Now that the end of the year is here and I’m taking stock, I have a regret: I regret not writing about the new collective Saint Genet, the one risen from Implied Violence. I’ve loved Genius Award winners Implied Violence. Loved. I did not love Saint Genet. I was left with a bad taste, even.
At the time I saw the performance, I didn’t write anything because I only saw one of three parts of the series. That means that a caveat has to hang over this response. This is not a formal review.
But because Implied Violence has been such an important presence, and because Saint Genet involves largely the same group of super-charged performers, it’s worth raising a few questions that didn’t get raised in public discourse back then.
1. Why were the female performers so grossly underused?
2. Is the Jonestown massacre/cult an interesting reference point at this moment in history? Is Jean Genet? Which parts of their legacies are being drawn on, and why?
3. Is there enough irony in the world—or even in the art world—to make an image of white-male-artist-as-cult-leader interesting?
4. Almost the entire event was performed to the song “Black Baby.” Jim Jones also used the song. But what is the history of the song? What is Saint Genet’s racial analysis?
5. What is the relationship between “Black Baby” and the hip hop that blasted on the sound system the second the performance was over, almost like a victory song, a release?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. That's what 2012's for.