“I Know Someone” by Mary Oliver

An excerpt from LET LOVE FLOURISH May 22-June30

Enjoy this video trailer featuring the poem by recently deceased author Mary Oliver, a best-selling and award winning lesbian poet. I’ll be reading a few poems by her and over two dozen more authors from throughout LGBTQ history.

Opening May 22 for Harvey Milk Day at the West Hollywood City Council Chambers and with the pop-up occurring several more times as part of The City of West Hollywood One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival theme “Love is Love” and ending on Sunday, June 30.



LET LOVE FLOURISH: Queer Poetry Pop-up is a spoken word celebration of historic LGTBQ poets and their affectionately inclined works of literature. Performance artist Jason Jenn brings those passionate words to spirited life for the public to enjoy in the streets of West Hollywood during the Opening and Closing events, and in special appearances throughout the 40-day One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival. The presentations propose a pleasure-filled experience for audiences to enjoy, employing elaborately styled costumes and various theatrical techniques, while illuminating audiences about the authors’ lives and their historical conditions.

From Sappho to Mary Oliver, Walt Whitman to Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin to James Broughton, queer love has emerged in poetic writing in various ways, from veiled allusions during oppressive eras to all-out profusions of sensuous splendor in contemporary times. Through all of humanity’s twists and turns, artists have found ways to express their heart and soul in a timeless fashion – their talent now receives an attentive tribute by a fellow scribe and admirer.

Created and performed by Jason Jenn
Art direction by Vojislav Radovanovic
Featuring guest performers at performances on May 22 and June 30

May 22 at June 30 performances will take place outside West Hollywood City Council Chambers at 625 North San Vicente Boulevard , West Hollywood, CA 90069.
Other performances will pop-up – for more details and information, follow the facebook page at:

This performance is presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division as part of the City’s One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival (May 22 – June 30). More info at www.weho.org/pride or @wehoarts.

Great Expect-Temptations

I am feeling such a post-performance euphoria from the experience presenting “Temptations in Fairyland” at MOAH: CEDAR, part of Lancaster’s Museum of Art & History. I feel so blessed for the opportunity to create a performance art piece based on an exhibition as rich with inspirational material as Leonard Greco’s “Fairyland” in an institution with a curatorial approach I have come to greatly admire. I’m writing a blog post, but I’m really doing an interpretive dance of joy for so many reasons – only a fraction of I will share with you now.

“Robin Goodfellow”, artist Leonard Greco, curator Robert Benitez, and me – the performer

Lancaster, CA has a museum you say? Why, yes, the birthplace of Judy Garland and the Antelope Valley region known for the poppy preserve and aviation industry has a fantastic series of interconnected museums known collectively as MOAH. In the year which I have known of it, I have been blown away by the various exhibitions. It is a refreshing oasis of art in the desert at the farthest northern reaches of Los Angeles County. I cannot rave enough about the museum, which has always made the long distance drive worth it. MOAH really cultivates connections with the cream of the crop of Los Angeles’ emerging artists, giving them opportunities to be participate in and create incredible exhibitions. From what I have experienced, the dynamic team of curators, lead by Andi Campognone and Robert Benitez, have done a remarkable job of selecting artists whose work they admire and have figured out how to get the best possible exhibitions out of them.

The contemporary art world is far too full of exhibitions and curators that program works which almost purposely aim to alienate audiences – making “common” people feel so removed from being able to connect with the work, and setting up experiences which leave one scratching their head and feeling talked down to. MOAH is a breath of fresh air that presents delightful work of art they like and believe others will too. It can be that simple.

I have much more to say about the experience, but in the meantime…here are some pictures to speak for me!

Photos by Orit Harpaz Photography

Fool-Hearty Thanks

It was a great honor to present the performance “Temptations in Fairyland” on March 16 in celebration of Leonard Greco’s exhibition “Fairyland” at Lancaster’s Museum of Art and History MOAH:CEDAR gallery. I was asked to create a short performance art piece taking inspiration from 19th Century Author, Gustave Flaubert’s novel “The Temptation of Saint Anthony”, a rather hallucinatory journey one night as the devil attempts to lure the desert hermit, Saint Anthony the Great of Egypt, away from his devotion to God. It was certainly a daunting task to undertake, but Leonard Greco’s work was so wild and fun, I could not resist (the temptation)!

Fortunately for me, an idea of how to construct a performance came to me in the midst of reading the novel, allowing me to merge both Greco and Flaubert’s work with that of my own unique experience and relate it to the rather unusual history of performance art. While I was glad that audience seemed so moved by the performance, I was exuberant that Leonard Greco was happy about it. Not only did he like it, but he wrote a lovely article about it in his blog, and he captured my essence as well. I have never heard of a Jongleur de Dieu before, but I have always seen myself as following the path of a Fool in service of a the greater mystery and divine powers of life.

I think he explains it quite well here:

Jongleur de Dieu, Tumbler for God

“Temptations in Fairyland , Jason Jenn’s site specific performance piece, which delighted  not one but two separate audiences last Saturday at MOAH/Cedar in Lancaster CA, immediately called to my my mind the Jongleur de Dieu, the prankster tradition of tumbling and juggling in order to best serve the Lord. Harking back to the early Church with Symeon the Holy Fool and his manic, mad pranks in which he cleverly  brought the Gospel to a feckless and indifferent world, this enthusiastic tradition continues still. In relatively contemporary times, the late theologian priest Henri Nouwen has been described by his biographer  Professor Michael W.Higgins as such. In referencing the trapeze artists The Flying Rodleighs and their impact upon the priest, Nouwen acknowledges his own place as a Holy Fool:

…the Flying Rodleighs allowed him to see his life as that of a Jongleur de Dieu, a Tumbler or Juggler for God. Although a medieval conceit-linked with courtly love tradition and the troubadours- the jongleur had a special, subversive and beatific function to perform.”

Genius Born of Anguish:The Life Legacy of Henri Nouwen, Michael Higgins

“Special, subversive and beatific” was indeed the “function” of Jason’s astonishing performance last weekend. Set in the middle of my Fairyland, I hadn’t known what to expect, I can say I hadn’t expected such a completely immersive experience-you simply have no choice but to jump onto Jason’s wild speeding train of boundless energy . I am a full throttle artist, I frankly do not know how to make art without giving my all; Jason is a brother, a comrade in this. His performance so complete, so fully committed to embodying Flaubert’s Temptation of St. Anthony, my own Fairyland and his own very personal understanding of performance art and its place in understanding how best to be a human. We as enlightened, gifted beings kissed by an unknown, unknowable god, God, spirit, power, have struggled with this from the very beginning,  Jason, performing as the anchorite Anthony and as the ambiguously evil, delightful, seductive desert  companion Hilarion tackles this conundrum with wit, wonder and moving pathos.   I giggled between gasping, it was a dizzying, manic performance that delighted me at the moment and now a week later leaves me wondering how best to move forward.

 Deep, deep respect to you my friend , Jason,  your tribute meant so much to me.

Temptations in Fairyland

I’m thrilled to be presenting a brand new solo performance piece within Leonard Greco’s incredibly inspired and inspiring art exhibition called “FAIRYLAND” taking place at MOAH:CEDAR in Lancaster, CA on Saturday, March 16 at 3pm & 5pm.

Leonard asked me to create a piece for his latest works, an installation of fabric sculptures (or wild, painted and hand-sewn puppet creatures) that he created based upon the 19th Century French author, Gustave Flaubert’s book “The Temptation of Saint Anthony”. The book is written like a hallucinatory poetic-theatre piece about an epic evening in the life of Anthony the Great, when he is visited by all manner of temptations in the form of lustful women, the devil, and a wide variety of creatures that attempt to lure him away from his devotion. Anthony was a Christian monk, who live isolated in the Eastern Desert of Egypt around 251-356 AD. Flaubert is most known for his novel Madame Bovery.

Here’s the full press release information:

The visually delightful artworks installed in Leonard Greco Jr’s “Fairyland” at MOAH: CEDAR are both the basis and setting for the live performance of “Temptations in Fairyland”. In conjunction with the exhibition, multimedia performance artist Jason Jenn presents a short theatrical solo-piece of expressive movement and spoken word.

Weighty tableaus and themes are mixed with flamboyant humor in both Greco and Jenn’s work that playfully flirts with camp sensibility. Inspiration is derived from French novelist Gustave Flaubert’s “The Temptation of St. Anthony”, which depicts the desert hermit’s confrontation one evening with a series of lavish and lustful hallucinatory temptations. Our contemporary world contains equally alluring distractions that reach out to us in powerfully appealing ways on a regular basis. Jenn puts the story into context through the realm of performance art’s own wild history and pantheon of unusual characters.

So with all that in mind, both the performance and exhibition avow to deliver a gratifying pleasurable experience.

Saturday, March 16, 2019
Performances at 3pm & 5pm
Each performance approx. 30min
4487 Cedar Ave, Lancaster, CA 93534

TWINKLE: Pics & Video

5 minute video excerpt

The performance “TWINKLE: Traveler Beneath the Stars” was a collaboration between artists Jason Jenn and Vojislav Radovanovic, based on the Radovanovic’c exhibition themes.  Visitors received a surprise, arriving to the gallery and seeing the exhibition set up as normal – but in a span of 5 minutes Jason and Vojislav transformed the look of the space with lights and some additions to the set made from pieces of mylar. Jason replaced a drawing on cardboard “Unidentified Immigrant in Paris, 2016” that lay on the floor as a centerpiece of the exhibition. When audiences re-entered the space, they were confronted with Jason as a sleeping homeless man and were forced to wait for the piece to begin. The crowd had to deal with the discomfort of not knowing what to do with the situation presented them, having interactions and conversations among themselves, which became its own performance art piece.

The performance finally began with Jason reciting an original poem by Radovanovic, in which the homeless man is taken back in time to a childhood memory of making a playhouse out of cardboard. Jason then proceeded to take the audience on a very human journey, relating the housing crisis in Los Angeles to the current political climate surrounding immigration and the story that all humans are refugees since Adam and Eve were exiled from Eden. Using stars as the central theme, Jason linked the celestial objects to the cultural obsession with celebrity, weaving a story that reminded people that they possessed the ability to be their own gods and saviors, and exposing the hypocrisy in which religion, nationalism, and capitalism were used as excuses for various atrocities and crimes against humanity throughout history.

click on images in the gallery below to see larger size

15 Minutes – about TWINKLE

I felt urged to write about a 15 minute experience I recently had while laying motionless on the center of the MuzeuMM art gallery floor this weekend with a captive audience waiting for me to begin the piece “TWINKLE: Traveler Beneath the Stars”. It may take you 15 minutes (or more) to fully read should you care to, but I felt urged to share some of the profound results and messages that came from the experience. Andy Warhol said we’d all get our 15 minutes of fame, which was one of several sub-themes of the performance, so it makes sense to have people wait that long, but it isn’t why it happened. It happened unexpectedly partly due to longstanding relationship I have with Hermes (the trickster, messenger God – thank you Mercury retrograde for communication glitches), but it was NOT a mistake. As my performance art mentor, the late Rachel Rosenthal would say, that was what “the genie” of live performance wanted and those minutes became filled with unimaginable relevance.

I was lying on the gallery floor as a reference to one of the central art pieces created by Serbian-born Vojislav Radovanović in his exhibition “PRAYER FOR TRAVELERS: Diary of an Immigrant” based on his first year living in America during a politically charged time, reflecting his emotions on the “themes of love, acceptance, and the universal immigrant experience, including displacement, cultural heritage, and the power of memory” that is “the perfect antidote to the country’s current cultural shame: the present administration’s handling of immigrants” in a manner that is “so sweet and beautiful it is heartbreaking” (words coincidentally written by another genie…Genie Davis,  from her Art and Cake review). The art piece involved a piece of cardboard lying on the gallery floor painted with a sleeping man curled up in a fetal position. It’s both a self portrait and a portrait of a homeless refugee he met while living in Paris. In working closely with Vojislav to create the performance piece based on his themes, it became clear to us that we had to begin the performance with me replacing the art piece on the gallery floor. It was partly out of practical consideration so the work was not stepped upon and that we had the central space free to do the performance. But it became clear to do so and have me address the current homeless crisis occurring in Los Angeles, as the performance was about having compassion for all of us as fellow travelers on this planet together and the deep responsibility we have in being humane in an era where we are overrun with a severe lack of it in our leadership.

I had deep reservations tackling such a thorny issue as a white male privileged with a roof over my head, but it feels like the type of responsibility of engagement we must all assume at this point in our history in order to evolve and survive culturally. Lying on the floor was just a performance art piece, but it opened up my already pretty open heart in ways I had not expected. I cannot fully explain the experience of lying in a vulnerable position upon the ground like that. The footsteps of audiences coming into the space pounding upon the floor were like an approaching army. The whispers, laughs, coughs, and other strange noises from the audience took on new, foreign, almost haunted house quality of disconnected sounds. The movement of a bench scrapping the ground becomes a monstrous roar. A plastic cup falling on the ground becomes a thunderous clash. I can only imagine what the outside world must sound like to someone living on the street. It’s surely terrifying.

After a few minutes, the audience became somewhat settled down and it seemed clear that they were all in place. I suppose very well I could have begun the performance. I was waiting for my cue. There was some miscommunication about giving me a signal of a bell – a tinkle for the twinkle to begin, but that didn’t happen. I could have begun at any time, knowing full well that the audience was ready, but something inside me said to keep on waiting. I was allowing myself to open up all my senses and feel for the right cue to emerge. I would know when it was time to begin, there would be a sign somehow, I just knew there would. In that moment I thought about my training in improvisational performance art. Rachel Rosenthal would have us do performance pieces that she lovingly called “blowing it out the ass,” which was to say – we’re just going to let it fly and see what happens! In those moments, she would compel us to wait for the “genie” to give us the signal to enter the stage. In doing such training, one would find themselves inevitably stumbling in at the wrong moment – it may have seemed like the right time, but you could see it as the audience member easily when someone interrupted the scene too soon. Waiting in the wings we were often so eager to go on because we had some fabulous costume or nervous excitement and we were ready to leap out onto the stage and do our thing. But we really had to “listen” for the right moment. We were urged to be patient, and that if we truly opened ourselves up – we’d know and be open to the proper moment.  I miss those days of performing improv weekly under Rachel’s mentorship – I departed the company in 2009. The Rachel Rosenthal Company troupe continues to create improv performances regularly at her studio, and I urge people to see them sometime – it’s a truly remarkable evening of live and unexpected theatre. Lying on the floor for a mere fifteen minutes waiting for the right moment, I could palpably feel her spirit with me…and there was something lovely about having those moments feeling the connection.

Apparently there was a lot going on with the audience while they waited for me to begin. I was ready to go, but something – some invisible force that I can only say was “the genie” was sort of holding me there. When the planned cue did not occur, the “genie” was able to have its way and gave the audience a rare experience to interact with waiting. Apparently after five minutes or so, a handful of people left. Staring at a person curled up was not interesting to them and I really don’t blame them. Consider it the genie’s way of gentle weeding. From feedback I received from several people in the audience, they really valued the process of waiting. It offered them a moment to reflect on several things, including their own humanity and how they usually ignore people on the street. And during the process of waiting, they got to see a performance from the audience themselves. The various reactions and whispers and murmurs. How do people react in such a situation? Someone came up from the audience and placed a dime next to me – surely a reference to “brother, can you spare a dime?” But I didn’t move. As much as they were hoping that would make me start the performance, I couldn’t tell what was going on and that really wasn’t the right cue to move.

I was on my own little journey. The 15 minutes became a bit of a fever-trip like experience with my eyes closed and hearing the chaos of the world around me. Nothing was silent. I said the audience was somewhat settled down, but it was never quiet. The noise from outside the gallery could still be heard. Cars whizzed by. A person who actually was living on the street came in to the gallery apparently and joined the audience. He was talking to himself, and of course he was welcome to be there. But I got my own little lesson during that time, to understand the noisy and confusing world that life on the street without a home can be. I’ve been so fortunate to always feel at home in the world. As angry and upset and disappointed I can be in this crazy world, I have always felt both simultaneously alien to it and completely at home in it. So to have 15 minutes where I actually felt homeless, was a bit of an indulgent neccessity for gaining some perspective. 

Some folks also mentioned that it reminded them of a Marina Abramović piece. Like Vojislav, she is also a Serbian-born artist, so we’ve  spoken at length about her work. I know many people who either admire or loathe works by her. I experienced “The Artist Is Present” exhibition at MoMA in NYC and a friend of mine, whom also trained with Rachel Rosenthal, Yozmit, was part of the show recreating her body of work. Vojislav and I also discussed that the artwork he created of the homeless man sleeping in a fetal position referenced a piece of art he made for his first college solo exhibition “Bath Culture” – which also took place in a gallery that Marina Abramović showed her work. And after the show I was gifted the memory of one of the first performance art pieces I ever created in college – helping to complete the circle.

In one of my earliest works I chained up and placed a lock upon all the chairs that the class (in this case they became the audience and the performers) would normally expect to sit in. I drew a line across the stage and stood on the opposite line from the class next to the key which lay on the floor. As the people arrived they inquired as to how they could get the seats unlocked so we could finally begin the class. There was much discussion with each other about what to do. Finally someone, we’ll call “Adam” decided to cross the line and attempted to grab the key. I stopped him. An altercation occurred. We wrestled. It got violent. The class erupted in chaos and urged it to stop. They pleaded for Adam to just give up and come back behind the line. He finally agreed to do so. The class proceeded to ask me questions about how they could get the key and eventually discovered that only one of them would be allowed to get the key and open the lock, the question was  – which one was going to be allowed to do it? They went through one by one asking if they could be the person to unlock the chairs. They were surprised when we exhausted the list of people in the classroom about unlocking the chairs. Finally one of them realized, that every person had asked if they could unlock the chairs, except Adam. He had already tried to grab the key, but he was rejected and the fight occurred, so he didn’t think about asking. He asked, “May I have the key?” I answered “Yes, since you asked, you may.” In truth, I didn’t know Adam was going to be the one I would pick, until after we had our fight. He didn’t get the key by force, he got the key by asking permission. The teacher, the late Hans Breder loved the piece and according to a friend who later became his assistant for years following, Hans would talk about that piece frequently. It said something about human interaction, unplanned moments, and turning the audience into the performers. I actually never liked performance art when I started taking the class, having seen only a handful of examples and thinking it stupid. I was only really taking the class in order to make some video-art, but we were required to do several types of interdisciplinary work in the course of the semester. I may have caught the bug for performance art after that night.

So…there I was waiting for the right moment to release the audience from staring at me just lying on the floor. Finally, I felt a whisper and a change in temperature and energy that said “ok, go.” A few seconds earlier there had been a giant door slam somewhere – or so it sounded like – nothing was certain, but it felt like a good enough signal. At that same moment, an audience member placed a silver mylar star that was part of the set upon my foot. I didn’t feel it, but it was the action that “activated” me.  It was a sweet, little gesture, and one that had I actually been aware of physically I would have started with. For folks who know my penchant for feet, someone placing a star on my foot…is definitely a sign to begin!

Of course, all of this may mean very little to other people, but in my life I have always been open to these subtle connections and correlations. I share this with you now as an attempt to open up a bit about the mysteries that I admire at play in my own life. I consider such moments as inside cosmic jokes. Little insights given by the Universe, or little nods by Hermes, the trickster magician messenger god. Because, it is only after the performance or event that one gets the complete picture of “why” something happened.

And it truly opens up my heart when events like this take place. I wanted to create a performance that spoke to the issues we are dealing with in our world at the moment. I wanted to present something that was very human and spoke to the humanity in others. I know from the response of most of the people there, that indeed it touched them. I connected with the stardust inside them as I hoped to do, and I learned a lot about myself and what I want to in order to be a better human moving forward. I am certain that “TWINKLE: Traveler Beneath the Stars” will manifest again in some form, so if you missed it – don’t worry – it will likely emerge again, although I am not certain if there will be another 15 minutes…that may have had it’s moment. Who knows how long it will take next time…but I do hope that we’ll all be more aware of each other as fellow travelers on this journey of life beneath the stars together.

Twinkle: Traveler Beneath the Stars

It’s a pleasure to invite you to experience a new, original performance piece:

“TWINKLE: Traveler Beneath the Stars” on Saturday, Nov 24 at 8 PM.
Doors open at 7 PM.
It’s based on the themes surrounding and serving as a closing reception for the exhibition “PRAYER FOR TRAVELERS: Diary of an Immigrant” by Vojislav Radovanovic.

MuzeuMM Gallery
4817 W Adams Blvd, LA 90016

Hope to see you there fellow Travelers! It’s FREE and you’ll find yourself leaving with some stardust in your soul and perhaps even a piece of fantastic art!

Sermon at the Cathedral of the Freeways

“Offer up your prayers to move with ease through traffic congestion at the Cathedral of the Freeways!”

Thursday night saw the opening exhibition of “3 by 3” the second public offering at Virtularium as part of the El Segundo Art Walk on August 16. I created a brand new multimedia performance video art piece especially designed for an 18 screen curved video wall that was 9,720 pixels wide by 3,840 tall – a most unusual arrangement, but one that allows for a truly interesting immersive experience for viewers to step into and almost feel like they are on a ride. I had the experience of setting up the digital display for a commercial installation at the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, so it was a pleasure to design something of pure artistic merit and of my own imagination. The reaction of the hundreds of El Segundo Art Walk participants couldn’t have been any better. I saw a lot of people taking out their phones to record my video installation along with the entire dazzling array of works in the Virtularium environment. Also on display were two works including the new piece “Untitled #9, Part 2”  by Virtularium founder and director of programming, Jon 9 and a piece called “Travelers” by my collaborative art partner, Vojislav Radovanovic (who also did the excellent body paint job to turn me into a concrete saint/deity).


Artist Statement:

LA is known for movies, sunshine, beaches, and lots and lots of traffic. After spending endless hours on the freeways commuting, I was given little choice but to find a sense of beauty in the massive megalithic structures of certain interchanges, in particular by the intersection of the 110 and 105 (which also inspired the opening dance number of “LA LA Land”). The grand columns and swooping ramps reminded me of a gothic cathedral, albeit one that honors the busy bustling metropolis and massive population growth it represents. The concept has gestated for years, but now, with the 18 screen-videowall structure at Virtularium and its complex arrangement of screens and curves that offer different playing spaces, I designed the piece as such so that the Cathedral of the Freeways at last receives a vision of its concrete deity and a variety of stained glass windows to populate it.




ONE Archives Summer Garden Party

ONE Archives and the ONE Queer Garden Club (OQGC) hosted a Summer Garden Party on Saturday, August 11 to celebrate the much needed make-over of the succulent garden space on the west side of the building. In 2017 the ONE Queer Garden Club was formed to with the mission to “manifest more beauty in the world” by helping to transform the unused and unmanaged succulent garden space at the main Archive building into a viable public garden and event space. It’s been a true honor volunteering my time as coordinator with a great team of people involved in OQGC for such a good cause – the ONE Archives is the world’s largest  depository of LGBTQ materials!

It was also a personal mission to honor my dear friends the late Stuart Timmons and Mark Thompson by fixing up the space as a Legacy Garden. Both had a role in planting the original succulent plants sometime around 2000-2002, when the Archives took over a former fraternity house and became part of the USC Libraries and Stuart was then the Executive Director of ONE. The garden stands where the former sand volley ball  court once was. The garden has basically been unmanaged for over ten years, used infrequently for a few special events here and there (like a performance art piece involving a toilet seat – which was then left in the garden – we have since turned it into a lovely planter box!) I saw that the garden contained so much potential for a

great community garden and event space and the great folks at ONE Foundation and Archives have been super supportive in our efforts!

The Summer Garden Party was organized by the ONE Foundation and sponsored by Michaeljohn Horne & Thomas E. Jones. The event featured tours of the Archives, a special plant art crafting workshop by Mr. Voice Love, food, drinks, and live entertainment by Queertet (www.queertet.com). A few short speeches were made by the ONE Board Chair Jeff Soref, ONE Foundation Executive director Jennifer Gregg , Archivist Loni Shibuyama, and me!

Below are some Before Pics of the Garden to compare how wonderful the transformation has been:



the ReBegin is here