Everett True

A list of 20+ performances that have shocked

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These are my notes from a lecture/workshop I just gave in Creative Performer 2 at QUT this afternoon.

I forgot to give my students break in the three-hour class, so several of them were gasping for a choker by the end. We sat around discussing music mainly, and the ways context (space, audience) affects performance. The title of the lecture was ‘Performance as Shock’. I didn’t show all the following by any means, and we showed several others – notably one featuring on men’s dicks substituted by heads, some featuring big booby-ed women, and one from those  bloody performing North Korean children – but most of these were discussed in one shape or another.

I drew the line at coprophilia.

Sorry GG Allin fans.

PLAYED (intro)

1. Elvis Presley – Mystery Train (to tie in with a quote about Sam Phillips drawn from the Greil Marcus book of the same name)

2. Madonna – Like A Prayer (always good to mention the stigmata)

The following four were subject of a class discussion.

1. Sun Ra (dissonant but not shocking)

2. Justice Yeldham @ Le Bourg, Lausanne, Switzerland (we only lasted a few minutes into this, as I took pity on a couple of students sheltering behind their laptops)

3. Katie Stelmanis – Natural Woman (agreed that middle America would find this disturbing)

4. Teddy & The Frat Girls – I Wanna Be A Man (relented after two minutes)



1. Neneh Cherry pregnant on TOTP (no one quite understood why this was considered shocking, even at the time)

2. The KLF + Extreme Noise Terror (at the Brits!)


1. Marilyn Manson – Beautiful People (he’s so 00s)


2. Bowling for Columbine clip (see above)


3. Odd Future – Oldie (they’re so 2011)


4. The Jesus Lizard (not mentioned, but it’s a good clip)


5. Frank Zappa in front of US Marines (seriously now, you didn’t think I was actually going to play Zappa to a class, now did you?)


6. L7 tampon throw (not mentioned, but good to relive)


7. David Lynch – Industrial Symphony No. 1 clip w/ Michael Anderson (not mentioned, too much noise not enough shock)


8. Gilberto Gil e Os Mutantes – Domingo no Parque (not mentioned)


9. Bob Dylan – Electric “Judas” Incident (1966) (very shocking!)


10. Minty – That’s Nice (not mentioned)


11. Gertrude Michael in the (dreadful) Paramount musical Murder At The Vanities (1934) (not mentioned)


12. GG Allin (story told of how he used to correspond with me from prison)



The Legend! – I Want To Fuck (A Man With A Beard)

Katy Perry

Nicki Minaj

Lady Gaga

Janet Jackson’s nipple

M.I.A. flipping the bird

David Bowie

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