We begin the night on the Westside highway beside a spectacularly wrecked car, waiting for the strip club to let us in. Stewart Home--provacateur, artist, "content producer" if ever there was one--whose book titles read like (because they are) parodies of the je-m'en-foutiste avant-garde (Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie, Bubonic Plagiarism, 69 Things to Do with a Dead Princess)--is scheduled for a rare Manhattan reading in this sensibility tweaking, low-rent district. Mirror balls? Westway has a mirrored torso. The vinyl cushioned seating wrapping the perimeter of the catwalk is only slightly suspect, with a little more give than you'd find in a midtown cigar bar, though the clientele on a normal night would be identical.
Home is difficult to capture: A revolutionary bootboy trapped in the postmodern eighties, he issued an ostensible manifesto on Neoism, reinvented psychogeography, and proceeded to spin off so many mythologies and variant histories of cultural assaults, art world ne'er-do-wells and his own biography that for a time the man himself seemed unlikely to have ever lived. But if Stewart Home didn't exist, the courteous South Londoner who took the stage would have to plagiarize him anyway.
The night was billed as one of shredding, ventriloquism and acrobatics. Unexpected truth in advertising this--for Home starts off by pulling quire after quire from his novel Down and Out in Shoreditch and Hoxton and feeds them into an office shredder, all the while discoursing on how tired the gesture has become but what a way to turn a $10 paperback into a $1,000 art object. Buyers are waiting.;
Business over, the acrobatics set in: Home spreads a yoga mat to stand on his head and recite from the blood rites novel, seventh volume in Bookwork's Home-curated Semina series saluting Wallace Berman from beyond the fatal car wreck. Home doesn't do readings; he commits to memory what he can and having shredded one book, pours back reams of another from this demanding position. The text's imagined spambots fill MOMA's inboxes with penis extension ads disguised as artist updates. Home has pulled off the stunt in a Berlin art gallery, but really the Westway can't be topped for his baritone recitation of "Seven inches simply isn't big enough to pleasure the Guerrilla Girls."
Other writers appear, but I'm not here for Ken Wark's call-and-response Occupy manifesto (so long as we're not getting married I'm not repeating after you) or Jarrett Kobek's Mohammed Atta bio, noble as they both are. I'm here for Home's final Manhattan event, having missed the others. He takes to the catwalk again for a rendition of Defiant Pose done at length and full speed: "Watching the Houses of Parliament reduced to a smouldering ruin made Terry and Joyce feel horny as hell. The almighty crash as the roof of Westminster Abbey caved in added urgency to their lust." Occupy London? Home annihilates it.
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