How do you tell a story that's about baseball and jazz...Civil War battles and Cold War paranoia...love and death...true stories and lies...and a boy growing up on the flat sprawl of West Texas? Acclaimed visual artist and singer-songwriter Terry Allen created a multimedia work-Dugout-that combines writing and painting, video/sculpture installations, and musical theater to narrate, in his words, "a love story, an investigation into how memory is invented...a kind of supernatural-jazz-sport-history-ghost-blood-fiction." A three-part work based loosely on the lives of Allen's parents, Dugout has been exhibited and performed in Texas, California, and New Mexico, as well as on National Public Radio.
This volume adds another dimension to the Dugout corpus by presenting the work in book form. The heart of the book is Dugout itself. Dugout I incorporates poetry, prose, and images of two- and three-dimensional artworks to evoke the memories of Allen's parents, a retired baseball player and a former jazz pianist. Dugout II: Hold On to the House universalizes Allen's West Texas roots by fictionalizing his childhood memories into a series of video tableaux projected upon an archetypal house structure. Dugout III: Warboy and the Backboard Blues presents the script of a musical theater piece that describes his parents' shock at the unexpected outer space arrival of their "whatsit" son-a boy growing up in a world so different from their own that he might as well be an alien.
Juxtaposed among the three parts of Dugout are essays by David Byrne, artist and cofounder of the Talking Heads; Dave Hickey, art critic and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant; Dana Friis-Hansen, Director of the Austin Museum of Art; and Terrie Sultan, Director of Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston. The book also includes a CD of a live performance of Dugout III. This lively combination of Allen's work and others' responses adds an intriguing layer to the evocative, atmospheric, multisensory experience of Dugout. 157 color illus., 1 CD