The Coincidental Hour

Currency of violence

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I sometimes forget that the Coincidental Hour is violent. I forgot because I feel like I’m creating a safe space for violence to occur if it wants to. But people will occasionally remind me – like an audience member did last month at Silent Barn – that because of the line it rides, it can come off as unapologetically and unconditionally violent. The audience member approached me after a Coincidental Hour where I got people in the audience to take off their pants and destroy a Barbie dream house with bricks. She approached me crying, shaking after the performance. She asked me why I had to do violent things. We sat in the courtyard and talked. I apologized and reminded her that I didn’t really do anything violent other than encourage others to be violent if they wanted to. This particular point was understandably not very satisfying to her, but we talked for a while about a number of things and she eventually gave me a hug and told me she was “at least happy to find out I was real” (I guess as opposed to an animated demon?). At any rate, it made me think more about the role of violence in the Coincidental Hour. Ultimately, I’m ok with it. And I’m ok with people not being ok with it.
If people don’t need to go to the places that I ask them to go when I perform, then good for them. They are probably well-adjusted people and not my really target audience. But I will say that the violence in the Coincidental Hour is very controlled. Composed and sometimes contrived even. Most of the time very fake! It’s like the difference between a horror movie and an actual serial murder spree. The violence is being exacted on symbols (U.S. currency, microwaves), or through professional conduits (my body). It’s the violence performed in a rite of sacrifice, which is burned up to make the world spin according to the word of the cult.
I understand, though, that people will find the violence triggering. I sometimes do myself. But I’ll try to make the violence worth something. If I don’t, that’s when it really fails.

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