Peter Rose/Lin Osterhage
The L.A. Dialogues (1-3) 1988 - 89
"Working alone together tonight"
"Nature World: A Fertile
Downtown Los Angeles, 1988
"Working alone together tonight"
Music: Low Volume Piano "Impromptu D89" by Franz Schubert
Peter: Good evening. This is Lin Osterhage, solo performance artist and author of "The Autobiography Reconstruction Project." She has been living and working in Los Angeles for six years. I'm out here, as a solo performance artist so that Lin could be more solo than if she were completely alone. If you know what I mean.
Lin: Hi. This is Peter Rose, not the baseball player, but the one The L.A. Weekly calls, "The wacky Jewish genius from New York."
P: I am Peter, solo performing artist. I work alone. I've been working alone for years. I work alone wherever I am. I recently moved to Los Angeles. I have a roommate. I live alone. I am working alone now. It's a pleasure to be up here working alone with you, Lin.
L&P: We decided to work alone together tonight!
L: Peter, how do you like living here in L.A. compared to living in NYC.
P: Well, there's a lot less to like about L.A. I like that.
L: I mean the street life there. The cappuccino bars, friends calling you up all the time, walking - don't you miss that?
P: If you mean all of my unresolved relationships,
L: But Peter, didn't you have a strong performance art following in New York.
P: I had a tremendous following. You could say I had a powerful cult following. My advance sale reservation included people other than my family and people I owed money too.
L: W.O.W. (WOW)
P: That's because I had the ability to be in
the moment. That made anything possible. Leaps of physicality and gesture,
defying rational rhythms. Stark and fresh. Vulnerable and true.
What a moment, what a show.
L: Bravo, bravo!
P: Accolades followed my performances in NYC. There where whispers of glee and admiration. Sexual eye contact after the show. I could've taken a big grant. I rejected it. Government stuff. I thought it was intrusion. Besides, I could always borrow money from my aunt.
L: Sounds a lot like Grotowski stuff to me.
P: Borrowing money from my aunt?
L: No. Actors not acting. Rehearsal for the real thing.
P: You're right. It was Grotowski. That name
L: Why did you move out here?
P: I wanted to get away from my family.
L: Does that mean you're not Jewish anymore?
P: No, Lin. I'm bi-coastal now. Judaism is not a demographic condition. Simply crossing state lines will not change my religion. In Los Angeles, I'm still Jewish.
L: I suppose you've looked around at the performance
venues here. The locations, the availability and funding. Have you see
P: That are open?
L: Yes, that are open. Where we could work.
P: I have noticed there are a lot of galleries
and performance spaces in L.A. Unfortunately, I don't think they're
for artists and
L: Who are they for?
P: Arts administrators, curators and a small staff of junior college graduates, most of whom speak a few lines of French.
L: Do you have someplace particular in mind?
L: Why do you say this?
P: This particular place has a performance
space on the second floor. The space is dark six night s out of seven.
On the average. No performances. No rehearsals. No readings. No "open
movement." No co-produced or self-produced evenings.
L: Where do you live?
P: On Industrial Street in downtown Los Angeles
in The LACE
L: Have things changed?
P: No, not really. It's still eso-terroristic.
L: Why do you think the situation exists? Is it only a question of funding? Money? Age?
P: Are you implying that I'm too old and broke?
L: Sort of. How do you feel about that?
P: I don't feel great about it. Fortunately, I'm not bitter like a lot of hard-pressed urban dwelling artists.
L: But isn't that true in New York too?
P: I think so. But at least in New York you
can walk around,
L: Ah - but I want to talk about something meaningful tonight.
P: Meaningful? Forget it.
L: Yes. I want to talk about my project.
P: The Autobiography Reconstruction Project.
L: Yes. Listen, I've been going through a lot of changes lately as I'm a woman of a "certain age." It's only natural to be reflective and want to make some things over.
About five years ago my grandfather Homer died. He was 85 years old and actually raised me for the first three years of my life while my father was away fighting the war in the Philippines.
Grandpa was a wonderfully crazy character who lived in Florida and kept among other things an old crocodile in his back yard and fed it hot dogs on a very very long stick.
He once spent several months constructing a shelf on a broomstick. It was a kind of wooden legged stilt which he could walk around on with his knees bent.
I loved him. He was my favorite and I was his. He used to hide dead snakes in grandma's bed.
Anyway, we never had any "private" conversations. He never told me any "truths" or wrote me letters during his life.
A few months ago I received this letter for my project. I would like to read a bit of.
Please forgive my not writing to you for almost
six months. These past months have been pretty darn awful so I waited
to write you until I could say something that would tickle you pink.
Remember those fuzzy pink slippers you used to wear when you came to visit us? The dog nearly went crazy barking so loud it almost woke the dead. Remember the cookies grandma made you with pink icing and little sprinkles of colored candy balls that looked like confetti? You called them "Guy Lombardi Cookies" because of all of the New Years ´shows we watched or slept through.
I've been able to pay off most of my bills. I just wish I had a big wad to send you. You creative types never have enough money for canvas and paper.
I do have a little package for you. You can it your legacy, ha, ha. I'm sorry it's not more. Pretend they are priceless.
The crescent pin grandma won at the Halloween Fair. You weren't but a little bittie thing and she took to the fishing pole booth and she won the darn thing. You thought it was really pretty-sapphires and diamonds - and wouldn't take it when grandma tried to pin on your blouse. You said it was her jewel and she had to wear it. And she did wear it, every time you came to visit us. It was her favorite piece of jewelry.
I think you get your artistic qualities from your grandma. She was always working with her hands. She made everything special and pretty.
The two snapshots are of two very young people. Really, Lin that's grandma and me! Ha, ha. I found these snapshots in the desk drawer. Was I ever that tall? Was my hair ever that dark? Well, you ought to have a good laugh out of these old photos. They were taken before your mama was ever born.
Well, sweetie, I'm going to close for now. I hope you will write me more often. I'll be able to answer your letters like always. Take good care of yourself. Be careful out there in California. Those fools don't have good sense. If you can, think about me sometimes. Maybe you can send me a snapshot of yourself. I'll put up in my room: "My granddaughter, the artist!"
I love you and I'm so proud of you.
Love and kisses,
Homer L. Springer, Jr.
L: And a little frightening.
P: Lin, you're beautiful and your dress looks great in the light.
L: This dress? I bought it as a sound investment in my performance career more than 2 years ago. It also doubles as a dinner dress which is good because then I get to wear it a couple of times a year if I'm lucky.
P: You look great in it!
L: I may look good but a friend my age recently
ended up in a "Panic Center" in a major city. Out of sheer
desparation. You know there are "Panic Centers" in most major
P: No. But I recognize the need for these "Panic Centers."
L: I'm considering opening one myself. A "Panic Center" for Mature Artists - PACMA! I'll serve lots of cappuccino, have a full bar ofcourse, a few nice old books on philosophy and sell post cards.
P: You could offer workshops.
L: Yes. I've thought of a couple. Basic training in improvisational word processing together with voice training for telemarketing.
P: I can help. I have a skill, a human service skill. I could offer one day workshops, for a small fee, in The Heimlich Maneuver for Cases of Emotional Choking. It's for mature artists who can't speak but have a great deal to say.
L: Can you show me? (P demonstrates Heimlich Maneuver on L) It works!
P: Would you pay for that?
L: Sure. But what do you think about relationships? Do you ever think about them?
P: I don't think about them too much. The Heimlich has helped me a lot. I used to think about them all the time.
L: All the time?
P: It's better now.
P: Yes. I used to think about relationships so much my phone bills would get bigger and bigger. I would get writer's cramp just trying to keep up. I began to experience "Demographic Dyslexia."
L: Demographic Dyslexia? What's that?
P: That's a condition where you don't know
where you are. You don't know how close you are to people in contrast
to how far you are from yourself. For example, the post mark on the
letter is from one place. The voice on the telephone is from someplace
else. The voice on the answering machine is from another place and the
woman in bed with you from out of town.
L: I have a couple of things to say.
P: No, Lin, you have one thing to say about that. You just thought about that one thing twice.
L: Okay, you're right. I do have one thing to say about the future. The future of artists. What do you see as your future, Peter?
P: It's impossible to talk about the future now. I'm in the moment. The continuous present. But what about you? What do you see as your future?
L: Other than living in the continuous past, I do have an option.
P: One option? What's that?
L: The Art Goddess Option.
P: The Art Goddess Option?
L: Yes. I can stop smoking, drinking, get celibate and move out of town to live a pure, clean, healthy life, free from all anxiety and save whatever there is left that needs to be saved in this world. If I get a grant, I'll get started next spring.
P: The main thing here is getting the grant.
L: Of course, because if I don't get the grant I won't be able to afford to move out of the city and stop making art.
P: Certainly you can't afford to stop smoking cigarettes unless get the grant.
L: You're right.
P: Lin, let's make some career moves now and show some slides.
L: Good idea but we've done that. We turned some equipment on and off.
P: You mean we qualify for an Interdisciplinary Grant Application?
L: I think so. We've granted ourselves this mutually respective self-discipline combined with interactive art talents in a personal, bi-solo dialogue!
P: What? Are you making a career out of that?
L: Why not? It applies to and I've worked hard at it.
P: I got it. And what if my searing clarity of performance leads me into progress and I'm offered an exclusive bi-solo dialogue down the road.
L: No problem. You can go bi-solo by yourself.
P: Thanks. I hope we'll still be alone together.
L: I think so.
P: Good. Well, that about does it.
L: How about that café latte?
P: My pleasure. We can work on all of this some more.
L: My pleasure.
P: Good night.