Theatre, Music and Queer Culture

Gavin is currently researching a follow-up volume to No Machos or Pop Stars which will explore the interconnections between the New York-based Theatre of the Ridiculous and popular music culture, detailing the cultural impact of theatrical players who became pop and rock musicians from the early 1970s into the 1980s. This book will investigate how the irreverent queer ethos of Ridiculous theatre both directly and indirectly shaped the sexual and gendered possibilities of pop musical stardom, taking performance approaches and visual styles from the New York underground to a global record-buying public. Focusing upon the limits and possibilities of being an underground “superstar” in the mainstream, the book will include detailed histories of the lives and careers of Jayne County, David Johansen, Ruby and the Rednecks, Patti Smith, Klaus Nomi and Cherry Vanilla amongst others.


Performance and the art school

Live Class: Performance and the Art School is an exhibition project currently in development that will document the history of performance activity and pedagogy in the UK’s regional art schools.

Covering a thirty-year period from the early 1960s to the 1990s, it will explore the lasting legacies of this history for contemporary practices of education and their place within society.

The project will ask how historic forms of experimental art school pedagogy made processes of learning dynamic and responsive within the “live” moment, and assess the value placed on varied forms of student participation. What might such historic examples suggest we do about today’s marketised, metricised and managerialised forms of education? And how might they help us reimagine and redefine world-making forms of citizenship in the post-pandemic era?

The project is being developed by Gavin with performance scholar and curator Heike Roms.