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John Fleck in Residence: Blessed Are All the Little Snowballs in Hell (Work-in-Progress Performance)

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John Fleck in A Snowball’s Chance in Hell

Presented as part of NEA 4 in Residence.

John Fleck’s Blessed Are All the Little Snowballs in Hell frankensteins together his infamously defunded work Blessed Are All the Little Fishes (1989) and its follow-up A Snowball’s Chance in Hell (1992) into a virtuosic new work for 2013, with an eye towards a New York City premiere later this year. Snowball was Fleck’s response to the experience of being thrust into the spotlight of controversy as a result of the defunding of Fishes by the NEA. Fascinatingly, neither of these works has ever been performed in New York City.

Blessed Are All the Little Fishes reveals Fleck’s attempts to grapple with the two biggest factors in his childhood: alcoholism and Catholicism. “It’s the story of this man’s binge, which is also society’s binge—man at his lowest point of alienation,” says Fleck, who, in the course of the show, dresses as a mermaid, urinates on stage, hacks up a dead goldfish, talks about bisexuality, and makes a toilet bowl into an altar by pasting a photo of Christ onto the lid. For his drunken character, Fleck says that the toilet is “the center of the universe, a place of miraculous visitation.”

Part Beckettian nightmare, part channel-surfing mindfuck, A Snowball’s Chance in Hell humorously/feverishly addresses the existential horror of trying to sustain oneself on mediated realities while lamenting the impossibility of ever being able to escape such mediation. The work eerily foreshadows today’s anxieties around the death of privacy (e.g., social media, smart phones, airport security, internet shopping, etc.).

John Fleck is a performer, writer, and stage, television, and film actor based in Los Angeles. His past body of self scripted solo work includes: Mad Women, Johnny’s Got a Gun, Nothin’ Beats Pussy, Mud in your Eye, Dirt, me, A Snowball’s Chance in Hell, Blessed are all the Little Fishes, PsychoOpera, and I Got the He-be-she-be’s. A sampling of past performance venues includes: the ICA (London), ICA (Boston), the Public Theater, the Guggenheim Museum, Performance Space 122, LaMama Theater, Dixon Place, and Joe’s Pub (NYC), the Getty Museum, Cal Plaza, and MOCA (Los Angeles). Recent theater credits include: Tobacco Road (LaJolla Playhouse), She Stoops to Comedy (Evidence Room, LA), A Perfect Wedding (Kirk Douglas Theater, LA), Applause (Reprise, UCLA), Noises Off (Cape Playhouse, Dennis, MA), On the Jump (South Coast Rep), Small Craft Warnings, Cringe, The Berlin Circle (Evidence Room, LA), The Mystery of Irma Vep (Tiffany Theater, LA) & Tony Kushner’s adaptation of The Illusion (LATC), and The Granny (The Old Globe, San Diego). A sampling of TV/film work includes: True Blood, Criminal Minds, Bones, Weeds, The Closer, Carnivale, StarTrek Enterprise, NYPD Blue, Murder One, Seinfeld, PBS’s Tales of the City. Feature films include: On-Line, Primary Suspect, Falling Down, and Waterworld, amongst others, which enable him financial fluidity to create his, not necessarily for-profit, performance art.

Presented in conjunction with “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star.”

Sponsors

This program is made possible, in part, through the support of the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Education and public programs are made possible by a generous grant from Goldman Sachs Gives at the recommendation of David B. Heller & Hermine Riegerl Heller.

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte, and the Robert Mapplethorpe Photography Fund.

The accompanying exhibition publication is made possible by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum.

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