New York

Karen Finley

The Kitchen

A performance artist who honed her act on the club circuit, Karen Finley is the latest late-night skit-maker to move to prime-time alternative performance spaces. Her performance trademark has been ranting monologues, in form not unlike John Giomo’s breath-defined chanting poetry, and in content similar to the “obscene,” taboo-attacking jeremiads of singer-poet Lydia Lunch and writer Kathy Acker. In front of jam-packed, drunkenly rowdy, on-the-prowl audiences, Finley’s run-on tirades about rape, incest, suicide, and, especially, oral and anal sex, combined with her gross physical gestures (pouring chocolate syrup on her breasts, cramming yams into her pants), have worked up an explosive energy. And an idea as unsettling as Finley’s words and acts crept in under cover of the frantic excess; a female id unfettered, unashamed, and on the loose. The resulting interplay between performer and

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