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Live at Generator July 15, 1989
5" CDR $15

This was one of the most talked about concerts at Generator, both before and after the event. I was already anticipating something unusual when the tech list included a fog machine and live chickens. I actually had to leave the East Village to pick up the fog machine in the Theater District, and go to Chinatown to find a chicken coop. Unfortunately, New York City chicken coops don't deliver. This inconvenience became an emergency when the chicken coop closed before we could pick up the chickens.

The concert started with a video collage of tapes filmed around the world from a folkloric perpspective and sounds from these travels mixed with early Phauss music. As the sounds filled the room, Micki put two boxes on the counter. From one he began lifting bottles of vodka and methodically pouring vodka into glasses. From the other, David Prescott began pulling live gerbils out by their tails. Micki would put a gerbil into a brown paper bag and then hand the bag and a full glass of vodka to each person in the audience. Generator was filled with an atmosphere of surprise, curiosity, humor, fear and anticipation as people listened intently with both hands occupied.

The very live sound of gerbils clawing inside their bags added to the room's ambience. Some people held their bags close to their ears, others kept them an arms length away. Eventually the gerbils chewed and clawed holes in the bags. People quickly finished drinking their vodka in order to free one hand in preparation for the liberation of their gerbils. One person screamed and dropped the bag to the floor and another put the gerbil on her shoulder. At the height of this confusion, the fog machine was switched on full blast. In an instant the room was filled with fog so dense you couldn't see anything.

My gerbil ended up living in a Not For Sale record bin in the Generator while many others lived in the garden down the street. The fate of these new inhabitants brought diverse reactions from the community. Some were happy and kept them as pets, others were angry. The recent attention in the news of the sexual use of gerbils added fuel to the fire.

- gen ken montgomery

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