The Reality Shows
The Reality Shows
The new millennium, by America’s most notorious performance artist.
Foreword by Kathleen Hanna
Introduction by Ann Pellegrini
"Ms. Finley hasn't lost the power to disturb."—Ben Brantley, The New York Times
No other performing artist has captured the psychological complexity of this decade as Karen Finley has. In her inimitable style, she has embodied some of the most troubling figures to cast a long shadow on the public imagination, and has envisioned a kind of catharsis within each drama: Liza Minnelli responds to the September 11 attacks; Terri Schiavo explains why Americans love a woman in a coma; Martha Stewart dumps George W. Bush during their tryst on the eve of the Republican National Convention; Silda Spitzer tells the former governor why “I’m sorry” just isn’t enough; and the ghost of Jackie O cries, “Please stop looking at me!" The Reality Shows is a revelation of a decade by one of our greatest interpreters of popular and political culture.
“[The Reality Shows] is a deeply "written" project, intended for the page as much as the stage.” —Los Angeles Times
"Karen Finley is a profound theater-artist. Her artistry is due in part to her ability to alchemize 'news' and make it art. She takes the viewer by the throat as she screams, cajoles, and seduces us into some awareness of the world at large. Finley's brilliance lies in this fact, too: her insistence that we look at our respective souls by having us view her characters own, even as we want to look away. She is irreplaceable." —Hilton Als, New Yorker theater critic
"The Reality Shows gives you the words—the incantations on pages— that power Finley's performances and allow readers to linger in ways live audiences never can." —Lisa Duggan, author of Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence and American Modernity