“Silence actually does equal death,” says Tim Miller, referring to the AIDS-activist slogan. “Action actually does equal life. These aren’t metpahors–or gym wear.” In this evening-length performance, Miller uses plenty of action to tell stories from his life. His wry wit, sophisticated insights, and keen sense of dramatic detail recall the monologues of Spalding Gray, but his kinetic physical presence is the opposite of Gray’s sardonic stillness. Bobbing and weaving like a punch-drunk boxer or a postmodern dancer, Miller is gutsy, funny, and moving as he shares his experience as a gay man growing up in Whittier, California, during Richard Nixon’s presidency, then moving to New York just as the AIDs crisis was emerging (a clever Gene Kelly spoof sets the scene for Manhattan). The deaths of young friends fill Miller’s memories: a lesbian peace activist killed in the Pan Am flight 103 explosion over Lockerbie, a sort-of boyfriend who died of AIDS after he and Miller survived all manner of danger in a lower-east-side apartment crowded with drug dealers. Yet Miller’s dynamic physicality and the love and insistent idealism that permeate his words make Sex/Love/Stories a remarkably upbeat experience. By the time he has stripped nude for a dialogue with his limp penis (“You were supposed to get hard after the psychosexual empowerment litany,” he chides), Miller has fused emotion and eroticism into such a unified whole that his physical nudity is an inevitable expression of his emotional nakedness. Beacon Street Gallery and Performance Company, December 6 through 8 (4520 N. Beacon, 784-2310). Friday and Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 7 PM. $10.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Chuck Stallard.