straight up

"The Happenings had officially begun with Allan Kaprow's 18 Happenings in Six Parts in October 1959. I didn't see any happenings until November 1960, when I saw Happenings by Allan Kaprow, Claës Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Bob Whitman, and others."

Store Days I

previous next
Store Days 1 <1962>

In early 1962 Claes Oldenburg rented a store front on East 2nd St. in New York where he presented ten happenings at the Store which he called The Ray Gun Theater. The main actors were Pat Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras and myself; the rest of the cast consisted of friends and would change from play to play. The space of the Store was long and narrow. The actors would all be in place along one wall with their props. The invited audience gathered along the opposite wall. Typically there would be about 40 people, all of whom knew or at least recognized each other.

In 1962 I saw Claes and Pat almost every day, and Claes asked me to appear in the first performance of the Ray Gun series, "Store Days 1." He asked me to buy an enormous overcoat and a jock strap. Claes's collection of "costumes:" black stockings and black high heel shoes completed Lette's outfit.

At one point in my scene, I removed the overcoat and struck poses wearing only the jock strap. It was a kitsch male/female scene between Lette and me, but some of the interactions were volatile and frightening. At the end, I grabbed her by her shoulders and let her slide to the floor. I put her feet in a hangman's knot at the end of a rope attached to a pulley in the window frame above us, and I hoisted her up on the wall feet first. She hung upside down. The lights went off.