Monday, July 27, 2015

Graveyard Swag (performance)

Graveyard Swag (performance)
Bath House Cultural Center, Dallas
July 3, 2015

A performance exploring the subtext of zombie as other, as performative identity and transformation, as loaded revolutionary construct.

  Full Performance Video (7:10)

The Reverend - Randall Garrett
Zombies - Janet Aguirre, Sara Brisby, Raul Rodriguez
Guest Appearance by Peazy - Patrick Patterson-Carroll
Performance Monologue Sequence (2:39)

Sound Improvisation - Thor Johnson and Craig Shropshire
Videography - Brett Ardoin
Video Installation - Michael Morris

Special Thanks to Dwayne Carter and Enrique Fernández Cervantes.
Have a Nice Day (review) (A+C magazine) by Lee Escobedo

"Performance artist and provocateur, Randall Garrett, is one of the unsung heroes of the Dallas art scene, providing opportunity and chance to artists who are looking for first opportunities. Garrett’s work, a scrappy composition of selfies and digital portraits in the main room, accompanied by a planned performance opening night, “Graveyard Swag,” added to the abstraction of a coherent manifesto to “what” exactly is burning and “who” is holding the torch. Incorporating ritual, spiritualism, and the history of storytelling, Garrett’s performance and installation told the 1,000 year old story of sin, death and rebirth."
Witness the Post-Apocalyptic Chaos of Irrational City (preview)
(Dallas Observer) by Lauren Smart

"Randall Garrett sends us through a cracked funhouse mirror with questions of how we build identity, and how we institutionalize labels for those identities."


 Some of the hand-altered posters and graveyard elements in the installation.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Inferno Suite (performance)

 Inferno Suite

a performance by Randall Garrett (with Reivin Alexandria)
MFA Gallery, Oak Cliff, Dallas

 Inferno Suite performance video
videography by Brett Ardoin
technical support by Patrick Patterson-Carroll

 performance photos by Scott McDaniel

Sitting on the fire escape he looks down, eight floors to the ground below. Concrete, stone and steel, the city, tough and relentless, a lighted neon cross blaring "Jesus Saves" from the street front mission, car horns shouting as traffic rushes to the stoplight, people hurrying along the walk.

Slowly he takes a drag from the cigarillo, the warmth and fire pulling into his lungs. Closing his eyes, he feels the smoke inside balancing out the cool blasts of wind buffeting them high up the city's side. He feels himself falling into a dream now, a place where peace washes over him, of soft grasses and flowing water under a canopy of trees.

She climbs through the window and sits beside him there on the balcony. Forgetting their suffering for a moment she says, "this is kind of nice" and he opens his eyes, looking up at the softness of the sky and beyond. Pouring a sangria over the ice in the plastic cups she hands him one. "To nice" he says, and tips his cup into hers.

 performance photos by Scott McDaniel


Down, down he trudged, hugging the wall of the narrow stone staircase, the abyss looming just beyond. Through thick smoke, exhaust mixed with the tinge of human sweat and rotting waste, the crush of bodies pushing against him, some moving upward, others down, eyes averted each in their own self-made inferno.

A few more steps and there he lost his balance.

Turning in the air as he fell, it all came to him, every suffering he had inflicted on these souls around him, both loved and unloved, all of them. Falling, only a moment yet interminable, he knew it would hurt, and then he hit bottom. Blackness, and all around a fog, lying there on the mix of footsteps and grime.

It was then she came to him, a movement so slight, a gentle touch in this blindness. Grasping, lunging, lost in the foul air he felt himself lifted up and against a firm shoulder and the softness of her skin. Lowering now, he moved in close, enveloped by her as blackness closed in again. 
 performance video projection stills

"Destroy This Temple"

Passed out, feverish for days he lay among the rubble. dishevelled piles of stones around him as though burial mounds from some forgotten war. Eyes convulsing, he dreamt in rapid fire sequence, image upon image, travelling somewhere rapidly, never at rest, never at peace.

A sound among the ruins and he awoke, it seemed into yet another layer of perception. In the shadows, she was there, crouched and slinking towards him. She crawled the last few feet, drew near and mounted him furiously. Plunging into him with a vengeance unrestrained, she leaned in close, as though to steal his breath away. He felt relief give way to fear and panic, as the thrusts turned to violence and obscenity.

Now others came upon them in the darkness, lovers from past lives, themselves in various guises. They joined in, forming a writhing mound among the fallen stones. All the bodies they had ravaged from here to eternity, flailing away at every orifice, as flesh began to tear and blood mixed with come and sweat. He mocked her and turned to move away, but was pulled back into the fray.

Finishing now, they kicked her back and onto him. He screamed yet nothing came out, the weight of those around and on them having expunged the air from his lungs. The mass of flesh continued to move for a time. Some retched now, and gradually all turned back to silence.

Some time later, he began to scratch and claw his way out from under the pile of bodies. Bruised and shaken, his blood mixed with semen, bile and earth, all congealed into a crust upon him. Slowly regaining his senses, he began to break off and pull away chunks of the putrid mud from his skin.

He stumbled now to the quarry, grabbing the last of the kerosene and turned back to the mound of bodies. Approaching, he saw her crawl out and away into the darkness. Without hesitation, he flung the kerosene onto the remnant, struck a match and threw it onto the pile.

A ball of flames rose up and with the dry blast of a furnace, violently threw him back and onto the ground. Burning flesh and bone transformed to huge chunks of ash and sparks as they lifted up into the night sky. Scorched now, he threw the holy books, votives and sacramentals that remained onto the pyre, turned and staggered away into the night.

  performance video projection stills

"Midsummer Stupa Dream (On Impermanence)"

The monks, in sand colored habits, seated themselves in concentric rings rising up the inside of the beehive like structure. At the base and looking up at them, the elder abbot, of indeterminate sex, with a head of shaved stubble, began speaking of the glories of dying in this way, of how nirvana awaited directly on the other side for those who gave themselves willingly to it.

He knew that the only chance to survive was to sit near the top of the hive, where a window afforded an escape if he could not hold his breath. Finding his place, he sat and leaned with the others into a fetal position. The last thing he saw before closing his eyes was the shaved heads of row upon row of young male devotees. Then, the snakelike hiss of gas as all faded to blackness.
In the dark he felt himself lifted up and outside the temple, and stepping out from the darkness quickly stole up the hillside the stupa was built into. By the flickering firelight he saw an old monk directing bhikkus in the disposal of the bodies.

Walking through the aftermath, he pulled the cowl over his face to avoid their gaze. Stepping into a room filled with scattered bodies, he felt the energetic scurrying of a multitude of creatures: ants, grasshoppers, crabs and the like, all devouring each other as they swarmed on the parched ground.

Reaching down, he picked up a grasshopper, and watched as it ate a tiny ant, even as it was being consumed by a much larger one. The creatures began crawling on him and biting his hands and legs. He brushed them away, but then became fascinated by the insistence of their actions, and bevoming still, watched as they continued to swarm.

"Night into Day"

The night opens up under your wheels: black, empty and infinite. A multitude of stars reaching up and out to forever, and inward just as far. You feel your heart open too, like an orchid in the darkness. And then Freddy Mercury, on your Ipod singing "Oh, won't you take me home tonight", just as morning breaks in your rearview mirror. Now colors gather on the horizon: orange, cyan, magenta, and chase the night across the sky, the same as every morning, only this time you're here to see it unfold. So you follow the colors too, as they lead you back home.

"Devil Be Gone" 

C'mon now, get down with the feeling,
C'mon now give in to the feeling,
Isolation, give in to the feeling,
Deprivation, give in to the feeling,
Desolation, give in to the feeling,
Revelation, give in to the feeling,
C'mon now, feeling what you're feeling,
C'mon now, you know what you're feeling,
C'mon now, you're not what you're feeling,
More than a feeling, more than a feeling, more than a feeling,
Devil be gone, devil disappear,
Devil be gone, devil disappear,
(repeat to fade)

"Can't Nobody Rock Me"

Close your eyes, close your eyes, close your eyes.
Can't nobody rock me, can't nobody bhakti,
Can't nobody Chaka Chaka Khan me.
Can't nobody Lakshmi, can't nobody clock me,
Shut me down cock block me.
Only you can rock me, only you can bhakti,
Only you can Lakshmi, Chaka Chaka Khan me,
Clock me, rave me, bathe me, save me,
Can't nobody do me like you, Jesus baby.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Bride Stripped Bare (performance)

The Bride Stripped Barea performance by
Reivin Alexandria and Randall Garrett

November 22, 2014
CorinthPark, The Cedars, Dallas
Referencing vintage horror film, Marcel Duchamp's Large Glass, and ritual incantation, the performance is a broken down ceremony examining the interplay between feminine and masculine energies as embodied in the archetypes of bride and groom.

photos (left and right) by Scott McDaniel, video still (center) by Dwayne Carter

Vows are exchanged to the sound of bells, mantras, lightning crashing and dreamlike video projections. The newlywed couple explores the duality of matter by sacrificing their bodies to the alchemy and minefield of gender archetypes and cult classic caste roles.
photos (left) by Scott McDaniel, (center and right) by Dwayne Carter
Set amidst altars evoking domesticity: the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, the couple play out scenes of longing, pursuit, violence and transformation.
The Bride Stripped Bare performance video (2014)
Videography by Dwayne Carter, technical support by Patrick Patterson-Carroll,Concept, sound, and performance by Reivin Alexandria and Randall Garrett

Eyes of the Bride installation video (2014)
Readymade concept video (2014)

The Bride Stripped Bare (Performance Artifacts)
by Reivin Alexandria and Randall Garrett

Friday, November 7, 2014

Writings (Fall 2014)

Election update

Election update (Ferguson) same as it ever was (Monsanto) nothing to see here (Corrections Corporation of America) move along (1033 Program) bought and paid for (NSA) let freedom ring edition, not today but someday we can say a new day is dawning brothers and sisters, hallelujah.

Deluge Refuge (Strays on the Street)

Night sets in hot and sweaty as the band goes on and people sway rhythmically in the blacklit warehouse. Channeling her best sacred woman style, she glances around, checks her phone and steps out on the street, just as the weather turns, wind picking up and heavy drops begin to fall. Catching his eye there on the sidewalk she says, "I need a change outta these platforms, let's go back to the car for my flip flops".

Walking close now down the broken sidewalk, she begins to fall and reaching out, he catches her and they huddle down as the skies open up, a torrent unleashed soaking them in waves of cold wetness. "Sacrifice!" she exclaims smiling, as they push into the driving rain, almost crawling now, soaked to the bone and stepping into and through the glistening fresh rainwater puddles. Shivering, he fumbles for his keys, and thinks about the stray dogs passing by earlier on the street, hoping they have a dry place to take refuge. Lightning crackles in the sky just above as he flings open the back door, and they dive in to escape the deluge.

"Krishna!" she laughs, and pulls off the soaked chadors as he leans forward from the backseat, across the console reaching down toward the front floorboard. "Where's that sweet playlist?", he muses, and finds the iPod, still on all fours, head down below the seat and ass sticking up toward her in back. Pushing play, a tender mantra kicks in: "Om Om Om, Sarwa Buddha Dakini Vajra Varani Vajra Virochana" he falls back next to her, and mesmerized they watch the sheets of rain pour down the windshield.

She pulls out her pipe and hands it to him, saying "I saved you the green" as he lights up, inhaling slowly pranayama style, holding it there in equilibrium. She takes a huge puff now and blowing the smoke out in a gray blue cloud, coughs as he chuckles inside. Reaching across her he pulls her faux fur coat on to warm up and leans over onto her shoulder, resting for a moment, then glances into her eyes as they move close and touch in a gentle kiss.

Fucked Up Your Shit (and Your Sheets)

Baby, I told you I would fuck up your sheets.
You told me you would fuck up my shit, you didn't say anything about my sheets.
You're right baby, I did tell you I would fuck up your shit,
but I didn't say anything about your sheets.
I said you better be careful or I will fuck up your shit,and you didn't listen to me, I told you.
I did listen to you baby but you didn't say nothing about fucking up my sheets.
Now you gone and fucked up my sheets
and I'm gonna have to do something about it.
I did do something about it, I fucked up your shit… and your sheets.

Maya on the Midway (Recognition Within the Dream)

Having begun their journey that evening with a visit to the mystical peacock, and observed the beauty of his integration of the many lineages of the bird kingdom into one magnificent and varied body, now they move on along the night path as it widens and people pass wide eyed and nearing the neon lighted entrance archway now where the lights and sounds grow exponentially more vivid. "There she is", he said. "What, baby?" "Maya", he offers up as they walk under the lighted arch spelled "MIDWAY".

They wonder past throngs of party folk caught up in the carnival and sing to each other "Maya, you're so pretty. Maya, you're so empty. Maya, so enticing. Maya, so exciting. Maya, you're the bling bling. Maya, illusion of everything."

"Hey look, Prince!", she exclaims, and they run over to revel at the side show mural as his image stares down at them in all his gender ambiguous glory. "He's the god of the midway", she cries, "let's bask in his effulgence", as they pause briefly to reverence his image there, then continue on.

And stopping before the enormous ferris wheel mandala he says, "Look baby, I told you I'd find the real dharma wheel, and here it is, just like I said... the Wheel of Right Turning."

And as he speaks, it begins to turn, but not clockwise in the direction of his own turning hand, but the opposite way. She says, "you know why that is, right baby?" "No, why?" "Because everything in Maya is a reflection, a mirror image of the true reality".

They walk on, exchanging glances, he moves first ahead, then behind her, to her right, and then left, mingling in and through the crowd, winding all around the midway.

Nearing the end now, as the lights began to fade, she says "What's that deity, the one that charms the other beings? Culu Cooley?"

"Cool cooley!", he replies, confused but intrigued at her question. "Cool cooley, cool cooley", it becomes his mantra. Then he realizes what she is saying. "Kurukula", he answers clearly, and their eyes lock in recognition.

Pausing beneath the orbiting tower, they watch as it rises slowly and majestically upward, a lighted neon Shiva column into the sky, and he says, "Dream travelers can leave a mark to take them back to their dreams, did you know that?"

She looks deeply into his eyes once again, and he says, "I'm leaving a mark in this dream, so I can come back here to you. Do you know what it is?" "No, baby", she replies, staring intently into his eyes. "It's the look in your eyes right now, that's the mark I'm leaving in this dream".

Om Shanti (Protection Projection)

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti. She was surrounded in a world of ice, bright, sharp daggers of cold, the mountain behind Lord Shiva rising to the heavens as she sat in his crown. Lightning crashed and the ice broke all around her, rivers of icy cold waters, a raging torrent now flowing out from the mouth of the Ganges. The electrical discharges thundered all around him as he awoke into the liminal space of Brahma Muhurta, glancing to see her silhouette in the darkness.

I will protect you. Closing his eyes, the apparitions appeared to him, an Arab in a red keffiyeh, a tall thin Indian in a grey pinstripe pimp suit. Seeing the menace in their eyes, he shook himself awake again, and began chanting above her, "Om Shanti Shanti Shanti, I will protect you and keep you safe, Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivayah, Om Namah Shivaya". He did this each time the wrathful entities appeared into his dream space.

And keep you safe. Walking along the cracking ice, and following the emerging floodwaters heading downstream from Lord Shiva, she heard a sound coming from the bottom of an icy well. A powerful and subtle white snow lion followed her from a distance in protection. She crawled down into the well and found a young girl huddled there shivering from the cold.

Om Namah Shivaya. He walked with her past the gang of white dudes in muscle shirts as they stood next to their hot rods in the parking lot. They leered at her as they passed by, and he turned, placing himself between them and her, staring and said "this is my strong black woman, back the fuck off", as their gazes lowered away from his.

Om Namah Shivaya. She knelt down in the well, wrapping her arms around the girl, and covering her with holy texts to warm her, lifted the child up to stand and began to help her to climb out of the well. Lightning continued to crash moving outward and away from them now and across the wintry landscape.

Om Namah Shivaya. He stood with her on a subway platform, where the trench coat wearing beast had tried to take her into the underworld once before. A man with a pistol appeared quietly at the far end of the platform as Ricardo engaged him holding a knife at the man's chest. They chased across the platform, as he stood before her ready to fight, until they exited and all became quiet.

Thunder continued to roll in the darkness, but far away now, and a heavy rain poured down, washing the earth in torrents as they lay there and night turned into morning. She turned toward him as he continued to chant and his eyes grew heavy as he gently fell asleep in her arms.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

Manifesto -- Pissing in the Wind

Artists, writers, musicians, performers make your art, resist the prevailing winds of commodification and revel in the freedom of your expression. This is the surest form of protest, an open mic voice among the tidal wave of apathy and conformist culture.

 The Missing Shirt

Guy walks into a party. Hanging with friends, lounging languid on a sumptuous overstuffed bed. People mingling, painting their bodies in neon day-glo colors, externally transformed, but talking as though very much the same. Pulled in, he takes off his shirt and scarves, lets a friend paint him too, and feeling the spirit move, finds himself plunging into a brief shamanic journey, grabbing the hands of his other painted friends, and leading them on a wild run through the space.

They contort their bodies wildly, passing strangers in the hallway, themselves covered in paint, yet looking on wide eyed at such a breaking with decorum. Running, jumping, he and his friends scare the other party people into brief moments of recognition.

Now spent and the spell broken, he goes to retrieve his shirt and finds it missing. Looking all around, and wondering where could it be, or who might have taken it. Perturbed, looking across the room now, he sees a new acquaintance from earlier in the evening, wearing his missing shirt.

This was the same stranger turned friend that expressed fascination with the shirt at the start of the evening, who upon seeing the logo "MEXICO"  told him stories of trips through the jungle, of the darkness thereof, of the unseen animals that howled in the trees, of the indigenous peoples there who spoke a language more ancient than the everyday Español, of the drug wars and how he was afraid to go back now.

He wondered what to do... should he let it go, or take back what belonged to him.

Driving home later, and slipping into bed he felt the familiar shirt brushing against his skin, and pulling it off, was taken back to the party scene, of rubbing the dried paint, bloodlike, from the bare skin on the back of his new acquaintance, there and on into the dark jungles and innumerable unseen beings passing through them, of the give and take and trusts exchanged as they collided there in the night.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Installation Views / Solo Show / Deep Ellum Windows, Dallas

Installation views of my work from the recent solo show:

 "Performance Artifacts and Documentation"
Deep Ellum Windows
2604 Main Street • Dallas
May 10-17, 2014
Personae (1998-2014)

 Wheel of Right Turning (2005)

Installation View (2014)

 Dream Ladder (foreground) (2014)
and The Year of Bleeding Profusely (background) (2013)
Performance Artifacts (The Worker) (2013)

 Eating, Drinking (2013)
Last Night I Didn't Get to Sleep At All (left) (2001)
and I Don't Know How to Love Him (right) (2001)

Performance Artifact (The Prisoner) (2005)
Performance Artifact (The Prisoner) (2005)

Installation Views / Solo Show / Beefhaus, Dallas

Installation views and a video of my work from the recent solo show:

 "Reach Inside to See the Stars"
833 Exposition Avenue • Dallas

April 26 - May 8, 2014

  Beefhaus Performance (2014)

 Transformation Deity (2014)

Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond (2014)
Temple Dancer (performance view) (2014)

Journey (performance view) (2014)

Dream Ladder (performance view) (2014)

Dakini Lamps (2014)
Bardos of the Night (detail) (2014)
Dream Ladder and Stacks (2014)
Performance Artifact (Kashaya) (2014)

Closing Party and Collaborative Performance

Monday, May 5, 2014

Performance Artifacts and Documentation

Deep Ellum Windows presents:
Randall Garrett "Performance Artifacts and Documentation"
May 10 - 17, 2014
opening reception: Sat. 5/10 7-10 pm
2604 Main Street • Dallas

 Temple Dancer (2014)

A selection of artifacts and documentation from 15 years in performance by Randall Garrett will go on view as a part of the Deep Ellum Windows series on May 10th. Works on view will include performance paintings, collage, sculpture, installation, and documentation in the form of photography and video.
 The Prisoner (2005)
The show will span the period from Garrett's first performance, the techno and club influenced RXS persona of Last Dance (1999), to the utilitarian Worker from Back Alley Bodhisattvas (2003) to Bloom in the Ghetto (2007), and The Worker (2013), the Prisoner from Diverging Roads (2005) and Libera Me (2006), and the more recent Temple Dancer from Bardos of the Night (2014).

lt.: The Worker (2004) rt.: Last Dance (1999)
A video projection will show documentation of several performances, and large scale and sequential performance paintings from 2013 will also be on view.

I Don't Know How to Love Him (2001)

 The artist has had solo shows in Dallas, Houston, and Chicago, along with group exhibitions in New York, Miami, Santa Fe, and Ft. Worth. He is currently the gallery director at El Centro College in Dallas, after directing the gallery at Richland College (1998-2009) and was the founder and director of Plush Gallery (2000-2012).

 Eating, Drinking (2013)