly in admiration, imitation and respect for of the men and women who inspired me.
My over the top outrageous acts were in simpatico with a temperament that was pervasive in the East Village at that time. My over the top outrageous act were a in simpatico with a temperament that was pervasive then in that East Village.
My fans and followers of my work named me "The Impact Addict".
I was given that name after doing a show that I had titled "impact addict".
In that show I jumped off a 3 story building onto a sheet of steel while wrapped in bubble wrap and christmas lights .. and the name stuck.
My first retirement came after I survived my "Swan Song". For that final performance I was dressed as Julie Andrews (as if dressed as Maria Von Trapp). (See Larry Fessenden's documentary " Stunt, A Musical Motion Picture" for the full story)
I was violently hurled from a height of six stories off the roof of Performance Space 122.
I am forever indebted to 122's Director Mark Russell for indulging me/ my art / my excesses on this night.
One day I'll write the scary true story about how The Devil visited me that night as I struggled to regain consciousness.
In the early 90's Scott Macaulay, who is now the editor of Filmmaker and very fine feature films producer tapped me to replace him as the curator of performance art at The Kitchen.
I am most proud that while there I instigated a persistent campaign drive to the open The Kitchen's second floor theater and gallery space. I am also very proud to have initiated that organization's first educational and participatory programing for children; then called FUTURESTOCK.
I have been a guest curator at The New Museum. I have sat on the advisory board of Performance Space 122 and I'm currently on the board of 3-Legged Dog Media and Theater Co.
Along with my friend Phil Hartman, I co founded and was the artistic director of HOWL! The Festival of East Village Arts and FEVA (Federation of East Village Arts).
HOWL! and FEVA were Phil's brilliantly generous brainstorms.
I thank Phil for the invite to be a co-founding father to such a challenging undertaking that resulted in a most fabulous community offering. Long Live HOWL!
I have also been a contributing writer for The Village Voice and The New York Press. Basically I pursue writing gigs when I need to get paid to go see something really cool .. like to going to hang out with Evel Knievel.
I am also a casting director.
I have placed damn good talent in roles for projects ranging from common music videos, to uncommon international commercial projects as well as for independent feature films. I take especial joy in coupling my artist / actor friends and subculture associates with the big stars. Like Zero Boy's evil villain to Bruce Willis' 'Die Hard' hero. And Gary Ray Bugarcic's class nerd crush on Debbie Harry as a high school slut in the soon to premiere short "I Remember You Now".
After 11 years in retirement from my life as a performance artist/daredevil I returned to the medium and mayhem in 1999.
My critically acclaimed show BOX OPERA series ran for over four years with the collaborations and talents of such brilliant East Village Performance Art All Stars as the Box Opera co-creator Jonathan (The Herring Wonder) Ames, Julie Atlas Muz (choreographer and logo) with Tigger, Molly Griffith, Dirty Martini, Lady Ace, and Kate Valentine as round card boys and girls, Tommy Murrin (the ring announcer), Karen Finley, Crispin Black, Zero Boy, Matthew Barney, DANCENOISE, David Neuman and Stacy Dawson, The Mangina, Galinsky, Shelly Mars, Michael Portnoy, James Godwin and David Turley, Pat Oleszko, and Ridge Theater.
I refer to my good friend Jonathan Ames as 'The Founder' of the original Box Opera concept because this ultra fulfilling episode of my life would have never occurred had Jonathan not felt compelled to challenge me to "a writer versus artist - boxing match as art" upon first meeting me. You can read the origins of Box Opera as told by Jonathan in the press section within this site. Or pick up a copy of Jonathan's "My Less than Secret Life".
My 20-some years collaboration with my collaborator and best friend Larry Fessenden has produced a series of video documentaries called "The Impact Addict Videos" (available through Glass Eye Pix). The video's weave together interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, news clips, pirated block-busting songs and pix, and the multi-camera coverage of the events that made me 'art world famous'. The videos both celebrate and explore my motives, my addiction, my predication towards pain, danger and near death experiences. They are Larry Fessenden's video portraits of me .... the man the New York Times called "The Evel Knievel of Performance Art," and MTV dubbed "America's own King of Pain.
Eventually Larry and I will edit the four fabulous years of the Box Operas into one banging documentary. When that finally happens we'll release it as well as the entire Impact Addict Series on disc. Sooner than later hopefully. We both stay so damned busy in our own as well as other's projects, it's difficult to slow down and even more difficult to back up.
I'll close my 'io' by offering my greatest gratitude and respect to all of the very special people who facilitate or perform the multitudes of minutia that is required to create anything special and significant.
Of my many projects, programs, and production experiences in the arts, there is absolutely nothing that has spiritually and emotionally moved me more than the genuine generosity of those who enable the arts and artists by way of their support by way of muscle, money or enthused motivation.
Without you, we are art-less.