Guest Blog: Philip Huang, the Home Theater Festival & tuff love for indie performance artists

Dear artists. My name is Philip Huang and I am the founder of the Home Theater Festival. Each year I invite artists and performers to present full-length shows in their livingrooms and kitchens and garages. This year, we booked home shows around the globe, from California to New York, Japan to Australia, and Canada to the Czech Republic.
It’s pretty awesome. And it’s all done with zero money. But that’s not what I want to talk about with you today. I want to tell you why I created this festival.
So you would shut the fuck up.
That’s right. So you would stop running your Goddamned mouths.

Because I’m sick of hearing you talk about that one project that’s been in your head a million years. I’m sick of hearing how you’re totally gonna do it once you get a grant or get accepted into that residency or call that gallery or theater you’ve been meaning to work with. Because the fact is, you’re not going to get that grant or that residency. You’re not going to contact that gallery or that theater. It’s not because you’re not talented and driven and awesome. You are. It’s just that you’re lazy. Let’s face it. You’re never gonna get off your ass to raise money or pick up the phone. You’re just going talk and talk and talk and feel sorry for yourself until Mama takes you shopping for shoes.
Well children, you don’t have an excuse anymore. Mama created the Home Theater Festival for broke, lazy assholes just like you. If you have a shit-hole apartment, you have a venue. If you have ten friends who’ll come over and get drunk, you have an audience.
Listen to Mama here. You already have everything you need, right now, with nothing more, to make a career for yourself.
That’s more hopeful than anything you’ll hear in that $65 skills-building seminar you went to at the local arts foundation.
You don’t need to write a grant. You don’t need to do a residency. You don’t have to work with a gallery or theater. You don’t ever have to go to another lame cheese-and-wine networking event so you can collect a bunch of fucking business cards from people you’ll never call.
What you do need is a deadline.
The Home Theater Festival, at its barest, is nothing more than a series of deadlines to make art.
And what you need is a cheerleader, or a community of cheerleaders.
The Home Theater Festival, at its fullest, is nothing more than a community of broke, lazy artists committed to making art at any cost. We are a community of artists committed to helping each other make awesome work with nothing at all.
And the art you make may be messy and cheap. That’s fine. But I’ll tell you. As someone who’s seen more home shows than probably anyone on the planet, I can tell you that shows in livingrooms and kitchens and backyards are more alive and personal than most of the bullshit that passes for art in “real” venues.
I know what you’re thinking. Home shows are cute and all, but I want to be a legitimate artist. I’m trying to be the kind of artist that gets grants and flies around the world doing residencies, and a home show just ain’t gonna cut it.
To which I say, If you keep thinking that way, you’re part of the problem.
Because legitimacy is a fucking shell game. Legitimacy is a carrot the arts foundations and institutions dangle to keep us playing their game.
Well no more. We can start our own game. We can control how and when and why we make art. We can control the means of production and distribution. We can keep all the money we make, with no third parties skimming our ticket sales. We can marshal the full potential of our networks, and make all of our dreams come true.
We can do everything we want to do, right now, with exactly what we already have.
This idea is only going to get bigger. If we have a network of livingroom venues in every state, on every continent, we can start to host each other on that world tour we’ve all been dreaming of. And it’ll be a hell of a lot simpler than getting off your ass to cold-call theaters and galleries and foundations.
Is your dick hard yet?
Now stop bitching and get to work.

Philip Huang
Join the HTF movement
And if you’re stoned and need some laughs, check out Philip’s Video Club


Philip Huang is the founder of the Home Theater Festival and the author of A Pornography of Grief, due out this month. Please feel free to contact him by email or Facebook:


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