Highways kicks off silver jubilee with ‘70s and ‘80s artists


Highways, the alternative culture performance space in Santa Monica that’s been a longtime hub for experimental theater, dance and art in Los Angeles, turns 25 this year. Fittingly, its silver anniversary celebration will be a high-energy, unpredictable mash-up by some of the biggest names in ‘70s and ‘80s performance art.

The two-night fundraiser will be hosted by performance art pioneer-musician-painter the Dark Bob, whose work was included in the Museum of Contemporary Art’s 2011 Pacific Standard Time exhibition “Under the Big Black Sun.”

Highways is calling its anniversary event a “high-profile reunion.” Among those giving short performances are John Fleck, Gronk, Johanna Went, Jeffrey Vallance, Rudy Perez and Llyn Foulkes, among many others.


“What I put together for them is a historically relevant presentation of performance art history,” says the Dark Bob (a.k.a. Francis Shishim). “This group, they established L.A., internationally, as a performance art community to reckon with, comparable to the first generation of rock and rollers like Chuck Berry, Elvis and Little Richard.”

Friday night, “A Recipe for Disaster: Generation 1, Los Angeles Alternative Art in the 70’s,” will see a big, unwieldy, “art-party mixer,” at which there may – or may not – be spontaneous short performances and videos by cutting edge artists from the ‘70s, says the Dark Bob. There will be, however, a Mexican feast and cash bar.

Saturday night, “Life in the Fast Lane: Performance Art in the Big ‘80s,” is more structured, with a lineup of 11 artists from that decade staging five-minute, “rapid fire performances” over an hour and a half, says the Dark Bob. “It’s like a variety show with some of L.A.’s most renowned performance artists; I’m hosting – a sort of Dean Martin from Mars!”

Highways was founded by performance artist Tim Miller and writer Linda Frye Burnham; Leo Garcia is its longtime director.

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