In the talk, Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis makes a comment that speaks in a very direct way to the sort of impulse that led me to want to let Cowboy Mouth have a voice again. In the interview, there's a moment where he says:
"Nostalgia is the Enemy of all great art... Great art is about living in the Present,
and the way people react to art in the present."
This show, Cowboy Mouth, was first performed in NYC (by Patti and co-author Sam Shepard) 41 years ago almost to the day. I came across this show in high school. I still have my same beat-to-shit copy of Sam Shepard's Fool for Love and Other Plays that this short one-act is buried in the middle of. I was a voracious reader, so I definitely read the whole thing cover to cover, but I in no way understood it yet. It didn't speak to me as strongly as some of the other works in the book. Then, I rediscovered it in college, and this time, I was ready! Fucked-up relationship, weird lobster, arresting, in your face imagery, yeah! I was allllll over this. But this time I missed the hope in it, the yearning for something purer; I was barely scratching the surface.
After reading Ms. Smith's memoir, Just Kids, I was reminded of Cowboy Mouth yet again, and came back to that old, beat-up copy, to give it another read. This time was the golden time. This time, I knew, I was going to do this show. I knew because this time, when I read it, it spoke to me so strongly of my present. Of the present of my friends, colleagues, young New Yorkers, and artists. The dream hasn't changed; we all want to find the key that unlocks the flow of the river of Great Art. It's not some abstract, it's something we can maybe just feel the edges of, but it's there. And when it hits you, when it washes over you and baptizes you, it's more real than your tiny apartment, your next door neighbor's new baby, your boss at your survival job...
And it makes you want to keep going.
That moment, for me, was almost 2 years ago. And it is so humbling, and scary, and thrilling, to know that in one week, something that began as a dream will be a reality to share with our friends, our families, our community of artists. This was made in the 70's, but it is not about the 70's. The 70's just happened to be the authors' present. This show - for me, for the other actors, for the creative team - was never, for one moment about Nostalgia. For us, this play speaks so strongly to a community of artists. Today.
And we are so excited to share this with you. And listen, look, and experience all of your responses.