mission

obscene: from Latin obscenus “offensive,” originally “boding ill, inauspicious,” perhaps from ob “onto” + cænum “filth”; meaning “offensive to modesty or decency.”

jester: from Latin gesta “deeds,” neut. pl. of gestus; developed from Middle English gestour “a minstrel, professional reciter of romances.”


To create a site for casual writing about performance art—understanding the genre as an epistemological space between and performative point at which music, art, dance, theatre, and everyday performance overlap and meet. To impress the reader with words such as “epistemological” and “performative.” To eventually look up what these words even mean.

To exploit the potential of the weblog for conversations among artists, writers, and spectators about the issues that inform the artistic community, such as funding, space, and general neuroses.

To use the weblog as an allegory for the chaotic interface of performance and art criticism, to write along the contradictory line between documentation and impermanence. To score free tickets in the process.

As disgruntled scholars, artists, and observers, we, sharkskin girl and Tweed, advocate against overdetermination, self-righteousness, and obscure lexicons. We intend to embrace writing with unabashed biases and skewed subjectivities.

about the writers

sharkskin girl (a.k.a. T. Nikki Cesare) is a freelance writer and occasional dramaturge in New York City whose work has appeared in TDR: The Drama Review, Performance Research, Theatre Journal, and the Village Voice, and whose productions have run in New York, Chicago, and Morelia, Mexico. She recently wrote the catalogue essay for photographer Frank Dituri’s exhibition Zolle and is Critical Acts Editor for TDR. Sharkskin has been known to overuse words that begin with the letter d, like dumbfounded, dubious, and dichotomy. She swoons over Deb Margolin and thinks Vito Acconci’s just about the coolest person in the world. She is currently Instructor in Drama at Tisch School of the Arts/NYU and also teaches courses on Shakespeare and social justice at Metropolitan College of New York. Having just defended her dissertation “The Aestheticization of Reality: Postmodern Music, Art, and Performance,” sharkskin has a PhD in Performance Studies from Tisch. She lives in Brooklyn and plays double bass, which some have said is hot.

Tweed (a.k.a. Steve Luber) began art criticism at age eight with a fairly well distributed leaflet entitled “Fox in Sox and Other Crises of Poetics in Mid-Era Seuss.” He enjoys all types of performance, particularly those that involve silence, bodily fluids, and classic rock. Turn-offs include Rodgers and Hammerstein, “nature,” and biennials. In addition to general jesterdom, he is production manager for PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, a teaching fellow in theatre at Brooklyn College, and a doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He has published in PAJ and TDR: The Drama Review and has recently written about the mediated body, George Bernard Shaw, TV, and megachurches. He has authored and performed two solo pieces, Steve Sells Out (2005) and Rock Star (2002), both of which have been described as “interesting,” “confounding,” and “utterly narcissistic.” He has also collaborated with The Builders Association, Mabou Mines Suite, and the Drama Dept. Tweed enjoys doing things “the hard way.”


contact us

  • email address:
  • website: http://www.obscenejester.net