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Performance Artist Rachel Rosenthal Talks

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Rachel Rosenthal will be celebrating her 83rd birthday tonight at the Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica. An artist, teacher, animal rights activist and living legend, Rosenthal has been creating art for over 50 years. Rosenthal "developed a revolutionary performance technique that integrates text, movement, voice, choreography, improvisation, inventive costuming, dramatic lighting and wildly imaginative sets into an unforgettable “total theater” experience." Rosenthal was a pioneer at the forefront of performance art. LAist caught up with her yesterday for a few quick questions.

How do you feel about the state of performance art today?
Some good some bad. As usual.

Having seen so much new technology and so many social changes over the years,
what do you think has been the west's greatest achievement?

Finally waking up to Climate Change. Perhaps too late. Action please?!

How do you feel about rap music? Sometimes it seems like there is such a performance art element to it.
I performed "Pangaean Dreams" in 1990, and had a section of "rap" in that piece!

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Given the choice, would you rather go out and party or stay home? And what do you do on an evening in?
I hate parties. Like concerts of contemporary experimental classical music! OR! Stay home with my dogs and watch old movies on TCM!

How do you compare modern animal rights to civil rights and the women's movement?
It should be the same. But animals always come last. Still, and in spite of science telling us how smart they are (the animals), and how like us (humans).

Would you shave my friend's head?
No. It was a very personal action. To stay shaved I used an electric shaver every day and a barber once a month.

Rachel Rosenthal's 83rd birthday at the Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica commences at 7pm tonight. More info here or on Rachel's website. Party update: Spirits by Stella Artois and Karlsson's Gold Vodka, will join Grateful Palate Imports' Bitch Bubbly, Bitch Grenache & Pure Evil Chardonnay. Also, Fresh Pressed will be silk screening a VINTAGE Instant Theatre T-shirt especially for the event!

Photo by Annie Leibovitz/Used with permission