Wordspace is a Dallas non-profit whose goal is to encourage and showcase indigenous Texas writers. I attended an event at their Oak Cliff location described as performance art on Saturday, May 12, 2012. I asked Wordspace director Karen X Minzer why they chose to include this type of event since it didn’t sound like a literary evening. Karen said that Laney is a writer that uses visual media to accentuate the monologue.
I’ve never seen a performance art piece, so I was eager to experience one.
Laney Yarber’s piece The Claire-Eoke All Media Review left me confused and frustrated. Laney appeared wearing a 1960s era vintage cocktail dress, white gloves and perky hat. The wardrobe led me to expect observations about women’s issues. She spent quite a bit of time promoting her favorite jazz musicians which was conversational and didn’t seem to be part of a monologue. There were also several of her longtime friends in the audience who appear in one of the videos. Once again it became a personal conversation while she described what was happening in the video.
Four videos were playing in addition to a jazz soundtrack. There were quite a bit of technical problems and Laney kept interrupting the performance to adjust dials and settings. There was karaoke toward the end, but I didn’t get the connection between the wardrobe, the avant garde art in the videos and singing karaoke.
Laney Yarber obviously has a lot of stories to tell, I just wasn’t sure tonight what they were.