Michelle, Our Belle

Saturday, January 11th, 2003 | Art, Performance

Last night I attended a performance by Michelle Rollman, David Johnston, and Philip Horvitz, at New Langton Arts. The piece was presented in conjunction with Michelle’s stunning exhibition, Dark Horse. Michelle is a very dear old buddy of mine who, along with everyone else except me, moved to New York about five years ago. About a year after she moved there, she came back to SF for a visit and came to my house for dinner, and casually showed me pictures of her new life in New York–a dude in a dress (“That’s Dana, my boyfriend”), and herself with a saddle on her back, hooves, and a bit in her mouth. It was all too much, “What has New York done to my little Michelley belly?!?!” I finally blurted out, tears welling in my eyes. Evidentally, she’s into “pony play.” Her performance last night was an autobiographical song and dance extravaganza called Velvet, which delved into the nature of her relation to the horse, the death of her own horse when a child, and Elizabeth Taylor’s National Velvet. The piece culminated in Philip mounting Michelle in her full horsey regalia and riding her across the stage. The sounds of her clomping and whinnying sent shivers through the entire audience.

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