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Brendan Connelly, Brooke O'Harra & Lisa D'Amour bring to life Billy The Kid, Jack Spicer's 1957 poem.
Brendan Connelly, Brooke O'Harra & Lisa D'Amour bring to life Billy The Kid, Jack Spicer's 1957 poem.
75 backers pledged $4,013 to help bring this project to life.

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We are Brooke O’Harra, Brendan Connelly and Lisa D’Amour, -- with Becca Blackwell, Rick Burkhardt, Laryssa Husiak and Donnell E. Smith -- and we are making a new performance inspired by / riffing on the poetry and radical lectures of Berkeley Renaissance poet Jack Spicer. It will premiere in July at Mount Tremper Arts.  And we need to raise $3,500 more to pay our supremely talented performers and musicians and designers! Can you help?

JACK SPICER'S BILLY THE KID

Spicer says: “Get those words out of your mouth and into your heart”.

Spicer says: “Nonsense is an act of friendship.”

Spicer says: "Sex should be a frightening experience, like a dirty joke or an angel."

JACK SPICER'S BILLY THE KID is a performance that works to conjure and honor Jack Spicer: the poet, the activist, the renegade genius who died too young.   We've transformed Spicer's poem Billy the Kid into a series of songs, and have woven them together with excerpts from his lectures on poetry.  Three outlaws – Are they poets? Are they gunslingers? Are they three parts of Jack Spicer? - meet in a room on the edge of some American frontier. Aliens, aliases and renegade desires (poetic, sexual) rise to the surface; manifestos are subverted/inverted/perverted in search of a language that can queer their world.  

We've pulled together an amazing group of performers to bring Spicer's work to life -- regular Two-Headed Calf performers Becca Blackwell and Laryssa Husiak, our new addition, Donnell E. Smith plus Brendan Connelly and RIck Burkhardt -- the two composers from Two-headed Calf's YOU MY MOTHER -- as the house band.

Your donation will help us pay our actors and designers and finish the show to premiere at Mt. Tremper -- which also means preparing the show to come to a city near you!

WHAT DOES BILLY THE KID SOUND LIKE?

Here are some live recordings of songs from that performance when we developed it at The New Orleans Fringe Festival with Kathy Randels, Becca Blackwell and Todd D'Amour:

SONGS OF BILLY THE KID

WHO IS JACK SPICER?

During Jack Spicer’s brief life as a poet, teacher and intellectual, he was never fully embraced by the mainstream or the counter-culture. He believed his poetry came from “outside” himself, perhaps dictated by Martians. He was a gay man living in a tiny bohemia, participating in early gay rights groups like the Mattachine Society. He was a beloved teacher who never seemed able to hold down a teaching job for long, in part because of his struggles with alcohol. He died at age 40 after being found comatose in the elevator of his apartment building. In the 50 years since his death, Jack Spicer’s deep humanity and urgent aim to disrupt convention and provoke new thought resonates with writers, artists, gay activists and poetry lovers. 

Spicer inspires us and called us to action. He would be 89 years old this year – it sucks that he’s not still here, writing and thinking and helping us cross the next thought frontier. We want our show to introduce more people to Spicer’s sharp wisdom – a wisdom that nudges us to keep searching of a universe that values multiplicity, fluidity and the tantalizing unknown.

Risks and challenges

Brooke, Brendan and Lisa will continue to bring you mind-altering performance projects!!!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A big old THANK YOU in our program for the premiere at the Mount Tremper Arts Festival

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    A signed copy of a "WANTED" poster of Jack Spicer or Becca Blackwell (your choice) - and a big old THANK YOU in the program

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    A copy of The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer - published by Wesleyan Press!!!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    An exclusive video of the cast of Jack Spicer's Billy The Kid performing The Unvert Manifesto! Plus a "WANTED" poster and a big old THANK YOU in the program

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Funding period

- (33 days)