Kirk Read’s “This is the Thing”

So R and I went to a performance art piece by Kirk Read last night, at The Garage on Howard Street. The performance is part of the National Queer Arts Festival. Kirk Read grew up in Virginia (presumably in the DC suburbs) the son of a colonel (the real US military as in the Pentagon, not like a ‘Kentucky colonel’). He transplanted himself to San Francisco but retains a soft Virginia accent, and an insider’s perspective to both sex-work (he was a hooker) and evangelical Christianity (he was asked to leave Baptist camp as a teen).

The performance is challenging – and has a few only in San Francisco elements. For me it was the peeing in the crystal goblets with food coloring that was the tip-off. From my seat I actually didn’t have a clear sight-line to Mr. Read’s crotch, and I was just watching and listening to his second-act monologue when R leans over and whispers ‘Oh oh!’ so I tilt my head and see what that is about. Well – no one likes to go out, pay good money and see the same old shows repeated. And that certainly doesn’t happen at “This is the Thing.” Prepare to be surprised.

Best bits: Not the wee-weeing in the goblets; but the “Hotel Hooker Haiku” and the final act which is a well-acted (and lip-sync’ed) episode drawn from his national sex-workers performing arts tour of colleges and a creative confrontation with evangelical protestors at the College of William and Mary, near Pat Robertson’s media empire HQ.

PS – final night is June 14 and it’s all sold out.


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