I HAVE RETIRED FROM MAKING VIDEOS (2016)
In the snowy winter of 2015, a brilliant angel woman appeared at THE SAUGERTIES ART LIFE INSTITUTE/TRANSFIGURATION HOSPITAL. Her name is Ryan Baltor and we dug deeply together into 40 years of my films with the intention of bringing order, description, and celebration to a career that my good inner-voices told me to end in 2015. Verbally communicating the story of each video to Ryan has been not only confession but a kind of summation of my ART/LIFE history, and a chance to re-live and re-love my process. Ryan became an Art Dula, compassionately birthing from my mouth, my life, and as a result, clearing the way by celebrating my Film Children. There are many of them, and we generously give them all to you now. They are on their own, they’ve graduated, they’ve paid off their debts, their college tuitions, and are free (via you tube), having decided after Occupy Wall Street that the new currency is not money but compassion, and that the most compassionate thing I could do with my work, after having spent blood, sweat, and tears is to give it to you, free of charge. Included in this compilation are seven videos by other artists: Denali Abrams, Tobe Carey, Maida Barbour, Nancy Donskoj, Diane Dwyer and Goddard College at Port Townsend.
Dear Ryan, when you are 99 years old, make sure you show your friends one of your favorite videos from our collaboration together, the snowy winter of 2015.
TRIBUTE TO TOBE AND MEG CAREY
I would like to thank my collaborator of 20 years, the incredibly gentle, patient, intelligent, generous and creative video artist Tobe Carey for allowing me to come into his home studio and co-produce probably over 35 films via his willingness to share his creative and technological brilliance. Almost everything in this compilation of films is the result of our time together. When I stand publicly next to a projection of a film, Tobe Carey is standing next to me, literally or figuratively. Whatever it is karmically that brought us together, whatever it is aesthetically that allowed us to think together, whatever it is non-competitively that showed us how to create together, I thank. With all due gratitude to him, I also extend warm applause to his wife, Meg Carey, who greeted me at the door for 20 years and allowed me into their home. It takes giants of Love, Art and Life to allow this kind of sharing. As my film career comes to a transformative flowering, I use the Zen folded hands of Gasho, the Hindu Namaste and non-hidden smiles as I bow to the God within the three of us.
FILMS BY LINDA MARY MONTANO
1. ALWAYS CREATIVE
Upstate New York always seemed to me to be like a British village in a 1500’s historical novel, filled with fantastical elders whose bravado, courage, outrageous-ness, creativity, fearless appetite for life, stunned me with its mentoring. You must remember that all of the 12 elders in this film were born before-computer, before-television, before-internet, before-facebook, before-twitter. These phenomenal storytellers give facetime with gusto, with proverbs, with expression, with generosity. These 12 elders shared outrageous opinions, phenomenal stories, helpful advice, and allowed me to glimpse their past as if walking backwards through time. Maybe it’s because I grew up with daily visits to my outrageous outsider-artist grandmother, and wanted to continue learning from ancient wisdom, maybe that’s why I found these women and men of courage, wanting to continue grandmother-time. I invite you to do the same and interview your great-grandmother. She will show you the way.
CREDITS: With gratitude to all who shared their unique creativity in this video: Dr. Herman Ashe, Holly Beye, Andy Buzzanco, Tony Buzzanco, Luba Donskoj, Dr. Dolores Hull, Vera Jacobs, Dr. Marie Louise Johnson, Dr. Aruna Mehta, Flo Monroe, Irma Sagazie, Agnes Sheff, Cecilia Waage. Special thanks to Anthony and Cindy Montano and Steven Kolpan for their support in making this film possible. Always creative is dedicated to Henry J. Montano, father of Linda M. Montano, and to Bess Allentuch, Mother of Tobe Carey.
2. ANOREXIA NERVOSA
When I was 20 I was in a convent and after two years, I realized that I was not emotionally mature enough to be a nun. It’s not that I didn’t love everything about the life, it’s just that I had some unfinished business that needed cleaning up and I was not able to ask for help there so that I could heal and stay. The way I expressed my confusion was to take control of food intake. It seems this is not possible to do while in a convent, sitting at a table along with eight different nuns-in-training, silently watching every move that everyone made. Forks hitting against plates and a voice reading about the lives of the saints and martyrs were the only other totally frightening meal-time sounds. To fix it all, my inventive mind decided to control my food intake and I went from a hefty 135 lbs to 80 lbs. Anorexia became a side job which kept me quite busy… learning how to hide from my mates the fact that I was eating nothing and then doing my chores with great vigor because of the adrenaline high from starving. About 15 years after leaving, I sought out other women with the same issue and made ANOREXIA NERVOSA, seeking explanation and comradeship in a community of like-mindedness which has the power to heal. This not an art film, but a raw, uncut, unedited look at life.
CREDITS: Christine Barnum, Diane Bass, Vicky Sutherland, Kelly Doyle.
3. ANOREXIA NERVOSA (EDIT)
This is a 12 minute selection from the one hour film of the same name. I talk about my own anorexia story, a story that never really ever ends. Once an an anorexic always an anorexic.
CREDITS: David Wagner, Editing; Camera, One of the women I interviewed. Further Editing, Tobe Carey
4. ARCHIVE FOR SALE
Luckily we are all offspring of social media which links us to the superhighway which is global in scope. I took to it easily and hungrily, finding a Facebook community, an email family and way to see/talk with, show work/share with this virtual family of colleagues in a manner perfectly suited to my non-verbal, intuitive personality! So when I need something, I Facebook, when I am doing a performance I advertise on Facebook and email about it. There, things get seen and expressed and the invitations are sent out sans stamps, sans trips to post offices, sans worrying that I am not honoring my work with “exposure.” I hear good voices and one said one day, “Sell your archive because you are getting old and all of that work will end up in landfill when you die.” That’s a great message for a woman artist in her seventies to hear and act on immediately. At about that time, archivists began coming to the attic at THE ART LIFE INSTITUTE in Kingston NY and showing me how to safely “throw” papers, books, PR and videos into appropriate boxes. ORDER WAS APPEARING. The resulting document of the process is: ARCHIVE FOR SALE which is not a film but an advertisement for a product: MY ARCHIVE. I put out to the universe that I wanted to sell it and it happened. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, Fales Library heard my call: wanted the archive, drove up in a big truck, twice, and took away 150 boxes of my life-art. How the hell did I magnetize so much stuff to myself? All I know is that I want to pass it on. COME, READ, LOOK, and wear white gloves!
TIME: 8:21 (Part 1), 9:37 (Part 2), 9:45 (Part 3), 4:34 (Part 4)
5. ARCHIVE LULLABY
When a baby is tired or when a lover is stressed and needs comforting, we sing/think “lullabies.” Very excited about the thousands of papers and remnants from 50 years of my art-life going to Fales NYU Library & Special Collections, I made a video outlining the numbered boxes and mentioned almost all of the contents of each box but made sure that I deflected the jealous eyes/gaze and thoughts of any colleagues, friends and detractors who might cast negative eyes my way . How did I do that? I made a lullaby-goodbye video and used a computer device which tefloned my accomplishments so that aire-bourne jealousy didn’t stick on my archive or my newly won euphoria. What I did was to make the video robotically humorous, animating my face via CRAZY TALK, a computer program that makes mouths and faces and bodies move via technology and not cellular propelling. By adding images of a nursing mother and a brood of hungry, pecking chickens eating in a barnyard, I created an atmosphere of unbridled , celebratory fun.
After a tribute to my work via a panel of speakers: Kathy Brew, Linda Weintraub, Martha Wilson ( Britta Wheeler& Miss Toni Silver as Wilson) and Karen Finley, I showed this tape and at the end appeared along with Bob Dylan’s FOREVER YOUNG You Tube, doppleganging his brooding beauty and hoping that I could approximate the bard’s brilliance.
By sending off my papers and ephemera to sleep in the vault and storage bins of research-heaven, NYU, I got to say, Good Night, my art. I love you . Sleep tight!
CREDITS: Marvin Taylor, Lisa Darms, Emily King and the Panelists. Tobe Carey video editing/animation.
6. A STORY OF ANGEL LOVE
This film is the result of my friendship with outsider artist, Gene Loeb, who said he needed a prompt to inspire him to paint something. Fairy tales have always been easy vehicles for my message, and so I wrote one for him about two children, Samantha and Miguel, who survive bullying, bad treatment at school, and humiliating dismissal by their supposed friends. Talking Angels led them out of big trouble and trees provide solace and places to safely hide their distress. A series of fanciful paintings by Loeb successfully marry and accompany my words, and create an experience for the outer/inner child of 8 or 80.
CREDITS: STORY by LINDA MARY MONTANO, DRAWINGS by GENE LOEB, EDITING/ANIMATION by TOBE CAREY editing/animation.
In the late 1990’s, I was a professor of performance art, at the University of Texas, Austin. Luckily, one of the perks of professorship is a travel grant which I used to visit India with my mentor and friend Dr. Aruna Mehta. Also, luckily, the University had a medical clinic that had superior travel information. So I did all of that, made sure I knew how to keep myself physically safe, and set out for one of the most transforming experiences of my life. Although I had not completely made arrangements for places to stay in Benares, they magically came together, and a very learned Brahman scholar in India, made sure that I was able to participate in Varanasi’s theological culture. Please watch this film because I cannot begin to describe the floating dead bodies in the Ganges. I cannot begin to describe the 24/7 burning ghats. I cannot begin to describe the senior citizens waiting to die in the most holy city in the world ; the place where their Moksha/liberation from rebirth is guaranteed. I cannot begin to describe (in words), the evolution from my own Western fear, voyeurism, culture appropriation, to an Eastern understanding of the divine both in Life and Death. This sophomoric attempt to move myself from tourist to one-who-belongs marks the beginning of a journey that is not so much now about death but about Love.
YEAR: 1998 & 2008
CREDITS: For my friends Dr. Aruna Mehta, Dr. A.L. Mehta. Consultant in Benares: Ratnesesh Pathak. Videographer in Benares: Daffodils Videotec. Sound Design: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain, Austin, Texas. Video Design: Andy Cockrum, 501 Group Austin, Texas. Re-Edited 2007, Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media Glenford, CT. Special Thanks to University of Texas, Austin, Department of Art.
8. BREATHING EXERCISES
When I was living part time at Ananda Ashram in the 80’s and 90’s, my guru Sri Brahmananda Saraswati would offer us the opportunity to practice his breathing exercises with him one day a week (I think it was Sunday). I always sat as close as possible to his chair – magnetically drawn by Love. Because he communicated heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind, there were a few of these breathing exercises that he told me I would need later on in my life (although he never spoke that verbally). His message was correct. Twenty years after his death, I developed cervical dystonia in my neck, and when I am attentive to my self-healing, I use many of these breathing exercises, and I thank my teacher for his continued care. In the mid-90’s, I made this film, so that these breathing exercises would be forever documented. I must both warn and suggest that you proceed with caution. This film is only a document, and not a medical necessity. Know your own body, and please obtain your doctors permission to perform the breathing exercises that you observe in this film. As my beyond wise father used to say as I left the house, “Linda, be careful,” and I say to you: ” Don’t hurt yourself. Be careful!”
CREDITS: Breathing Exercises as Taught by Sri Brahmananda Saraswati, Linda Mary Montano.
A few years ago I was watching a TV show of compiled Saturday Night Live comedy sketches. It was brilliant. Laugh after laugh after laugh. Although their takes were quick and finely honed and edited – my version of compiled films is a bit less neat because I linger on some things and rush through others. During OCCUPY WALLSTREET, I decided to distribute all of my work for free on youtube and when I went through the list of things that I had done, I was amazed at the fecundedness of my fertile brain. I made film after film after film and not because I expected anyone to view them, but because my practice is my healing, and they’re all about me, for me, by me. So the compilation is a series of short trailers and chance for the viewer to edit their desire to see more. Check it out. You might later want to choose one of my four dozen films on youtube, and watch it in the privacy of your life.
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey. Special Thanks: Tobe Carey, Meg Carey, Mitchell Payne, Jim Barbero, Mildred Montano, Henry Montano, Martha Wilson, Paul McMahon, Diane Teramana, Laura Biagi, Lisa B Kelley, Elders of Ulster County, Mother Teresa’s Guardians, Marc Rabinovic, Joshua, Father Lebar, All Contributors to this Art/Life.
One of the most stunning explorations of my work is the film I made titled CHAKRAPHONICS. It is the culmination of the 14 years that I immersed myself in the Hindu Chakra energy systems as taught by my Guru Shri Brahmanada Saraswati. This hypnotically jewelled film includes the drawings I made, one a year for 14 years…the first 7 with my right hand, the second 7 years, I drew the descending Chakra, the same image only with my left, non-dominant hand. I assume the pose of the drawing as photographed by Annie Sprinkle and Katherine Gates superimposed my drawings on top of the photo images, enliviening each permutation, especially since, in the film, the mouths were computer animated and I seem to be speaking as a live ” CHAKRA WOMAN”. This rich collage of Chakra information, images and magical color washes along with real-life interpretations of the quality of the Chakra is “offset” by the fact that Jackie Gleason’s romantic dating music washes over the entire vision, allowing for an East-West confusion that teases the mind from settling on anything at all! How perfect!
CREDITS: Video Editing – Andy Cockrum, Re-Edit – Tobe Carey, Audio – Chris Erlon, Computer Image Collage – Katherine Gates, Chakra Photos – Annie Sprinkle, Camera – Venae Rodriguez. Tantra Video from Rites of Passage: In Search of the Ultimate Sexual Experience – produced by Candida Royalle, Directed by Annie Sprinkle. India Video – Daffodil Studio. Birth Video – Tobe Carey. Nursing Baby – Prelinger Archive.
11. CHICKEN LINDA SINGS or LINDA MARY MONTANO SINGS
In the mid-90’s, I was teaching at the University of Texas, Austin and deep in the second seven years of 14 YEARS OF LIVING ART. The CHAKRAS became my food, my language, my night-dreams, my color schemes, my clothing, and my inner ladder to understanding. Jan Mattox and Lauren Rush are probably the most hermetically pure sound-artists that I know, and they invited me to their almost-literal tree-house in the Redwoods of California to rehearse and later perform in San Francisco my composition titled THE SEVEN CHAKRAS. Eight of us: Jan Mattox, Lauren Rush, Constance Natvig, John English, Timothy White, George Marsh, Jennifer Wilsey, and I bathed in Chakra Sound and approached each Chakra/Gland uniquely and with sonic surprise, allowing me to shine like a star, and sing like an angel, because of their advanced, professional, Good Sound virtual acoustic technology developed by Composer Lauren Rush. This film is from one of the chakras, probably the heart chakra, because I am singing MY FUNNY VALENTINE, which the whole Universe associates with Love. Chickens and Flowers are super-imposed over each other, blending with the love of valentines and life. I am extremely grateful to Jan and Lauren and the Good Sound Band for letting me sing my heart in. I also want to say goodbye to Barbara Lehmann who collaborated with us in THE SEVEN CHAKRAS. This was her last performance.
CREDITS: Video Editing by Tobe Carey at Willow Mixed Media. Chicken Footage: Fred’s Fine Fowl. Sound: Good Sound Band 1992-present. With: Constance Natvig, John English, Timothy White, Linda Mary Montano, George Marsh, Jennifer Wilsey, Loren Rush, Janis Mattox, Sound Producer: Janis Mattox. Good Sound Virtual Acoustics: Loren Rush.
This film is not Art but a filler to accompany me when I torch-song-sing seven songs for the seven glands. Because I grew up on the American Standards from the 30’s and 40’s, for example, My Funny Valentine and Someone to Love, I have incorporated them into my work for the last 20 years. For this performance, I will disguise myself as Bob Dylan or Paul McMahon and hide behind these great male artists so that I can appear comfortable singing songs from my broken heart, as a woman, but also in a kind of gender-bending atmosphere of mystery. The chicken images/sounds take the burden from my having to have perfect pitch, perfect notes, perfect memory of each word of the song, and comedically fills in that quadrant of the brain that needs relief from the bogus romance suggested by American Standard Songs. I filmed Chickens at two different sites in New York State, but the chicken clucking sounds come from the University of Wisconsin Agricultural Department where I visited chickens in 1966 and was inspired to present nine of them in fabulous cages in a gallery for my Master of Fine Arts final show, 1969. Since then, chickens have become my signature. In fact, I titled myself Chicken Woman after my MFA Show, where I placed chickens so THEY could perform live in outsized, large, conceptual art structure diagonal cages. I continue to work with feathers, live chickens, chicken beds, chicken night lights, angel wings and performances of myself as CHICKEN/ANGEL WOMAN. Problem is, once an artist latches on to a theme, a favorite word, an Yves Klein-ish color, (his was blue), it’s hard to move over, and allow oneself to not be identified as CHICKEN LINDA, having stolen, grabbed, run off with a genius-like solution to finding ones place/fame in an ever-changing art world. So that is my self-critical response to “why chickens?” A kinder, more shamanic take might be to play with the metaphor of chickens as stunted angels, harbingers of new beginnings or as evolved-down dinosaurs, but this is not the place or time for that discourse. GABAWKKKK. GABAWKKKKKKKKKKKK.
CREDITS: CAMERA: LINDA MARY MONTANO; EDITING: TOBE CAREY
13. DAD ART PERFORMANCE
When I arrived back to New York State from Texas, having been denied tenure, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. That is, I was able to be with my father and get to re-know him for the last seven years of his life. He allowed me to collaborate with him on video, and we filmed while watching Wheel of Fortune together; we filmed eating linguini and clams together; we filmed him meeting his beautiful woman friend as she picked him up to take him out to dinner. I’m editing out his unspeakable head accident at physical therapy, his fall at home and rush to the hospital with a stroke. But I’m not denying that I hid behind the camera using it as a shield as I became manager of his care at home 24/7 for three years. 400,000 care-givers came through the front door, day and night, and I filmed it all. Not sneakily, not as a thief, but as a frightened bird behind a branch disguised-as-tripod. DAD ART was the result of my father’s original generosity of sharing LIFE/ART with me and the result of my continuing that process as I watched a kind of transcendence overcome him. No, it wasn’t pretty or wonderful but during his illness he exuded the same beauty that he exhibited when he sat in church in meditation. Friends would come into the house at 9 John Street and cry because of the atmosphere that he created: a high-level intensity and vibrational frequency. One of the care-givers was smart enough to remind me to encourage him to paint and he became an abstract expressionist painter who for 1-2 hours a day, sat transfixed as red or orange or black or yellow appeared on the paper in front of him via his Zenned-paintbrush which moved so slowly that I would almost faint with the beauty of his focus. Some of these paintings are incorporated into the film DAD ART which premiered once or twice publicly and once with close friends as a funeral memorial service. During the performance of DAD ART, I sing the seven songs he and my mother would play in their band during the 30’s and 40’s. Also on stage during the memorial-performance there are many different activities and “stations” of symbolic actions: one of artists as counselors, talking to people about death which invites participants to enter the performance space to become co-performers in a collaborative group process. At another station, a collaborator pours glasses of water and hands them out, since water became such an important vehicle of life/not life for my father as he stopped eating and drinking. At the third station, audience members are invited to come to the “stage” and dictate a letter to death who is a collaborator, wearing a death mask. A vibrant, breath of fresh air, exuberant MC keeps everything moving, invites people to the stage, and blows a whistle when it’s my time to sing one of my seven songs. DAD ART Performance/Film is an invitation to anyone who would like me to come and mourn with you publicly as art. I promise, this will not be easy.
CREDITS: Thanks to Steve Barry and Students, University of New Mexico. Edited by Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media. DAD ART Performance Requires: 7 Volunteer Performers, Video Projector, Keyboard, Lighting and Audio.
14. DAD ART PAINTINGS
Everyday my father would paint one painting using slow motion , intense focus and great concentration. It was like sitting next to a Zen Master I, being with him at this time and actually many other times during the day because of the deep love and peace that surrounded him. The paintings were like abstract expressionistic studies of life force and exuberant color. Dad was communicating from inside his silent self. May his work inspire others. He was always courage in action, even until the end of his life.
CREDITS: SOUND: BRENDHA HUTCHINSON; EDITING: TOBE CAREY; CAMERA : LINDA MARY MONTANO
15. DREAM STORIES
Since 1984, I have been lucky enough to find a human erotic muse who woke me to oceanic boundlessness. I wrote these stories in my forties and I think being peri-menopausal, menopausal, and post-menopausal have tons to do with this film because I know for a fact that women’s bodies push and push and push for that last chance for fertilization. Being hot hot hot is not an accident, or about lust, or even the lust-object, but is more about Mother Nature’s invitation to do it now or never have a baby, or another baby, again. I wrote over forty sexual yearning stories instead of conceiving and birthing a child. When I made this film, I disguised the stories with a strange voice modulator so that nobody can fully hear what’s really being said. The actual written, unpublished document titled SACRED SEX /LOVE SEX is hidden/nestled/disguised/lurking in my archive, at Fales Library NYU, for those of you with the energy to find and read it!
CREDITS: Produced & Directed by Linda Montano, Camera – Venae Rodriguez, Sound – Chris Erlon, Editor – Andy Cockram. Re-edit by Tobe Carey.
Another title for this film could have been SICK ART or ART/LIFE because it is my attempt to lighten up, make sense of, expose, explore, and be horrified by a chronic, neurologic condition which I developed in 2006. Not many people have heard of Dystonia which results in spasms, contortions, head turnings and many other strange body-art gesticulations. My contracting/getting/having Dystonia is the reason I did a lot of things: it’s the reason I became/acted as if I were Mother Theresa because I was bent over, not by having served 400 million people but by spasms from Dystonia. Dystonia also was the reason I made the exorcism film because my neck started acting extremely weird in church and I thought I was possessed. “Linda, you are not possessed,” said Father Lebar, Catholic priest and exorcist. But I do spasm, I do have to hold my head up with sometimes both hands, I am in almost-constant pain. Calling out the forces of transformation, calling out the army of art as healing, I relinquished the pity party, the drama, the trauma, the telling my friends that I had a chronic illness, and instead, I wrote my Dystonia story as a fun, cute, feel good, Hallmark Card Fairy Tale, which Jonathan Penz, a home-schooled pre-teened genius reads in all of his innocence. To counteract the kid artness of the film, I include/superimposed on the images, frightening side-effects of the Botox injections which I am receiving. And to counteract the horrors of these side-effects, the words PEACE, HOPE, & LOVE fly through the film as lovely angel-words. My neurologist, Dr. Fabio Danisi is such a sport, allowing his injection procedure to be filmed by his assistant Cindy Miller. As a team of 3, I feel we have shed beautiful light on a terrible plight. Every three months, many Dystonia patients around the world receive Botox injections. I get mine today. Have to go out in this Northeastern snowstorm and buy him a cannoli before I go!
CREDITS: Camera: Cindy Miller, Doctor: Dr. Fabio Danisi, Patient: Linda Mary Montano, Story: Linda Mary Montano, Narrator: Jonathon Penz, Video Editor: Tobe Carey.
17. ENDURANCE THEN AND NOW
My last presentation at the University of Texas, Austin, was a slide lecture titled, Endurance Then and Now, May 1998. Recently, I found the print-out of the lecture, and decided to translate it into a film. The new version has a 2015 letter-rant about my addiction to Endurance, and in this letter to myself, I try to correct/tame my proclivities for self-imposed suffering, which I continue to pursue this day. For example, I’ve just completed, at 73 years old, 3 different 7-hour scissor-lift performances, being suspended 14 feet in the air, impersonating Mother Theresa and Bob Dylan, performing sans bathroom break for those 7 hours. Even now, I am still willing to pull out those nasal neti catheters I found in my archive and place them up my nose, just so I can have a fabulous intro for this film; even now, for the intro of this film, I will illustrate this self penance passion of mine by using acupuncture needles as material for my art, sticking them in non-designated and non-medically approved places on my face. I trace my need to endure to Catholicism, to the convent, and in this film there are images of 14 of my past endurances. I wonder why I endure, is it Freudian? Is it spiritually necessary? Is it neural-biologically smart? Is it a reaction against 60’s and 70’s minimalism? This film also references 10 women performance-artists of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s who endured; 9 male artists from the same time who endured; 4 couples who endured; and 2 instances of enduring invisibly via the internet. The film concludes with a plea for less body-manipulation, less gore, less taboo-breaking, and more secret, silent, solitary, sustainably compassionate and kind endurings in the night.
CREDITS: Linda Mary Montano; EDITING: Tobe Carey
18. FATHER HARTY DRUM CORPS
When I was a child, my father Henry Montano, and George & Dick Thornton created an experience for the young boys of the Saugerties-Glasco area which transformed kids on the block to rockstars. The Drum Corps was named after a beloved priest at the Catholic Church, Father Harty, and the Drum Corps founders transformed the local boys into “musicians” who played the glockenspiel, drums, symbols and trumpets. The boys turned superstars were not only the musicians but also the color guards and drum majors. Their high-stepping showmanship electrified the parents of this small upstate NY village every Fourth of July, and the streets of Saugerties came alive with their brilliance. At that time, women didn’t join ANYTHING except Girl Scouts and Brownies, but my mother, the collaborator and artist that she always was, painted shamrocks on military helmets, helped dye uniforms, and turned army green spats into white ankle coverings. As a young girl, I watched it all, thrilled but internally wanting to be a boy! Why not, they had all the fun. This film is a collection of memories from former participants and kudos to my father’s ability to inspire these young boys to become fabulous performers. It is not the place or time for me to ask: why not me? Conversely, I was so influenced by my parent’s ability to inspire art that I continued on my own, and created my own parades, which, even now, in my 70’s, I continue to march in. Thanks Mom, for showing me that art is art and painting shamrocks on helmets, is just as fun as marching in the parade!
CREDITS: FILM: Linda Mary Montano, EDITING: Tobe Carey
19. FATHER LEBAR, CATHOLIC PRIEST AND EXORCIST
In 2006, I was sitting in church, and my neck started spasming, my head jerked around. I had just seen The Exorcist, and was totally freaked out. I went to my best friend, Google Incorporated, and entered the words: Exorcists in New York State – convinced that that was what I needed. I found Father James Lebar online and he was living across the river in Hyde Park, forty minutes away. Voila, I was in luck!. When I called him, I was surprised how affable and not scary he was, supposing that exorcists would be unspeakably officious. He said we could meet and I insisted that it take place at Burger King, my safe space, and it was there that he told me I was not possessed but it took me billions of hours of editing footage of him to understand theologically why he said I wasn’t possessed because I got to study the theology of this fascinating subject, demonology. This film is not for the faint-hearted, in fact, none of my films are easy to watch, because they serve as healing for my life at the time, so I invite only those who have an interest in Catholic Exorcists to open the door to this long/tedious/not fun journey into understanding satan’s effect on the human psyche.
CREDITS: Video Interview Recording and Video Editing – Tobe Carey, Video of Father Lebar Reading Exorcism Prayers – Linda M. Montano, Prayer Recitations – Julia Babcock & Jonathan Rowan, Bells – John Grey. Exorcism Prayers from Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Living Americans by Malachi Martin. Further Research from Cults, Sects, & the New Age by Father James Lebar.
20. GANDHI DREAMS
Because of a near-crippling neurologic condition called Dystonia, I found myself quite crumpled over one day as if imitating the body language of Mother Theresa , and that’s how this Persona was born. I become her whenever necessary, and whenever called, whenever performatively invited, that is. As a result of my ability to be others, it’s no surprise that I look for Persona in whoever I meet, and even when I find doppelgängers, I can’t help but suggest that they go to Hollywood and try to get a job as their twin-famous-self. For example, my chiropractor, Marc Rabinowitz looks so much like Gandi, that I had to get the two of us together and create a screen-play for this film titled, GANDHI DREAMS. The screenplay goes like this: Gandi dreams he meets Mother Theresa and she tells him about her 40 years of secret depression, and how she herself becomes the poorest of the poor in complete, anguished, inner-loneliness without the solace of her once experienced God. All of this information is made known through letters to her spiritual directors, and of course, she told them to burn the letters after she died, and they didn’t. So, we now know about her four decades of pain. Her recipe for survival was an inner secret which she devised and titled, her smile. This smile covered suffering. This is important information and I literally created a complex film, just to communicate Mother’s techniques! And I found a fabulous communicator of the good news, my friend, from Bangladesh, Faheem Haider, who soulfully/deeply/passionately narrates both dreams: Mother Theresa’s dream, and Gandi’s dream which is a low-key rant about Ahimsa, non-violence, and how we need to practice peace keeping ecologically, economically, medically, and nutritionally. Faheem as Gandi inspires spiritually and sings his remembered Bengali Bahjans in this film, recorded by Diane Teramana, visually edited by Tobe Carey, and sonically edited by Jim Barbaro . I hope I never stop dreaming.
CREDITS: ACTORS: Faheem Haider, Marc Rabinowich. CAMERA: Diane Teramana. SOUND: Jim Barbaro. EDITING: Tobe Carey. FILM: Linda Mary Montano
21. HA, HA: IS THAT ALL THERE IS?
This film is theology in the raw because I expose the Buddha’s old age/sickness/death triad and my own bad hygiene by wearing a tooth guard which has a liquid inside, staining my teeth. Isn’t that a worst case scenario for senior citizens who are abashed at the color, size and distortion of their real/false teeth? I offend yet again by singing off key, “Is That All There Is?” but not in good, sexy Peggy Lee fashion; this rendition is crazed and rude. But isn’t aging all of that anyway? Isn’t age a betrayal of body and mind and a reminder of the ENDGAME? And to make matters worse, I pull out the rug of my own career by listing that I did this and that and had shows here and there but without giving myself kudos or gratitude. This dirge for my past achievements is a Zen slap that says without any apologies, “Who the fuck cares?” This film is a bad hair day on wheels…a fun party, not to be missed.
CREDITS: Special Thanks to Peggy Lee, and her inspiration: “Is that all there is?” (written by Leiber and Stoller). Edited by Tobe Carey at Willow Mixed Media. Photographs by Mitchell Payne, Minnette Lehmann, Linda Mary Montano. My apologies to all the photographers whose names I’ve forgotten.
22. HANDCUFF WITH TOM MARIONI, 1970’S
It was the 70’s. It was San Francisco. It was a time when performance art was alive and well and hot. Tom Marioni and his Museum of Conceptual Art were the center of it all. I responded and fell in love with the permission and the energy and the ability to reach for and beyond the stars with my intuitive/compelling/creative flights. The male performance artists invited us women and included us and inspired us. I did not smell sexism, at all! My response was to dance on the Golden Gate Bridge, sit as Chicken Woman on the streets of this city of beauty, blindfold myself and live at home for a week and create Walking Clubs and Salvation Army appearances. See my first book ART IN EVERYDAY LIFE for the whole backstory. My husband, Mitchell Payne, photographed me and applauded me and allowed me and encouraged me and said nothing when I planned to be handcuffed for 3 days to the King of San Francisco Performance at the time, Tom Marioni. For inside information about this performance, check out my archive at The Fales Library, New York University.
CREDITS: Linda Mary Montano & Tom Marioni
23. I DREAMED I WAS MOTHER TERESA: A FAIRYTALE
Fairytales are so forgiving!!! Reason 1: For forever, I have used them to tell believable and unbelievable stories about my art and life, probably because when I was a child, my mother shared her love of books and words by reading us stories that rhymed, before we went to sleep at night. Reason 2: Catholic Confession was a Sacrament that informed and terrified my childhood. I would go into the small, smelly wood cubicle and wait until the priest opened his grated window to indicate that it was my time to tell him my sins. So TELLING became the art that I practiced to un-do and re-do my past. In this film I fairy-tale/tell the story of how I am NOT like Mother Teresa because I am so bad and so addicted to trash TV and so un-ecological, putting myself down as art. What an extraordinary suffering junkie I became! The nuns had held us to very high standards and demanded that we think like the saints, act like the saints, pray like the saints and be good-good-very good like saints so that we could BECOME A SAINT! My films have the smell of irony but also the belief that if I exorcise myself publically, I will re-teach myself the right Way. In the 60’s I entered a missionary order of nuns to hasten the saint-process and then left, did the hippie/artist/gender bending way, hoping that would lead to SAINTHOOD. Didn’t. Mother Theresa says ,”Do small things with GREAT LOVE.” Reason 3: Now, I know that I can’t duplicate her, I can’t be her, and that I am a Saint just like/along with all of the other 8 billion sentient humans on this planet. This simple “love” has become my practice and my ATTEMPTED WAY. Thanks Mother Teresa.
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey at Willow Mixed Media. Camera by Diane Teramana. Audio: Mother Teresa Lecture from Philadelphia Eucharistic Conference Servant Cassettes.
24. IRMA SAGAZIE
One of my elder mentors, and actually, a co-performer at senior citizen centers and galleries, is Irma Sagazie. At that time, in her 90’s, she had boundless energy, ideas, and a willingness to talk in accents, to act-out as a performance partner, and if I remember correctly, either she or I took her teeth out once or maybe that was my Outsider artist grandmother who only did that! Irma was someone I would drive miles to be with, I would trade another degree in Performance Studies to hang out with , I would buy a used video camera to document her words, her songs, her sermons, her smile. Irma was a Mormon and a Missionary, and her love was really her religion, in fact, her love was primitively ecstatically mystical. I was not surprised when one day I went to her home and although she always sang God loves you songs for me, that day she accompanied herself on a chord organ that she had bought so she could “learn to play piano,” and sing her songs with her own accompaniment. Death was not foreign to Irma, and I had included her in another film, ALWAYS CREATIVE, where she talked about her life but in this film, she wanted to leave a legacy of spiritual reminders to be played at her funeral. Please feel free to watch this – it is short – it is not Art – it is Life – and you will feel Irma’s love in her song.
CREDITS: Camera: Montano. Video editing: Tobe Carey.
25. LEARNING TO TALK
Learning to Talk, 1976/1977 was my first video. I was in residence at the Center for Music Experiment, UCSD, and sat for one year in front of an over-sized, technically clunky tri-podded camera in a small room, where I found myself talking to this non-being technology as seven different people. The backstory is that expressing myself with words and telling the truth and feeling the truth needed practice thus the title, LEARNING TO TALK. Did I really realize my goal? Possibly, because I talked/became seven fabulous, successful, outrageously outlandish women from different cultures, different countries, different socio-economic levels, and talked myself into myself, preparing myself for my subsequent work with seven chakras, as these seven people were originating from seven different energy centers inside me. I loved every one of them because they were intelligent, witty, professional, sure-footed, talented, and obviously preparing me to be me! I imitated and mentored from these video people, some of the qualities that I could use later on in life. A footnote from this experience is that one day someone interviewed me as Lamar Breton, my French other-self and I began crying, remembering my time in a French war-torn village. Although I have not embraced or studied past-life technology, I must admit, I do think I was not only once French, but all seven of these personas. I am preparing now to be No-one.
CREDITS: Video by David Wagner, Produced at UCSD Center for Music Experiment Media Center, Made Possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, THANKS TO Al Rossi, Rob Gross, Jim Smith, Ira Schneider, Carrie Wagner, Randy Watson Signe, Coryl Crane, Lester Ingber, Pauline Oliveros, Ilona Thompson, Mark Thompson, Curt Rossi, John Bryant, Terry setter, David Jones.
26. LIGHTEN UP
For seven years, I went to the Ulster County Jail every Sunday AT 10 AM, met with the jailed women, and offered a Christian/Catholic-like church program along with two other volunteers. I began this ministry before the new 400 billion dollar albatross jail, erected on the wetlands, was built across the road. Until then, Ulster County jailed women and men were incarcerated in a medieval madness that even I, in all of my radical allowance, was frightened by. It was like walking into a madhouse. Women held on the bars in their open 12×12 cells that had toilets in view of the guard sitting at her desk, women lived 24-7, in these cages like disembodied Holocaust non-survivors, and in the one horrendous group cell which housed 12 women, probably all menstruating at the same time, there was one toilet almost in view. The place stank of loneliness and pee and blood and the tears of mothers abandoned by families and hidden screams of those wanting to see their children. It stank of holidays gone by and birthdays not celebrated. It was filthy and scary. Like all good fairy tales, things changed for the better when privatization and co-opted jail-making came to town and they built a new bigger and actually more upscale jail across the road. Now the thought was, what to do with an empty building that was once a jail? Artists thrive on these question. So once it was empty and the inmates were moved to Trump Jail towers across the road , it became one of the designated sites for the Annual Kingston Sculpture Show. Curator Beth Wilson asked me if I would like to participate and I proposed a 3-hour laughter performance inside one of the cells that used to scare me to almost-death. I sat there with my dystonia collar on, and asked each participant who came into the still stinky cell with me, to tell me one of their lesser problems and we laughed together as I pointed to my neck and they pointed to their own “problem.” Collaborator Kathe Izzo served a snack outside and counteracted my crazed schzophrenia with a warmth, a smile, a maternalness and elan that was absolutely dazzling. Crazy is Good Art – and Healing a sore spot, or a place that makes one sore (like a jail) is Great Art!
CREDITS: LIGHTEN UP 3 HOURS LAUGHING, Linda Mary Montano with Kathe Izzo and co-performers. For KINGSTON SCULPTURE SHOW 2008, Curator: Beth Wilson. Camera: Diane Teramana. Sound: Public Domain & Jail Performance. Video Editing: Tobe Carey at Willow Mixed Media. Thanks to: Ty Castellaria and all participants.
27. LINDA MARY MONTANO AS BOB DYLAN
This was my first attempt at a Bob Dylan look-alike impersonation, 2008. Look at the hair! Look at the clothes! Look at the moustache! No, don’t look but do listen to Bob’s music which I am lip-synching , do notice that the film is very short and you MUST observe that the young child with the bowler hat sitting outside, entranced and giving me the energy that I needed to look this messy for the three hour duration, totally gets me. His father said that he loves Bob Dylan and I only hope that my sloppy makeup does not give that poor child flashback nightmares in his teen years! Diane Teramana loyally and generously records some of my finest and not finest performance moments. Gratitude to Ione for the Dream Festival , to the Alternative Bookstore for letting me inhabit their window and to Tobe Carey for helping me keep this edited version of my beginning-to-be-Bob, short and sweet. You gotta learn somehow!
CREDITS: Camera by Diane Teramana.Edited by Tobe Carey. Performed by Linda Mary Montano.
28. LINDA AND TOBE MAKE A TAPE
For over 20 years this happened over three times a week. Tobe Carey is a master video artist and has allowed me to sit next to him for all of these years, sharing his wisdom and skills with me. We made many, many, many tapes. And I fell that I said all that I wanted to say and in 2016 we “retired.” Sometimes our conversations went like this. Listen and enjoy.
29. LINDA MARY MONTANO AS MOTHER TERESA
Young Catholic women want to be saints. We are taught this. We aspire to it and squirm around in our life-skin molds until we either are one or understand what that invitation really means. Since I am an intuitive by nature, I have to experience to know. So after a bout of spasms which are the result of a neurologic disorder, DYSTONIA, I came out of a crippling position with an inner voice saying, “I feel just like Mother Teresa, all bent over and small and old.” Mother Theresa was born that day and was ready to be added to my characters or as we say in polite art talk, she became one of my personas . I made a blue lined sari for her, I practiced getting into the sari for her, I got permission from her nuns to be her and I began showing up as her at the Empire State Building and at other settings. But this first bucolic and lovely coming out film could only happen because video artist, Diane Termana was willing to loan the site of her back yard which is timelessly anywhere/anytime and was willing to use her poetic skill to make me look like, feel and be proud to be in the skin of a saint for 20 minutes. Video artist Tobe Carey, was part of the triune process and brought our collaboration to the screen. Thank you Mother, when I am you I am a Saint.
CREDITS: Camera by Diane Terramana. Editing by Tobe Carey. Chant by Laura Biagi, Linda M. Montano, Audio by Russel Froehling. Mother Theresa Audio from Eucharistic Conference, 1976.
30. LINDA MARY MONTANO AS PAUL McMAHON UPDATED
In 2008, I found that I could literally BE/LOOK LIKE Paul McMahon, the magical artist, poet and Woodstock bard who exudes true, flashback 70’s-Festival LOVE! I wanted to be him because of his passion to be present and alive and communicating and creative at all times. I wanted to mentor with him and copy him, so that I could be “love” also. I got his permission to imitate him visually, lip synch his poetry-songs and surprisingly, with a few hastily made beard attachments, I was able to do so quite convincingly. To match him even more closely, I bought and used white spray paint made especially for hair and that helped a lot. The performance took place at his MOTHERSHIP GALLERY/home in Woodstock and Paul was there being himself, I was there for three hours, enduring as his doppelganger and friends came and went. Video artist, Diane Teramana, generously filmed the event and video artist, Tobe Carey, edited this film so that I will always be able to enjoy this precious time as long as YOU TUBE allows/exists.
CREDITS: Camera: Diane Teramana. Editing: Tobe Carey. Music: Paul McMahon.
31. LIVING ART / DYING ART
In the late 90’s, on several occasions, I presented a slide lecture which demonstrated the way that my art references impermanence and dying. In 2014, video artist and editor Tobe Carey scanned the slides from the lecture and we collaged together the spoken narrative, images both of my own work and also of death rituals from many different cultures, creating an Endgame-like collage. There are images from my study in Benares at the burning ghats, images from my film, MITCHELL’S DEATH, images of Parsi funerary rites, images of my performances and descriptions of ways that my work and death seem to be close cousins! In this multi-faceted film: I feel, I mourn, I heal, I say goodbye, I teach, I prepare for my final retirement, DEATH.
CREDITS: Produced and directed by Montano. Edited by Tobe Carey. Sound voice Jim Barbaro, Paul McMahon. Voices: Montano, Hominy and Ginger McMahon. Actor Rich Granville. Special thanks: Tobe and Meg Carey.
32. I’M DYING, MY LAST PERFORMANCE
Once I read a story about Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche in a book by death-teacher, Steven Levine. It goes like this. Trungpa went into his son’s room and said to him, ” I’m DYING.” And then he said to his son, “You are dying too.”
This story made a deep impression on me because death is the last taboo, the hidden boogey-man, the unspeakable, What a beautiful lesson in impermanence this father gave his son.
As I age, not so gracefully, I keep thinking and saying inside, “Linda, you are getting close to dying.” But this is not done for spiritual teachings for myself but as a prompt to terror and fear. So, of course, I decided to make art about this sentence and will say to myself, AS ART, “I’m DYING ” whenever I feel the urge to frighten myself. Art heals, you know, even this rinky-dink video of myself, mouthing the words. But someday I will say I ‘m dying and it will be really true and if I have done this performance correctly, I will go towards the light with gusto.
CREDITS: Produced and directed by Montano. Edited by Tobe Carey. Sound voice Jim Barbaro, Paul McMahon. Voices: Montano, Hominy and Ginger McMahon. Actor Rich Granville. Special thanks: Tobe and Meg Carey.
In this film, I experiment with combining all of my personas together, and structuring them in a way that allows me to see who I really am. That is, during my first “persona” film LEARNING TO TALK, I became 7 seven fantasy people. My second “persona” film, SEVEN STAGES OF INTOXICATION, I become 7 alcoholic women in order to express my belief that menopause is about total loss of control. In my third “persona” exploration, I become real people: Mother Theresa, Bob Dylan, Hillary Clinton and Paul McMahon. Because I am an architecturally driven sculptor, I design my work methodically and so there are three categories in this film: Mask-Off, Mask-On, and then Mask-On/Off. I repeat these categories 7 times. Like making a cake, this is a recipe. Like making a sculpture, these categories become foundational principles and footings for the film. For example, every time the recipe calls for MASK OFF, an intoxicated woman appears. Every time it calls for MASK ON, a fantastical persona from LEARNING TO TALK appears. Every time the recipe calls for MASK ON/OFF a Paul McMahon, or Mother Theresa, or Hillary Clinton, or Bob Dylan appears. My ultimate goal is for me to have mentored so intensely from these teachers that my I-ego will be safe enough to disappear.
CREDITS: Video Editing: Tobe Carey, David Wagner, Andy Cockrum. Camera: Diane Teramana, Steven Kolpan, Yuki Julie Kao, Joe Zambarino, Cecil Martin, The Great Szpilman, Elise Kermani. Sound: Chris Erlon, Russell Freihling. Voice: Laura Biagi, Martha Wilson, Paul McMahon. Actors: Martha Wilson, Paul McMahon, Al Rossi, Rob Gross, Ira Schneider, Carrie Wagner, Signe, Coryl Crane, Geoffrey Thomas, Bethel Collins, Chris Graham, Lance Myers, Danny Flores, Joe Zambarino. Special Thanks: Pauline Oliveros, Ted Grove, Bruce Rittenback, Linda VIckerman, Kate Horsfield, ALexandria Carrion, Flavia Gandolfo, Minnette Lehmann, Moira Roth, Dr. Aruna Mehta, Mildred & Henry Montano. Thanks to: Martha Wilson : PS122, Mother Theresa Lecture:Eucharistic Conference 1976, UCSD Center for Music Experiment, National Endowment for the Arts, 1977.
34. MITCHELL’S DEATH
In 1977, my ex-husband was murdered. I could stop here and say no more because that sentence alone, explains and describes this film. But writing is how I communicate best so I will outline my process. The murderer called me and told me about Mitchell’s death, not saying that he murdered him but that he “accidentally” shot him in the head. Not having any skills at dealing with trauma, with talking things out, with asking for comfort, with seeking support by expressing my pain, I began writing the story from the moment that I heard the news to the time that I went into the morgue and saw his body . Still today, I hardly breathe when I remember this. Back then, I was able to use my ability to make art of my life and I shared his death with friends and colleagues at The Center For Music Experiment, UCSD, where I was a fellow in residence. And then, I shared the film itself, not as a performance but as a video-document and it went viral, so to speak. Was it because I chanted the story in good Gregorian-Zen fashion? Was it because the editor, David Wagner, used delay to deepen my voice and the story became a trance-like dirge that was almost beautiful? Was it because the story was so raw and grief ladened that it resonated with everyone who has ever experienced loss? All I know is that the film, MITCHELL’S DEATH, has touched everyone who has ever sat shiva with it. And Mitchell, an artist who had trained to be a Protestant Minister, continues to inspire.
Accessible via VIDEO DATA BANK.
35. MOM ART
In my childhood, if my selective memory serves me well, our family communicated as if we had tentacles growing from our head, passing unspoken but clear messages, intuiting answers. Music and silence became our languages of choice. I knew I wanted to get to know my parents and not just guess who they were, so I interviewed them when I was in my 40’s, and luckily, found the cassette tape interviews 25 years later. My mother tells her story about me in MOM ART.
Only now can I can hear her voice, and understand from my own 70-year-old perspective what she was really saying, what she was really feeling, and what I feel about her. I celebrate her painting, her humor, her courage beyond courage, her love and I congratulate myself for archiving/saving the past. Mom, speak to me always. Love, Linda.
CREDITS: Editing & Animation – Tobe Carey, Voice – Mildred Montano, Linda Mary Montano
36. MY MOTHER: ARTIST AND TEACHER
My mother’s life and death were both extraordinarily epic. A painter who art therapied herself out of a called for and deserved depression, Mom’s resiliency could have rewarded her with a Badge of Courage because she took devastating trauma making life issues and alchemized then into art, activism and humor. Modeling these gifts for me, I look at our lives which could have been charted and copied page for page, letter by letter and I recognize that I have imitated her style, not missing a beat.
We both practice art as therapy and humor and as deflection from the unspeakable. We both jump into everything with 150% effort and an attitude which covers over the fact that neither of us know exactly how to respond to the life issues at hand but both of us give everything our best shot. For example, I watched Mom cut neighbors’, family and friends’ hair in our kitchen even though she had zilch training . And guess who was the president of Saugerties Nursing Committee? Mom, of course, who was not a nurse. And guess who taught English as a second language up until a few months before she died? You guessed it, Mom. My own life shares similar stories of my doing/becoming and acting as if while knowing nothing about the subject at hand.
I eulogized Mom with a book, THE 5 JOHNS OF 5 JOHN STREET and a video titled , MOM ART. I’ve honored her by living my life as art and it is only right that I share helpful suggestions that I gleaned from watching by her bedside as she died. I know that she would tell me, “act as if” if I felt shy about sharing these words with you. She would say, “Make believe that you ARE a professional grief counselor.” Or she might say, “Linda, help as many people as possible with your wisdom. But make sure that you do it with humor!” Thanks Mom. You’re a CHAMP and so am I.
CREDITS: Mildred Montano; FILM: Linda Mary Montano; PAINTINGS: Mildred Montano; EDITING : Tobe Carey
37. MONEY IS GREEN TOO MANIFESTO
Growing up in the 40’s, in a small upstate NY village, the daughter of first-generation immigrant parents, living in an atmosphere of 30’s-depression-memories and World War II trauma, I learned by observing that money had an incredibly important and tabooed power. My parents both worked for every penny, and I am now remembering when there were no pennies. My parents worked with ration cards, and I have memories of squeezing a stupid yellow ball in a fat-filled plastic bag so that the white fat-margarine would turn yellow, and look like butter. I remember doing other World War II actions: recycling, conserving, helping the “troops.” MONEY. Because my father was not given a loan to go to dental school after high school, he worked 6 and a half days a week, and as a result of his lost dream he made sure that all four of us children did not suffer the same disappointment, and paid for us to go not only to college but beyond, never saying a word when I shipped back from Italy over-sized crucifixes and other sculptures that I made for my Master of Arts show in a Medici villa near Florence, Italy. Money wasn’t discussed at home, but being a Visual Artist, I was able to observe the ways that their having to work so hard kept them from us emotionally. I wrote the MONEY MANIFESTO as a way to discharge, clean out, de-taboo, instruct, and clear my heart of money as enemy, money as God, money as evil, money as thief of my parents time. Recently, I re-read my text of the MONEY MANIFESTO and I felt as if it were written by a CEO Accountant for a money-management firm. It is actually quite brilliant, and so I recycle it as film, and maybe you, the viewer, will find that you have money memories also. As Suze Orman said in either one of her books, or on TV, “Remember your first money memory. That memory influences your entire money history.” I did what Suze said, and that began my journey of making friends with this mysterious, invisible, powerful and complex energy called money.
CREDITS: FILM: Linda Mary Montano; EDITING/ANIMATION: Tobe Carey
38. MY POPE DREAM (FOR THE YEAR 3040)
Catholic women born in the 1940’s, who had a desire to be a priest, were dinosaurically antiqued into silence. The current Roman Catholic Womenpreist movement which excommunicates women who become said priests is a necessary response to Roman Catholic patriarchy. In this film, I teach, in a fairy-tale fashion, the history of Womenpriests, but in my radical, rude, inimitable fashion, I push the envelope by moving outside the box, and catapulting myself from being a Womanpriest to being the first Womanpope. (Although it is rumored there was a Pope Joan a long time ago). My pope-self tells how it should be, could be, must be so that those co-radicals who want to play hardball with me will remain comfortable in male dominated Catholicism. My saving grace has always been humor and an insistence that my way is the right way. I soften my rage with tears of laughter.
CREDITS: Written & Performed by Linda Mary Montano, Animation & Editing by Tobe Carey, Additional Audio Engineering by Jim Barbaro, Additional Images from Hubble Space Telescope.
39. NURSE NURSE
After I left the University of Texas Austin, where I was teaching Performance Art, I returned to Upstate New York having actually been called home by my “good” inner voices, who counseled me to, “Go, be with your father.” The backstory is that I was denied tenure, but actually, UT gave me the freedom to get to know my father for the last seven years of his life by firing me!! NURSE NURSE comedically references care giving a compromised elder, played by me, and this film allows me to practice and rehearse for what might happen medically to me in my future. That is, aren’t we all dreadfully afraid of Alzheimers? And if I practice having it now, maybe I will scare it away or at least be comfortable having it when I do get it? An important prop in this film is my dad’s lazy boy chair. It triggers such pain because he had his stroke in that chair, and I needed to resurrect the chair from memory – hell. Admittedly, this film is not funny, not easy, but in my estimation, totally necessary.
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey Willow Mixed Media. Camera – Josepha Gutelius. Nurse Actor – Laura Kopczac. Patient Actor – Linda Mary Montano. Nurse song/voice – Linda Mary Montano. Additional Audio Recording – Jim Barbaro Natural Recording Studio. Nurse Voice Over – Meg Carey. Special thanks to Meg Carey, Tobe Carey, Josepha Gutelius, Minnette Lehmann, and Laura Kopczak.
40. ONE = LOVE
Breast feeding is the consummate love. The fact that it is so taboo in our culture makes this film seem unbelievably powerful, which it is. In 1942, when I was born, women were encouraged not to breast feed, and my allergy to cow’s milk as an infant led to paroxysms of gastro-intestinal discomfort and immediate thoughts of wanting not to continue the fight to live. Goat’s milk saved the day and for a Capricorn, whose totem is the goat, that synchronicity served me well. To resurrect the primal scene of mother/child/breast, I invited Woodstock artist Christina Varga and her infant Tuli Rose to demonstrate a renaissance-like maternal love and intimacy that is breathless in its beauty. Christina’s generosity as artist/ mother is a testament to REAL ART. It’s the way art should , could and has to be in my estimation. Tobe Carey’s video magic graces this film which looks very easy although it took many, many, many hours to bring it to delicate life. It helps me cry with love.
CREDITS: Mother – Christina MeLitta Varga, Child – Tuli Rose MeLitta McColgan, Father – James Joseph McColgan
41. ON DEATH AND DYING
This film is thirty three years old, made in the mid 80’s and it is now 2015. I am totally enthralled by it’s timelessness. It is crazy in it’s symbolism but in retrospect I think I can now read into it with some clarity. For example, why are three women in their 30’s playing cards, dressed like nuns, sitting at a beautifully adorned card table with an hourglass in the middle, tracking time, while listening/or not listening to a nurse talk about death and dying? I am interviewing that nurse, Mescal Hornbeck, but did it as if I were a French poetess, using a sweet, innocent and polite faux French accent. WHY? Elizabeth Cross, Vicki Stern and I were dear and close friends at that time and both Vicki and I were living at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt Tremper NY as students of meditation, while Elizabeth lived in the village of Woodstock and made her living as a hairdresser/artist. We were women who always created our unique ways of responding to our life issues; we were women who conversed about our status as women; we were women who lived in a monastery (Vicki and I) and I know that this film is a response to the fact that we were taught by men in a male-run institution. At that time, this was a joy and also an irritant and like good feminists, we responded as art and made this “teaching tape” which is totally, strangely beautiful in it’s woman-ness; beautiful in it’s ability to enthrall the senses with candles dancing via camera movements; beautiful in the absurdity of nuns putting on paper sailor hats over their nun veils; beautiful in the way that we are playing cards and winning because we are alive; beautiful because Mescal is giving/freely offering 50 years of deep experience with the subject which we all need to study and learn about: death. This film is not wanting to trick: there are no difficult language tricks; no need to impress with theological posturing; no fancy camera work or snazzy editing; no need to cower and run into the Zen-interview room and try to impress a man with an understood koan! My art is always about my life and obviously, I wanted to be a Guru, just like my male Zen teacher was at that time. By making this very important, informative and comedically complex film, Elizabeth, Vicki and I got what we wanted, respect for our WOMAN-WAY . The strangely channeled CHICKEN BAWK at the end, concurs.
CREDITS: Participants are: Elizabeth Monroe Cross, Vicki Stern, Linda Mary Montano, and narrator Mescal Hornbeck
42. PERFORMANCEARAMA or PERFORMANCE IMAGES
Artists are jugglers. We not only conceive the work; we are responsible to the work/child once conceived and born, and this job of conception, and then maintenance, is phenomenally multi-tasking in its various and sundry demands. Like harried housewives, we drive our artist-self to the work, we either hire or cajole or barter with those who photo document the work. We find our way to airports to fly to our gigs, we spend hours on the phone arranging tickets and we fix expired passports and pay exorbitant money for Asian Visa’s. We upgrade our phones so we can text in Europe. We couch-surf, trade houses, find an Air-B-And-B or use Travelocity to get a room in Poland. We spend hours learning about exchange rates of dollars for the monies of the country where we will perform. We pack Imodium, antibiotics, arnica, date and nut snacks hoping none of it will be confiscated at airports or borders. We cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze and hope that our airplane partners and strangers will do the same. Plus, we alert the media that we’re coming to town, and Twitter/Instagram critics, friends and social media. Being an artist and maintaining one’s career is octopus-like in its multi-faceted demands. I can only thank generous friends and colleagues for sharing the images they took during these performances from 2013, 2014, 2015. Their help and support makes it appear that I am a good art-housewife. And sadly/ironically, I am not able to thank you individually because I might leave out one of your names! Isn’t life amazing?
CREDITS: Credits are too numerous to name here. Please see end of video.
43. PRIMAL SCENES
This film is a goldmine of complexities for anyone raised Roman Catholic; for anyone knowledgeable of the discrepancies between chastity and lust; for anyone who has thoughts about Catholic clergy and the Church’s rules that don’t allow marriage; for anyone who wishes that Catholic women could become priests; for anyone questioning the Catholic patriarchy and for anyone wondering if the Catholic clergy is conversant with a healthy respect for sexuality. Why is that? Because I aesthetically twist the issue and disclose all of the things that happen when an institution is being inauthentic. That is, I use a softly erotic story about a nun going to confession to a priest in a confessional box while projecting a graphic, liquided and intense image of a child being born. What does that have to do with Catholicism? I don’t know but I am sure that I am offending the viewer with two or maybe more taboos at once, but sometimes it takes a shock to dislodge early childhood fears and imprints because didn’t all fourteen year old Catholic children come away from the experience of confession with mixed messages and didn’t all 14 year old children, especially from the 1960’s, feel fear and dizzying heights of confused longing when they went into the confessional box and in the dark whispered to a newly ordained 27 year old priest that they sinned/masturbated four time that last week? My art heals my life. This film is a scream, a loud yes to a soft NO.
Accessible via VIDEO DATA BANK.
44. ROBOT POVERA
Being invited to perform at the San Francisco Art Institute has always been my drug of choice. It is my Art-home: a place where I have taught, and gigged, and given workshops. I always want to do my best there, I always want to give alot. ROBOT POVERA was a film that catapulted and dragged me into this century because of Tobe Carey’s brilliant editing, I was able to use digital animation and robotization of my face, my voice, my mind. I robot-talk about how much I love the Art Institute, I talk about my past performances there, my teaching history there, and then of course, in good autobiographical style, I confess that I have a medical condition! Boo hoo! Boo hoo! Thankfully, animated Boo Hoo’s are easier to digest than 1980’s confessional video pity parties. After this fun, Saturday Morning Cartoon Show, I changed moods and shared a mourning ceremony for my best friend Dr. Aruna Mehta, wanting to pack EVERYTHING into a one hour-long lecture. ROBOT POVERA initiated me into a heavy addiction to animation and the chance to see myself with braced, rotten, and spaced teeth which I digitally projected onto my image whenever possible in subsequent “robot-films” that we made. Thank you, San Francisco, for inspiring me and inviting me home to show you my drawing that I did in school today! “ Do you like it, Mom? “
CREDITS: Video Editing by Tobe Carey.
45. SAUERS FARM
Mrs. and Mr. Sauer are not the new Upstate New York young farmers. They are so old so ancient, so incredible, that you want to buy eggs there, and fresh produce, just so you can look at them and see REAL farmers. Cows, chickens, tractors, flowers, vegetables, eggs: the whole story-book farm experience is there. If you are really lucky, you not only have the experience of Mr. Sauer driving his tractor, but you might get invited inside the farmhouse after their one-to-two o’clock nap, to see Mrs. Sauer’s Angel, Warrior Woman, and Fairy paintings. Sauers farm is not just a farm, but a school, a university, an ashram, and a church. Thank you Mrs. and Mr. Sauer for opening the doors to your temple.
CREDITS: Editing by Tobe Carey. Special thanks to: Mrs. and Mr. Sauer of Sauer Farm, Saugerties, New York
46. SEVEN HOUR GLANDATHON
Some brilliant artists in Kingston, NY created a fabulous week-end dialogue between art and medicine titled O+ POSITIVE FESTIVAL which teams up artists, musicians, performers with health-care workers for beneficial exchanges. That is, artists play music and perform and during that same weekend, dentists fill teeth, doctors take pulses and massage therapists straighten spines It began around 2009 and for that first festival, I presented a seven hour interactive endurance based on the seven glands. Each gland was represented by an artist from the Hudson Valley Community who talked about their ovaries or adrenals or thyroid while I moved continuously for seven hours on the floor of the performance space. They were blindfolded for the hour that they talked about their gland and I was blindfolded for seven hours, moving. The time-keeper and mistress of ceremonies, Lisa Barnard Kelly, kept everything flowing/visual and Ione kept watch for seven hours, recording the images in this film which is actually a trailer/enticement and advertisement for anyone interested in doing a SEVEN HOUR GLANDATHON at your institution! . Thank you to all performers: Susan Weed, Lisa Barnard, Dr. Art Chandler, Barbara Bash, Bonnie M Smith, Dr. Mark Grossman and Lin Lerner. Thank you Tobe Carey for beautifully editing this short look at a long day. We all must remember/give gratitude to our glands because they work 24/7, no pay. Yay glands yay.
CREDITS: Master of Ceremonies: Lisa Barnard. Ovaries and Testes: Susun Weed. Pancreas: Lisa Barnard. Adrenals: Dr. Art Chandler. Thymus: Barbara Bash. Thyroid: Bonnie Smith. Pineal: Dr. Mark Grossman. Pituitary: Lin Lerner. Video Editing by Tobe Carey. Camera by Ione. Produced by O+ Festival & Ione’s Dream Festival. Special Thanks: All Performers & Deep Listening Institute.
47. 7 SPIRITUAL LIVES OF LINDA MARY MONTANO
All of our lives we are spiritually confused: are we good??? Bad? Angry? Sad? Going to heaven? Hell? Meditating too much? Meditating not enough? It is a game of spiritual greed and spiritual wanting that when remembered, is theologically embarrassing in retrospect. This film recounts some of the stages of my own struggle with spiritual identity because since childhood, Sainthood, was held out to be the highest good and goal of life. How to reach the top? What a competitive game I played. To ridicule my journey, I made this film which lists seven paths to my ultimate Peace: 1. Catholic Life; 2. Nun Life; 3. Yoga Life; 4. Buddhist Life; 5. Feminist Life; 6. Normal Life; 7. LIFE. Swimming babies, babies crying, babies singing, droned high long tones and images of the first Joan of Arc from the silent movies grace this beautiful trip down spiritual memory lane. I hope I remember the message that I actually foreshadowed back then: that LIFE IS ENOUGH. LIFE IS IT. IT IS ALL ONE. PLEASE, PLEASE FLOWER GIRL, DON’T EVER FORGET THIS.
CREDITS: Master of Ceremonies: Lisa Barnard. Ovaries and Testes: Susun Weed. Pancreas: Lisa Barnard. Adrenals: Dr. Art Chandler. Thymus: Barbara Bash. Thyroid: Bonnie Smith. Pineal: Dr. Mark Grossman. Pituitary: Lin Lerner. Video Editing by Tobe Carey. Camera by Ione. Produced by O+ Festival & Ione’s Dream Festival. Special Thanks: All Performers & Deep Listening Institute.
48. SEVEN STAGES OF INTOXICATION
I structure ALL of my work as if it had chapters, building blocks, architectural orderings, titled sequences and designated pauses so that my books, performances and films have structure and sculptural strength. Maybe that is because I am semi-Jesuit trained and sculpturally certified having graduated from the UWM with an MFA in Sculpture? The foundational principle of this particular film goes like this; PART ONE: Instructing in a faux-way the purpose of the tape; I do all of this faceless, with just make-believe hand gestures, faux-signing what I’m saying because I absolutely believe that viewers must be entertained visually, sonically, kinesthetically, and with good humor. At that time I was a university professor and the STINK of academia is evident in this film because I talk about performance history, my teaching history, the theme of self-portrait, the persona that I portray, and the psychological issues around menopause. Doing this comically and non-sensibly lightens the burden of university-speech. Apologizing for what the viewer is about to see, I excuse my Seven Drunk Personas, by explaining that aging and the surrender that one must admit to as time, illness and gravity rob the body of its former brilliance: aging is similar to being inebriated. When drunk, there is a surrender, and a letting go, and a succumbing to the dark negative which is hormonally similar to what happens in menopause. This is one of my favorite films. I am completely out of control, breaking all taboos of nice-ness and decorum. I’m sure that having to be on-guard in my high paying job and in university good behavior brought out and encouraged this opposition character/persona who lets down my Texas niceness and lets off steam. To illustrate how funky I get in this film, I even perform on the steps of one of the major university buildings and don’t even flinch as one of the nuns, who I met regularly at daily Mass, walks by and looks like she recognizes the drunken homeless woman acting out in public! PART TWO: Seven alcoholic women acting as if drunk. PART THREE: An assignment. ART trumps LIFE – ART heals LIFE. Will I ever be this brave again?
CREDITS: Camera: Steven Kolpan, Yuki Julie Kao, Joe Zambarino, Cecil Martin. Actors: Geoffrey Thomas, Bethel Collins, Chris Graham, Lance Myers, Debra Hewitt, Danny Flores, Joe Zambarino. Production: Beta: Edward Garana Teleprint Express. Sound: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain. Editing: ANdy Cockrum, Metropost. Special thanks: Andy Cockrum, Kate Horsfeld, Alexandria Carrion, Flavia Gondolfo, Minnette Lehmann, Steven Kolpan, R.S. Mishra.
Suzy Jeffers, the curator of SUNY Ulster Gallery, energetically and graciously assisted me in taking out of storage all of the clothing that I wore for 14 Years of Living Art. We, together, installed this rainbow of fabric and chakra – memories into her gallery. I titled this film SHHHHHH!!!! because I wanted the experience to be one of walking through the installation experientially, and not be distracted by imposed sound. After participants travelled through the gallery, they were met by my doppelgänger self, a $50 plastic skeleton. She sat in a chair with flowers on each of her chakras and gallery goers were invited to sit across from her and hold the ribbons coming from the seven energy centers so that a connection could be felt. Art, for me, is not about me, my, or moi; it is about creating possibilities for interaction, interference, community, and chances for us all to play together in child-like collaboration.
CREDITS: SUNY Ulster Show Curated by Suzy Jeffers, Photos – Suzy Jeffers, Video – Linda Montano, Editing – Tobe Carey.
50. SISTER SPEAKS
After leaving my assistant professor job because I didn’t get tenure, I was a mess for about two years. All I could do was think about what they did, what I didn’t do, what I did, why I wasn’t getting that big salary, why I was back home disgraced and distraught, why I was so dishonored. I went over my teacher evaluations for the 0447th time and saw that “I WAS A GOOD TEACHER!” I looked at all of the Letters of Appeal from colleagues and saw that “I WAS LOVED BY THEM!” I was so enraged that my only response was to make some bad art. This film, SISTER SPEAKS is one of the worst! Using my nun hand puppet and terrible/fake/faux European accents, I ranted about 3 issues: 1. TENURE; 2. WOMEN AND THE PRIESTHOOD; 3. TALKING NICELY. It was easy for me to find issues to be upset about because I was just downright mad anyway, and the punching nun-doll allowed me to speak some half truths that I was not able to speak about in my “inside the house voice” so I disguised my pain with the comedic response one might have having just lost a job! But like all good fairy tales, it has a happy ending because I left Texas, came back to NY and voila, my being back home allowed me to have 7 incredibly blessed years to get to know my father again. One door closes and often a better one opens!
CREDITS: Performance by Linda Mary Montano, Edited by Tobe Carey, Special Thanks to Steven Kolpan.
51. STARVED SURVIVORS
My very destructive and bad habit of listening to British BBC dramatic news reports especially from 7 pm, when I go to bed, to 6 am when I wake up, resulted in an imploded brain overload, a poetic frenzy that spilled aesthetically from my unknowing but indoctrinated and addled brain. I honestly channeled the text for this film and the SPILLAGE was putrid in its memory of every single atrocity committed on every single continent of the world having heard about them in my non-rem sleep all night. So what to do with the mental detritus? I made art. Fairy tales are my weapon of choice and I open the film with a sweet little girl (me) talking about her need for a grandmother and guardian and teacher. This grandmother (me, of course), in one of my favorite old lady masks, tells the little girl that life sucks, and be careful. The reasons why life sucks are sing-song-litanied for almost a half an hour over and over and the list of sins committed globally are words that my asleep brain remembers from BBC radio. Not trusting that my own voice could do the poem justice, I asked Paul McMahon, poet and musician, to read the atrocities and craziness melodically, thereby diffusing what’s happening in the seedy and dirty corners of this world with his poetic soothe. Mouths, teeth, saliva, gums are visuals I focus on obsessively and compulsively and have a field day doing so in this film. The cast of characters includes talking infants, mimicking doppelgängers, fear mongers, prophetic predictors of global warming, storm warners and other bad news sad sacks. Of course it ends on a happy note, when the Hag/Grandmother re-appears and tells Little Linda, DO NOT BE AFRAID.
CREDITS: Video and Animation editing by Tobe Carey. Photos by Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Annie Sprinkle. Water and Storm Video by Tobe Carey. Thunder Audio by EZWA Public Domain Sounds. Voices: Man – Paul McMahon, Baby – Tobe Carey, Child – Linda Montano. Special Thanks: Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Meg Carey. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.
52. ST TERESA OF AVILA
Growing up Roman Catholic, the saints were held up to us as models and mentors and we children were invited to become as outrageously saintly as these Catholic women and men. For 25 years, I explored holiness in eastern spiritual traditions: Hinduism, Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism. In my late 40’s, I found that I needed to return to my early spiritual traditions. Teresa of Avila intuitively called to me and I began researching her extraordinary life. There is no one quite as brave for she had unquenchable nerve: nerve to found multiple monasteries and convents; nerve to reform laxness in current Catholic practices; nerve to express her spiritual journeys to multiple spiritual directors; nerve to travel in donkey carts over non-roads to visit her already founded convents (even when sick); nerve to fend off literal demonic attacks in her self; nerve to want to hide ecstatic levitations and not receive applause for her divine giftedness; nerve to write numerous books. But most importantly, nerve to sing and dance with her nun-sisters. Teresa of Avila became my guide and fearlessness was her message. Although there is an incredibly, profoundly evocative 8-hour Spanish (with English subtitles) film made about her, I, with all due respect, created my own version, using a doppelgänger fill-in images of me as her! Sangeeta Laura Biagi’s fabulously Italian-accented voice-over as Teresa makes the film, and Tobe Carey’s editing is a gift.
CREDITS: A Film By Linda M. Montano, Edited by Tobe Carey, Audio by Russell Freiling, Text Read and Sung By Laura Biagi, Additional Voices: Russell Freiling, Linda M. Montano, Actors: Henry J. Montano, Antonia Zambarino, Joshua Lewendowski of Love Scene Clear, Linda M. Montano, Videography: Tobe Carey, Steven Kolpan, Linda M. Montano, Venae Rodriguez, David Wagner. Special thanks to: Mildred & Henry Montano, Tobe & Meg Carey, Deep Listening Institute, Pauline Oliveros, Anthony & Cindy Montano, Dr. Aruna Mehta, Berninini, Rubens. I consider this film to be a collaboration among all of the brilliant artists involved in its creation. Saint Claire of Assisi, Patronage of Television, Pray for us.
53. MEET A BLACK MADONNA
In 2015 I performed seven meetings and visits to the Metropolitan Museum in NYC as a vehicle and way to
1. Deprogram performance and performance anxiety.
2. Dethrone “performativity.”
3. Be in the throbbing electricity of NYC.
Meeting friends at 7 sites inside the Museum that coloristically corresponded to the seven colors of the chakras, got me to step outside the box of upstate/rural NY once a month for a day, but also allowed our group to practice artist-anonymity and hide in the crowd although we did “act out” for each other and mini-performed as if we had created or curated an object in the room that we were in which caught our eye and fancy. Once found, we told why we “made” it! But this show and tell was done innocently and without trumpet blare so that no one would ever have suspected that we were card carrying performance artists/artists of art or lifeists.
Once the ball of concept gets rolling in my head, it’s hard to stop it and I noticed that I had my own mini-Met in my family home in Saugerties NY and so I decided to create an event that necessitated that I stay home, lay on the floor for an hour in front of my Met look-alike, a Black Madonna that I found in an antiques store. She became my own lovely beauty who gave me permission to visit her, at home, while lying down, so that I could meet not only her but my own heart.
One thing often leads to a good another and MEET ME AT THE MET catapulted me successfully into the sanctuary of silence. Thank you Met.
CREDITS: IMAGES/CONCEPT: Linda Mary Montano; EDITING: Tobe Carey
54. SHARADA, WIFE OF RAMAKRISHNA
I realized, after seven years of driving from Austin, Texas to Houston to be with my adopted Indian new-parents, that they were the doppelgängers for the Hindu saints Ramakrishna and his wife Sharada. I had already Sainted Bapuji and Mataji, Dr. AL Mehta & Dr. Aruna Mehta in my own heart, but I doubly sainted them by also seeing them as these magnificent Hindu Divine Beings. To make the film even more eerily authentic, I had technological ways via Super 8 Camera and low-lights, to bring not only myself, but the viewer, back in time to the century when Sharada and Ramakrishna were living. In fact, one very astute Hindu playwright, visiting from India, thought that my film was a document of the REAL Ramakrishna and Sharada. What greater applause could one receive? I was thrilled. I filmed Bapuji and Mataji inside their home-temple, and asked that they perform blessings of each other, having researched in the University of Texas Austin’s magnificent library of thousands of books, India mysticism. The reading of the text that I wrote also had to resonate authentically and because I was living in a multi-cultural world at a University, after a few queries, I was able to find a young female student, Rashmi Gera, a grad student from India, who read my text and HONEST TO GOD even I am transported to what may have been once my past life homeland. Just kidding, Catholic Church! Check this film out if you don’t want to 1) buy an expensive ticket for Calcutta, 2) receive numerous injections when traveling to the east, or 3) would rather not ride in a put-put on cow-congested Indian dirt roads. We’re all traveling electronically these days, so going to India via my film/airplane might suit you just fine and feeling as we are being blessed doesn’t need physical proximity anymore.
CREDITS: This tape is lovingly dedicated to: Dr. Aruna Mehta, Dr. A.L. Mehta, Dr. R.S. Mishra, Actors: Sarada: Dr. Aruna Mehta, Ramakrishna: Dr. A.L. Mehta, Reader: Rashmi Gera. Production Collaborators: Text: Rebecca Block, Camera: Alison White, Betacam: Edward Garana, Teleprint Express. Sound: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain. Editing: Andy Cockrum, Metropost. Special thanks: Andy Cockrum, Chris Erlon.
55. THANK YOU, MRS. MEHTA
What more efficient and personal and community-minded way to share grief than making a film about your best friend after she has died. Dr. Aruna Mehta was my second mother, my inspiration, my mentor, and teacher of Life/Art. When I was invited to lecture at the SFAI, I presented the film, ROBOT POVERA, a whimsical survey of my performances and theory, and then shared another film THANK YOU, MRS. MEHTA. How do you say good-bye to your best friend? I created a triune sonic, emotional and visual visit with her beautiful energy, by allowing photos of her face to merge with flowers, photographed by Tobe Carey in his garden. The accompanying sound is from the CD of a raga by Raka Mukerjee, one of my Indian singing teachers. Having practiced and learned about a half hour of Rakaji’s raga, I was extremely interested in not only honoring Mrs. Mehta, with my song, but also was so excited to show off my expertise and genius-like ability to sound like a Hindu woman singing. Fate totally twisted my intention because I had turned my back to the audience and sang into a microphone, facing the video screen so that I could see Mrs. Mehta’s image, and the performer who was faux-signing everything I said or sang, faced the audience. Everyone looked at the person signing and the film screen and no one knew that I was singing. Even saying goodbye to my best friend, my hubris showed and I was aghast that nobody knew that I was “singing along” with Rakaji!! And rightfully so, my singing was heard by Mrs. Mehta only. If I’m not mistaken, I ended the lecture by singing along with another fabulous star, Pavorati, and this time the audience knew I was singing Nessun Dorma along with him because I faced them. When we sing, we pray twice. Only Mrs. Mehta, heard my real prayers.
UPDATE TO THIS FILM: I ADDED QUOTATIONS/WORDS OF HER WISDOM TO THIS 2016
In the early 90’s, I met Doctor Aruna Mehta at Ananda Ashram , Monroe NY, the home of my Guru, Shri Brahmananda Saraswati. One look and I was cemented to her side, to her life, to her wisdom, to her schedule, to her narrative. I stopped having a story and was re-wombed by her, becoming life-glued to her daliness. I couldn’t leave and for 19 years, she allowed this mysteriously twined closeness to continue without financial dues or return of any kind. I immortalized her on video: TWO AYRUVEDIC DOCTORS and SHARADA , WIFE OF RAMAKRISHNA and also retrieved her deeply mystical words so that even you, the viewer have a chance to swim in the depths of her profound wisdom-beauty.
CREDITS: Raga Singing by Raka Mukerjee. Flowers/Editing by Tobe Carey at Willow Mixed Media.
56. TWO AYURVEDIC DOCTORS
In the late 90’s, I met two Ayurvedic doctors from India, then living in the US. The minute I saw them, Bapuji and Mataji, I catapulted into the ecstasy of past-life memory. It began a 19-year co-adoption process so intense that I could not leave their side, as if magnetized by past-Love. Synchronistically, my teaching job in Austin, Texas allowed me to spend every weekend with them because they were living in Houston. The three hour commute back and forth was a rush to soaking in their incredible presence. There, at their ashram-home, I was able to observe how to eat, observe how to pray, observe how to honor the earth, observe how to heal, observe how to communicate, observe how to cope, observe how to serve, observe how to live daily life in a sacred way. For those 19 years, I was either in their physical presence or telephone presence, never missing a day. This film is not Art, but a chance for you to at least experience their blessing. I thank the Mehta family for sharing their powerful parents with the world and allowing me to be included in their circle of Love.
CREDITS: Camera: Linda Mary Montano. Edited by Tobe Carey.
57. WATER ANGELS TALKING
In the 1990’s I collaborated with Loren Rush and Jan Mattox’s Good Sound Band. We performed my composition titled The Seven Chakras in San Francisco while resting and enjoying California hospitality and their hot-tub. After our rehearsal, I led them in a Seven Chakra Visualization – Meditation which Jan recorded and eventually processed and then sent me the soundtrack which I eventually converted to video. The added images of adorable Crazy Talk angels lend a heavenly twist to this film. I thank my guru Shri Bramananda Saraswati for teaching me about the Chakras; I thank Jan and Lauren for helping me experience the beauty of this inner Chakra life; and gratitude to Tobe Carey, video editor extraordinnaire.
CREDITS: Composed/Performed by Linda Mary Montano. Video Editing and Animation by Tobe Carey. Water Video by Tobe Carey. Audio Producer – Janis Mattox. Good Sound Virtual Acoustics – Loren Rush and Janix Mattox. Piano Tuning Design – Loren Rush and Alfred Owens. Piano Tuning – Alfred Owens.
8 FILMS OF LINDA MARY MONTANO by OTHERS
1. BECOMING LOVE BY DIANE DWYER
For three hours Paul McMahon and I performed as him. That is, I lip synched his songs and then every 15 minutes, I sang a gland sing-a-long, honoring and bringing attention to the seven glands in the body. Formerly I was a Chakra lover but when I found out that not everyone thought they had Chakras and that Caroline Myss brilliantly interlaced the glands with Chakras and also with the Seven Catholic Sacraments, I switched to glands. As long as I have a structure and way to foundation my focus, I am happy and glands do it for me. Diane Dwyer, founder of Imogen Holloway Gallery, housed in my grandfather’s first shoe store on Partition Street, Saugerties NY, filmed me dopplegangering as Paul. When friends are kind enough to document, I am grateful. And when friends allow me to learn how to love by being them, I am very happy.
CREDITS: Performance by: Linda Mary Montano, Paul McMahon. Film by: Diane Dwyer.
2. LINDA AS BOB – SILENT VERSION by TOBE CAREY or BOB SINGING/LINDA LIPSYNCHING VERSION
The reason I perform as Bob Dylan is multifaceted:
(1) My two brothers look exactly like Bob Dylan.
(2) When I dress up as a man, I look like Bob Dylan.
(3) Theologically speaking, I am not this body and mind, so why not be a man and Bob Dylan at the same time?
(4)I live ten minutes from the blue house where Bob Dylan lived long ago in Woodstock, NY. I don’t live in Woodstock – I live in Saugerties, NY – but near enough to claim Bob as a neighbor.
When I perform as Bob, I must have the appropriate hat and I do not attempt to sing like him, I only lip-sync to his genius and for this film, silently “sang” for seven hours to Bob’s incredible poetry. My bucket list dream is for Bob to invite me on stage, and let me stand next to his brilliance. I will promise him that I will not sing.
TIME: Film:15:27; Performance: 7 hours.
CREDITS: Filmed & Edited by Tobe Carey.
3. LINDA MARY MONTANO’S ARCHIVE GOODBYE by TOBE CAREY
When I hear a good voice, I try to obey. Some years ago, I heard, “Get your papers to an archive.” That became a focus and I have found pages of journals that I wrote with contacts and names and possible places and interviews with others who had found places for their non-human babies, their art. I knew deep down inside that I had to be responsible for my past work/things because at my death, they would become detritus and landfill. It was not so much hubris that was driving the need but a belief that my intuition was serving me and others who might want to research women’s art/ Catholic inspired art/ trauma art/ persona art/ book art.
The going away party was such a celebration: a movie actress, (Lisa Barnard) sang. Ghandhi look -alike (Marc Rabinovic) spiritually led us. The girly-nuns, (Bonnie M Smith & Lindsey O’Leary) kept everyone happy. Paul McMahon sang and allowed me to be him. And a few days later, NYU, Fales Library came by with a huge truck and rode away with about 100 boxes of God-Knows What! Performance Graduate students, ENJOY! And thank you, Tobe, my friend and editor for 20 years, for catching the joy on film.
CREDITS: Linda Mary Montano, Paul McMahon, Tobe Carey. Thanks to the actors: Marc Rabinowitz, Lindsey O’Learey, Paul McMahon, Lisa Barnard, Bonnie M. Smith, Linda Mary Montano 2014. Created by Tobe Carey.
4. LINDA MARY MONTANO CELEBRATES MOTHER TERESA’S 100TH BIRTHDAY AT THE ESB by MARK SHAW
Never would I consider myself an activist-artist, but when the Empire State Building committee refused to turn on their lights to BLUE and WHITE to celebrate Mother Theresa’s 100th birthday, having turned on their lights to YELLOW to celebrate Sponge Bob’s birthday, I immediately accepted the challenge to respond as ART. Endurance is my method of choice, and, having previously tried out my Mother Teresa look-alike performance for two groups of senior citizens (some of whom cried, some of whom thought I was really her), I figured it was time to bring my act to the big city. Franklin Furnace responded, as they do always, to my request to spread the word that I was looking for 4 attendants/handlers/body-guards/Robert Graham look-alikes similar to the glam women in his video, Addicted to Love. Their task in the endurance was to counteract my supposed sanctity with their visual/physical beautiful officiousness. Leah Aron, Ms. Toni Silver, Andrea Dominquez, and Zhen Heinemann were the Amazonian women-guards who agreed to collaborate with me for 3 hours/3 days in front of the Empire State Building, where I blessed people, where I smiled, where I waved, where I became more and more diminutive and humble and saintly, by the minute . The fabulous and glamorous “handlers” became more protective and nurturing and cool in their guarding of my space, by the minute. It was BRILLIANT. Many stories happened and one of my favorite is that I was re-introduced to a 14 year old once orphan who “I” ( the original Mother Teresa) had found a home for with a man who was visiting in India and wanted to adopt an infant. That day in front of the Empire State Building, 14 years later, the grateful father so wanted me to be the real Mother Theresa that I concurred when he asked me to bless his adopted son and act grateful for my former deed . And there were other stories because of course, it was New York City, and more than one heterosexual couple went by, the female partner saying, “Look, honey! There’s Mother Teresa!,” and her male friend would say, “That’s not Mother Teresa. She’s DEAD,” with a 100% New York City voice, tone, accent & sarcasm. I laughed with them and waved. And then there was an extremist Catholic who came up to my hunched over self and scolded me for impersonating a saint! But their vitriolicness was forgotten when, a few minutes later, a Catholic priest who was leading a group to attend a rally of protesters against the Empire State Building for dissing Mother Teresa (led by Catholic Radicals) came over to me and asked if he could be in a picture with me. It was all good. I continue to perform as her and bring out the sari when I am called.
Dear Mother Teresa, my best spiritual friend Mrs. Mehta helped me make the sari that I wear when I am you, and dear Mother Teresa, I asked for permission to perform as you from your nuns in the Bronx so this performance is legit and not a mockery, and Dear Mother Teresa, keep opening the doors of my heart so that I can see with at least a miniscule of your compassion. And Dear Mother Theresa, please bless the four women Graham-Guardians/Collaborators, and please bless Mark Shaw the film-maker, and Tobe Carey who made further edits on this film. And yes, please Mother Teresa, please bless everyone reading this. Thank you, Linda.
CREDITS: Collaborators: Andrea Dominguez, Miss Toni Silver, Zhenesse Heinemann, Leah Aron. Video: Mark Shaw.Further edit, Tobe Carey.
5. LINDA MARY MONTANO’S 70TH BIRTHDAY PARTY AT THE SAUGERTIES BEACH by NANCY DONSKOJ
Did I have birthday parties as a child? I can’t remember. But I always want to give myself one so maybe I didn’t back then. Recently this was a big one. Seventieth. Because I have no interest in social talking, because I don’t have that skill, I created a win-win party: outside, January 18th, 2012. What could be better? People were cold and had to move around, everyone brought a performance to share, the frozen water and cold snacks were conversation prompts and creating a “Let’s all perform the snake dance” which conga-ed around the trees, solidified us as ONE, stretching everyone’s need to have a taste of instant community/caveman, the Mystical Body in action! Nancy Donskoj, artist and always generous photographer, filmed us and posted this party favor on you tube. For my 75th, 2017, let’s do it again.
CREDITS: Nancy Donskoj.
6. LINDA MONTANO AT MFAIA, GODDARD COLLEGE OF ART: PORT TOWNSEND: by GODDARD PORT TUBE
As often as possible I appear on SKYPE, to avoid planes, trains, subways, buses, cars, people coughing, trains de-railing, Visas/Passports expiring, couch surfing, meals non-existing and general malaise/anxiety exacerbated by travel. This Skype appearance was made in 2009 and in re-seeing it, I notice that I must have been having Dynamic Massage/Rolfing treatments at this time because I am animated out of my everyday mind, willing to do, say and be in top ridiculous form! In keeping with my belief that we are all in this together, I ask people 3000 miles away on Skype, to play along, to make chicken sounds, to shout, to laugh, to faux cry, to smile and help me break through time/space/distance to support the impossible task of feeling connected via technology. Sorry if the then quiet and reflective guided meditation I led on the heart center at the end of the film, broke the mood. In retrospect and in viewing this film, I think I should have folded while we were all faux crying! Give me an Amen.
CREDITS: Skype session with Linda Mary Montano. Downloaded by Goddard College Townsend.
7. SEVEN YEARS OF LIVING ART – MAIDA BARBOUR
While I was teaching performance art at the University of Texas Austin for seven years, I was performing the second seven years of 14 Years of Living Art. Maida Barbour documented my process and revisioned the chakras in her own unique way. This film is diaristic, informational, dazzling with color, and she even hired a snake which crawls up my bare back, freely illustrating the path of kundalini energy, a theologically visceral description of ecstatic paths to bliss. Twenty years later, I met Maida in Austin, where she is now a dog trainer, and practicing her art as LIFE.
CREDITS: Written, Produced, & Directed by Maida Barbour, Camera by Angela Alston & Maida Barbour, Sound by Maida Barbour & Tassos Rigopoulos, Edite by Maida Barbour, Music by Ellen Fullman & Linda Montano, On-line Editing by Mads A. Hansen & Jay Mahavier, Thanks to: Elizabeth, Rebecca, Angela, Pat, Tassos, David, Nancy Schiesati, Nick Cominos, Doc Hamilton, Marc Herbst, Ellen Fullman, Annie Sprinkle, Gisela Camper, the Mehtas, the Snake Guy and, of course, Linda. Introduction animated and re-edited by Tobe Carey 2012.
8. WALKING WITH LINDA MONTANO by DAMALI ABRAMS
Damali Abrams, a sister-of-art-life, shares with me an interest in self healing as art and this is the reason for this interview. I agreed to her request to talk on camera but stated that I wanted to do it while walking because I have certain body positions that I assume when being interviewed so that I can get out of ordinary mind and answer questions intuitively. This is the first time I’ve talked about my process while in motion. Obviously it is not an easy feat to record or edit or handle a talking-interview in motion aesthetically because when the artist gets back in the studio to edit, they see what really happened! But Damali did a brilliant job of making this fun, and creatively rose to the occasion by placing all of my words about my art and life as text on my chest to be read and not heard because who could hear anything on the streets of NYC as trucks, buses and ambulances take center stage and drown out all conversation? She also makes everything look livelier with percussion-like sonic riffs and color tints of our images, maybe in reference to my wearing one color a year for the 14 years performance titled 14 YEARS OF LIVING ART. But more likely because she is a creative artist who knows how to reclaim footage and save the day/film. Thank you Damali for seeing/hearing me. I hear/see you also.
YEAR: Autumn Equinox 2007
CREDITS: Camera: Sean D. Ferdinand aka Shadagya, Music: Metaphysic, Interviewer/editor: Damali Abrams. Thank you: Abiola Abrams, Maria Chomentowski, Kristal Mosley, Mario Ontiveros, Faith Wilding, Vermont College of Fine Arts.