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BOB FLANAGAN: Musical Improvisation
Los Angeles writer and performer, Bob Flanagan (December 27,1952-January 4, 1996) was the author of several books of poetry and prose including The Wedding of Everything, Slave Sonnets, and the infamous Fuck Journal which was destroyed by its printer in India out of fear of reprisals by Indian customs agents. Selections of his last work in progress, Book of Medicine appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including High Risk (Dutton/Plume), Amy Scholder and Ira Silverberg editors and Best American Erotica 1993, Susie Bright, editor. Excerpts from "Pain Journal" have also been published in Unnatural Disasters (Incommunicado Press), Nicole Painter, editor and the magazine Fruit (#3). Flanagan performed throughout the U.S. often in collaboration with his partner Sheree Rose. Together, Flanagan and Rose combined text, video, and live performance in highly personal but universal explorations of sex, illness, and mortality. One of their major collaborations was "Visiting Hours" which premiered in 1993 at the Santa Monica Museum, California traveling the following year to the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY (1994) and the Museum of the School of Fine Arts in Boston (February, 1995). This installation dealt with Bob's lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis in relation to his sexuality. In addition to performing in art venues, Flanagan also appeared on stage with Los Angeles Groundlings Comedy Improv Ensemble and in numerous films and videos including the Nine Inch Nails music video Happiness is Slavery and in Michael Tolkin's film, The New Age. He also the subject of Kirby Dick's 1997 documentary: SICK: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist and a 1993 RE/Search publication: Bob Flanagan: Supermasochist, a book of interviews with Bob and photographs by Sheree. A forthcoming book of his writings, The Bob Flanagan Reader, will be edited by Sheree Rose Levin.
Musical Improvisation was performed at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Foundation in Venice, CA in 1987.
Bob asked the audience to bring various musical instruments for him to play. Bob had no idea which instruments he would have to deal with. He improvised the music and commentary in his own, inimitable style.
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