Obie Award-winning performance artist and infamous member of the "NEA Four" Holly Hughes finishes presenting her latest piece, Preaching to the Perverted, at San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre, Sept. 25. The show began previews Sept. 8 and officially opened Sept. 10. As it was when performed at NYC's Dixon Place in July, the piece is directed by Split Britches' co-founder, Lois Weaver.
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 & 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.
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.
For tickets or more information on Preaching, call (415) 861-8972. Following the Hughes show at NCT will be 42nd Street Moon's mounting of Cole Porter's Let's Face It, previewing Sept. 29 for an Oct. 1 opening and a run through Oct. 17. -- By Sean McGrath & David Lefkowitz