It’s been years since I saw Jenny Magnus perform a piece called “Robert” – I don’t even know where anymore – maybe Lower Links, maybe Randolph Street Gallery, maybe N.A.M.E. It later became part of a theater piece called “The Willies” but, initially, it was a stand-alone. It was darkly funny in parts, but mostly it was about the fear of commitment and the searing pain of aloneness. It touched and scared me and made my head spin.
In the intervening years, whenever I considered performance art, I came back to that stark and powerful stage moment. When performance works, it doesn’t just leave an impression, but something more like a scar.
I say that now, in part, because I want to make clear that I really do love performance. I wrote about it for the Reader and the Tribune for years, and was a regular at all those long gone performance places (For those interested, there’s a Lower Links Reunion — complete with performances — Sunday, July 11, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Lakeside Inn, 15251 Lakeshore Rd.