Posted: October 31, 2001
MIDDLEBURY, VT - Internationally-acclaimed performance artist Tim Miller will perform his latest work, "Glory Box," on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in the Middlebury College McCullough Student Center on Old Chapel Road off Route 30. The show is free, and no advance reservations are necessary.
In a series of comic and provocative episodes, Miller details his struggle to keep his Australian lover in the United States and explores the challenges of love, marriage and immigration rights for gay people. The Village Voice hailed Miller for his "gift for letting one topic open surprising doors onto a multitude of others; his works are as canny and complex as they are charming."
Although the performance centers on the particular issue of gay immigration rights, it leads the audience into an examination of the human heart. In "Glory Box," named for the Australian term for "hope chest," Miller conjures an alternative repository for the memories, loves, hopes and dreams of gay people.
Since gay couples in America are denied the immigration rights routinely given to heterosexual married couples, Miller has some notable dramas to recount in his story. From his hilarious grade school playground battles over wanting to marry another boy to the bittersweet challenges of adult relationships, "Glory Box" culminates with Miller's harrowing experience of having his partner torn from him at an international airport.
"Unless America grows up quick and changes these bigoted unfair laws, in order to maintain our relationship, Alistair and I will probably be forced to leave the U.S. and seek political refuge in a civilized country like Canada, Australia or England, where they have immigration rights for bi-national gay couples," said Miller.
Hailed for its humor and passion, Miller's solo theater serves as an artistic, spiritual and political expression of his identity as a gay man. His past work includes "My Queer Body" (1992), "Naked Breath" (1994), "Fruit Cocktail" (1996), and "Shirts & Skin" (1998), which is based on his book published by Alyson Press. Miller's performances have been presented throughout North America, Australia and Europe at such venues as the Yale Repertory Theater,
London's Institute of Contemporary Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
In 1990, Miller was awarded a Solo Performer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, but his grant was overturned. Miller and three other solo artists whose grants were also overturned on the basis of content became known as the NEA Four, and with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, successfully sued the federal government for violation of their First Amendment rights. They won a settlement in which the government paid them the amount of their rescinded grants as well as all court costs. Though the Supreme Court overturned part of Miller's case in 1998, determining that "standards of decency" are constitutional criterion for federal funding of the arts, Miller has vowed "to continue fighting for freedom of expression for voices of diversity."
Miller is co-founder of two performance spaces: Performance Space (P.S.) 122 on Manhattan's Lower East Side and Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, Calif.
This performance is presented by GLEAM (Gay and Lesbian Employees at Middlebury), the Middlebury office of institutional diversity, and the women's and gender studies program. For more information, contact Jennifer Ponder of the Middlebury College dance department at 802-443-5822.