I had this idea. I couldn’t imagine how it might turn out, what the reactions would be. Would there be fallout? How might it affect my ‘career’?

Recently I was approached by another well meaning friend about how I could make more money doing what I do. This happens about once a week. Now … of course I need to provide and support my responsibilities and I am driven to help those in need … money helps with those needs, but it isn’t everything.

I perform because I have to perform. I walk in faith, I live in faith. Yes, I market and brand myself, but I’ve come to find that the act of just working … doing the best possible show I can present … provides rewards, both tangible and personal. Once I recognized that, my life became considerably easier and substantially more difficult. Contradiction? Welcome to showbiz.

I came up with this plan. A show. A show that could become legend. Featuring myself and two people I care about, both in person and in vision, and an idea I got from Amanda F. Palmer. The show must be ‘pay what you want’ and it must be presented in as personal and as intimate as possible. Sunday, September 21st at UpStage it all came together.

Avalon Rose opened with her recital/ unique rendition of “Oh the Places You’ll Go”. Whimsical yet powerful: Dreams and Dragonflies, Ambition and Failure. She says it like she means it … because she does.
Following this, 35 minutes of me … doing humor, soap boxing just a little ..earning my right to be heard. Following this was a 7 minute intermission. (Play Marillion’s “Man of a Thousand Faces”)

Megan Sky opened act two with a heartfelt speech on vision, acceptance and loving. All wrapped up in Art. I hope she develops this further, or even publishes. Believe me, it’s moving, surprising and incredible.
Following this was Hannibal’s “LIAR!” show. 45 minutes of storytelling comedy magic that digs deep into my soul.

And then … I dug deeper. At the end of “LIAR!” I announced there would be a third act following a five minute break. (Play Tom Waits’ “New Coat of Paint”)
When I returned … I spoke of the harsh things our brain like to tell us. How we’ve been negatively conditioned to see ourselves as less than normal … less than loved. I told of my two biggest hangups or fears: My body image and my fear of trust.
I am disgusted by what I see in the mirror. I am shamed by the way people look at me in public and unabashedly say hurtful things … this of course leads me to my lack of trust in others. I get panicky in crowds, just can’t handle it. In front of a large group? No problem. In among them? Anxious. Paralyzingly so.

I said I wanted to deal with my two big hangups at once, and perhaps help someone  with their own. “Think of something about yourself that you are ashamed of. Some burden you carry. Some evil your brain constantly whispers to you, causing you pain.” I said.
Then … I took off all my clothes. All but my skivvies (in order to remain legal in NC). I passed out markers and invited the audience to come up on stage and write on me. Their burdens, their thoughts … whatever. “If it hurts you, write it on me and leave it with me for a little while. I can’t take it away forever, but I give you permission to lay it down for a time.” I cued the song “Neverland” by Marillion, closed my eyes and raised my arms.

The results were moving, loving and empowering. I am still speechless to describe how beautiful the moment was.
The photographs below tell part of the story. The brilliance of Austin Caine caught my vision and brings it to you. Here.

From my vision through the eyes, lens and heart of Austin Caine … This is who I AM.


Click the link below to view the entire gallery. Feel free to share the images as you see fit.


Filed under Blither Blather, Musings, Public Diary

25 responses to “Exposed

  1. Oh, so very awesome. I don’t know you, nor am I familiar with your work. I was brought here by Amanda Palmer’s post on facebook. But I think I love you just a little now, despite not knowing you, because of your great courage and love. And I think I’m a slightly better person now for having been made aware of this awesome event. Thank you. Please continue to fight the good fight.

  2. Linked from Amanda Palmer’s Facebook post. This was moving and incredible. The courage you lassoed and rode on to that state is immense. Thank you for doing it and for writing about it.

  3. I love you too! Also read this article because of AFP.

  4. Pretty is nothing without personality 🙂 You inspire me!

  5. faithlessfate

    I love you. Thank you. I may not have been a part of your audience, but I have laid down my burdens on you for a moment anyway. The free breath, the one aside from burden was so sweet… If I could ever do it for you, my body is your canvas.

  6. Mallorie

    What a wonderful thing to do. You are an inspiration!

  7. Joe M. Turner |

    I don’t know what to say. I’m crying for joy, pain, and art. I don’t know what else. You are amazing.

  8. Alecia H

    Thank you! I came here through a friend who came through Amanda Palmer. I am in tears over here because I too struggle with body image. Thank you again for sharing your courageous, beautiful and creative performance and message!

  9. You are a brave, beautiful man! Thanks for sharing your soul with us!

  10. mistresscrow

    Yes. Yes a thousand times.

  11. Helen Dodd

    I had often held the thought that art and performance had the potential to change lives , not just simply entertain. This is the living proof of the realisation of that .Thank you for taking the step of faith and courage which brought it to life. I am moved to tears.

  12. seattlegirlsk

    Reblogged this on seattlegirlsk transplanted and commented:

  13. This is the kind of vulnerable and courageous art that I adore. Thank you!

  14. AFP sent me, too. I had to wipe away tears to type. This was so extraordinarily brave and beautiful and intimate.

    I sometimes forget that it’s not just me pretending not to be damaged in a world of well-adjusted people. We all have so many of the same doubts circling our souls like carrion birds, striking when our attention is averted. When you invited them to name the things that haunt them, I had an image of someone with a torch, chasing off the dark shadows, like great birds swooping at them and you offered to take the torch and keep the shadows at bay while they took a rest.

    Maybe it’s silly, but when I was done I imagined I was there: I closed my eyes, imagined climbing on the stage, pictured where I on your skin I would write:
    Not enough
    Too much
    Then I put the pen in the middle of the words and drew a spiral on top of them until the circle enclosed them, and around the circle wrote: Thank you for the rest.

    I hope to catch a performance of yours one day.

  15. Back when I was in art school, I did something similar…

    If you wanna check it out.

    Very cool performance, love to see people not fitting into the mold and being proud of that.

  16. Oooops, that linked to the wrong thing…

  17. Rita Kay Drew

    One of the most beautiful and powerful things I have read in a very long time. I don’t know you, but I know that you are “Beautiful”.

    “If it hurts you, write it on me and leave it with me for a little while. I can’t take it away forever, but I give you permission to lay it down for a time.” I cued the song “Neverland” by Marillion, closed my eyes and raised my arms.

  18. Reblogged this on twoscoopsfresh's Blog and commented:
    I love this.

  19. You’re a wonderfully beautiful man, Chris…inside and out. Your raw vulnerability confronts me, moves me and challenges me. Love you, bro’.

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