One thing is certain about life in Tucson 25 years ago: The hair on Daniel Buckley's head and face was brown. Back then, folks also went to Club Congress to what was called the Counter Club to take in an exploding performance art scene, of which Buckley was a part of when he performed as Blind Lemon Pledge, and with the Little Dinks.
Last month, Club Congress celebrated its 25th anniversary with the bands that grew from the space. Buckley has organized another 25-year reunion—of the performance artists who also called Congress home. It happens tonight at Club Congress, 311 E Congress St., Friday, Oct. 1, 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.
Read Buckley's press release for more info and a great perspective on the importance of this reunion. Go to the jump to see the lineup:
Nine months before the first band trod the stage of Tucson’s musical sweet spot — the Club Congress — a series of performance artists blazed the trail at what was then called the Counter Club.
A week before the club officially opened Robert Bray and Milliren rocked downtown with an epic midnight performance spectacular titled “Garments of Elegy and Ecstacy.” On its official opening night, Blind Lemon Pledge (aka Daniel Buckley) would debut a musical performance work called “Nestled in Narcotics,” with The Lovely Miss Pearl Drops (painter Rosemary Geseck) as his partner. That Halloween, Mary Ann Brazil created another large scale extravaganza called Red, and from that point forward a tradition of happenings and performance artist showcases followed that included appearances by Karen Finley, RuPaul (pre-fame), Matt Groening (pre-Simpsons) and such local artists as Dennis Williams, James Mousigian, Imo Baird, Robert Bray, GriffinFish, The Little Dinks, Matt Bevel, the Phoenix Boat People and many more.
On October 1, the Club Congress again becomes ground-zero to Tucson’s performance art world as current and past generations of Arizona performance artists take over the Hotel Congress for an evening easier experienced than described. Participants include Joanna Frueh, Jeff Falk and Annie Lopez, Paul Fisher, Blind Lemon Pledge, Jennifer Urso, Denise Uyehara, Heather Wodrich, the Little Dinks and Laura Milkins.
No discussion of the history of performance art in the earliest days of the Club Congress (or Counter Club as it was known in those days) would be complete without acknowledging the visionary contributions of Gary Patch. Patch was a driving force in the decision to try performance art in the venue and the man who in the earliest days booked acts. Patch’s martini glass logo has become synonymous with the Club Congress. Patch later went on to design the interior of the Rialto Theater. He is one of the unsung greats of Tucson’s art scene.
Worth mentioning as well are the visionary contributions of Mary Ann Brazil and later Danny Vinik who shaped the fledgling Club Congress into the venue for music and art that it is today.
Club Congress Performance Art Lineup:
Laura Milkins outside all night (In Bed series)
Jen Urso in the lobby 6:15 pm
1. Joanna Frueh 7:00
2. Heather Wodrich 7:30
3. Paul Fisher 8:00
4. Denise Uyehara 8:30
5. Jeff Falk and Annie Lopez 9:00
6. The Little Dinks 9:30 (Craig Zingg, Imo Baird, Daniel Buckley)
7. Colleena Candelabra 10:00
8. Blind Lemon Pledge 10:30 (AKA Daniel Buckley w. Cara Sommerville, cello; plus special appearance by Baby Steps Martin)
9. Dennis Williams 11:00
Adrienne Halpert and Daniel Buckley co-emcees all night.
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