Paul Outlaw

What Did I Do to Be So Black and...

What Did I Do to Be So Black and…

(a dream i had/after falling asleep/with the fox news channel on)

Installation and performance

Text, objects, video: Paul Outlaw

Costume, objects, installation (“So Funny It Hurts”): Curt LeMieux

Installation (“Surface Streets”), pickup truck: Joe Seely

Presented by Brian Getnick (curator) at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) as part of “So Funny It Hurts,” the inaugural performance series and issue of NATIVE STRATEGIES, a journal devoted to performance in Los Angeles
April 2011

Subsequently presented by Highways Performance Space at the Youth Center for Empowerment (West Hollywood) as part of “Highways2WeHo: Surface Streets”
September 2011

What Did I Do… is a surrealistic meditation on a controversial alternative lifestyle: blacks and gays in the Republican Party. The disparate ingredients of this 30-minute piece combine to create a witch’s brew of cultural artifacts from the past hundred years: big band music, banned cartoons, Gone With the Wind, thug pornography, pop stars, Mandingo, Clarence Thomas & the Clintons, Nina Simone, political blogs, Condoleezza Rice, the original Birth of a Nation and more.

“Outlaw entered the gallery singing, wearing a topless lace wedding dress and a high lace headdress/veil. His skin was whited with chalk or ash. The music, the voice, the entrance and the costume (by Curt Lemieux) were fabulous. His stalk became a dance and then a ballet as he circuited the low stages and the floor. It was as though he was working the interstices between the media projected on the wall, all history and horror – and we in the audience, in our challenged present day. I felt that Outlaw was inviting me into a space between, a space of performance where I might consider things outside my ken.”
- Geoff Tuck, Notes on Looking