Daley Plaza—Calixto Bieito and his wife are dragging two stools out of a bar on the other side of the street. He’s the producer, my paycheck. This is supposed to be an interpretation of Ten blocks on the Camino Real. I know Signora Bieito by her face, from the papers. She’s playing the part of Marguerite Gautier, and he, Casanova. But things haven’t begun. The Picasso, a gigantic steel orangutan’s face, where children clamber in the day, is the backdrop. The fountain stage left is still spouting green water since St. Patrick’s day. Two men are committing sodomy at the edge of the water, beautiful, naked to the waist, and I hope they’re getting paid for their performance. The signor and signora are arguing, and the doorman is screaming at them from across the street for stealing their chairs. As soon as I step onto the plaza, someone in face paint pulls a chair up from behind me and tells me to take a seat. Everyone on the square under these banker’s lights is drunk. I’m clucking, about to vomit, and I see others in the audience blithely throwing up at their feet, like animals, without even blushing. I want to wag my tail. The signor turns away from his wife and runs to grab a guitar from behind the Picasso. He claps for silence and then slaps his wife. She seems stunned, and they both sit down. Then he plays a bolero, “He encantrado en tu amor, la fe perdida…” The sodomites pull apart and pull up their pants, and we all sit back, entranced.
Already I can tell that something’s wrong, there’s no inside and outside. There is supposed to be on one hand the Siete Mares, where the rich drink and talk, and on the other, the street, where those without die of thirst and are swept away by the street sweepers. But we’re all outside now, and breaking the law, public nuisances.
Signor Bieto finishes his song and stands up. He pulls Signora Bieito out of her chair. He rips off her red satin dress, and screams out “Who will have her, this whore? This whore that I call mine has no virtue left, except her love for me, but my love has run dry.” Nobody moves. Then, a scene I’ve seen before—he produces a thread and needle from his coat. “No one? What, because she has spoiled our wedding bed? Get down! On your back.” And she lays down on the concrete and he rips her panties off and stabs the needle into her skin, her labia, and sews her shut while she shrieks, pulling the thread tight like a shoelace. After a moment he allows her to adjust herself and go into a headstand, then finishes the surgery, both of them laughing at all the pale faces. Someone has grabbed the lace panties off the ground and is holding them in his lap. Bieito snatches them back and dresses his wife again, then her gown, “Who will have her now?” And the audience, myself included, are ready to cheer. There’s a wild noise, howling, now that we grasp the nature of the show. He says “here’s the five hundred I promised you, line up.” And three or four men do. “Anal only!” They take their turn, and now we all understand the nature of the play. Each of us is Kilroy. Each of us is here, part of the ritual. It’s a huge success. Even I take my turn, and after Signor Bieito counts out the hundred dollar bills in my palm, Signora Bieito kisses me on my cheek, “Thank you, darling, you were magnificent.”
The police never come to disrupt the performance. As I walk back to my hotel, an extra has picked up the guitar and is playing another familiar song:
I think the strange, the crazed, the queer
Will have their holiday this year
And for a while, a little while,
There will be pity for the wild.
A miracle, a miracle!
A sanctuary for the wild.