Obie Award-winning performance artist and infamous member of the "NEA Four" Holly Hughes will bring her latest solo work, Preaching to the Perverted, to Chicago's Bailiwick Repertory July 6-9. The piece was seen in New York City April 27-May 21 at P.S. 122. Split Britches' co- founder Lois Weaver directs.
Perverted will be part of Bailiwick's annual Pride Festival, advertised as the largest gay and lesbian performing arts event in the U.S. It runs May 18-Oct. 1.
In 1990, Hughes found herself going from small-time performance artist playing in small downtown venues to the center of a government attack on culture. Robert Hughes (no relation) called Hughes and fellow NEA Four plaintiff Karen Finley (American Chestnut and We Keep Our Victims Ready), "emblems of everything that is wrong with American art today." The Reverend Donald Wildmon (of the American Family Association) had her investigated as a child pornographer.
With Perverted, Hughes investigates the darker side of democracy, reporting on her recent appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court, while taking on Jesse Helms, giving glimpses of gay agenda, exploring life on the Lower East Side and generally demonstrating the "short comic shelf life of martyrdom."
Hughes began her career at the WOW Cafe, during the dawn of America's Reagan era. Her first play, The Well of Horniness, was presented at numerous spots around the city, including nightclubs like The Pyramid Club and the Limbo Lounge, and theatres like P.S. 122. Hughes has received several NEA grants and funding from the Rockefeller, Ford and Astrea Foundation. A collection of her pieces, titled "Clit Notes: A Sapphic Sampler," was published by Grove Press and was nominated for a LAMBDA Book Award. Tickets are $20-$30. Bailiwick is located at 1229 W. Belmont. For more information, call (773) 883-1090, or consult the website at www.bailiwick.org.
--By Robert Simonson
and Christine Ehren