Regional Reviews: San Francisco
Tim Miller Solo Performance in
The New Conservatory Theatre Center recently concluded a limited performance of Tim Miller presenting highlights from his book Body Blows. Mr. Miller is a performance artist, teacher, writer and gay immigration rights activist. He has been taking this one person show all around the country telling what it is like to be an activist in gay causes in America. Body Blows is Mr. Miller's final tour since his partner Alistair McCartney must leave stateside at year's end due to the current immigration laws in the United States. Mr. McCartney is a citizen of the U.K. and his visa runs out in December. Since the U.S. government does not recognize same-sex relationships, Tim has elected to leave with his partner to live in the U.K. As Mr. Miller says, America is the only Western country that does not recognize same-sex relationships.
Tim Miller is an angry young man, yet he has the capacity of being angry, funny and self critical all at the same time. Much of his 70 minute performance is about the disrespect for lesbian and gay relationships in America. The writer has taken some of his life stories from his book Body Blows.
Miller comes out onto the small stage like a cross between John Leguizamo and Rocky. He talks about his body rapidly while keeping his "dukes up." He tries to explain what Body Blows means by saying "Blow means many things, including the queer-basher blows, as well as the sweet blowing breath of a lover tickling over the eyes. The blows on your body from a cop in Houston or San Francisco, in addition to the exquisite blow of two men's bodies coming together in love."
Tim relates some wonderful stories during the one act performance. He tells of his sister dressing him up like Jackie Kennedy with a pink pillbox hat at the age of 8, and of seeing the Franco Zeffirelli film Romeo and Juliet at about the same age. Tim sees Romeo, played by Leonard Whiting, lying naked on the bed and immediately "enlists in the homo army." Tim talks about his first disastrous teenage date with a fellow teenager who is member of a rock group who sings lyrics by the Marques de Sade. He sees the Zeffirelli film again at the Los Angeles Museum with his date, they visit the La Brea Tar Pit and on the way back to their homes in Whittier, his VW is reared ended by a large car. However, it all turns out fine since the date gets to "spend the night" at Tim's home and in Tim's bed.
Miller's monologues include those of his life as a carpenter in Brooklyn, his mishap with another carpenter, his love affair with a modern dancer, his ER room experience when he cuts the tip of his index finger off, and his New York lover Joe (who later died of AIDS) who comes to pick him up to go "home." The latter is amusing since the ER is in a Catholic hospital and it is the night that the Pope was shot. Miller ends with his new Scottish lover on the Rainbow Bridge overlooking Niagara Falls. The final scene is a masterstroke of imagery, ending with the couple's recent battle with the immigration laws that will not permit McCartney to stay in the United States.
Body Blows ended Sunday, September 29. Coming up on the Twist and Shout Festival will be Master of the (Miss) Universe starring Noel Alumit opening on October 9th.