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The following reviews come mostly from Internet and were written by spectators.


[Detroit] So i hear people saying that the "vibe" was "off" at this show...could it be that there were only around 20 or more people in the audience? it was a decent showing for a Detroit show, especially since it was set up last minute and had no promotion at all. the vibe may have been weird since there were 2 naked frenchmen running around a near empty DAS while everyone hid in the corners to avoid getting urinated or vomited on...so people at the other shows get more involved with the act? I enjoyed it because it was totally fucked, and the energy was insane, and i almost wanted to puke when they were eating the fake shit. at that moment i knew it was a good show.

I really liked the way they opened, singing about bringing us the wood but us not caring because we have it everywhere (or something like that) I liked the music and the feel of it. but it seemed to slowly go downhill from there. First it felt like Cirque du Soleil but with partialy naked guys, then it felt like Cirque du Soleil but with totally naked people spewing bodily fluids on each other. And I'm not just making a French Connection here. I think the lighting and presentation gave it that feel. I tried to understand what they were getting at, but I couldn't understand what they were saying and I don't think that mattered much. or maybe I'm just stupid. but I don't want anyone accusing me of being close minded, cause I aint. I really wanted to enjoy this, but I was just bored and saddened. I thought he shoved the recorder in his ass the last tour, why did he do it again? is it just something he always does or is he reusing an old act? I'm seriously asking. I wasn't moved or disturbed by any of the urine/feces/puke but I don't think I was supposed to be, but then what? I don't want to say "anyone can piss on stage" because that's not the point, but if someone can enlighten me as to how this was supposed to affect me or what I was supposed to get out of it, please do. I really don't want to write any more art off as pretentious or trite or whatever, I want to make an effort to understand what I'm seeing.

[San Francisco] Depressing.very insughtful. yeah I agree, It was pretty relentlessly horrible, like being sqeezed to death. I hated it. I'm glad tonight they are playing with Lo-Fi Neisans. Might teach em a few things about being "HAPPY" and naked. Maybe if they had more tamborines... yeah, sorry. I kinda talked myself into having a shitty night. I liked the way Costes opened, a couple spoilers ahead. ok I told you, don't get mad if you read this and it ruins it for you.

Individual reactions will be different, sure, needles up the pee hole make me cringe ten times out of ten, but boundaries of taboo are only interesting if their coupled to sneak attacks on what kinds of things you're prepared to believe, the pope hit by a meteorite. Gargling shit was their best, but to me other 'shock' art is more mysterious than Costes, even Frank Moore, taboos played like lures more than bludgeons. I was completely amazed at Costes physical control! They never crashed, misstepped, slipped or so much as caught their balance, even half blind going from stagelights to darkness. That's a mystery.

Costes played in Allentown to a crowd of 30 or so, enough to fill the room and secure people in corners of the room so they had to watch the entire performance. I expected the yuckiness, and was able to leave the room a few times to catch my breath and not worry about shielding myself from their urine. Their opening and closing tunes about coming from far away to give us bread and wood was eeriely memorable and catchy. On a funny note, we never moved Costes' water bottle, because we were all scared to touch it. A few weeks later, we did a show and the guy from Japanese Karaoke Afterlife Experiment saw the water sitting there and was like "can I drink this?" and I yelled "it's Costes' water, NO!!!!!!!!" but he gulped it down so we all laughed at him, those in the know at least.

this is an interesting show because expectations play such a big part in it but also it can totally undermine people's reactions. i can't figure out if people expect to be shocked and then aren't and are disappointed or they expect to not be shocked and are but then have to call it trite or arty. somehow openess evades people if they have an expectation, no matter what it is. someone complained about not seeing real fear on stage (this seemed to be a criticism yet i think it is a complement) where to me the whole point is that there is no need for fear. but also i think cirque de soleil is intriguing no matter how many other people think so too. and i don't live where there's a pressure to decide if something is good or bad and how i measure up to it.

Im glad someone took off the emporers clothes. I really thought I was missing something too, but it was so retro 80s cliche work. I mean the guy did all the right psychodrama stuff youre supposed to do with your body. Nice bodies, lousy ideas! I dont know what you guys saw but it was about Catholocism or something trite. If they had some idea of great confusions or great anything then I would be enjoying the videos the live shows the music. It's just fucking dumb art stuff. Not even as good as a Sat night live skit from '89 except, wow , puke and poo. That's not just me I'm glad.

Costes in Oakland tonite: i had a great time/loved it. i thought a very well-paced show--perfectly speckled with love and lightness just after delivering a heavy blow. at the start of the show i thought the naive bunch of youngsters sitting on the floor right up front were gonna freak out and dash away, but they stayed and celebrated with the performance and even gave a big kick line at the end reprise of the opening jig. i felt a lot of humor and joy from the performance that i didn't expect-- somewhere between a heavy grieving and a great celebration. was told it was a pretty drastic difference from the SF show. very light turnout.

Dark and Brutal condescending "parody" of druggies, "lust need" and rigorous living. Hard to take and depressing. Is it a gift for someone to let out all their pain and anger in a public place? Is it animal nature to leave the sick for the wolves? Is this why I hate it? Is life, in all its abject suffering enough or must I pay to take in this hate rant? Ever feel your heart beaten after looking at politics and relentless war? Why do you have to go to the bathroom everyday? And eat? and breath? Can't you just die? Ever feel like a disease? scared? bored? Ugly? Stupid? Drunk? rejected?

While I did enjoyed aspects of the show. I'm not really Christian or anything so I don't give a fuck about people beating each other with card board crosses and wearing inquisitors robes while humiliating themselves. It was "fun". It was fucked up. Some of it sucked some of it was totally engrossing because it was so fucking Bogue ... I don't know about transcendental or profound or any such non-sense. It was cheesey as all Hell , really. Anyone who says otherwise is pretentious! I truly believe in every form of expression and I believe in Costes "message". Personally I feel it's a bit out of date ... I could see how it could shock and enthrall people who haven't managed to make it out of their lame-ass midwestern home towns ever before in their lives ... but for me it's raising points that are old hat. The fact that people can be shocked is more shocking than what is shocking them(if that makes any sense)

The whole "whoa let's be shocking by criticizing/destroying religious shit" thing has been done so many times, personally I'm not religious and don't care so it just ends up looking goofy. BUT the addition of using body fluids, fucking with your body, that stuff's fun to watch. I wouldn't feel right launching some discussion or acedemic take on this performance because I don't think there's too much depth to it. For me, it was more like, "WHOA she just ate some (fake?) crap out of that dude's ass and puked it into his mouth, and he puked it back into her's- WHOA!" type stuff. Fun! It was kind of shocking, bodies in your face, but they seemed to show restraint as well. They'd run into the audience and if you moved away from them or clearly did not want to be embraced by a sweaty French dude and a blow up doll, they'd go up to somebody else. On the other hand, there was this dude really into it sitting up near the front, egging Costes on, so Costes put his dick in his mouth and shot some turkey baster full of who knows into his mouth. Me, I expected to be pissed on or puked on, but because I didn't pursue any of that, I left dry, they left me alone. I don't know- the performance was safe, contained...sure, pins into dicks and drinking piss, but it was still just a show. And playing the music on a CD player... that was kind of lame. They should get a houseband.

I'm so over pooping and peeing. Ijust took a poop yesterday, can't costes come up with a new body fucntion! Im not shocked when i look in the toilet anymore! I know my ass is trying to break my up bringing by forming my crap in the shape of the virgin mary! I am not scared it is not a sign for god, maybe way back in 1723AD it would trick the masses but not for my educated brain, i understand what it really is! I looked in the mirror yesterday and saw my face. That's all!

[Detroit] We were very pleased with the turn-out...thanks to all that came! mainly what threw the show off, and fucked the vibe for us was the fact that the PA kept cutting out at important parts as it omitted a loud, and bland mid-range hum...shaking the muther fucker was the only method of getting the CD back in sound. Because 95% of the Holy Virgin Cult is rigorously rehearsed, having the backing music cut out as much as it did made the performers seriously uncomfortable...as I'd seen 8 preformances @that point, I could detect their awkward feelings all too well, that's mainly why the vibe was off for me...the PA did the same shit to my set, instead of what I was sending to it-half of my sound-the PA just kind of buuzed this shitty fucking noise that made me want to heckle myself to tears. oh well...I'm sure everything wasn't nearly as obvious to everyone in the crowd as it was to us, so no big deal...I probablly shouldn't have reffered to the Detroit show as the "worst show of the tour" because that implied that I thought it was a bad show, which it wasn't.

Costes' performance at Buddy [Chicago]tonight was jaw dropping.Piss, blood, shit, vomit, vomit mixed with shit, piss mixed with beer, sweat, catsup, and raw chicken all over the place. It was absolutely disgusting and so yet incredibly physical and entertaining. My face is sore from laughing so hard. It went on for almost an hour at full force and never lost energy. Seemingly everyone in attendance stayed throughout - mesmerized and wildly entertained (if a tad nauseous). Total disbelief. Performers throwing themselves into walls and groveling naked and defiled in throes of ecstasy. And included in the middle of it all, Costes - naked and covered in sweat, shit, blood, and whatever else - stops worshiping the sex doll Virgin Mary to answer his loudly ringing cell phone.

They are professinal!!!! Straight and Strong! They should play infront another audience, Such like Theatre-experimental Art group or more Arty person understandable Deference. This time 's Audience are so match casual, I like them, but far away from Contes experimental style.

I do think it's amazing they could do that for more than one night in a row, much less a whole tour. ouch! P.U.! i personally have a hard time taking anything very seriously and the costes show gave me difficulties in that department at times for damn sure. but mebbe it's right that way - difficulties. the whole christian cross thing and the tearing out pages of holy book definitely began to make me veeerry sleepy. but for some who have feeling about such things that may have been satisfying. thas why i thought it best not to post anything when i got back from edinburgh - - seems like if you went not knowing what to expect you might get a lot more out of it. Some of the message they spewed was trite and the whole thing relied almost entirely on its shock value and yes it's been done before a hundred times. but i had never seen it and i'm thinking more with time that i'm glad i did. the opening number was my favorite part - then the next thirty minutes were a jolt i was more or less expecting. after that i just wanted it to end. so to future potential spectators i would neither recommend the show or advise against going. it's impossible to tell what someone may or may not get out of it, but it sure got everyone on this bored a squawkin', myself included.

Costes' performance at Buddy [Chicago]tonight i know you went or no one here was being as extreme as my smart ass comment, i just find it really hillarious that most peoples less than entuistaic/critical comments about costes is that they arent shocked or its been done or that it isnt breaking social barriers or something... i just have to say.... the dude is an absurdist! here is the reason why costes is great because it seems people read what they want into what he does, some people see him as a racist (french government and extreme left wackos) some people see him as pretentious artfag, some love him for what ever specific reasons (ive hear people say it was one best shows they've seen),and some just see a rudementary lowest common demonator actionist. to me that is a sign of a greatness and successful art, when people project there own ideas on what you are doing and interprate what they want into a specific version of reality world veiw. basically its what we all do everyday,(selective reality), but somehow in costes produces it at an extreme level. if he does this on purpose is a whole another thing,im not shure if some people cant help it or not. i dont think it matters to me.

[Los Angeles] Speaking of "the bad", last night I had the fortune (or misfortune, I still haven't decided yet) of seeing Costes perform live at the Smell here in Los Angeles (reader beware, the Costes link leads to offensive images and sounds. Not for the squeamish and definitely not work-safe). Costes is essentially a French noise and performance artist who works in what I call the "excremental" tradition. My personal excremental pantheon includes Alfred Jarry, Antonin Artaud, Cˇline, the Vienna Actionists, Genesis P. Orridge and Throbbing Gristle, Michel Houellebecq, William Burroughs, the Panic Theater of Fernando Arrabal and Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Paul McCarthy. One might also include Chris Ofili or Piero Manzoni, though they lack a certain ecstatic quality that I associate with the other artists. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth describes Costes as follows: "Costes is the ultimate French absurdist, and he and Lisa Carver wrote operas together and performed them at punk clubs. The mixture of personality and identity was fierce and mind-boggling and far more complex and intelligent than just accidental genius." Yes, fierce and mind-boggling, and perhaps genius, but it's difficult to describe exactly what Costes does and why it's so compelling. We were basically watching a staged medieval pagan ritual only a few blocks away from the wondrous new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Screeching noise, screams, convulsions, blood, urine, shit, vomit, and sodomy were all part of the show. The blood and shit were fake (most of it anyway) but the urine, sex, and vomit were real. The performance, what Costes calls a "porno-social ritual", was entitled The Holy Virgin Cult, and from what I could tell the story was about the sacrifice and resurrection of a virgin goddess, but the story was kind of beside the point. This was a bloody melee. Urine was ingested. Genitals were set on fire. A friend mentioned that if the cops came into the club everyone would be arrested immediately, and I don't doubt that. Costes will stand trial later this year in a French court on charges of obscenity and inciting racial violence. Despite the horrific and offensive events taking place on stage (and sometimes in the audience), the show was too absurd, and occasionally downright sweet, to be entirely threatening. Never before has raw chicken been eaten with such tender loving care. Costes describes his show in an interview here.

Tonight raised the bar so high. A list of the transgressions that didn't happen would be pretty short. And somehow, woven into it all, was amazing physical comedy, religion, politics, and perhaps even great theater and experimental music. I can't remember the last time I saw performers show so much courage and give so much of themselves. Hopefully it won't be another 13 years before Costes and co. return to the U.S. For those of us who missed out on Viennese Aktionism in person (probably all), here was your chance to get a sense of what it might have been like. Truly extraordinary and unlike anything likely to be seen on these shores again in a very long time.

And why does it matter if someone did something before and then is still doing it? is there some unspoken rule that i don't know about? i thought the whole concept of development means you have an idea and then keep working from it and building on it. and learn how to say what you are trying to more clearly. to me costes is building a complex diagram of how some taboos work and how the system feeds off of them and why they're unnecessary and that you shouldn't be shocked or afraid or cynical and that there is an alternative which is being open to everything. and as far as i know there haven't been a whole lot of "new" taboos invented recently. (in the strict sense of the word that is)