Misuse liable to prosecution (2007)


PERFORMERS: Michelle Boulé, Levi Gonzalez, Eleanor Hullihan, John Jasperse, Kayvon Pourazar

MUSIC: Zeena Parkins

LIGHTING DESIGN: John Jasperse and Joe Levasseur



Misuse liable to prosecution is a piece defined by the premise that we can buy nothing.  All sets, costumes, and props must be found, borrowed or stolen.  The piece examines existence in a capitalist society with relatively little or no capital.  The work enhances the circumstances in which Jasperse has been operating as an artist in this culture through the unfolding of his career, bringing an awareness of this process into the center of the work itself.  Improvisation in response to the current circumstances plays a central role.  The work will examine what is necessary, what is desired and what is extraneous, as well as the subjective nature of the mechanisms at play in constructing these various groupings.

The work will also seek to compare relative means and opportunities (or lack thereof) available to diverse populations across social and physical geography and throughout history, including the particular privilege that is accorded to the artist through association with those in actual power, echoing back to the court jester, and the responsibilities that might accompany this position.  The phenomena of waste, hoarding, whoring, begging, seduction, philanthropy, blood money and the various modes and prices incurred in getting what you feel like you need will all be examined in the process.


WORLD PREMIERE: On the Boards (Seattle, WA), October 18-20, 2007

NEW YORK CITY PREMIERE: BAM’s 25th Anniversary Next Wave Festival (NYC), October 31, November 1-3, 2007

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA), April 2-4, 2009


Milk Crates in the Service of Low-Budget Commentary – Roslyn Sulcas, NYTimes 10/31/07

Art in an Era of Big Gaps in Income – Jennifer Dunning, NYTimes 11/2/07

John Jasperse Pulls a Treasure From the Trash – Deborah Jowitt, The Village Voice 10/30/07

In `Misuse,’ Jasperse’s Dancers Make Virtue of Found Objects – Tobi Tabias, Seeing Things 11/2/07

No pussyfooting around evils of consumerism – Lynn Jacobson, The Seattle Times 10/23/07


Project Funders:

Misuse liable to prosecution is a co-production of Thin Man Dance, Inc. and The Brooklyn Academy of Music. The creation of Misuse liable to prosecution is funded in part by awards from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; The New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; and The Multi-Arts Production Fund, a program of Creative Capital, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. The music for Misuse liable to prosecution is commissioned by the American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program. Misuse liable to prosecution is commissioned in part by Symphony Space.  Misuse liable to prosecution was commissioned as part of a national series of works from Meet The Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Francis Goelet Trust, the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Target, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  Developmental residencies were supported by The White Oak Plantation (Florida), owned by The Howard Gilman Foundation; Dance New Amsterdam (DNA) (New York), and the Atlantic Center for the Arts ( New Smyrna Beach, FL).  Materials for the performance of Misuse liable to prosecution were donated in part by Materials for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs/NYC Department of Sanitation/NYC Department of Education. Premiere performances at BAM Next Wave Festival are supported through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a Stage Agency.