Legendary performance artist John Fleck is the focus of tonight’s documentary John Fleck Is Who You Want Him To Be, directed by our guest, Kevin Duffy. In 1990, Fleck and three other performance artists became known as the NEA Four, who sued the National Endowments for the Arts all the way to the Supreme Court for overtly vetoing their grants. The artists won, but the NEA reacted by no longer funding individual artists.
Fleck’s often profane, always profound and challenging performances began in the 1980s as a reaction to HIV/AIDS and homophobia, and have resulted in four LA Critics Circle Awards, eight Drama-Logue, seven LA Weekly and two Backstage West awards, all for outstanding performance. He has appeared in numerous films and television series, most recently True Blood. He has also appeared on various Star Treks, in the series Carnivale, and numerous films.
Full disclosure: Fleck was a featured gallery artist in the Two Johns and a Whore, an art show I curated at Coagula Curatorial in January of this year. Fleck did a performance piece which (I’m thrilled and honored to say) is now part of John Fleck Is Who You Want Him To Be. I had no idea when I set up the art show that there was documentary in the works, and so it was kinda mind-blowing for me to learn that opening night would be part of of film. Like wow…
Tonight is a rare opportunity to discuss the NEA, performance art, and a variety of other subjects with both director Kevin Duffy and John Fleck himself who will be joining us during the course of Movie Night.
Here is an excerpt from the film