Much of the world's misery is a direct result of repressed faggotry. Repressed fags are bullies in school. Repressed fags become sadistic gym teachers. Repressed fags buy SUVs and drive out to the woods so they can shoot holes in Bambi and Thumper. And if some rather persistent rumors are true, sometimes repressed fags even grow up to become really shitty presidents.
So let us give thanks for guys like Tim Miller—writer, performance artist, founder of the Highways performance space in Santa Monica, teacher, civil rights activist, and just about the least-repressed fag around. Miller grew up an alienated local boy, attending La Habra High School, and had a breakthrough in his teens when he saw a PBS show about Oscar Wilde and found in the playwright a kindred spirit. He promptly came out, but while his family was immediately supportive, Miller has spent the last few decades fighting for similar acceptance from the rest of the planet.
In 1990, Miller joined Karen Finley, John Fleck and Holly Hughes to become the so-called "NEA Four," suing the National Endowment for the Arts and its chairman John E. Frohnmayer for overturning their grants on specifically political grounds (Miller has written that his grant was revoked due to the "lush, wall-to-wall homo themes" of his work). While the four eventually won their grants, the case went all the way to the Supreme Court and in 1998 the court infamously ruled that the NEA could reject art on the grounds of "indecency."
Some of Miller's political clashes have been much more personal: in 1992, he was beaten up by cops while protesting at the Republican National Convention. More recently he and his companion of 12 years, Australian artist Alistair McCartney, faced exile when McCartney's visa expired; as a gay couple they weren't legally allowed to get married to allow McCartney to remain in America, so Miller was faced with either breaking up with the love of his life or packing up and moving overseas. What happened? Well, if you want to find out, you'll have to go see Miller's latest solo show, 1001 Beds, which is having a two-night run this weekend at Santa Ana's Rude Guerrilla Theater Company.
The show's title comes from Miller's realization that if he continues his current performing and touring schedule, in 20 years he'll have slept in 1001 hotel beds across this fine land. Here's hoping that by the time he reaches that 1001st bed, he'll enjoy a good night's sleep knowing that he's done his part to make ours a more reasonable and tolerant nation. Bonus bit of cool trivia for Larry Sanders Show fanatics: Miller was the way-over-the-top spoken word guy who went on Larry's show and made Larry so very uncomfortable. "Ecce homo! Behold . . . the fag!"
1001 BEDS, AT THE RUDE GUERRILLA THEATER COMPANY, 200 N. BROADWAY, (714) 547-4688; WWW.RUDEGUERRILLA.ORG. FRI.-SAT., 8 P.M. $18.
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Orange County art and theater scene.