Clowns and Fetuses


William Shakespeare wrote while waves of Bubonic plague left thousands dead in England. Given this, it’s not surprising that in some of his sonnets Shakespeare imagines his own death. This was more than poetic convention—death from the plague was a very real, immediate threat. 

This Clowns and Fetuses’ video project is based on one such sonnet: Shakespeare’s sonnet 71, “No longer mourn for me when I am dead.” It seems to be about a love affair outside of marriage, perhaps with his young man (W.H.?) or the “dark lady” who appears in Shakespeare’s poems.

In sonnet 71, the writer tells his lover not to grieve over his death, and not let people see the depth of their emotion so the townspeople won’t spread gossip. We’ve given this situation a contemporary, COVID-19 setting in which the lover/mourner must wear a mask for a beneficial reason–to protect others at the funeral, and for a more painful reason—to not betray her real feelings. 

After all, even during plagues, love goes on. People have affairs, stay closeted, or have other reasons for not revealing relationships. How do we navigate this landscape when so much unmourned death already seems hidden?


Proposed work as accepted for soundpedro 2020:
San Pedro’s Sunken City

At the tip of Point Fermin in San Pedro lies a mocking tribute to nature’s power over humanity–the legendary Sunken City. This formerly pristine community of luxury homes slid into the ocean in 1929. It is now a twisted mass of pipes, concrete, Red Car tracks and other detritus of an unfortunate adventure in urban planning. Closed to the public by an imposing iron gate, it stands as a happy hunting ground for lawless and foolish adventurers often known to fall into the ocean themselves. 

Sounds of this forbidden zone abound–the ever present wind, the inexorable movement of the earth, the strange eminations of the electro-magnetic fault line said to have caused the disaster and the muffled screams of the ghosts of the fallen, among other clamors.

Using videos, found objects, props, placards, costumes and of course SOUNDS of all varieties, Clowns and Fetuses will recreate this forbidden zone and its unfathomable sonic energies. Angels Gate patrons will bear witness to the thrill and horror of land’s inevitable collapse.

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Clowns and Fetuses has sonically skewed audiences since 2004 with improvised compositions and colorful presentations covering every imaginable obsession. Using synthesizers, theremins, unimaginable gizmos, random percussion objects and human voices, they presents themed events celebrating energy nodes of our strange world. In past years at Long Beach’s famed SOUNDWALK, C&F has done sonic send-ups of the semi-fictional Hypatia Waste Water treatment plant, and the legendary but now defunct Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach. Last December, they presented a chilling sound art tribute entitled “Downtown Los Angeles’s Creepiest Hotels.

Artist Location: Huntington Park, CA

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Posted in Artists 2020.