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LAist Interview: The Art of Bleeding’s Al Ridenour

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Photo by Art of Bleeding
On this Sunday October 25th, The Art of Bleeding will perform their piece "The Spirits of Safety Show" at the California Institute of Abnormal Arts. With a mix of live performance, film, puppets, music, fake blood, sexy nurses, robots, gorillas and more, The Art of Bleeding will most likely shock and entertain with their humorous and bizarre antics. LAist caught up with Al Ridenour of The Art of Bleeding to get some more insight on the group and their work.

You were one of the founding members of the notorious and wonderful art pranksters known as the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, which seems sort of defunct now. What is The Art of Bleeding?
You’d think I’d have a streamlined answer for that question by now, but it’s still a little hard for me to describe. Sometimes I just call it “my ambulance show” because the show actually spills out of an ambulance. The paramedical theme is unavoidable; there is a teasing element with the blatantly fetishized nurses. Sometimes I call it a “paramedical burlesque.” Much of it looks like a tragically misguided kiddie show. Oh, “Experimental comedy” might be another good tag. The important thing is it is performance art.

When did you start The Art of Bleeding?
Spring of 2004. Though we took a hiatus after a really big Halloween show in 2006. We bought three junkyard cars and staged a highway pile-up in the Steve Allen Theater parking lot -- complete with smoke, flames and actors doused in blood. That seemed like kind of a plateau. Also picking up windshield glass and spilled oil in a shade less parking lot for three hours helped convince me a break might be called for.

What has The Art of Bleeding enabled you to do that you weren’t enabled to do with The Los Angeles Cacophony Society?
A lot of Cacophony events involved a sort of improvisational street theater, stuff like you see nowadays with Improv Everywhere, zombie walks or the Santa rampage thing. These events and various pranks we’d pull always called for costumes and props and the like, but not knowing if we were going to get shut down by police or ejected by security always made it hard to justify spending a lot of time creating those materials. With The Art of Bleeding, I get to finesse to my heart’s content -- create props and costumes, write scripts, record music, and edit video - do all the creative things that I really love. I don’t have to worry that we’ll get the plug pulled at the last minute.