Karen Finley’s Wake Up!

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In her new performance,”Wake Up!,”culture-war survivor Karen Finley presents her two-part show, comprised of”The Dreams of Laura Bush”and”The Passion of Terri Schiavo.”     The genius here is connecting these two women who define the perils for feminism and women in the opening years of this century.   The first part is a fantasy depiction of Laura Bush’s dreams, most of which consist in highly sexualized enactments of political tensions (such as blowing Tony Blair), partially depicted in drawings projected onto a screen.     In the second part,”The Passion of Terri Schiavo,”Finley explores well-worn territory of the milking of Terri Schiavo by the right wing.   Here, Finley gives it an explicitly feminist cast: “We all know that the most popular female is a victim,” she states at one point, or”everybody loves a dumb woman.”   Finley tears into the many who fetishize female victims.     Perhaps Finley’s been reading Janet Halley’s Split Decisions, in which she criticizes feminism’s reliance on such hackneyed narratives?

If in New York, you can catch Finley’s show until November 18.

-Darren Rosenblum


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