2018 . . . was the year I finally caught up with this guy !!!!!!!!
it was.

RUFUS TUREEN . . . !!!!!
setting up for ‘Olde Man’, a Saturday night solo performance piece he presented, in a stage of his own making,
at Essex Flowers / in the newly opened, tiny but hey . . it packs punch !! back room.

this in fact was Rufus’s first solo show at Essex Flowers . . but, he’d been popping up, in various costumes on Instagram rather intriguingly, & with increased rabid fandom at every new turn.
so, even though I’m not normally into ‘performance’ – I was ready to engage at the nearest best opportunity, turns out his first solo show at Essex Flowers, coincided with Jeffrey Tranchell’s / Jonathan Hartshorn – ‘Suckers …’ show – so, game on !!!

the early visuals were also quite enchanting – wtf, Louis the 16th ?
I was like: oh oh, I better wear a hat to hide my own unruly white mane. lest I become an unwitting participant, and perhaps up for some ridicule in the process, damn these smart-ass interactive/performance artists !!
been there/done that.

when I caught that first sight of him, above . . I was, of course !! epiphany. light bulb. this is . . him.
this guy’s got to have that really neutral face, a rubbery, generic, accountant’s face, no great stature either, all on the down low / who you’d walk by in the street & you wouldn’t notice / the perfect mime face. the blank canvas.
it was kind of like an art world ‘blind-date’ meeting of the minds, albeit 2 very, strange, expressive minds !!
I had heard of him, but had no idea what to expect / except the grin on his face made huge promises.

It seemed like he had heard of me, but didn’t know who I was or looked like, but he got my number, too.
& right away / I was taking a million photos, and talking a mile a minute, asking a million questions, and grinning non-stop,
he got me. & he was impressed too, that beyond the normal obsession with info, that precedes me,
I actually did my homework.
what ? had no one asked him before – if he had a famous father ?
he was shocked.
what, does no one else in this town . . do their homework ?
or maybe it’s more like: watch out . . very late night, world wide web ‘stalker’ – on the premises.
you can dish it – I can find it.

wow, so far . . . the blind date’s doing pretty damn . . . GOOD !!!!

of course, the tiny back room was like the hugest stage – I knew right then,
I was in the hands of a . . magician.
an illusionist.
a painter.
bearing . . tales.

and, of course (!!) it confronted, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, that I thought I stood for & had a grip on, namely simple, functional, found, industrial, DIY, hard. conceptual, art. I mean, I had just spent the better part of the afternoon immersed in the brilliant, quietly joking, small-sized / art works floating in great white space, offering up Tootsie Roll pops, . . that was Jonathan Hartshorn’s show / and I literally, turn a corner, literally, one step in that small storefront space,
and, voila: damn. …… whaaaaaaaaaa !! whaaaaaa !! again.
in-your-face, BOLD.
wild expressionism. wild abandon. hedonism. crazy-driven brush strokes. passionate paint, lyrical imagery, with . . real human ‘figures’. and, historical ones at that.
picturesque, poetic & about to bare their porcelain breasts !!

I remembered this hand-painted yellow & blue ‘screen’, from the Essex Flowers ‘Home Edition’ show, but – where it had once been a backdrop, for other people’s fancies, HERE . . EVEN IN THIS TINY, SHALLOW ROOM, IT WAS A-GLOW – WITH A SECRET LIFE.

what, what ? is that a tease ? is my future true love – a sly romantic, or what !!!
dangling a tiny handkerchief, beckoning: come, come, follow me, into my secret world.

my heart was a-flutter, like a little bird it beat against my chest.
I was already powerless at the joy unfolding . . there was no escaping.

and just in time, for hark: the ‘Olde Man’, looking quite the dashing, young, French, mischief-bearing, elfish . . pied piper, doth handily . . appear.

you, broke my heart in half, with joy & unsurpassed / surprised delight – in 2018.

Yes, world . . I am Rufus Tureen, come to steal you away, tonight.

oh my fluttering soul, took off, without a thought & into much deep fancy.
no wonder, all those court people wore all that make-up, and those huge huge wigs, with waves-of-curls, powerfully descending & twirling in the glory.
all the better to transform, my dear.

OCT 13 – Nov 11, 2018