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Performance Artist Paul Soileau Does Dallas
by Danielle Georgiou 28 Sep 2012

Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou previews a performance art piece happening this weekend. So what exactly constitutes performance art? Danielle explains.

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Guest blogger Danielle Marie Georgiou is the artistic director and choreographer of DGDG: Danielle Georgiou Dance Group. She also serves as the Assistant Director of the UT Arlington’s Dance Ensemble. And she’s a member of Muscle Nation.

Theater. Art. Performance.

The terms gets mixed up and tossed around easily. They are individual ideas and most of the time, easily categorized. You go to the theater to see a play. Art is two-dimensional. Performance is what dancers do. Those generalizations make light of what art really is. It’s not just one thing or the other anymore; it’s all one and the same now. At the theater, you’re seeing live art being performed in front of your face, and sometimes in your lap. Performance is 3-D, fun and trippy.

One woman takes these ideas and blows them up, in a glittery, sweaty mess. And that lady is Christeene.

Who’s Christeene, you may be asking? Well, she is the alter-ego of Austin-based performance artist Paul Soileau. I had the pleasure of living with Soileau for a couple of months at the beginning of 2012, as he was completing a residency at CentralTrak: the UT Dallas’ Artist Residency program. I got to know the man behind the woman and started to understand what art and performance meant to him. It was more than just drag, or about being a “drag queen” or a “drag performer.” Soileau calls Christeene, his trashy, endearing, slightly frightening and ambiguously gendered persona, a “drag terrorist.”

Heyd Fontenot, the Director of CentralTrak, spent an afternoon chatting with Soileau over Skype. They talked art, gender, Christeene and about Soileau’s return to the Big D this weekend for Christeene’s first ever performance in the city. It’s all going down at the Double Wide.

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