rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
Trashing Performance

Gavin Butt and Ben Walters with Dickie Beau: THIS IS NOT A DREAM


27 October 2011

Bethnal Green Working Men's Club


How to change the world with your video camera... or create your own

A new film about artists using moving images to promote freakery and explore stranger regions of fantasy.


Featuring interviews with Dickie Beau, Dara Birnbaum, Nao Bustamante, Vaginal Davis, Cole Escola, Vincent Fremont, Alp Haydar, Holestar, David Hoyle, Kalup Linzy, Glenn O’Brien, and Scottee.

Including a brand new video-interactive live performance from acclaimed drag fabulist Dickie Beau.


The video revolution of the 1970s offered unprecedented access to the moving image for artists and performers. New worlds began to unfold: you could talk back to the mainstream by hijacking its images and upending its values; you could reach out, through the camera, to fellow freaks; and you could create dreamscapes to explore other ways of being.

Drawing on exclusive interviews shot in London, New York and Berlin, THIS IS NOT A DREAM charts a path across four decades of avant-garde experiment and radical escapism, following the influences of Andy Warhol, John Waters and Jack Smith to the perverted frontiers of YouTube and Chatroulette, taking in subverted talk shows and soap operas, streetwalker fashions and glittery magic penises along the way.

THIS IS NOT A DREAM is directed by Gavin Butt, Reader in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Ben Walters, Cabaret Editor at Time Out London and programmer of BURN, the platform for moving images by cabaret artists. The film is edited by Tom Frederic and presented by BURN and Performance Matters.

Video documentation of an introduction to the screening by Gavin Butt and Ben Walters accompanied by interactive performance by Dickie Beau at London BFI Lesbian and Gay Film Festival on 26 March 2012 is viewable on the BFI website.

This event is a manifestation of a Trashing Performance Dialogues project

Full video documentation of Trashing Performance is available to view at the Live Art Development Agency Study Room and the British Library