JOAQUIN PHOENIX'S DONNER DANCE PARTY (2009-10)

Joaquin Phoenix's "DONNER DANCE PARTY" (2009-10) is a thirty-minute concept hip-hopera performed as Joaquin Phoenix detailing the ill-fated journey in 1846 of the Donner Party, a group of pioneers in a wagon train who were trapped for the winter in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is a historical point of contention as to how exaggerated their resorting to cannibalism has been. Told through a combination of lyrics, stand-up comedy, monologue, and horribly Photoshopped overhead projections, the work skewers and Phoenix's foray into music. 

Originally performed as part of December is Action Art at ROCKSBOX in Portland, OR, curated by Patrick Rock. A secondary performance that included musician Brandon Bosch as Bill "The Butcher" from Gangs of New York (?) was staged at LiVEWORK in San Francisco for the exhibition From Portland with Love, curated by Modou Dieng. An accompanying book was released in conjuction with the San Francisco performance featuring an essay by SJPC called, "Beards, White Rap Music, and Hyperreality."