Saturday, April 14, 1990

The first invitation I received was to the Perfomedia Festival in Ponte Nossa in northern Italy in late July of 1990. I had been hoping to begin my tour in Moscow and work my way back into Europe from there, and in fact Italy was a bit far off the track I'd hoped to follow, but I was loathe to turn down my first invitation - for all I knew it would be my last.

As other invitations began to trickle in, I quickly realized that my hope of being paid for performing needed some adjusting. As is the case in the United States, the galleries and spaces which were most able to pay artists' fees curated performances far in advance. Even beginning nearly one year before my planned trip, I was too late to schedule myself into most of such venues. Additionally, the situation vis-a-vis the value of currency was consistent throughout eastern Europe. Even when organizations there were capable of paying me, the fees would average $10-30. An excellent sum for those locales but not very useful to me over the long haul of such a tour. The self-effacing tone of my original query letter, with its offer to make performances in return for lodging and meals and (if possible) basic expenses turned out to be well suited to the situation in eastern Europe.

After spending about $400 on photocopying and on postage for letters, videotapes etc., and after six increasingly anxious months of peering into my mailbox and attempting to piece together a semi-rational itinerary, I had arranged a tour which would begin in Beograd, Yugoslavia on July 18, 1990 and include performances in Italy, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland, and the original festival in Moscow. Two days before I left I received confirmation of a post-Moscow performance in Belgium.