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Saturday, June 25, 2016

OLD AGE, SICKNESS AND DEATH IN THE VIDEOS OF LINDA MARY MONTANO


OLD AGE, SICKNESS AND DEATH IN THE VIDEOS OF LINDA MARY MONTANO




INTRODUCTION:

Suffering has always been my drug of choice. It began at and even before my birth but I will spare the reader the long list of PTSD making events that comprise my  monstrously  emotional/personal narrative and move onto the way I found to address the traumas.

As an art-mystic in the making:
I by-passed becoming a shaman and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a stigmatist and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a Catholic who "offered up my suffering" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a "victim soul" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a graduate of long term therapy and curing my trauma that way;
Instead I made the art of transforming the trauma and alchemicalizing  it and crushing it with symbol and beauty.
By addressing old age, sickness (of myself and the planet) and death, as art, I have been able to not only feel my own pain but make my story a teaching tool for others.
May we all fly free before we die.

Linda Mary Montano, Saugerties NY.





 







A COMPILATION OF FILMS  by LINDA MARY  MONTANO:    SICKNESS, OLD AGE AND DEATH











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TITLE: ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO                   :     ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/Yaxcwo2M7d8

DESCRIPTION: When I was 20 I was in a convent and after two years, I realized that I was not emotionally mature enough to be a nun. It's not that I didn't love everything about the life, it's just that I had some unfinished business that needed cleaning up and I was not able to ask for help there so that I could heal and stay. The way I expressed my confusion was to take control of food intake. It seems this is not possible to do while in a convent, sitting at a table along with eight different nuns-in-training, silently watching every move that everyone made. Forks hitting against plates and a voice reading about the lives of the saints and martyrs were the only other totally frightening meal-time sounds. To fix it all, my inventive mind decided to control my food intake and I went from a hefty 135 lbs to 80 lbs. Anorexia became a side job which kept me quite busy... learning how to hide from my mates the fact that I was eating nothing and then doing my chores with great vigor because of the adrenaline high from starving. About 15 years after leaving, I sought out other women with the same issue and made ANOREXIA NERVOSA, seeking explanation and comradeship in a  community of like-mindedness which has the power to heal. This not an art film, but a raw, uncut, unedited look at  life.

There is also a you tube edited version of just myself talking about my anorexia.


https://youtu.be/WVeDuwc4yw


TITLE:  ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS
DESCRIPTION: See above.

YEAR: 1977
TIME: 1:01:18
CREDITS: Christine Barnum, Diane Bass, Vicky Sutherland, Kelly Doyle.

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 TITLE: DYSTONIA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/lj9OlegCsBc

Description: Another title for this film could have been SICK ART or ART/LIFE because it is my attempt to lighten up, make sense of, expose, explore, and be horrified by a chronic, neurologic condition which I developed in 2006. Not many people have heard of Dystonia which results in spasms, contortions, head turnings and many other strange body-art gesticulations.  My contracting/getting/having Dystonia is the reason I did a lot of things: it’s the reason I became/acted as if I were Mother Theresa  because I was bent over, not by having served 400 million people but by spasms from Dystonia. Dystonia also was the reason I made the exorcism film because my neck started acting extremely weird in church and I thought I was possessed. “Linda, you are not possessed,” said Father Lebar, Catholic priest and exorcist. But I do spasm, I do have to hold my head up with sometimes both hands, I am in almost-constant pain. Calling out the forces of transformation, calling out the army of art as healing, I relinquished the pity party, the drama, the trauma, the telling my friends that I had a chronic illness,  and instead, I wrote my Dystonia story as a fun, cute, feel good, Hallmark Card Fairy Tale, which Jonathan Penz, a home-schooled pre-teened genius reads in all of his innocence. To counteract the kid artness of the film, I include/superimposed on the images,  frightening side-effects of the Botox injections which I am receiving. And to counteract the horrors  of  these side-effects, the words PEACE,  HOPE, & LOVE fly through the film as lovely angel-words. My neurologist, Dr. Fabio Danisi  is such a sport, allowing his injection procedure to be filmed by his assistant Cindy Miller. As a team of 3, I feel we have shed beautiful light on a terrible plight. Every three months, many Dystonia patients around the world receive Botox injections. I get mine today. Have to go out in this Northeastern snowstorm and buy him a cannoli before I go!

YEAR: 2012
TIME: 5:25
CREDITS: Camera: Cindy Miller, Doctor: Dr. Fabio Danisi, Patient: Linda Mary Montano, Story: Linda Mary Montano, Narrator: Jonathon Penz, Video Editor: Tobe Carey.


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TITLE: SEVEN STAGES OF INTOXICATION by LINDA MARY MONTANO   : ILLNESS/MENOPAUSE

youtu.be
Post menopausal hormone changes catapulted me out of control and I felt symbolically "intoxicated". This tape also references the "art" of teaching via faux-...

Description: I structure ALL of my work as if it had chapters, building blocks, architectural orderings, titled sequences and designated pauses so that my books, performances and films have structure and sculptural strength. Maybe that is because I am semi-Jesuit trained and sculpturally certified having graduated from the UWM with an MFA in Sculpture? The foundational principle of this particular film goes like this; PART ONE: Instructing in a faux-way the purpose of the tape; I do all of this faceless, with just make-believe hand gestures, faux-signing what I’m saying because I absolutely believe that viewers must be entertained visually, sonically, kinesthetically, and with good humor. At that time I was a university professor and the STINK of academia is evident in this film because I talk about performance history, my teaching history, the theme of self-portrait, the persona that I portray, and the psychological issues around menopause. Doing this comically and non-sensibly lightens the burden of university-speech.  Apologizing for what the viewer is about to see, I excuse my Seven Drunk Personas, by explaining that aging and the surrender that one must admit to as time, illness and gravity rob the body of its former brilliance: aging is similar to being inebriated. When drunk, there is a surrender, and a letting go, and a succumbing to the dark negative  which is hormonally similar to what happens in menopause. This is one of my favorite films. I am completely out of control, breaking all taboos of nice-ness and decorum. I’m sure that having to be on-guard in my high paying  job and in university good behavior brought out and encouraged this opposition character/persona who lets down my Texas niceness and lets off steam. To illustrate how funky I get in this film, I even perform on the steps of one of the major university buildings and don’t even flinch as one of the nuns, who I met regularly at daily Mass, walks by and looks like she recognizes the drunken homeless woman acting out in public!   PART TWO: Seven alcoholic women acting as if drunk. PART THREE: An assignment. ART trumps LIFE - ART heals LIFE. Will I ever be this brave again?

YEAR: 1997
TIME: 33:35
CREDITS: Camera: Steven Kolpan, Yuki Julie Kao, Joe Zambarino, Cecil Martin. Actors: Geoffrey Thomas, Bethel Collins, Chris Graham, Lance Myers, Debra Hewitt, Danny Flores, Joe Zambarino. Production: Beta: Edward Garana Teleprint Express. Sound: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain. Editing: ANdy Cockrum, Metropost. Special thanks: Andy Cockrum, Kate Horsfeld, Alexandria Carrion, Flavia Gondolfo, Minnette Lehmann, Steven Kolpan, R.S. Mishra,

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  TITLENURSE NURSE by LINDA MARY MONTANO   :   ILLNESS  & AGING

http://youtu.be/EctbZtb79_k

DESCRIPTION: After I left the University of Texas Austin, where I was teaching Performance Art, I returned to Upstate New York having actually been called home by my “good” inner voices, who counseled me to, “Go, be with your father.” The backstory is that I was denied tenure, but actually, UT gave me the freedom to get to know my father for the last seven years of his life by firing me!! NURSE NURSE comedically references care giving a compromised elder, played by me, and this film  allows me to practice and rehearse for what might happen medically to me in my future. That is, aren’t we all dreadfully afraid of Alzheimers? And if I practice having it now, maybe I will scare it away or at least be comfortable having it when I do get it?  An important prop in this film is my dad’s lazy boy chair. It triggers such pain because he had his stroke in that chair, and I needed to resurrect the chair from memory - hell. Admittedly, this film is not funny, not easy, but in my estimation, totally necessary.

YEAR: 2013
TIME: 18:23
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey Willow Mixed Media. Camera - Josepha Gutelius. Nurse Actor - Laura Kopczac. Patient Actor - Linda Mary Montano. Nurse song/voice - Linda Mary Montano. Additional Audio Recording - Jim Barbaro Natural Recording Studio. Nurse Voice Over - Meg Carey. Special thanks to Meg Carey, Tobe Carey, Josepha Gutelius, Minnette Lehmann, and Laura Kopczak.
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TITLE: STARVED SURVIVORS by LINDA MARY MONTANO :  PLANETARY ILLNESS
http://youtu.be/NZcZWN2YFkI
Description: My very destructive and bad habit of listening to British BBC dramatic news reports especially from 7 pm, when I go to bed, to 6 am when I wake up, resulted in an imploded brain overload, a poetic frenzy that spilled aesthetically from my unknowing but indoctrinated and addled brain. I honestly channeled the text for this film and the SPILLAGE was putrid in its memory of every single atrocity committed on every single continent of the world having heard about them in my non-rem sleep all night. So what to do with the mental detritus? I made  art. Fairy tales are my weapon of choice and I open the film with a sweet little girl (me) talking about her need for a grandmother and guardian and teacher. This grandmother (me, of course), in one of my favorite old lady masks, tells the little girl that life sucks, and be careful. The reasons why life sucks are sing-song-litanied for almost a half an hour over and over and the list of sins committed globally are words that my asleep brain remembers from BBC radio. Not trusting that my own voice could do the poem justice, I asked Paul McMahon, poet and musician, to read the atrocities and craziness melodically, thereby diffusing what’s happening in the seedy and dirty corners of this world with his poetic soothe. Mouths, teeth, saliva, gums are visuals I focus on obsessively and compulsively and have a field day doing so in this film. The cast of characters includes talking infants, mimicking doppelgängers, fear mongers,  prophetic predictors of global warming,  storm warners and other bad news sad sacks. Of course it ends on a happy note, when the Hag/Grandmother re-appears and tells Little Linda, DO NOT BE AFRAID.

YEAR: 2011
TIME: 19:25
CREDITS: Video and Animation editing by Tobe Carey. Photos by Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Annie Sprinkle. Water and Storm Video by Tobe Carey. Thunder Audio by EZWA Public Domain Sounds. Voices: Man - Paul McMahon, Baby - Tobe Carey, Child - Linda Montano. Special Thanks: Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Meg Carey. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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TITLE: BENARES by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :   DEATH in  INDIA

http://youtu.be/2vG10Mgtcwk

Description: In the late 1990’s, I was a professor of performance art, at the University of Texas, Austin. Luckily, one of the perks of professorship is a travel grant which I used to visit India with my mentor and friend Dr. Aruna Mehta. Also, luckily, the University had a medical clinic that had superior travel  information. So I did all of that, made sure I knew how to keep myself physically safe, and set out for one of the most transforming experiences of my life. Although I had not completely made arrangements for places to stay in Benares, they magically came together, and a very learned Brahman scholar in India, made sure that I was able to participate in Varanasi’s theological culture. Please watch this film because I cannot begin to describe the floating dead bodies in the Ganges. I cannot begin to describe the 24/7 burning ghats. I cannot begin to describe the senior citizens waiting to die in the most holy city in the world ; the place where their Moksha/liberation from rebirth is guaranteed. I cannot begin to describe (in words), the evolution from my own Western fear, voyeurism, culture appropriation, to an Eastern  understanding of the divine both in Life and Death. This sophomoric  attempt to move myself from tourist to one-who-belongs marks the beginning of a journey that is not so much now about death but about Love.

YEAR: 1998 & 2008
TIME: 25:35
CREDITS: For my friends Dr. Aruna Mehta, Dr. A.L. Mehta. Consultant in Benares: Ratnesesh Pathak. Videographer in Benares: Daffodils Videotec. Sound Design: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain, Austin, Texas. Video Design: Andy Cockrum, 501 Group Austin, Texas. Re-Edited 2007, Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media Glenford, CT.  Special Thanks to University of Texas, Austin, Department of Art.

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TITLE: DAD ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO : OLD AGE/SICKNESS/DEATH


Description: When I arrived back to New York State from Texas, having been denied tenure, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime.  That is, I was able to be with my father and get to re­know him for the last seven years of his life. He allowed me to collaborate with him on video, and we filmed while watching Wheel of Fortune together; we filmed eating linguini and clams together; we filmed him meeting his beautiful woman friend as she picked him up to take him out to dinner. I’m editing out his unspeakable head accident at  physical therapy, his fall at  home and rush to the hospital with a stroke. But I’m not denying that I hid behind the camera using it as a shield as I became manager of his care at home 24/7 for three years. 400,000 care­givers came through the front door, day and night, and I filmed it all. Not sneakily, not as a thief, but as 
a frightened bird behind a branch disguised­ as ­tripod. DAD ART
 was the result of my father’s 
original generosity of sharing LIFE/ART with me and the result of my continuing that process as I watched a kind of transcendence overcome him. No, it wasn't pretty or wonderful but during his illness he exuded the same beauty that he exhibited when he sat in church in meditation. Friends would come into the house at 9 John Street and cry because of the atmosphere that he created: a high­ level intensity and vibrational frequency. One of the care­givers was smart enough to remind me to encourage him to paint and he became an abstract expressionist painter who for 1­2 hours a day, sat transfixed as red or orange or black or yellow appeared on the paper in front of him via his Zenned­ paintbrush which moved so slowly that I would almost faint with 
the beauty of his focus.  Some of these paintings are incorporated into the film DAD ART
  which premiered once or twice publicly  and once with close friends as a funeral memorial service. During the performance of  DAD ART
, I sing the seven songs he and my mother would play in 
their band during the 30’s and 40’s. Also on stage during the memorial ­performance there are many different activities and "stations" of  symbolic actions: one of artists as counselors, talking to people about death which invites participants  to enter the performance space to become co­ performers in a collaborative group process.  At another station, a collaborator pours glasses of water and hands them out, since water became such an important vehicle of life/not life for my father as he stopped eating and drinking. At the third station, audience members are invited to come to the “stage” and dictate a letter to death who is  a collaborator, wearing a death mask. A vibrant, breath of fresh air, exuberant MC keeps everything moving, invites people to the stage, and blows a whistle when it’s my time to sing one of my seven songs. DAD ART 
Performance/Film is an invitation to anyone who would like me to come and mourn with you publicly as art. I promise, this will not be easy. 

YEAR: 2007
TIME: 2 HOURS
CREDITS:TOBE CAREY, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON

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TITLE: LIVING ART / DYING ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : DEATH

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff79M4NB26s

DESCRIPTION: In the late 90’s, on several occasions, I presented a slide lecture which demonstrated the way that my art references impermanence and dying. In 2014, video artist and editor Tobe Carey scanned the slides from the lecture and we collaged together the spoken narrative, images both of my own work and also of death rituals from many different cultures, creating an Endgame-like collage. There are images from my study in Benares at the burning ghats, images from my film, MITCHELL’S DEATH, images of Parsi funerary rites,  images of my performances and descriptions of ways that my work and death seem to be close cousins! In this multi-faceted film: I feel, I mourn, I heal, I say goodbye,  I teach, I prepare for my final retirement, and maybe my most important  DVD, DEATH.

YEAR: 2014
TIME: 42:44
CREDITS: Produced and directed by Montano. Edited by Tobe Carey. Sound voice Jim Barbaro, Paul McMahon. Voices: Montano, Hominy and Ginger McMahon. Actor Rich Granville. Special thanks: Tobe and Meg Carey.
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TITLE: MITCHELL'S DEATH by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH

Description: In 1977, my ex-husband was murdered. I could stop here and say no more because that sentence alone, explains and describes this film.  But writing is how I communicate best so I will outline my process.  The murderer called me and told me about Mitchell's death, not saying that he murdered him but that he "accidentally" shot him in the head. Not having any skills at dealing with trauma, with talking things out, with asking for comfort, with seeking support by expressing my pain, I began writing the story from the moment that I heard the news to the time that I went into the morgue and saw his body . Still today, I hardly breathe when I remember this.  Back then, I was able to use my ability to make art of my life and I shared his death with friends and colleagues at The Center For Music Experiment, UCSD, where I was a fellow in residence.  And then, I shared the film itself, not as a performance but as a video-document and it went viral, so to speak.  Was it  because I chanted the story in good Gregorian-Zen fashion?  Was it because the editor, David Wagner, used delay to deepen my voice and the story became  a trance-like dirge that was almost beautiful?  Was it because the story was so raw and grief ladened that it resonated with everyone who has ever experienced loss?  All I know is that the film, MITCHELL’S  DEATH,  has touched everyone who has ever sat shiva with it.  And Mitchell, an artist who had trained to be a Protestant Minister, continues to inspire.

Accessible via VIDEO DATA BANK
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 TITLE: ON DEATH AND DYING by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :SICKNESS

http://youtu.be/wQU_3gfQL8I

Description: This film is thirty three years old, made in the mid 80's and it is now 2015.  I am totally enthralled by it's timelessness. It is crazy in it's symbolism but in retrospect I think I can now read into it with some clarity.  For example, why are three women in their 30's playing cards, dressed like nuns, sitting at a beautifully adorned card table with an hourglass in the middle, tracking time, while listening/or not listening to a nurse  talk about death and dying?  I am interviewing that nurse, Mescal Hornbeck, but did it as if I were a French poetess, using a sweet, innocent and polite faux French accent. WHY? Elizabeth Cross, Vicki Stern and I were dear and close friends at that time and  both Vicki and I were living at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt Tremper NY as students of meditation, while Elizabeth lived in the village of Woodstock and made her living as a hairdresser/artist. We were women who  always created our unique ways of responding to our life issues;  we were women who conversed about our status as women; we were women who lived in a monastery (Vicki and I) and I know that this film is a response to the fact that we were taught by men in a male-run institution. At that time, this was a joy and also an irritant and like good feminists, we responded as art and made  this "teaching tape" which is totally, strangely beautiful in it's woman-ness;  beautiful in it's ability to enthrall the senses with candles dancing via camera movements; beautiful in the absurdity of nuns putting on paper sailor hats over their nun veils; beautiful in the way that we are playing cards and winning because we are alive; beautiful because Mescal is giving/freely offering 50 years of deep experience with the subject which we all need to study and learn about: death.  This film is not wanting to trick:  there are no difficult language tricks;  no need to impress with theological posturing;  no fancy camera work or snazzy editing; no need to cower and run into  the Zen-interview room and try to impress a man with an understood koan!  My art is always about my life and obviously, I wanted to be a Guru, just like my male Zen teacher was at that time. By making this very important, informative and comedically complex film, Elizabeth, Vicki and I  got what we wanted, respect for our WOMAN-WAY . The strangely channeled CHICKEN BAWK at the end, concurs.

YEAR: 1982
TIME: 21:44
CREDITS: Participants are: Elizabeth Monroe Cross, Vicki Stern, Linda Mary Montano, and narrator Mescal Hornbeck
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 TITLEMY MOTHER; ARTIST AND TEACHER by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH


DESCRIPTION:  My mother's life and death were both extraordinarily epic. A painter who art therapied herself out of a called for and deserved depression, Mom's resiliency could have rewarded her with a Badge of Courage because she took devastating trauma making life issues and alchemized then into art, activism and humor. Modeling these gifts for me, I look at our lives which could have been charted and copied page for page, letter by letter and I recognize that I have imitated her style, not missing a beat.
We both practice art as therapy and humor and as deflection from the unspeakable. We both jump into everything with 150% effort and an attitude which covers over the fact that neither of us know exactly how to respond to the life issues at  hand but both of us give everything our best shot. For example, I watched Mom cut  neighbors', family and friends' hair in our kitchen even though she had zilch training . And guess who was the president of Saugerties Nursing Committee? Mom, of course, who was not a nurse. And guess who taught English as a second language up until a few months before she died? You guessed it, Mom. My own life shares similar stories of my doing/becoming and acting as if while knowing nothing about the subject at  hand.
I eulogized Mom with a book, THE 5 JOHNS OF 5 JOHN STREET and a video titled , MOM ART. I've honored her by living my life as art and it is only right that I share helpful suggestions that I gleaned from watching by her bedside as she died. I know that she would tell me, "act as if" if I felt shy about sharing these words with you. She would say, "Make believe that you ARE a professional grief counselor."  Or she might say, "Linda, help as many people as possible with your wisdom. But make sure that you do it with humor!" Thanks Mom. You're a CHAMP and so am I.

 https://youtu.be/_dp-Ti_fhLk
youtu.be
My Mother - Artist and Teacher All paintings by Mildred Kelly Montano. Thank you Mom for Teaching me how to Heal.




YEAR:2016
TIME: 13:17
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY, JIM BARBERO, HENRY MONTANO, MEG CAREY
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TITLE: DAD ART PAINTING by LINDA MARY MONTANO: OLD AGE/SICKNESS

DESCRIPTION: My father had a serious accident caused by a physical therapist. It compromised his health and he developed a hemorrhagic stroke. He had 24-7 care at  home and I videotaped him for that entire time, having begun a video-collaboration with him when he was well. I didn't put the camera down and when a caregiver brought him paints, I was able to record and document this amazing Zen-like event: my dad painting everyday for an hour as if he was a reincarnation of a monk in a monastery in Kyoto. This painting section is edited and  excerpted from the 2 hour DAD ART_performance film which includes bathing, lifting, saying good bye and my father's last  breath. Just seeing the beauty is often a relief and enough.


YEAR: 2015
TIME: 19:39
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY editing, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON, sound.

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  TITLE: I'M DYING, MY LAST PERFORMANCE  by LINDA MARY MONTANO

DESCRIPTION:  Once I read a story about Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche in a book by death-teacher, Steven Levine.  It goes like this. Trungpa went into his son's room and said to him, " I'm DYING." And then he said to his son, "You are dying too."
This story made a deep impression on me because death is the last taboo, the hidden boogey-man, the unspeakable, What a beautiful lesson in impermanence this father gave his son.
As I age, not so gracefully, I keep thinking and saying inside, "Linda, you are getting close to dying." But this is not done for spiritual teachings for myself but as a prompt to terror and fear. So, of course, I decided to make art about this sentence and will say to myself, AS ART, "I'm DYING " whenever I feel the urge to frighten myself. Art heals, you know, even this rinky-dink video of myself, mouthing the words. But someday I will say I 'm dying  and it will be really true and if I have done this performance correctly, I will go towards the light with gusto.



DATE:2015
TIME: O:28
CREDITS: TOBE  CAREY editing.
 





INTRODUCTION:

Suffering has always been my drug of choice. It began at and even before my birth but I will spare the reader the long list of PTSD making events that comprise my  monstrously  emotional/personal narrative and move onto the way I found to address the traumas.

As an art-mystic in the making:
I by-passed becoming a shaman and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a stigmatist and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a Catholic who "offered up my suffering" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a "victim soul" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a graduate of long term therapy and curing my trauma that way;
Instead I made the art of transforming the trauma and alchemicalizing  it and crushing it with symbol and beauty.
By addressing old age, sickness (of myself and the planet) and death, as art, I have been able to not only feel my own pain but make my story a teaching tool for others.
May we all fly free before we die.

Linda Mary Montano, Saugerties NY.





 







A COMPILATION OF FILMS  by LINDA MARY  MONTANO:    SICKNESS, OLD AGE AND DEATH











.



TITLE: ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO                   :     ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/Yaxcwo2M7d8

DESCRIPTION: When I was 20 I was in a convent and after two years, I realized that I was not emotionally mature enough to be a nun. It's not that I didn't love everything about the life, it's just that I had some unfinished business that needed cleaning up and I was not able to ask for help there so that I could heal and stay. The way I expressed my confusion was to take control of food intake. It seems this is not possible to do while in a convent, sitting at a table along with eight different nuns-in-training, silently watching every move that everyone made. Forks hitting against plates and a voice reading about the lives of the saints and martyrs were the only other totally frightening meal-time sounds. To fix it all, my inventive mind decided to control my food intake and I went from a hefty 135 lbs to 80 lbs. Anorexia became a side job which kept me quite busy... learning how to hide from my mates the fact that I was eating nothing and then doing my chores with great vigor because of the adrenaline high from starving. About 15 years after leaving, I sought out other women with the same issue and made ANOREXIA NERVOSA, seeking explanation and comradeship in a  community of like-mindedness which has the power to heal. This not an art film, but a raw, uncut, unedited look at  life.

There is also a you tube edited version of just myself talking about my anorexia.


https://youtu.be/WVeDuwc4yw


TITLE:  ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS
DESCRIPTION: See above.

YEAR: 1977
TIME: 1:01:18
CREDITS: Christine Barnum, Diane Bass, Vicky Sutherland, Kelly Doyle.

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 TITLE: DYSTONIA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/lj9OlegCsBc

Description: Another title for this film could have been SICK ART or ART/LIFE because it is my attempt to lighten up, make sense of, expose, explore, and be horrified by a chronic, neurologic condition which I developed in 2006. Not many people have heard of Dystonia which results in spasms, contortions, head turnings and many other strange body-art gesticulations.  My contracting/getting/having Dystonia is the reason I did a lot of things: it’s the reason I became/acted as if I were Mother Theresa  because I was bent over, not by having served 400 million people but by spasms from Dystonia. Dystonia also was the reason I made the exorcism film because my neck started acting extremely weird in church and I thought I was possessed. “Linda, you are not possessed,” said Father Lebar, Catholic priest and exorcist. But I do spasm, I do have to hold my head up with sometimes both hands, I am in almost-constant pain. Calling out the forces of transformation, calling out the army of art as healing, I relinquished the pity party, the drama, the trauma, the telling my friends that I had a chronic illness,  and instead, I wrote my Dystonia story as a fun, cute, feel good, Hallmark Card Fairy Tale, which Jonathan Penz, a home-schooled pre-teened genius reads in all of his innocence. To counteract the kid artness of the film, I include/superimposed on the images,  frightening side-effects of the Botox injections which I am receiving. And to counteract the horrors  of  these side-effects, the words PEACE,  HOPE, & LOVE fly through the film as lovely angel-words. My neurologist, Dr. Fabio Danisi  is such a sport, allowing his injection procedure to be filmed by his assistant Cindy Miller. As a team of 3, I feel we have shed beautiful light on a terrible plight. Every three months, many Dystonia patients around the world receive Botox injections. I get mine today. Have to go out in this Northeastern snowstorm and buy him a cannoli before I go!

YEAR: 2012
TIME: 5:25
CREDITS: Camera: Cindy Miller, Doctor: Dr. Fabio Danisi, Patient: Linda Mary Montano, Story: Linda Mary Montano, Narrator: Jonathon Penz, Video Editor: Tobe Carey.


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TITLE: SEVEN STAGES OF INTOXICATION by LINDA MARY MONTANO   : ILLNESS/MENOPAUSE

youtu.be
Post menopausal hormone changes catapulted me out of control and I felt symbolically "intoxicated". This tape also references the "art" of teaching via faux-...

Description: I structure ALL of my work as if it had chapters, building blocks, architectural orderings, titled sequences and designated pauses so that my books, performances and films have structure and sculptural strength. Maybe that is because I am semi-Jesuit trained and sculpturally certified having graduated from the UWM with an MFA in Sculpture? The foundational principle of this particular film goes like this; PART ONE: Instructing in a faux-way the purpose of the tape; I do all of this faceless, with just make-believe hand gestures, faux-signing what I’m saying because I absolutely believe that viewers must be entertained visually, sonically, kinesthetically, and with good humor. At that time I was a university professor and the STINK of academia is evident in this film because I talk about performance history, my teaching history, the theme of self-portrait, the persona that I portray, and the psychological issues around menopause. Doing this comically and non-sensibly lightens the burden of university-speech.  Apologizing for what the viewer is about to see, I excuse my Seven Drunk Personas, by explaining that aging and the surrender that one must admit to as time, illness and gravity rob the body of its former brilliance: aging is similar to being inebriated. When drunk, there is a surrender, and a letting go, and a succumbing to the dark negative  which is hormonally similar to what happens in menopause. This is one of my favorite films. I am completely out of control, breaking all taboos of nice-ness and decorum. I’m sure that having to be on-guard in my high paying  job and in university good behavior brought out and encouraged this opposition character/persona who lets down my Texas niceness and lets off steam. To illustrate how funky I get in this film, I even perform on the steps of one of the major university buildings and don’t even flinch as one of the nuns, who I met regularly at daily Mass, walks by and looks like she recognizes the drunken homeless woman acting out in public!   PART TWO: Seven alcoholic women acting as if drunk. PART THREE: An assignment. ART trumps LIFE - ART heals LIFE. Will I ever be this brave again?

YEAR: 1997
TIME: 33:35
CREDITS: Camera: Steven Kolpan, Yuki Julie Kao, Joe Zambarino, Cecil Martin. Actors: Geoffrey Thomas, Bethel Collins, Chris Graham, Lance Myers, Debra Hewitt, Danny Flores, Joe Zambarino. Production: Beta: Edward Garana Teleprint Express. Sound: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain. Editing: ANdy Cockrum, Metropost. Special thanks: Andy Cockrum, Kate Horsfeld, Alexandria Carrion, Flavia Gondolfo, Minnette Lehmann, Steven Kolpan, R.S. Mishra,

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  TITLENURSE NURSE by LINDA MARY MONTANO   :   ILLNESS  & AGING

http://youtu.be/EctbZtb79_k

DESCRIPTION: After I left the University of Texas Austin, where I was teaching Performance Art, I returned to Upstate New York having actually been called home by my “good” inner voices, who counseled me to, “Go, be with your father.” The backstory is that I was denied tenure, but actually, UT gave me the freedom to get to know my father for the last seven years of his life by firing me!! NURSE NURSE comedically references care giving a compromised elder, played by me, and this film  allows me to practice and rehearse for what might happen medically to me in my future. That is, aren’t we all dreadfully afraid of Alzheimers? And if I practice having it now, maybe I will scare it away or at least be comfortable having it when I do get it?  An important prop in this film is my dad’s lazy boy chair. It triggers such pain because he had his stroke in that chair, and I needed to resurrect the chair from memory - hell. Admittedly, this film is not funny, not easy, but in my estimation, totally necessary.

YEAR: 2013
TIME: 18:23
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey Willow Mixed Media. Camera - Josepha Gutelius. Nurse Actor - Laura Kopczac. Patient Actor - Linda Mary Montano. Nurse song/voice - Linda Mary Montano. Additional Audio Recording - Jim Barbaro Natural Recording Studio. Nurse Voice Over - Meg Carey. Special thanks to Meg Carey, Tobe Carey, Josepha Gutelius, Minnette Lehmann, and Laura Kopczak.
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TITLE: STARVED SURVIVORS by LINDA MARY MONTANO :  PLANETARY ILLNESS
http://youtu.be/NZcZWN2YFkI
Description: My very destructive and bad habit of listening to British BBC dramatic news reports especially from 7 pm, when I go to bed, to 6 am when I wake up, resulted in an imploded brain overload, a poetic frenzy that spilled aesthetically from my unknowing but indoctrinated and addled brain. I honestly channeled the text for this film and the SPILLAGE was putrid in its memory of every single atrocity committed on every single continent of the world having heard about them in my non-rem sleep all night. So what to do with the mental detritus? I made  art. Fairy tales are my weapon of choice and I open the film with a sweet little girl (me) talking about her need for a grandmother and guardian and teacher. This grandmother (me, of course), in one of my favorite old lady masks, tells the little girl that life sucks, and be careful. The reasons why life sucks are sing-song-litanied for almost a half an hour over and over and the list of sins committed globally are words that my asleep brain remembers from BBC radio. Not trusting that my own voice could do the poem justice, I asked Paul McMahon, poet and musician, to read the atrocities and craziness melodically, thereby diffusing what’s happening in the seedy and dirty corners of this world with his poetic soothe. Mouths, teeth, saliva, gums are visuals I focus on obsessively and compulsively and have a field day doing so in this film. The cast of characters includes talking infants, mimicking doppelgängers, fear mongers,  prophetic predictors of global warming,  storm warners and other bad news sad sacks. Of course it ends on a happy note, when the Hag/Grandmother re-appears and tells Little Linda, DO NOT BE AFRAID.

YEAR: 2011
TIME: 19:25
CREDITS: Video and Animation editing by Tobe Carey. Photos by Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Annie Sprinkle. Water and Storm Video by Tobe Carey. Thunder Audio by EZWA Public Domain Sounds. Voices: Man - Paul McMahon, Baby - Tobe Carey, Child - Linda Montano. Special Thanks: Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Meg Carey. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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TITLE: BENARES by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :   DEATH in  INDIA

http://youtu.be/2vG10Mgtcwk

Description: In the late 1990’s, I was a professor of performance art, at the University of Texas, Austin. Luckily, one of the perks of professorship is a travel grant which I used to visit India with my mentor and friend Dr. Aruna Mehta. Also, luckily, the University had a medical clinic that had superior travel  information. So I did all of that, made sure I knew how to keep myself physically safe, and set out for one of the most transforming experiences of my life. Although I had not completely made arrangements for places to stay in Benares, they magically came together, and a very learned Brahman scholar in India, made sure that I was able to participate in Varanasi’s theological culture. Please watch this film because I cannot begin to describe the floating dead bodies in the Ganges. I cannot begin to describe the 24/7 burning ghats. I cannot begin to describe the senior citizens waiting to die in the most holy city in the world ; the place where their Moksha/liberation from rebirth is guaranteed. I cannot begin to describe (in words), the evolution from my own Western fear, voyeurism, culture appropriation, to an Eastern  understanding of the divine both in Life and Death. This sophomoric  attempt to move myself from tourist to one-who-belongs marks the beginning of a journey that is not so much now about death but about Love.

YEAR: 1998 & 2008
TIME: 25:35
CREDITS: For my friends Dr. Aruna Mehta, Dr. A.L. Mehta. Consultant in Benares: Ratnesesh Pathak. Videographer in Benares: Daffodils Videotec. Sound Design: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain, Austin, Texas. Video Design: Andy Cockrum, 501 Group Austin, Texas. Re-Edited 2007, Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media Glenford, CT.  Special Thanks to University of Texas, Austin, Department of Art.

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TITLE: DAD ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO : OLD AGE/SICKNESS/DEATH


Description: When I arrived back to New York State from Texas, having been denied tenure, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime.  That is, I was able to be with my father and get to re­know him for the last seven years of his life. He allowed me to collaborate with him on video, and we filmed while watching Wheel of Fortune together; we filmed eating linguini and clams together; we filmed him meeting his beautiful woman friend as she picked him up to take him out to dinner. I’m editing out his unspeakable head accident at  physical therapy, his fall at  home and rush to the hospital with a stroke. But I’m not denying that I hid behind the camera using it as a shield as I became manager of his care at home 24/7 for three years. 400,000 care­givers came through the front door, day and night, and I filmed it all. Not sneakily, not as a thief, but as 
a frightened bird behind a branch disguised­ as ­tripod. DAD ART
 was the result of my father’s 
original generosity of sharing LIFE/ART with me and the result of my continuing that process as I watched a kind of transcendence overcome him. No, it wasn't pretty or wonderful but during his illness he exuded the same beauty that he exhibited when he sat in church in meditation. Friends would come into the house at 9 John Street and cry because of the atmosphere that he created: a high­ level intensity and vibrational frequency. One of the care­givers was smart enough to remind me to encourage him to paint and he became an abstract expressionist painter who for 1­2 hours a day, sat transfixed as red or orange or black or yellow appeared on the paper in front of him via his Zenned­ paintbrush which moved so slowly that I would almost faint with 
the beauty of his focus.  Some of these paintings are incorporated into the film DAD ART
  which premiered once or twice publicly  and once with close friends as a funeral memorial service. During the performance of  DAD ART
, I sing the seven songs he and my mother would play in 
their band during the 30’s and 40’s. Also on stage during the memorial ­performance there are many different activities and "stations" of  symbolic actions: one of artists as counselors, talking to people about death which invites participants  to enter the performance space to become co­ performers in a collaborative group process.  At another station, a collaborator pours glasses of water and hands them out, since water became such an important vehicle of life/not life for my father as he stopped eating and drinking. At the third station, audience members are invited to come to the “stage” and dictate a letter to death who is  a collaborator, wearing a death mask. A vibrant, breath of fresh air, exuberant MC keeps everything moving, invites people to the stage, and blows a whistle when it’s my time to sing one of my seven songs. DAD ART 
Performance/Film is an invitation to anyone who would like me to come and mourn with you publicly as art. I promise, this will not be easy. 

YEAR: 2007
TIME: 2 HOURS
CREDITS:TOBE CAREY, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON

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TITLE: LIVING ART / DYING ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : DEATH

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff79M4NB26s

DESCRIPTION: In the late 90’s, on several occasions, I presented a slide lecture which demonstrated the way that my art references impermanence and dying. In 2014, video artist and editor Tobe Carey scanned the slides from the lecture and we collaged together the spoken narrative, images both of my own work and also of death rituals from many different cultures, creating an Endgame-like collage. There are images from my study in Benares at the burning ghats, images from my film, MITCHELL’S DEATH, images of Parsi funerary rites,  images of my performances and descriptions of ways that my work and death seem to be close cousins! In this multi-faceted film: I feel, I mourn, I heal, I say goodbye,  I teach, I prepare for my final retirement, and maybe my most important  DVD, DEATH.

YEAR: 2014
TIME: 42:44
CREDITS: Produced and directed by Montano. Edited by Tobe Carey. Sound voice Jim Barbaro, Paul McMahon. Voices: Montano, Hominy and Ginger McMahon. Actor Rich Granville. Special thanks: Tobe and Meg Carey.
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TITLE: MITCHELL'S DEATH by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH

Description: In 1977, my ex-husband was murdered. I could stop here and say no more because that sentence alone, explains and describes this film.  But writing is how I communicate best so I will outline my process.  The murderer called me and told me about Mitchell's death, not saying that he murdered him but that he "accidentally" shot him in the head. Not having any skills at dealing with trauma, with talking things out, with asking for comfort, with seeking support by expressing my pain, I began writing the story from the moment that I heard the news to the time that I went into the morgue and saw his body . Still today, I hardly breathe when I remember this.  Back then, I was able to use my ability to make art of my life and I shared his death with friends and colleagues at The Center For Music Experiment, UCSD, where I was a fellow in residence.  And then, I shared the film itself, not as a performance but as a video-document and it went viral, so to speak.  Was it  because I chanted the story in good Gregorian-Zen fashion?  Was it because the editor, David Wagner, used delay to deepen my voice and the story became  a trance-like dirge that was almost beautiful?  Was it because the story was so raw and grief ladened that it resonated with everyone who has ever experienced loss?  All I know is that the film, MITCHELL’S  DEATH,  has touched everyone who has ever sat shiva with it.  And Mitchell, an artist who had trained to be a Protestant Minister, continues to inspire.

Accessible via VIDEO DATA BANK
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 TITLE: ON DEATH AND DYING by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :SICKNESS

http://youtu.be/wQU_3gfQL8I

Description: This film is thirty three years old, made in the mid 80's and it is now 2015.  I am totally enthralled by it's timelessness. It is crazy in it's symbolism but in retrospect I think I can now read into it with some clarity.  For example, why are three women in their 30's playing cards, dressed like nuns, sitting at a beautifully adorned card table with an hourglass in the middle, tracking time, while listening/or not listening to a nurse  talk about death and dying?  I am interviewing that nurse, Mescal Hornbeck, but did it as if I were a French poetess, using a sweet, innocent and polite faux French accent. WHY? Elizabeth Cross, Vicki Stern and I were dear and close friends at that time and  both Vicki and I were living at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt Tremper NY as students of meditation, while Elizabeth lived in the village of Woodstock and made her living as a hairdresser/artist. We were women who  always created our unique ways of responding to our life issues;  we were women who conversed about our status as women; we were women who lived in a monastery (Vicki and I) and I know that this film is a response to the fact that we were taught by men in a male-run institution. At that time, this was a joy and also an irritant and like good feminists, we responded as art and made  this "teaching tape" which is totally, strangely beautiful in it's woman-ness;  beautiful in it's ability to enthrall the senses with candles dancing via camera movements; beautiful in the absurdity of nuns putting on paper sailor hats over their nun veils; beautiful in the way that we are playing cards and winning because we are alive; beautiful because Mescal is giving/freely offering 50 years of deep experience with the subject which we all need to study and learn about: death.  This film is not wanting to trick:  there are no difficult language tricks;  no need to impress with theological posturing;  no fancy camera work or snazzy editing; no need to cower and run into  the Zen-interview room and try to impress a man with an understood koan!  My art is always about my life and obviously, I wanted to be a Guru, just like my male Zen teacher was at that time. By making this very important, informative and comedically complex film, Elizabeth, Vicki and I  got what we wanted, respect for our WOMAN-WAY . The strangely channeled CHICKEN BAWK at the end, concurs.

YEAR: 1982
TIME: 21:44
CREDITS: Participants are: Elizabeth Monroe Cross, Vicki Stern, Linda Mary Montano, and narrator Mescal Hornbeck
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 TITLEMY MOTHER; ARTIST AND TEACHER by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH


DESCRIPTION:  My mother's life and death were both extraordinarily epic. A painter who art therapied herself out of a called for and deserved depression, Mom's resiliency could have rewarded her with a Badge of Courage because she took devastating trauma making life issues and alchemized then into art, activism and humor. Modeling these gifts for me, I look at our lives which could have been charted and copied page for page, letter by letter and I recognize that I have imitated her style, not missing a beat.
We both practice art as therapy and humor and as deflection from the unspeakable. We both jump into everything with 150% effort and an attitude which covers over the fact that neither of us know exactly how to respond to the life issues at  hand but both of us give everything our best shot. For example, I watched Mom cut  neighbors', family and friends' hair in our kitchen even though she had zilch training . And guess who was the president of Saugerties Nursing Committee? Mom, of course, who was not a nurse. And guess who taught English as a second language up until a few months before she died? You guessed it, Mom. My own life shares similar stories of my doing/becoming and acting as if while knowing nothing about the subject at  hand.
I eulogized Mom with a book, THE 5 JOHNS OF 5 JOHN STREET and a video titled , MOM ART. I've honored her by living my life as art and it is only right that I share helpful suggestions that I gleaned from watching by her bedside as she died. I know that she would tell me, "act as if" if I felt shy about sharing these words with you. She would say, "Make believe that you ARE a professional grief counselor."  Or she might say, "Linda, help as many people as possible with your wisdom. But make sure that you do it with humor!" Thanks Mom. You're a CHAMP and so am I.

 https://youtu.be/_dp-Ti_fhLk
youtu.be
My Mother - Artist and Teacher All paintings by Mildred Kelly Montano. Thank you Mom for Teaching me how to Heal.




YEAR:2016
TIME: 13:17
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY, JIM BARBERO, HENRY MONTANO, MEG CAREY
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TITLE: DAD ART PAINTING by LINDA MARY MONTANO: OLD AGE/SICKNESS

DESCRIPTION: My father had a serious accident caused by a physical therapist. It compromised his health and he developed a hemorrhagic stroke. He had 24-7 care at  home and I videotaped him for that entire time, having begun a video-collaboration with him when he was well. I didn't put the camera down and when a caregiver brought him paints, I was able to record and document this amazing Zen-like event: my dad painting everyday for an hour as if he was a reincarnation of a monk in a monastery in Kyoto. This painting section is edited and  excerpted from the 2 hour DAD ART_performance film which includes bathing, lifting, saying good bye and my father's last  breath. Just seeing the beauty is often a relief and enough.


YEAR: 2015
TIME: 19:39
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY editing, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON, sound.

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  TITLE: I'M DYING, MY LAST PERFORMANCE  by LINDA MARY MONTANO

DESCRIPTION:  Once I read a story about Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche in a book by death-teacher, Steven Levine.  It goes like this. Trungpa went into his son's room and said to him, " I'm DYING." And then he said to his son, "You are dying too."
This story made a deep impression on me because death is the last taboo, the hidden boogey-man, the unspeakable, What a beautiful lesson in impermanence this father gave his son.
As I age, not so gracefully, I keep thinking and saying inside, "Linda, you are getting close to dying." But this is not done for spiritual teachings for myself but as a prompt to terror and fear. So, of course, I decided to make art about this sentence and will say to myself, AS ART, "I'm DYING " whenever I feel the urge to frighten myself. Art heals, you know, even this rinky-dink video of myself, mouthing the words. But someday I will say I 'm dying  and it will be really true and if I have done this performance correctly, I will go towards the light with gusto.



DATE:2015
TIME: O:28
CREDITS: TOBE  CAREY editing.
 





INTRODUCTION:

Suffering has always been my drug of choice. It began at and even before my birth but I will spare the reader the long list of PTSD making events that comprise my  monstrously  emotional/personal narrative and move onto the way I found to address the traumas.

As an art-mystic in the making:
I by-passed becoming a shaman and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a stigmatist and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a Catholic who "offered up my suffering" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a "victim soul" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a graduate of long term therapy and curing my trauma that way;
Instead I made the art of transforming the trauma and alchemicalizing  it and crushing it with symbol and beauty.
By addressing old age, sickness (of myself and the planet) and death, as art, I have been able to not only feel my own pain but make my story a teaching tool for others.
May we all fly free before we die.

Linda Mary Montano, Saugerties NY.





 







A COMPILATION OF FILMS  by LINDA MARY  MONTANO:    SICKNESS, OLD AGE AND DEATH











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TITLE: ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO                   :     ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/Yaxcwo2M7d8

DESCRIPTION: When I was 20 I was in a convent and after two years, I realized that I was not emotionally mature enough to be a nun. It's not that I didn't love everything about the life, it's just that I had some unfinished business that needed cleaning up and I was not able to ask for help there so that I could heal and stay. The way I expressed my confusion was to take control of food intake. It seems this is not possible to do while in a convent, sitting at a table along with eight different nuns-in-training, silently watching every move that everyone made. Forks hitting against plates and a voice reading about the lives of the saints and martyrs were the only other totally frightening meal-time sounds. To fix it all, my inventive mind decided to control my food intake and I went from a hefty 135 lbs to 80 lbs. Anorexia became a side job which kept me quite busy... learning how to hide from my mates the fact that I was eating nothing and then doing my chores with great vigor because of the adrenaline high from starving. About 15 years after leaving, I sought out other women with the same issue and made ANOREXIA NERVOSA, seeking explanation and comradeship in a  community of like-mindedness which has the power to heal. This not an art film, but a raw, uncut, unedited look at  life.

There is also a you tube edited version of just myself talking about my anorexia.


https://youtu.be/WVeDuwc4yw


TITLE:  ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS
DESCRIPTION: See above.

YEAR: 1977
TIME: 1:01:18
CREDITS: Christine Barnum, Diane Bass, Vicky Sutherland, Kelly Doyle.

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 TITLE: DYSTONIA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/lj9OlegCsBc

Description: Another title for this film could have been SICK ART or ART/LIFE because it is my attempt to lighten up, make sense of, expose, explore, and be horrified by a chronic, neurologic condition which I developed in 2006. Not many people have heard of Dystonia which results in spasms, contortions, head turnings and many other strange body-art gesticulations.  My contracting/getting/having Dystonia is the reason I did a lot of things: it’s the reason I became/acted as if I were Mother Theresa  because I was bent over, not by having served 400 million people but by spasms from Dystonia. Dystonia also was the reason I made the exorcism film because my neck started acting extremely weird in church and I thought I was possessed. “Linda, you are not possessed,” said Father Lebar, Catholic priest and exorcist. But I do spasm, I do have to hold my head up with sometimes both hands, I am in almost-constant pain. Calling out the forces of transformation, calling out the army of art as healing, I relinquished the pity party, the drama, the trauma, the telling my friends that I had a chronic illness,  and instead, I wrote my Dystonia story as a fun, cute, feel good, Hallmark Card Fairy Tale, which Jonathan Penz, a home-schooled pre-teened genius reads in all of his innocence. To counteract the kid artness of the film, I include/superimposed on the images,  frightening side-effects of the Botox injections which I am receiving. And to counteract the horrors  of  these side-effects, the words PEACE,  HOPE, & LOVE fly through the film as lovely angel-words. My neurologist, Dr. Fabio Danisi  is such a sport, allowing his injection procedure to be filmed by his assistant Cindy Miller. As a team of 3, I feel we have shed beautiful light on a terrible plight. Every three months, many Dystonia patients around the world receive Botox injections. I get mine today. Have to go out in this Northeastern snowstorm and buy him a cannoli before I go!

YEAR: 2012
TIME: 5:25
CREDITS: Camera: Cindy Miller, Doctor: Dr. Fabio Danisi, Patient: Linda Mary Montano, Story: Linda Mary Montano, Narrator: Jonathon Penz, Video Editor: Tobe Carey.


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TITLE: SEVEN STAGES OF INTOXICATION by LINDA MARY MONTANO   : ILLNESS/MENOPAUSE

youtu.be
Post menopausal hormone changes catapulted me out of control and I felt symbolically "intoxicated". This tape also references the "art" of teaching via faux-...

Description: I structure ALL of my work as if it had chapters, building blocks, architectural orderings, titled sequences and designated pauses so that my books, performances and films have structure and sculptural strength. Maybe that is because I am semi-Jesuit trained and sculpturally certified having graduated from the UWM with an MFA in Sculpture? The foundational principle of this particular film goes like this; PART ONE: Instructing in a faux-way the purpose of the tape; I do all of this faceless, with just make-believe hand gestures, faux-signing what I’m saying because I absolutely believe that viewers must be entertained visually, sonically, kinesthetically, and with good humor. At that time I was a university professor and the STINK of academia is evident in this film because I talk about performance history, my teaching history, the theme of self-portrait, the persona that I portray, and the psychological issues around menopause. Doing this comically and non-sensibly lightens the burden of university-speech.  Apologizing for what the viewer is about to see, I excuse my Seven Drunk Personas, by explaining that aging and the surrender that one must admit to as time, illness and gravity rob the body of its former brilliance: aging is similar to being inebriated. When drunk, there is a surrender, and a letting go, and a succumbing to the dark negative  which is hormonally similar to what happens in menopause. This is one of my favorite films. I am completely out of control, breaking all taboos of nice-ness and decorum. I’m sure that having to be on-guard in my high paying  job and in university good behavior brought out and encouraged this opposition character/persona who lets down my Texas niceness and lets off steam. To illustrate how funky I get in this film, I even perform on the steps of one of the major university buildings and don’t even flinch as one of the nuns, who I met regularly at daily Mass, walks by and looks like she recognizes the drunken homeless woman acting out in public!   PART TWO: Seven alcoholic women acting as if drunk. PART THREE: An assignment. ART trumps LIFE - ART heals LIFE. Will I ever be this brave again?

YEAR: 1997
TIME: 33:35
CREDITS: Camera: Steven Kolpan, Yuki Julie Kao, Joe Zambarino, Cecil Martin. Actors: Geoffrey Thomas, Bethel Collins, Chris Graham, Lance Myers, Debra Hewitt, Danny Flores, Joe Zambarino. Production: Beta: Edward Garana Teleprint Express. Sound: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain. Editing: ANdy Cockrum, Metropost. Special thanks: Andy Cockrum, Kate Horsfeld, Alexandria Carrion, Flavia Gondolfo, Minnette Lehmann, Steven Kolpan, R.S. Mishra,

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  TITLENURSE NURSE by LINDA MARY MONTANO   :   ILLNESS  & AGING

http://youtu.be/EctbZtb79_k

DESCRIPTION: After I left the University of Texas Austin, where I was teaching Performance Art, I returned to Upstate New York having actually been called home by my “good” inner voices, who counseled me to, “Go, be with your father.” The backstory is that I was denied tenure, but actually, UT gave me the freedom to get to know my father for the last seven years of his life by firing me!! NURSE NURSE comedically references care giving a compromised elder, played by me, and this film  allows me to practice and rehearse for what might happen medically to me in my future. That is, aren’t we all dreadfully afraid of Alzheimers? And if I practice having it now, maybe I will scare it away or at least be comfortable having it when I do get it?  An important prop in this film is my dad’s lazy boy chair. It triggers such pain because he had his stroke in that chair, and I needed to resurrect the chair from memory - hell. Admittedly, this film is not funny, not easy, but in my estimation, totally necessary.

YEAR: 2013
TIME: 18:23
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey Willow Mixed Media. Camera - Josepha Gutelius. Nurse Actor - Laura Kopczac. Patient Actor - Linda Mary Montano. Nurse song/voice - Linda Mary Montano. Additional Audio Recording - Jim Barbaro Natural Recording Studio. Nurse Voice Over - Meg Carey. Special thanks to Meg Carey, Tobe Carey, Josepha Gutelius, Minnette Lehmann, and Laura Kopczak.
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TITLE: STARVED SURVIVORS by LINDA MARY MONTANO :  PLANETARY ILLNESS
http://youtu.be/NZcZWN2YFkI
Description: My very destructive and bad habit of listening to British BBC dramatic news reports especially from 7 pm, when I go to bed, to 6 am when I wake up, resulted in an imploded brain overload, a poetic frenzy that spilled aesthetically from my unknowing but indoctrinated and addled brain. I honestly channeled the text for this film and the SPILLAGE was putrid in its memory of every single atrocity committed on every single continent of the world having heard about them in my non-rem sleep all night. So what to do with the mental detritus? I made  art. Fairy tales are my weapon of choice and I open the film with a sweet little girl (me) talking about her need for a grandmother and guardian and teacher. This grandmother (me, of course), in one of my favorite old lady masks, tells the little girl that life sucks, and be careful. The reasons why life sucks are sing-song-litanied for almost a half an hour over and over and the list of sins committed globally are words that my asleep brain remembers from BBC radio. Not trusting that my own voice could do the poem justice, I asked Paul McMahon, poet and musician, to read the atrocities and craziness melodically, thereby diffusing what’s happening in the seedy and dirty corners of this world with his poetic soothe. Mouths, teeth, saliva, gums are visuals I focus on obsessively and compulsively and have a field day doing so in this film. The cast of characters includes talking infants, mimicking doppelgängers, fear mongers,  prophetic predictors of global warming,  storm warners and other bad news sad sacks. Of course it ends on a happy note, when the Hag/Grandmother re-appears and tells Little Linda, DO NOT BE AFRAID.

YEAR: 2011
TIME: 19:25
CREDITS: Video and Animation editing by Tobe Carey. Photos by Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Annie Sprinkle. Water and Storm Video by Tobe Carey. Thunder Audio by EZWA Public Domain Sounds. Voices: Man - Paul McMahon, Baby - Tobe Carey, Child - Linda Montano. Special Thanks: Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Meg Carey. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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TITLE: BENARES by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :   DEATH in  INDIA

http://youtu.be/2vG10Mgtcwk

Description: In the late 1990’s, I was a professor of performance art, at the University of Texas, Austin. Luckily, one of the perks of professorship is a travel grant which I used to visit India with my mentor and friend Dr. Aruna Mehta. Also, luckily, the University had a medical clinic that had superior travel  information. So I did all of that, made sure I knew how to keep myself physically safe, and set out for one of the most transforming experiences of my life. Although I had not completely made arrangements for places to stay in Benares, they magically came together, and a very learned Brahman scholar in India, made sure that I was able to participate in Varanasi’s theological culture. Please watch this film because I cannot begin to describe the floating dead bodies in the Ganges. I cannot begin to describe the 24/7 burning ghats. I cannot begin to describe the senior citizens waiting to die in the most holy city in the world ; the place where their Moksha/liberation from rebirth is guaranteed. I cannot begin to describe (in words), the evolution from my own Western fear, voyeurism, culture appropriation, to an Eastern  understanding of the divine both in Life and Death. This sophomoric  attempt to move myself from tourist to one-who-belongs marks the beginning of a journey that is not so much now about death but about Love.

YEAR: 1998 & 2008
TIME: 25:35
CREDITS: For my friends Dr. Aruna Mehta, Dr. A.L. Mehta. Consultant in Benares: Ratnesesh Pathak. Videographer in Benares: Daffodils Videotec. Sound Design: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain, Austin, Texas. Video Design: Andy Cockrum, 501 Group Austin, Texas. Re-Edited 2007, Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media Glenford, CT.  Special Thanks to University of Texas, Austin, Department of Art.

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TITLE: DAD ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO : OLD AGE/SICKNESS/DEATH


Description: When I arrived back to New York State from Texas, having been denied tenure, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime.  That is, I was able to be with my father and get to re­know him for the last seven years of his life. He allowed me to collaborate with him on video, and we filmed while watching Wheel of Fortune together; we filmed eating linguini and clams together; we filmed him meeting his beautiful woman friend as she picked him up to take him out to dinner. I’m editing out his unspeakable head accident at  physical therapy, his fall at  home and rush to the hospital with a stroke. But I’m not denying that I hid behind the camera using it as a shield as I became manager of his care at home 24/7 for three years. 400,000 care­givers came through the front door, day and night, and I filmed it all. Not sneakily, not as a thief, but as 
a frightened bird behind a branch disguised­ as ­tripod. DAD ART
 was the result of my father’s 
original generosity of sharing LIFE/ART with me and the result of my continuing that process as I watched a kind of transcendence overcome him. No, it wasn't pretty or wonderful but during his illness he exuded the same beauty that he exhibited when he sat in church in meditation. Friends would come into the house at 9 John Street and cry because of the atmosphere that he created: a high­ level intensity and vibrational frequency. One of the care­givers was smart enough to remind me to encourage him to paint and he became an abstract expressionist painter who for 1­2 hours a day, sat transfixed as red or orange or black or yellow appeared on the paper in front of him via his Zenned­ paintbrush which moved so slowly that I would almost faint with 
the beauty of his focus.  Some of these paintings are incorporated into the film DAD ART
  which premiered once or twice publicly  and once with close friends as a funeral memorial service. During the performance of  DAD ART
, I sing the seven songs he and my mother would play in 
their band during the 30’s and 40’s. Also on stage during the memorial ­performance there are many different activities and "stations" of  symbolic actions: one of artists as counselors, talking to people about death which invites participants  to enter the performance space to become co­ performers in a collaborative group process.  At another station, a collaborator pours glasses of water and hands them out, since water became such an important vehicle of life/not life for my father as he stopped eating and drinking. At the third station, audience members are invited to come to the “stage” and dictate a letter to death who is  a collaborator, wearing a death mask. A vibrant, breath of fresh air, exuberant MC keeps everything moving, invites people to the stage, and blows a whistle when it’s my time to sing one of my seven songs. DAD ART 
Performance/Film is an invitation to anyone who would like me to come and mourn with you publicly as art. I promise, this will not be easy. 

YEAR: 2007
TIME: 2 HOURS
CREDITS:TOBE CAREY, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON

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TITLE: LIVING ART / DYING ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : DEATH

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff79M4NB26s

DESCRIPTION: In the late 90’s, on several occasions, I presented a slide lecture which demonstrated the way that my art references impermanence and dying. In 2014, video artist and editor Tobe Carey scanned the slides from the lecture and we collaged together the spoken narrative, images both of my own work and also of death rituals from many different cultures, creating an Endgame-like collage. There are images from my study in Benares at the burning ghats, images from my film, MITCHELL’S DEATH, images of Parsi funerary rites,  images of my performances and descriptions of ways that my work and death seem to be close cousins! In this multi-faceted film: I feel, I mourn, I heal, I say goodbye,  I teach, I prepare for my final retirement, and maybe my most important  DVD, DEATH.

YEAR: 2014
TIME: 42:44
CREDITS: Produced and directed by Montano. Edited by Tobe Carey. Sound voice Jim Barbaro, Paul McMahon. Voices: Montano, Hominy and Ginger McMahon. Actor Rich Granville. Special thanks: Tobe and Meg Carey.
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TITLE: MITCHELL'S DEATH by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH

Description: In 1977, my ex-husband was murdered. I could stop here and say no more because that sentence alone, explains and describes this film.  But writing is how I communicate best so I will outline my process.  The murderer called me and told me about Mitchell's death, not saying that he murdered him but that he "accidentally" shot him in the head. Not having any skills at dealing with trauma, with talking things out, with asking for comfort, with seeking support by expressing my pain, I began writing the story from the moment that I heard the news to the time that I went into the morgue and saw his body . Still today, I hardly breathe when I remember this.  Back then, I was able to use my ability to make art of my life and I shared his death with friends and colleagues at The Center For Music Experiment, UCSD, where I was a fellow in residence.  And then, I shared the film itself, not as a performance but as a video-document and it went viral, so to speak.  Was it  because I chanted the story in good Gregorian-Zen fashion?  Was it because the editor, David Wagner, used delay to deepen my voice and the story became  a trance-like dirge that was almost beautiful?  Was it because the story was so raw and grief ladened that it resonated with everyone who has ever experienced loss?  All I know is that the film, MITCHELL’S  DEATH,  has touched everyone who has ever sat shiva with it.  And Mitchell, an artist who had trained to be a Protestant Minister, continues to inspire.

Accessible via VIDEO DATA BANK
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 TITLE: ON DEATH AND DYING by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :SICKNESS

http://youtu.be/wQU_3gfQL8I

Description: This film is thirty three years old, made in the mid 80's and it is now 2015.  I am totally enthralled by it's timelessness. It is crazy in it's symbolism but in retrospect I think I can now read into it with some clarity.  For example, why are three women in their 30's playing cards, dressed like nuns, sitting at a beautifully adorned card table with an hourglass in the middle, tracking time, while listening/or not listening to a nurse  talk about death and dying?  I am interviewing that nurse, Mescal Hornbeck, but did it as if I were a French poetess, using a sweet, innocent and polite faux French accent. WHY? Elizabeth Cross, Vicki Stern and I were dear and close friends at that time and  both Vicki and I were living at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt Tremper NY as students of meditation, while Elizabeth lived in the village of Woodstock and made her living as a hairdresser/artist. We were women who  always created our unique ways of responding to our life issues;  we were women who conversed about our status as women; we were women who lived in a monastery (Vicki and I) and I know that this film is a response to the fact that we were taught by men in a male-run institution. At that time, this was a joy and also an irritant and like good feminists, we responded as art and made  this "teaching tape" which is totally, strangely beautiful in it's woman-ness;  beautiful in it's ability to enthrall the senses with candles dancing via camera movements; beautiful in the absurdity of nuns putting on paper sailor hats over their nun veils; beautiful in the way that we are playing cards and winning because we are alive; beautiful because Mescal is giving/freely offering 50 years of deep experience with the subject which we all need to study and learn about: death.  This film is not wanting to trick:  there are no difficult language tricks;  no need to impress with theological posturing;  no fancy camera work or snazzy editing; no need to cower and run into  the Zen-interview room and try to impress a man with an understood koan!  My art is always about my life and obviously, I wanted to be a Guru, just like my male Zen teacher was at that time. By making this very important, informative and comedically complex film, Elizabeth, Vicki and I  got what we wanted, respect for our WOMAN-WAY . The strangely channeled CHICKEN BAWK at the end, concurs.

YEAR: 1982
TIME: 21:44
CREDITS: Participants are: Elizabeth Monroe Cross, Vicki Stern, Linda Mary Montano, and narrator Mescal Hornbeck
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 TITLEMY MOTHER; ARTIST AND TEACHER by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH


DESCRIPTION:  My mother's life and death were both extraordinarily epic. A painter who art therapied herself out of a called for and deserved depression, Mom's resiliency could have rewarded her with a Badge of Courage because she took devastating trauma making life issues and alchemized then into art, activism and humor. Modeling these gifts for me, I look at our lives which could have been charted and copied page for page, letter by letter and I recognize that I have imitated her style, not missing a beat.
We both practice art as therapy and humor and as deflection from the unspeakable. We both jump into everything with 150% effort and an attitude which covers over the fact that neither of us know exactly how to respond to the life issues at  hand but both of us give everything our best shot. For example, I watched Mom cut  neighbors', family and friends' hair in our kitchen even though she had zilch training . And guess who was the president of Saugerties Nursing Committee? Mom, of course, who was not a nurse. And guess who taught English as a second language up until a few months before she died? You guessed it, Mom. My own life shares similar stories of my doing/becoming and acting as if while knowing nothing about the subject at  hand.
I eulogized Mom with a book, THE 5 JOHNS OF 5 JOHN STREET and a video titled , MOM ART. I've honored her by living my life as art and it is only right that I share helpful suggestions that I gleaned from watching by her bedside as she died. I know that she would tell me, "act as if" if I felt shy about sharing these words with you. She would say, "Make believe that you ARE a professional grief counselor."  Or she might say, "Linda, help as many people as possible with your wisdom. But make sure that you do it with humor!" Thanks Mom. You're a CHAMP and so am I.

 https://youtu.be/_dp-Ti_fhLk
youtu.be
My Mother - Artist and Teacher All paintings by Mildred Kelly Montano. Thank you Mom for Teaching me how to Heal.




YEAR:2016
TIME: 13:17
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY, JIM BARBERO, HENRY MONTANO, MEG CAREY
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TITLE: DAD ART PAINTING by LINDA MARY MONTANO: OLD AGE/SICKNESS

DESCRIPTION: My father had a serious accident caused by a physical therapist. It compromised his health and he developed a hemorrhagic stroke. He had 24-7 care at  home and I videotaped him for that entire time, having begun a video-collaboration with him when he was well. I didn't put the camera down and when a caregiver brought him paints, I was able to record and document this amazing Zen-like event: my dad painting everyday for an hour as if he was a reincarnation of a monk in a monastery in Kyoto. This painting section is edited and  excerpted from the 2 hour DAD ART_performance film which includes bathing, lifting, saying good bye and my father's last  breath. Just seeing the beauty is often a relief and enough.


YEAR: 2015
TIME: 19:39
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY editing, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON, sound.

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  TITLE: I'M DYING, MY LAST PERFORMANCE  by LINDA MARY MONTANO

DESCRIPTION:  Once I read a story about Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche in a book by death-teacher, Steven Levine.  It goes like this. Trungpa went into his son's room and said to him, " I'm DYING." And then he said to his son, "You are dying too."
This story made a deep impression on me because death is the last taboo, the hidden boogey-man, the unspeakable, What a beautiful lesson in impermanence this father gave his son.
As I age, not so gracefully, I keep thinking and saying inside, "Linda, you are getting close to dying." But this is not done for spiritual teachings for myself but as a prompt to terror and fear. So, of course, I decided to make art about this sentence and will say to myself, AS ART, "I'm DYING " whenever I feel the urge to frighten myself. Art heals, you know, even this rinky-dink video of myself, mouthing the words. But someday I will say I 'm dying  and it will be really true and if I have done this performance correctly, I will go towards the light with gusto.



DATE:2015
TIME: O:28
CREDITS: TOBE  CAREY editing.
 





INTRODUCTION:

Suffering has always been my drug of choice. It began at and even before my birth but I will spare the reader the long list of PTSD making events that comprise my  monstrously  emotional/personal narrative and move onto the way I found to address the traumas.

As an art-mystic in the making:
I by-passed becoming a shaman and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a stigmatist and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a Catholic who "offered up my suffering" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a "victim soul" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a graduate of long term therapy and curing my trauma that way;
Instead I made the art of transforming the trauma and alchemicalizing  it and crushing it with symbol and beauty.
By addressing old age, sickness (of myself and the planet) and death, as art, I have been able to not only feel my own pain but make my story a teaching tool for others.
May we all fly free before we die.

Linda Mary Montano, Saugerties NY.





 







A COMPILATION OF FILMS  by LINDA MARY  MONTANO:    SICKNESS, OLD AGE AND DEATH











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TITLE: ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO                   :     ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/Yaxcwo2M7d8

DESCRIPTION: When I was 20 I was in a convent and after two years, I realized that I was not emotionally mature enough to be a nun. It's not that I didn't love everything about the life, it's just that I had some unfinished business that needed cleaning up and I was not able to ask for help there so that I could heal and stay. The way I expressed my confusion was to take control of food intake. It seems this is not possible to do while in a convent, sitting at a table along with eight different nuns-in-training, silently watching every move that everyone made. Forks hitting against plates and a voice reading about the lives of the saints and martyrs were the only other totally frightening meal-time sounds. To fix it all, my inventive mind decided to control my food intake and I went from a hefty 135 lbs to 80 lbs. Anorexia became a side job which kept me quite busy... learning how to hide from my mates the fact that I was eating nothing and then doing my chores with great vigor because of the adrenaline high from starving. About 15 years after leaving, I sought out other women with the same issue and made ANOREXIA NERVOSA, seeking explanation and comradeship in a  community of like-mindedness which has the power to heal. This not an art film, but a raw, uncut, unedited look at  life.

There is also a you tube edited version of just myself talking about my anorexia.


https://youtu.be/WVeDuwc4yw


TITLE:  ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS
DESCRIPTION: See above.

YEAR: 1977
TIME: 1:01:18
CREDITS: Christine Barnum, Diane Bass, Vicky Sutherland, Kelly Doyle.

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 TITLE: DYSTONIA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/lj9OlegCsBc

Description: Another title for this film could have been SICK ART or ART/LIFE because it is my attempt to lighten up, make sense of, expose, explore, and be horrified by a chronic, neurologic condition which I developed in 2006. Not many people have heard of Dystonia which results in spasms, contortions, head turnings and many other strange body-art gesticulations.  My contracting/getting/having Dystonia is the reason I did a lot of things: it’s the reason I became/acted as if I were Mother Theresa  because I was bent over, not by having served 400 million people but by spasms from Dystonia. Dystonia also was the reason I made the exorcism film because my neck started acting extremely weird in church and I thought I was possessed. “Linda, you are not possessed,” said Father Lebar, Catholic priest and exorcist. But I do spasm, I do have to hold my head up with sometimes both hands, I am in almost-constant pain. Calling out the forces of transformation, calling out the army of art as healing, I relinquished the pity party, the drama, the trauma, the telling my friends that I had a chronic illness,  and instead, I wrote my Dystonia story as a fun, cute, feel good, Hallmark Card Fairy Tale, which Jonathan Penz, a home-schooled pre-teened genius reads in all of his innocence. To counteract the kid artness of the film, I include/superimposed on the images,  frightening side-effects of the Botox injections which I am receiving. And to counteract the horrors  of  these side-effects, the words PEACE,  HOPE, & LOVE fly through the film as lovely angel-words. My neurologist, Dr. Fabio Danisi  is such a sport, allowing his injection procedure to be filmed by his assistant Cindy Miller. As a team of 3, I feel we have shed beautiful light on a terrible plight. Every three months, many Dystonia patients around the world receive Botox injections. I get mine today. Have to go out in this Northeastern snowstorm and buy him a cannoli before I go!

YEAR: 2012
TIME: 5:25
CREDITS: Camera: Cindy Miller, Doctor: Dr. Fabio Danisi, Patient: Linda Mary Montano, Story: Linda Mary Montano, Narrator: Jonathon Penz, Video Editor: Tobe Carey.


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TITLE: SEVEN STAGES OF INTOXICATION by LINDA MARY MONTANO   : ILLNESS/MENOPAUSE

youtu.be
Post menopausal hormone changes catapulted me out of control and I felt symbolically "intoxicated". This tape also references the "art" of teaching via faux-...

Description: I structure ALL of my work as if it had chapters, building blocks, architectural orderings, titled sequences and designated pauses so that my books, performances and films have structure and sculptural strength. Maybe that is because I am semi-Jesuit trained and sculpturally certified having graduated from the UWM with an MFA in Sculpture? The foundational principle of this particular film goes like this; PART ONE: Instructing in a faux-way the purpose of the tape; I do all of this faceless, with just make-believe hand gestures, faux-signing what I’m saying because I absolutely believe that viewers must be entertained visually, sonically, kinesthetically, and with good humor. At that time I was a university professor and the STINK of academia is evident in this film because I talk about performance history, my teaching history, the theme of self-portrait, the persona that I portray, and the psychological issues around menopause. Doing this comically and non-sensibly lightens the burden of university-speech.  Apologizing for what the viewer is about to see, I excuse my Seven Drunk Personas, by explaining that aging and the surrender that one must admit to as time, illness and gravity rob the body of its former brilliance: aging is similar to being inebriated. When drunk, there is a surrender, and a letting go, and a succumbing to the dark negative  which is hormonally similar to what happens in menopause. This is one of my favorite films. I am completely out of control, breaking all taboos of nice-ness and decorum. I’m sure that having to be on-guard in my high paying  job and in university good behavior brought out and encouraged this opposition character/persona who lets down my Texas niceness and lets off steam. To illustrate how funky I get in this film, I even perform on the steps of one of the major university buildings and don’t even flinch as one of the nuns, who I met regularly at daily Mass, walks by and looks like she recognizes the drunken homeless woman acting out in public!   PART TWO: Seven alcoholic women acting as if drunk. PART THREE: An assignment. ART trumps LIFE - ART heals LIFE. Will I ever be this brave again?

YEAR: 1997
TIME: 33:35
CREDITS: Camera: Steven Kolpan, Yuki Julie Kao, Joe Zambarino, Cecil Martin. Actors: Geoffrey Thomas, Bethel Collins, Chris Graham, Lance Myers, Debra Hewitt, Danny Flores, Joe Zambarino. Production: Beta: Edward Garana Teleprint Express. Sound: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain. Editing: ANdy Cockrum, Metropost. Special thanks: Andy Cockrum, Kate Horsfeld, Alexandria Carrion, Flavia Gondolfo, Minnette Lehmann, Steven Kolpan, R.S. Mishra,

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  TITLENURSE NURSE by LINDA MARY MONTANO   :   ILLNESS  & AGING

http://youtu.be/EctbZtb79_k

DESCRIPTION: After I left the University of Texas Austin, where I was teaching Performance Art, I returned to Upstate New York having actually been called home by my “good” inner voices, who counseled me to, “Go, be with your father.” The backstory is that I was denied tenure, but actually, UT gave me the freedom to get to know my father for the last seven years of his life by firing me!! NURSE NURSE comedically references care giving a compromised elder, played by me, and this film  allows me to practice and rehearse for what might happen medically to me in my future. That is, aren’t we all dreadfully afraid of Alzheimers? And if I practice having it now, maybe I will scare it away or at least be comfortable having it when I do get it?  An important prop in this film is my dad’s lazy boy chair. It triggers such pain because he had his stroke in that chair, and I needed to resurrect the chair from memory - hell. Admittedly, this film is not funny, not easy, but in my estimation, totally necessary.

YEAR: 2013
TIME: 18:23
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey Willow Mixed Media. Camera - Josepha Gutelius. Nurse Actor - Laura Kopczac. Patient Actor - Linda Mary Montano. Nurse song/voice - Linda Mary Montano. Additional Audio Recording - Jim Barbaro Natural Recording Studio. Nurse Voice Over - Meg Carey. Special thanks to Meg Carey, Tobe Carey, Josepha Gutelius, Minnette Lehmann, and Laura Kopczak.
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TITLE: STARVED SURVIVORS by LINDA MARY MONTANO :  PLANETARY ILLNESS
http://youtu.be/NZcZWN2YFkI
Description: My very destructive and bad habit of listening to British BBC dramatic news reports especially from 7 pm, when I go to bed, to 6 am when I wake up, resulted in an imploded brain overload, a poetic frenzy that spilled aesthetically from my unknowing but indoctrinated and addled brain. I honestly channeled the text for this film and the SPILLAGE was putrid in its memory of every single atrocity committed on every single continent of the world having heard about them in my non-rem sleep all night. So what to do with the mental detritus? I made  art. Fairy tales are my weapon of choice and I open the film with a sweet little girl (me) talking about her need for a grandmother and guardian and teacher. This grandmother (me, of course), in one of my favorite old lady masks, tells the little girl that life sucks, and be careful. The reasons why life sucks are sing-song-litanied for almost a half an hour over and over and the list of sins committed globally are words that my asleep brain remembers from BBC radio. Not trusting that my own voice could do the poem justice, I asked Paul McMahon, poet and musician, to read the atrocities and craziness melodically, thereby diffusing what’s happening in the seedy and dirty corners of this world with his poetic soothe. Mouths, teeth, saliva, gums are visuals I focus on obsessively and compulsively and have a field day doing so in this film. The cast of characters includes talking infants, mimicking doppelgängers, fear mongers,  prophetic predictors of global warming,  storm warners and other bad news sad sacks. Of course it ends on a happy note, when the Hag/Grandmother re-appears and tells Little Linda, DO NOT BE AFRAID.

YEAR: 2011
TIME: 19:25
CREDITS: Video and Animation editing by Tobe Carey. Photos by Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Annie Sprinkle. Water and Storm Video by Tobe Carey. Thunder Audio by EZWA Public Domain Sounds. Voices: Man - Paul McMahon, Baby - Tobe Carey, Child - Linda Montano. Special Thanks: Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Meg Carey. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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TITLE: BENARES by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :   DEATH in  INDIA

http://youtu.be/2vG10Mgtcwk

Description: In the late 1990’s, I was a professor of performance art, at the University of Texas, Austin. Luckily, one of the perks of professorship is a travel grant which I used to visit India with my mentor and friend Dr. Aruna Mehta. Also, luckily, the University had a medical clinic that had superior travel  information. So I did all of that, made sure I knew how to keep myself physically safe, and set out for one of the most transforming experiences of my life. Although I had not completely made arrangements for places to stay in Benares, they magically came together, and a very learned Brahman scholar in India, made sure that I was able to participate in Varanasi’s theological culture. Please watch this film because I cannot begin to describe the floating dead bodies in the Ganges. I cannot begin to describe the 24/7 burning ghats. I cannot begin to describe the senior citizens waiting to die in the most holy city in the world ; the place where their Moksha/liberation from rebirth is guaranteed. I cannot begin to describe (in words), the evolution from my own Western fear, voyeurism, culture appropriation, to an Eastern  understanding of the divine both in Life and Death. This sophomoric  attempt to move myself from tourist to one-who-belongs marks the beginning of a journey that is not so much now about death but about Love.

YEAR: 1998 & 2008
TIME: 25:35
CREDITS: For my friends Dr. Aruna Mehta, Dr. A.L. Mehta. Consultant in Benares: Ratnesesh Pathak. Videographer in Benares: Daffodils Videotec. Sound Design: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain, Austin, Texas. Video Design: Andy Cockrum, 501 Group Austin, Texas. Re-Edited 2007, Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media Glenford, CT.  Special Thanks to University of Texas, Austin, Department of Art.

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TITLE: DAD ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO : OLD AGE/SICKNESS/DEATH


Description: When I arrived back to New York State from Texas, having been denied tenure, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime.  That is, I was able to be with my father and get to re­know him for the last seven years of his life. He allowed me to collaborate with him on video, and we filmed while watching Wheel of Fortune together; we filmed eating linguini and clams together; we filmed him meeting his beautiful woman friend as she picked him up to take him out to dinner. I’m editing out his unspeakable head accident at  physical therapy, his fall at  home and rush to the hospital with a stroke. But I’m not denying that I hid behind the camera using it as a shield as I became manager of his care at home 24/7 for three years. 400,000 care­givers came through the front door, day and night, and I filmed it all. Not sneakily, not as a thief, but as 
a frightened bird behind a branch disguised­ as ­tripod. DAD ART
 was the result of my father’s 
original generosity of sharing LIFE/ART with me and the result of my continuing that process as I watched a kind of transcendence overcome him. No, it wasn't pretty or wonderful but during his illness he exuded the same beauty that he exhibited when he sat in church in meditation. Friends would come into the house at 9 John Street and cry because of the atmosphere that he created: a high­ level intensity and vibrational frequency. One of the care­givers was smart enough to remind me to encourage him to paint and he became an abstract expressionist painter who for 1­2 hours a day, sat transfixed as red or orange or black or yellow appeared on the paper in front of him via his Zenned­ paintbrush which moved so slowly that I would almost faint with 
the beauty of his focus.  Some of these paintings are incorporated into the film DAD ART
  which premiered once or twice publicly  and once with close friends as a funeral memorial service. During the performance of  DAD ART
, I sing the seven songs he and my mother would play in 
their band during the 30’s and 40’s. Also on stage during the memorial ­performance there are many different activities and "stations" of  symbolic actions: one of artists as counselors, talking to people about death which invites participants  to enter the performance space to become co­ performers in a collaborative group process.  At another station, a collaborator pours glasses of water and hands them out, since water became such an important vehicle of life/not life for my father as he stopped eating and drinking. At the third station, audience members are invited to come to the “stage” and dictate a letter to death who is  a collaborator, wearing a death mask. A vibrant, breath of fresh air, exuberant MC keeps everything moving, invites people to the stage, and blows a whistle when it’s my time to sing one of my seven songs. DAD ART 
Performance/Film is an invitation to anyone who would like me to come and mourn with you publicly as art. I promise, this will not be easy. 

YEAR: 2007
TIME: 2 HOURS
CREDITS:TOBE CAREY, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON

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TITLE: LIVING ART / DYING ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : DEATH

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff79M4NB26s

DESCRIPTION: In the late 90’s, on several occasions, I presented a slide lecture which demonstrated the way that my art references impermanence and dying. In 2014, video artist and editor Tobe Carey scanned the slides from the lecture and we collaged together the spoken narrative, images both of my own work and also of death rituals from many different cultures, creating an Endgame-like collage. There are images from my study in Benares at the burning ghats, images from my film, MITCHELL’S DEATH, images of Parsi funerary rites,  images of my performances and descriptions of ways that my work and death seem to be close cousins! In this multi-faceted film: I feel, I mourn, I heal, I say goodbye,  I teach, I prepare for my final retirement, and maybe my most important  DVD, DEATH.

YEAR: 2014
TIME: 42:44
CREDITS: Produced and directed by Montano. Edited by Tobe Carey. Sound voice Jim Barbaro, Paul McMahon. Voices: Montano, Hominy and Ginger McMahon. Actor Rich Granville. Special thanks: Tobe and Meg Carey.
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TITLE: MITCHELL'S DEATH by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH

Description: In 1977, my ex-husband was murdered. I could stop here and say no more because that sentence alone, explains and describes this film.  But writing is how I communicate best so I will outline my process.  The murderer called me and told me about Mitchell's death, not saying that he murdered him but that he "accidentally" shot him in the head. Not having any skills at dealing with trauma, with talking things out, with asking for comfort, with seeking support by expressing my pain, I began writing the story from the moment that I heard the news to the time that I went into the morgue and saw his body . Still today, I hardly breathe when I remember this.  Back then, I was able to use my ability to make art of my life and I shared his death with friends and colleagues at The Center For Music Experiment, UCSD, where I was a fellow in residence.  And then, I shared the film itself, not as a performance but as a video-document and it went viral, so to speak.  Was it  because I chanted the story in good Gregorian-Zen fashion?  Was it because the editor, David Wagner, used delay to deepen my voice and the story became  a trance-like dirge that was almost beautiful?  Was it because the story was so raw and grief ladened that it resonated with everyone who has ever experienced loss?  All I know is that the film, MITCHELL’S  DEATH,  has touched everyone who has ever sat shiva with it.  And Mitchell, an artist who had trained to be a Protestant Minister, continues to inspire.

Accessible via VIDEO DATA BANK
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 TITLE: ON DEATH AND DYING by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :SICKNESS

http://youtu.be/wQU_3gfQL8I

Description: This film is thirty three years old, made in the mid 80's and it is now 2015.  I am totally enthralled by it's timelessness. It is crazy in it's symbolism but in retrospect I think I can now read into it with some clarity.  For example, why are three women in their 30's playing cards, dressed like nuns, sitting at a beautifully adorned card table with an hourglass in the middle, tracking time, while listening/or not listening to a nurse  talk about death and dying?  I am interviewing that nurse, Mescal Hornbeck, but did it as if I were a French poetess, using a sweet, innocent and polite faux French accent. WHY? Elizabeth Cross, Vicki Stern and I were dear and close friends at that time and  both Vicki and I were living at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt Tremper NY as students of meditation, while Elizabeth lived in the village of Woodstock and made her living as a hairdresser/artist. We were women who  always created our unique ways of responding to our life issues;  we were women who conversed about our status as women; we were women who lived in a monastery (Vicki and I) and I know that this film is a response to the fact that we were taught by men in a male-run institution. At that time, this was a joy and also an irritant and like good feminists, we responded as art and made  this "teaching tape" which is totally, strangely beautiful in it's woman-ness;  beautiful in it's ability to enthrall the senses with candles dancing via camera movements; beautiful in the absurdity of nuns putting on paper sailor hats over their nun veils; beautiful in the way that we are playing cards and winning because we are alive; beautiful because Mescal is giving/freely offering 50 years of deep experience with the subject which we all need to study and learn about: death.  This film is not wanting to trick:  there are no difficult language tricks;  no need to impress with theological posturing;  no fancy camera work or snazzy editing; no need to cower and run into  the Zen-interview room and try to impress a man with an understood koan!  My art is always about my life and obviously, I wanted to be a Guru, just like my male Zen teacher was at that time. By making this very important, informative and comedically complex film, Elizabeth, Vicki and I  got what we wanted, respect for our WOMAN-WAY . The strangely channeled CHICKEN BAWK at the end, concurs.

YEAR: 1982
TIME: 21:44
CREDITS: Participants are: Elizabeth Monroe Cross, Vicki Stern, Linda Mary Montano, and narrator Mescal Hornbeck
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 TITLEMY MOTHER; ARTIST AND TEACHER by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH


DESCRIPTION:  My mother's life and death were both extraordinarily epic. A painter who art therapied herself out of a called for and deserved depression, Mom's resiliency could have rewarded her with a Badge of Courage because she took devastating trauma making life issues and alchemized then into art, activism and humor. Modeling these gifts for me, I look at our lives which could have been charted and copied page for page, letter by letter and I recognize that I have imitated her style, not missing a beat.
We both practice art as therapy and humor and as deflection from the unspeakable. We both jump into everything with 150% effort and an attitude which covers over the fact that neither of us know exactly how to respond to the life issues at  hand but both of us give everything our best shot. For example, I watched Mom cut  neighbors', family and friends' hair in our kitchen even though she had zilch training . And guess who was the president of Saugerties Nursing Committee? Mom, of course, who was not a nurse. And guess who taught English as a second language up until a few months before she died? You guessed it, Mom. My own life shares similar stories of my doing/becoming and acting as if while knowing nothing about the subject at  hand.
I eulogized Mom with a book, THE 5 JOHNS OF 5 JOHN STREET and a video titled , MOM ART. I've honored her by living my life as art and it is only right that I share helpful suggestions that I gleaned from watching by her bedside as she died. I know that she would tell me, "act as if" if I felt shy about sharing these words with you. She would say, "Make believe that you ARE a professional grief counselor."  Or she might say, "Linda, help as many people as possible with your wisdom. But make sure that you do it with humor!" Thanks Mom. You're a CHAMP and so am I.

 https://youtu.be/_dp-Ti_fhLk
youtu.be
My Mother - Artist and Teacher All paintings by Mildred Kelly Montano. Thank you Mom for Teaching me how to Heal.




YEAR:2016
TIME: 13:17
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY, JIM BARBERO, HENRY MONTANO, MEG CAREY
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TITLE: DAD ART PAINTING by LINDA MARY MONTANO: OLD AGE/SICKNESS

DESCRIPTION: My father had a serious accident caused by a physical therapist. It compromised his health and he developed a hemorrhagic stroke. He had 24-7 care at  home and I videotaped him for that entire time, having begun a video-collaboration with him when he was well. I didn't put the camera down and when a caregiver brought him paints, I was able to record and document this amazing Zen-like event: my dad painting everyday for an hour as if he was a reincarnation of a monk in a monastery in Kyoto. This painting section is edited and  excerpted from the 2 hour DAD ART_performance film which includes bathing, lifting, saying good bye and my father's last  breath. Just seeing the beauty is often a relief and enough.


YEAR: 2015
TIME: 19:39
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY editing, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON, sound.

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  TITLE: I'M DYING, MY LAST PERFORMANCE  by LINDA MARY MONTANO

DESCRIPTION:  Once I read a story about Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche in a book by death-teacher, Steven Levine.  It goes like this. Trungpa went into his son's room and said to him, " I'm DYING." And then he said to his son, "You are dying too."
This story made a deep impression on me because death is the last taboo, the hidden boogey-man, the unspeakable, What a beautiful lesson in impermanence this father gave his son.
As I age, not so gracefully, I keep thinking and saying inside, "Linda, you are getting close to dying." But this is not done for spiritual teachings for myself but as a prompt to terror and fear. So, of course, I decided to make art about this sentence and will say to myself, AS ART, "I'm DYING " whenever I feel the urge to frighten myself. Art heals, you know, even this rinky-dink video of myself, mouthing the words. But someday I will say I 'm dying  and it will be really true and if I have done this performance correctly, I will go towards the light with gusto.



DATE:2015
TIME: O:28
CREDITS: TOBE  CAREY editing.
 





INTRODUCTION:

Suffering has always been my drug of choice. It began at and even before my birth but I will spare the reader the long list of PTSD making events that comprise my  monstrously  emotional/personal narrative and move onto the way I found to address the traumas.

As an art-mystic in the making:
I by-passed becoming a shaman and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a stigmatist and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a Catholic who "offered up my suffering" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a "victim soul" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a graduate of long term therapy and curing my trauma that way;
Instead I made the art of transforming the trauma and alchemicalizing  it and crushing it with symbol and beauty.
By addressing old age, sickness (of myself and the planet) and death, as art, I have been able to not only feel my own pain but make my story a teaching tool for others.
May we all fly free before we die.

Linda Mary Montano, Saugerties NY.





 







A COMPILATION OF FILMS  by LINDA MARY  MONTANO:    SICKNESS, OLD AGE AND DEATH











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TITLE: ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO                   :     ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/Yaxcwo2M7d8

DESCRIPTION: When I was 20 I was in a convent and after two years, I realized that I was not emotionally mature enough to be a nun. It's not that I didn't love everything about the life, it's just that I had some unfinished business that needed cleaning up and I was not able to ask for help there so that I could heal and stay. The way I expressed my confusion was to take control of food intake. It seems this is not possible to do while in a convent, sitting at a table along with eight different nuns-in-training, silently watching every move that everyone made. Forks hitting against plates and a voice reading about the lives of the saints and martyrs were the only other totally frightening meal-time sounds. To fix it all, my inventive mind decided to control my food intake and I went from a hefty 135 lbs to 80 lbs. Anorexia became a side job which kept me quite busy... learning how to hide from my mates the fact that I was eating nothing and then doing my chores with great vigor because of the adrenaline high from starving. About 15 years after leaving, I sought out other women with the same issue and made ANOREXIA NERVOSA, seeking explanation and comradeship in a  community of like-mindedness which has the power to heal. This not an art film, but a raw, uncut, unedited look at  life.

There is also a you tube edited version of just myself talking about my anorexia.


https://youtu.be/WVeDuwc4yw


TITLE:  ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS
DESCRIPTION: See above.

YEAR: 1977
TIME: 1:01:18
CREDITS: Christine Barnum, Diane Bass, Vicky Sutherland, Kelly Doyle.

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 TITLE: DYSTONIA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/lj9OlegCsBc

Description: Another title for this film could have been SICK ART or ART/LIFE because it is my attempt to lighten up, make sense of, expose, explore, and be horrified by a chronic, neurologic condition which I developed in 2006. Not many people have heard of Dystonia which results in spasms, contortions, head turnings and many other strange body-art gesticulations.  My contracting/getting/having Dystonia is the reason I did a lot of things: it’s the reason I became/acted as if I were Mother Theresa  because I was bent over, not by having served 400 million people but by spasms from Dystonia. Dystonia also was the reason I made the exorcism film because my neck started acting extremely weird in church and I thought I was possessed. “Linda, you are not possessed,” said Father Lebar, Catholic priest and exorcist. But I do spasm, I do have to hold my head up with sometimes both hands, I am in almost-constant pain. Calling out the forces of transformation, calling out the army of art as healing, I relinquished the pity party, the drama, the trauma, the telling my friends that I had a chronic illness,  and instead, I wrote my Dystonia story as a fun, cute, feel good, Hallmark Card Fairy Tale, which Jonathan Penz, a home-schooled pre-teened genius reads in all of his innocence. To counteract the kid artness of the film, I include/superimposed on the images,  frightening side-effects of the Botox injections which I am receiving. And to counteract the horrors  of  these side-effects, the words PEACE,  HOPE, & LOVE fly through the film as lovely angel-words. My neurologist, Dr. Fabio Danisi  is such a sport, allowing his injection procedure to be filmed by his assistant Cindy Miller. As a team of 3, I feel we have shed beautiful light on a terrible plight. Every three months, many Dystonia patients around the world receive Botox injections. I get mine today. Have to go out in this Northeastern snowstorm and buy him a cannoli before I go!

YEAR: 2012
TIME: 5:25
CREDITS: Camera: Cindy Miller, Doctor: Dr. Fabio Danisi, Patient: Linda Mary Montano, Story: Linda Mary Montano, Narrator: Jonathon Penz, Video Editor: Tobe Carey.


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TITLE: SEVEN STAGES OF INTOXICATION by LINDA MARY MONTANO   : ILLNESS/MENOPAUSE

youtu.be
Post menopausal hormone changes catapulted me out of control and I felt symbolically "intoxicated". This tape also references the "art" of teaching via faux-...

Description: I structure ALL of my work as if it had chapters, building blocks, architectural orderings, titled sequences and designated pauses so that my books, performances and films have structure and sculptural strength. Maybe that is because I am semi-Jesuit trained and sculpturally certified having graduated from the UWM with an MFA in Sculpture? The foundational principle of this particular film goes like this; PART ONE: Instructing in a faux-way the purpose of the tape; I do all of this faceless, with just make-believe hand gestures, faux-signing what I’m saying because I absolutely believe that viewers must be entertained visually, sonically, kinesthetically, and with good humor. At that time I was a university professor and the STINK of academia is evident in this film because I talk about performance history, my teaching history, the theme of self-portrait, the persona that I portray, and the psychological issues around menopause. Doing this comically and non-sensibly lightens the burden of university-speech.  Apologizing for what the viewer is about to see, I excuse my Seven Drunk Personas, by explaining that aging and the surrender that one must admit to as time, illness and gravity rob the body of its former brilliance: aging is similar to being inebriated. When drunk, there is a surrender, and a letting go, and a succumbing to the dark negative  which is hormonally similar to what happens in menopause. This is one of my favorite films. I am completely out of control, breaking all taboos of nice-ness and decorum. I’m sure that having to be on-guard in my high paying  job and in university good behavior brought out and encouraged this opposition character/persona who lets down my Texas niceness and lets off steam. To illustrate how funky I get in this film, I even perform on the steps of one of the major university buildings and don’t even flinch as one of the nuns, who I met regularly at daily Mass, walks by and looks like she recognizes the drunken homeless woman acting out in public!   PART TWO: Seven alcoholic women acting as if drunk. PART THREE: An assignment. ART trumps LIFE - ART heals LIFE. Will I ever be this brave again?

YEAR: 1997
TIME: 33:35
CREDITS: Camera: Steven Kolpan, Yuki Julie Kao, Joe Zambarino, Cecil Martin. Actors: Geoffrey Thomas, Bethel Collins, Chris Graham, Lance Myers, Debra Hewitt, Danny Flores, Joe Zambarino. Production: Beta: Edward Garana Teleprint Express. Sound: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain. Editing: ANdy Cockrum, Metropost. Special thanks: Andy Cockrum, Kate Horsfeld, Alexandria Carrion, Flavia Gondolfo, Minnette Lehmann, Steven Kolpan, R.S. Mishra,

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  TITLENURSE NURSE by LINDA MARY MONTANO   :   ILLNESS  & AGING

http://youtu.be/EctbZtb79_k

DESCRIPTION: After I left the University of Texas Austin, where I was teaching Performance Art, I returned to Upstate New York having actually been called home by my “good” inner voices, who counseled me to, “Go, be with your father.” The backstory is that I was denied tenure, but actually, UT gave me the freedom to get to know my father for the last seven years of his life by firing me!! NURSE NURSE comedically references care giving a compromised elder, played by me, and this film  allows me to practice and rehearse for what might happen medically to me in my future. That is, aren’t we all dreadfully afraid of Alzheimers? And if I practice having it now, maybe I will scare it away or at least be comfortable having it when I do get it?  An important prop in this film is my dad’s lazy boy chair. It triggers such pain because he had his stroke in that chair, and I needed to resurrect the chair from memory - hell. Admittedly, this film is not funny, not easy, but in my estimation, totally necessary.

YEAR: 2013
TIME: 18:23
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey Willow Mixed Media. Camera - Josepha Gutelius. Nurse Actor - Laura Kopczac. Patient Actor - Linda Mary Montano. Nurse song/voice - Linda Mary Montano. Additional Audio Recording - Jim Barbaro Natural Recording Studio. Nurse Voice Over - Meg Carey. Special thanks to Meg Carey, Tobe Carey, Josepha Gutelius, Minnette Lehmann, and Laura Kopczak.
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TITLE: STARVED SURVIVORS by LINDA MARY MONTANO :  PLANETARY ILLNESS
http://youtu.be/NZcZWN2YFkI
Description: My very destructive and bad habit of listening to British BBC dramatic news reports especially from 7 pm, when I go to bed, to 6 am when I wake up, resulted in an imploded brain overload, a poetic frenzy that spilled aesthetically from my unknowing but indoctrinated and addled brain. I honestly channeled the text for this film and the SPILLAGE was putrid in its memory of every single atrocity committed on every single continent of the world having heard about them in my non-rem sleep all night. So what to do with the mental detritus? I made  art. Fairy tales are my weapon of choice and I open the film with a sweet little girl (me) talking about her need for a grandmother and guardian and teacher. This grandmother (me, of course), in one of my favorite old lady masks, tells the little girl that life sucks, and be careful. The reasons why life sucks are sing-song-litanied for almost a half an hour over and over and the list of sins committed globally are words that my asleep brain remembers from BBC radio. Not trusting that my own voice could do the poem justice, I asked Paul McMahon, poet and musician, to read the atrocities and craziness melodically, thereby diffusing what’s happening in the seedy and dirty corners of this world with his poetic soothe. Mouths, teeth, saliva, gums are visuals I focus on obsessively and compulsively and have a field day doing so in this film. The cast of characters includes talking infants, mimicking doppelgängers, fear mongers,  prophetic predictors of global warming,  storm warners and other bad news sad sacks. Of course it ends on a happy note, when the Hag/Grandmother re-appears and tells Little Linda, DO NOT BE AFRAID.

YEAR: 2011
TIME: 19:25
CREDITS: Video and Animation editing by Tobe Carey. Photos by Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Annie Sprinkle. Water and Storm Video by Tobe Carey. Thunder Audio by EZWA Public Domain Sounds. Voices: Man - Paul McMahon, Baby - Tobe Carey, Child - Linda Montano. Special Thanks: Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Meg Carey. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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TITLE: BENARES by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :   DEATH in  INDIA

http://youtu.be/2vG10Mgtcwk

Description: In the late 1990’s, I was a professor of performance art, at the University of Texas, Austin. Luckily, one of the perks of professorship is a travel grant which I used to visit India with my mentor and friend Dr. Aruna Mehta. Also, luckily, the University had a medical clinic that had superior travel  information. So I did all of that, made sure I knew how to keep myself physically safe, and set out for one of the most transforming experiences of my life. Although I had not completely made arrangements for places to stay in Benares, they magically came together, and a very learned Brahman scholar in India, made sure that I was able to participate in Varanasi’s theological culture. Please watch this film because I cannot begin to describe the floating dead bodies in the Ganges. I cannot begin to describe the 24/7 burning ghats. I cannot begin to describe the senior citizens waiting to die in the most holy city in the world ; the place where their Moksha/liberation from rebirth is guaranteed. I cannot begin to describe (in words), the evolution from my own Western fear, voyeurism, culture appropriation, to an Eastern  understanding of the divine both in Life and Death. This sophomoric  attempt to move myself from tourist to one-who-belongs marks the beginning of a journey that is not so much now about death but about Love.

YEAR: 1998 & 2008
TIME: 25:35
CREDITS: For my friends Dr. Aruna Mehta, Dr. A.L. Mehta. Consultant in Benares: Ratnesesh Pathak. Videographer in Benares: Daffodils Videotec. Sound Design: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain, Austin, Texas. Video Design: Andy Cockrum, 501 Group Austin, Texas. Re-Edited 2007, Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media Glenford, CT.  Special Thanks to University of Texas, Austin, Department of Art.

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TITLE: DAD ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO : OLD AGE/SICKNESS/DEATH


Description: When I arrived back to New York State from Texas, having been denied tenure, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime.  That is, I was able to be with my father and get to re­know him for the last seven years of his life. He allowed me to collaborate with him on video, and we filmed while watching Wheel of Fortune together; we filmed eating linguini and clams together; we filmed him meeting his beautiful woman friend as she picked him up to take him out to dinner. I’m editing out his unspeakable head accident at  physical therapy, his fall at  home and rush to the hospital with a stroke. But I’m not denying that I hid behind the camera using it as a shield as I became manager of his care at home 24/7 for three years. 400,000 care­givers came through the front door, day and night, and I filmed it all. Not sneakily, not as a thief, but as 
a frightened bird behind a branch disguised­ as ­tripod. DAD ART
 was the result of my father’s 
original generosity of sharing LIFE/ART with me and the result of my continuing that process as I watched a kind of transcendence overcome him. No, it wasn't pretty or wonderful but during his illness he exuded the same beauty that he exhibited when he sat in church in meditation. Friends would come into the house at 9 John Street and cry because of the atmosphere that he created: a high­ level intensity and vibrational frequency. One of the care­givers was smart enough to remind me to encourage him to paint and he became an abstract expressionist painter who for 1­2 hours a day, sat transfixed as red or orange or black or yellow appeared on the paper in front of him via his Zenned­ paintbrush which moved so slowly that I would almost faint with 
the beauty of his focus.  Some of these paintings are incorporated into the film DAD ART
  which premiered once or twice publicly  and once with close friends as a funeral memorial service. During the performance of  DAD ART
, I sing the seven songs he and my mother would play in 
their band during the 30’s and 40’s. Also on stage during the memorial ­performance there are many different activities and "stations" of  symbolic actions: one of artists as counselors, talking to people about death which invites participants  to enter the performance space to become co­ performers in a collaborative group process.  At another station, a collaborator pours glasses of water and hands them out, since water became such an important vehicle of life/not life for my father as he stopped eating and drinking. At the third station, audience members are invited to come to the “stage” and dictate a letter to death who is  a collaborator, wearing a death mask. A vibrant, breath of fresh air, exuberant MC keeps everything moving, invites people to the stage, and blows a whistle when it’s my time to sing one of my seven songs. DAD ART 
Performance/Film is an invitation to anyone who would like me to come and mourn with you publicly as art. I promise, this will not be easy. 

YEAR: 2007
TIME: 2 HOURS
CREDITS:TOBE CAREY, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON

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TITLE: LIVING ART / DYING ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : DEATH

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff79M4NB26s

DESCRIPTION: In the late 90’s, on several occasions, I presented a slide lecture which demonstrated the way that my art references impermanence and dying. In 2014, video artist and editor Tobe Carey scanned the slides from the lecture and we collaged together the spoken narrative, images both of my own work and also of death rituals from many different cultures, creating an Endgame-like collage. There are images from my study in Benares at the burning ghats, images from my film, MITCHELL’S DEATH, images of Parsi funerary rites,  images of my performances and descriptions of ways that my work and death seem to be close cousins! In this multi-faceted film: I feel, I mourn, I heal, I say goodbye,  I teach, I prepare for my final retirement, and maybe my most important  DVD, DEATH.

YEAR: 2014
TIME: 42:44
CREDITS: Produced and directed by Montano. Edited by Tobe Carey. Sound voice Jim Barbaro, Paul McMahon. Voices: Montano, Hominy and Ginger McMahon. Actor Rich Granville. Special thanks: Tobe and Meg Carey.
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TITLE: MITCHELL'S DEATH by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH

Description: In 1977, my ex-husband was murdered. I could stop here and say no more because that sentence alone, explains and describes this film.  But writing is how I communicate best so I will outline my process.  The murderer called me and told me about Mitchell's death, not saying that he murdered him but that he "accidentally" shot him in the head. Not having any skills at dealing with trauma, with talking things out, with asking for comfort, with seeking support by expressing my pain, I began writing the story from the moment that I heard the news to the time that I went into the morgue and saw his body . Still today, I hardly breathe when I remember this.  Back then, I was able to use my ability to make art of my life and I shared his death with friends and colleagues at The Center For Music Experiment, UCSD, where I was a fellow in residence.  And then, I shared the film itself, not as a performance but as a video-document and it went viral, so to speak.  Was it  because I chanted the story in good Gregorian-Zen fashion?  Was it because the editor, David Wagner, used delay to deepen my voice and the story became  a trance-like dirge that was almost beautiful?  Was it because the story was so raw and grief ladened that it resonated with everyone who has ever experienced loss?  All I know is that the film, MITCHELL’S  DEATH,  has touched everyone who has ever sat shiva with it.  And Mitchell, an artist who had trained to be a Protestant Minister, continues to inspire.

Accessible via VIDEO DATA BANK
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 TITLE: ON DEATH AND DYING by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :SICKNESS

http://youtu.be/wQU_3gfQL8I

Description: This film is thirty three years old, made in the mid 80's and it is now 2015.  I am totally enthralled by it's timelessness. It is crazy in it's symbolism but in retrospect I think I can now read into it with some clarity.  For example, why are three women in their 30's playing cards, dressed like nuns, sitting at a beautifully adorned card table with an hourglass in the middle, tracking time, while listening/or not listening to a nurse  talk about death and dying?  I am interviewing that nurse, Mescal Hornbeck, but did it as if I were a French poetess, using a sweet, innocent and polite faux French accent. WHY? Elizabeth Cross, Vicki Stern and I were dear and close friends at that time and  both Vicki and I were living at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt Tremper NY as students of meditation, while Elizabeth lived in the village of Woodstock and made her living as a hairdresser/artist. We were women who  always created our unique ways of responding to our life issues;  we were women who conversed about our status as women; we were women who lived in a monastery (Vicki and I) and I know that this film is a response to the fact that we were taught by men in a male-run institution. At that time, this was a joy and also an irritant and like good feminists, we responded as art and made  this "teaching tape" which is totally, strangely beautiful in it's woman-ness;  beautiful in it's ability to enthrall the senses with candles dancing via camera movements; beautiful in the absurdity of nuns putting on paper sailor hats over their nun veils; beautiful in the way that we are playing cards and winning because we are alive; beautiful because Mescal is giving/freely offering 50 years of deep experience with the subject which we all need to study and learn about: death.  This film is not wanting to trick:  there are no difficult language tricks;  no need to impress with theological posturing;  no fancy camera work or snazzy editing; no need to cower and run into  the Zen-interview room and try to impress a man with an understood koan!  My art is always about my life and obviously, I wanted to be a Guru, just like my male Zen teacher was at that time. By making this very important, informative and comedically complex film, Elizabeth, Vicki and I  got what we wanted, respect for our WOMAN-WAY . The strangely channeled CHICKEN BAWK at the end, concurs.

YEAR: 1982
TIME: 21:44
CREDITS: Participants are: Elizabeth Monroe Cross, Vicki Stern, Linda Mary Montano, and narrator Mescal Hornbeck
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 TITLEMY MOTHER; ARTIST AND TEACHER by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH


DESCRIPTION:  My mother's life and death were both extraordinarily epic. A painter who art therapied herself out of a called for and deserved depression, Mom's resiliency could have rewarded her with a Badge of Courage because she took devastating trauma making life issues and alchemized then into art, activism and humor. Modeling these gifts for me, I look at our lives which could have been charted and copied page for page, letter by letter and I recognize that I have imitated her style, not missing a beat.
We both practice art as therapy and humor and as deflection from the unspeakable. We both jump into everything with 150% effort and an attitude which covers over the fact that neither of us know exactly how to respond to the life issues at  hand but both of us give everything our best shot. For example, I watched Mom cut  neighbors', family and friends' hair in our kitchen even though she had zilch training . And guess who was the president of Saugerties Nursing Committee? Mom, of course, who was not a nurse. And guess who taught English as a second language up until a few months before she died? You guessed it, Mom. My own life shares similar stories of my doing/becoming and acting as if while knowing nothing about the subject at  hand.
I eulogized Mom with a book, THE 5 JOHNS OF 5 JOHN STREET and a video titled , MOM ART. I've honored her by living my life as art and it is only right that I share helpful suggestions that I gleaned from watching by her bedside as she died. I know that she would tell me, "act as if" if I felt shy about sharing these words with you. She would say, "Make believe that you ARE a professional grief counselor."  Or she might say, "Linda, help as many people as possible with your wisdom. But make sure that you do it with humor!" Thanks Mom. You're a CHAMP and so am I.

 https://youtu.be/_dp-Ti_fhLk
youtu.be
My Mother - Artist and Teacher All paintings by Mildred Kelly Montano. Thank you Mom for Teaching me how to Heal.




YEAR:2016
TIME: 13:17
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY, JIM BARBERO, HENRY MONTANO, MEG CAREY
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TITLE: DAD ART PAINTING by LINDA MARY MONTANO: OLD AGE/SICKNESS

DESCRIPTION: My father had a serious accident caused by a physical therapist. It compromised his health and he developed a hemorrhagic stroke. He had 24-7 care at  home and I videotaped him for that entire time, having begun a video-collaboration with him when he was well. I didn't put the camera down and when a caregiver brought him paints, I was able to record and document this amazing Zen-like event: my dad painting everyday for an hour as if he was a reincarnation of a monk in a monastery in Kyoto. This painting section is edited and  excerpted from the 2 hour DAD ART_performance film which includes bathing, lifting, saying good bye and my father's last  breath. Just seeing the beauty is often a relief and enough.


YEAR: 2015
TIME: 19:39
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY editing, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON, sound.

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  TITLE: I'M DYING, MY LAST PERFORMANCE  by LINDA MARY MONTANO

DESCRIPTION:  Once I read a story about Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche in a book by death-teacher, Steven Levine.  It goes like this. Trungpa went into his son's room and said to him, " I'm DYING." And then he said to his son, "You are dying too."
This story made a deep impression on me because death is the last taboo, the hidden boogey-man, the unspeakable, What a beautiful lesson in impermanence this father gave his son.
As I age, not so gracefully, I keep thinking and saying inside, "Linda, you are getting close to dying." But this is not done for spiritual teachings for myself but as a prompt to terror and fear. So, of course, I decided to make art about this sentence and will say to myself, AS ART, "I'm DYING " whenever I feel the urge to frighten myself. Art heals, you know, even this rinky-dink video of myself, mouthing the words. But someday I will say I 'm dying  and it will be really true and if I have done this performance correctly, I will go towards the light with gusto.



DATE:2015
TIME: O:28
CREDITS: TOBE  CAREY editing.
 





INTRODUCTION:

Suffering has always been my drug of choice. It began at and even before my birth but I will spare the reader the long list of PTSD making events that comprise my  monstrously  emotional/personal narrative and move onto the way I found to address the traumas.

As an art-mystic in the making:
I by-passed becoming a shaman and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a stigmatist and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a Catholic who "offered up my suffering" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a "victim soul" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a graduate of long term therapy and curing my trauma that way;
Instead I made the art of transforming the trauma and alchemicalizing  it and crushing it with symbol and beauty.
By addressing old age, sickness (of myself and the planet) and death, as art, I have been able to not only feel my own pain but make my story a teaching tool for others.
May we all fly free before we die.

Linda Mary Montano, Saugerties NY.





 







A COMPILATION OF FILMS  by LINDA MARY  MONTANO:    SICKNESS, OLD AGE AND DEATH











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TITLE: ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO                   :     ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/Yaxcwo2M7d8

DESCRIPTION: When I was 20 I was in a convent and after two years, I realized that I was not emotionally mature enough to be a nun. It's not that I didn't love everything about the life, it's just that I had some unfinished business that needed cleaning up and I was not able to ask for help there so that I could heal and stay. The way I expressed my confusion was to take control of food intake. It seems this is not possible to do while in a convent, sitting at a table along with eight different nuns-in-training, silently watching every move that everyone made. Forks hitting against plates and a voice reading about the lives of the saints and martyrs were the only other totally frightening meal-time sounds. To fix it all, my inventive mind decided to control my food intake and I went from a hefty 135 lbs to 80 lbs. Anorexia became a side job which kept me quite busy... learning how to hide from my mates the fact that I was eating nothing and then doing my chores with great vigor because of the adrenaline high from starving. About 15 years after leaving, I sought out other women with the same issue and made ANOREXIA NERVOSA, seeking explanation and comradeship in a  community of like-mindedness which has the power to heal. This not an art film, but a raw, uncut, unedited look at  life.

There is also a you tube edited version of just myself talking about my anorexia.


https://youtu.be/WVeDuwc4yw


TITLE:  ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS
DESCRIPTION: See above.

YEAR: 1977
TIME: 1:01:18
CREDITS: Christine Barnum, Diane Bass, Vicky Sutherland, Kelly Doyle.

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 TITLE: DYSTONIA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/lj9OlegCsBc

Description: Another title for this film could have been SICK ART or ART/LIFE because it is my attempt to lighten up, make sense of, expose, explore, and be horrified by a chronic, neurologic condition which I developed in 2006. Not many people have heard of Dystonia which results in spasms, contortions, head turnings and many other strange body-art gesticulations.  My contracting/getting/having Dystonia is the reason I did a lot of things: it’s the reason I became/acted as if I were Mother Theresa  because I was bent over, not by having served 400 million people but by spasms from Dystonia. Dystonia also was the reason I made the exorcism film because my neck started acting extremely weird in church and I thought I was possessed. “Linda, you are not possessed,” said Father Lebar, Catholic priest and exorcist. But I do spasm, I do have to hold my head up with sometimes both hands, I am in almost-constant pain. Calling out the forces of transformation, calling out the army of art as healing, I relinquished the pity party, the drama, the trauma, the telling my friends that I had a chronic illness,  and instead, I wrote my Dystonia story as a fun, cute, feel good, Hallmark Card Fairy Tale, which Jonathan Penz, a home-schooled pre-teened genius reads in all of his innocence. To counteract the kid artness of the film, I include/superimposed on the images,  frightening side-effects of the Botox injections which I am receiving. And to counteract the horrors  of  these side-effects, the words PEACE,  HOPE, & LOVE fly through the film as lovely angel-words. My neurologist, Dr. Fabio Danisi  is such a sport, allowing his injection procedure to be filmed by his assistant Cindy Miller. As a team of 3, I feel we have shed beautiful light on a terrible plight. Every three months, many Dystonia patients around the world receive Botox injections. I get mine today. Have to go out in this Northeastern snowstorm and buy him a cannoli before I go!

YEAR: 2012
TIME: 5:25
CREDITS: Camera: Cindy Miller, Doctor: Dr. Fabio Danisi, Patient: Linda Mary Montano, Story: Linda Mary Montano, Narrator: Jonathon Penz, Video Editor: Tobe Carey.


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TITLE: SEVEN STAGES OF INTOXICATION by LINDA MARY MONTANO   : ILLNESS/MENOPAUSE

youtu.be
Post menopausal hormone changes catapulted me out of control and I felt symbolically "intoxicated". This tape also references the "art" of teaching via faux-...

Description: I structure ALL of my work as if it had chapters, building blocks, architectural orderings, titled sequences and designated pauses so that my books, performances and films have structure and sculptural strength. Maybe that is because I am semi-Jesuit trained and sculpturally certified having graduated from the UWM with an MFA in Sculpture? The foundational principle of this particular film goes like this; PART ONE: Instructing in a faux-way the purpose of the tape; I do all of this faceless, with just make-believe hand gestures, faux-signing what I’m saying because I absolutely believe that viewers must be entertained visually, sonically, kinesthetically, and with good humor. At that time I was a university professor and the STINK of academia is evident in this film because I talk about performance history, my teaching history, the theme of self-portrait, the persona that I portray, and the psychological issues around menopause. Doing this comically and non-sensibly lightens the burden of university-speech.  Apologizing for what the viewer is about to see, I excuse my Seven Drunk Personas, by explaining that aging and the surrender that one must admit to as time, illness and gravity rob the body of its former brilliance: aging is similar to being inebriated. When drunk, there is a surrender, and a letting go, and a succumbing to the dark negative  which is hormonally similar to what happens in menopause. This is one of my favorite films. I am completely out of control, breaking all taboos of nice-ness and decorum. I’m sure that having to be on-guard in my high paying  job and in university good behavior brought out and encouraged this opposition character/persona who lets down my Texas niceness and lets off steam. To illustrate how funky I get in this film, I even perform on the steps of one of the major university buildings and don’t even flinch as one of the nuns, who I met regularly at daily Mass, walks by and looks like she recognizes the drunken homeless woman acting out in public!   PART TWO: Seven alcoholic women acting as if drunk. PART THREE: An assignment. ART trumps LIFE - ART heals LIFE. Will I ever be this brave again?

YEAR: 1997
TIME: 33:35
CREDITS: Camera: Steven Kolpan, Yuki Julie Kao, Joe Zambarino, Cecil Martin. Actors: Geoffrey Thomas, Bethel Collins, Chris Graham, Lance Myers, Debra Hewitt, Danny Flores, Joe Zambarino. Production: Beta: Edward Garana Teleprint Express. Sound: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain. Editing: ANdy Cockrum, Metropost. Special thanks: Andy Cockrum, Kate Horsfeld, Alexandria Carrion, Flavia Gondolfo, Minnette Lehmann, Steven Kolpan, R.S. Mishra,

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  TITLENURSE NURSE by LINDA MARY MONTANO   :   ILLNESS  & AGING

http://youtu.be/EctbZtb79_k

DESCRIPTION: After I left the University of Texas Austin, where I was teaching Performance Art, I returned to Upstate New York having actually been called home by my “good” inner voices, who counseled me to, “Go, be with your father.” The backstory is that I was denied tenure, but actually, UT gave me the freedom to get to know my father for the last seven years of his life by firing me!! NURSE NURSE comedically references care giving a compromised elder, played by me, and this film  allows me to practice and rehearse for what might happen medically to me in my future. That is, aren’t we all dreadfully afraid of Alzheimers? And if I practice having it now, maybe I will scare it away or at least be comfortable having it when I do get it?  An important prop in this film is my dad’s lazy boy chair. It triggers such pain because he had his stroke in that chair, and I needed to resurrect the chair from memory - hell. Admittedly, this film is not funny, not easy, but in my estimation, totally necessary.

YEAR: 2013
TIME: 18:23
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey Willow Mixed Media. Camera - Josepha Gutelius. Nurse Actor - Laura Kopczac. Patient Actor - Linda Mary Montano. Nurse song/voice - Linda Mary Montano. Additional Audio Recording - Jim Barbaro Natural Recording Studio. Nurse Voice Over - Meg Carey. Special thanks to Meg Carey, Tobe Carey, Josepha Gutelius, Minnette Lehmann, and Laura Kopczak.
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TITLE: STARVED SURVIVORS by LINDA MARY MONTANO :  PLANETARY ILLNESS
http://youtu.be/NZcZWN2YFkI
Description: My very destructive and bad habit of listening to British BBC dramatic news reports especially from 7 pm, when I go to bed, to 6 am when I wake up, resulted in an imploded brain overload, a poetic frenzy that spilled aesthetically from my unknowing but indoctrinated and addled brain. I honestly channeled the text for this film and the SPILLAGE was putrid in its memory of every single atrocity committed on every single continent of the world having heard about them in my non-rem sleep all night. So what to do with the mental detritus? I made  art. Fairy tales are my weapon of choice and I open the film with a sweet little girl (me) talking about her need for a grandmother and guardian and teacher. This grandmother (me, of course), in one of my favorite old lady masks, tells the little girl that life sucks, and be careful. The reasons why life sucks are sing-song-litanied for almost a half an hour over and over and the list of sins committed globally are words that my asleep brain remembers from BBC radio. Not trusting that my own voice could do the poem justice, I asked Paul McMahon, poet and musician, to read the atrocities and craziness melodically, thereby diffusing what’s happening in the seedy and dirty corners of this world with his poetic soothe. Mouths, teeth, saliva, gums are visuals I focus on obsessively and compulsively and have a field day doing so in this film. The cast of characters includes talking infants, mimicking doppelgängers, fear mongers,  prophetic predictors of global warming,  storm warners and other bad news sad sacks. Of course it ends on a happy note, when the Hag/Grandmother re-appears and tells Little Linda, DO NOT BE AFRAID.

YEAR: 2011
TIME: 19:25
CREDITS: Video and Animation editing by Tobe Carey. Photos by Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Annie Sprinkle. Water and Storm Video by Tobe Carey. Thunder Audio by EZWA Public Domain Sounds. Voices: Man - Paul McMahon, Baby - Tobe Carey, Child - Linda Montano. Special Thanks: Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Meg Carey. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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TITLE: BENARES by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :   DEATH in  INDIA

http://youtu.be/2vG10Mgtcwk

Description: In the late 1990’s, I was a professor of performance art, at the University of Texas, Austin. Luckily, one of the perks of professorship is a travel grant which I used to visit India with my mentor and friend Dr. Aruna Mehta. Also, luckily, the University had a medical clinic that had superior travel  information. So I did all of that, made sure I knew how to keep myself physically safe, and set out for one of the most transforming experiences of my life. Although I had not completely made arrangements for places to stay in Benares, they magically came together, and a very learned Brahman scholar in India, made sure that I was able to participate in Varanasi’s theological culture. Please watch this film because I cannot begin to describe the floating dead bodies in the Ganges. I cannot begin to describe the 24/7 burning ghats. I cannot begin to describe the senior citizens waiting to die in the most holy city in the world ; the place where their Moksha/liberation from rebirth is guaranteed. I cannot begin to describe (in words), the evolution from my own Western fear, voyeurism, culture appropriation, to an Eastern  understanding of the divine both in Life and Death. This sophomoric  attempt to move myself from tourist to one-who-belongs marks the beginning of a journey that is not so much now about death but about Love.

YEAR: 1998 & 2008
TIME: 25:35
CREDITS: For my friends Dr. Aruna Mehta, Dr. A.L. Mehta. Consultant in Benares: Ratnesesh Pathak. Videographer in Benares: Daffodils Videotec. Sound Design: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain, Austin, Texas. Video Design: Andy Cockrum, 501 Group Austin, Texas. Re-Edited 2007, Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media Glenford, CT.  Special Thanks to University of Texas, Austin, Department of Art.

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TITLE: DAD ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO : OLD AGE/SICKNESS/DEATH


Description: When I arrived back to New York State from Texas, having been denied tenure, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime.  That is, I was able to be with my father and get to re­know him for the last seven years of his life. He allowed me to collaborate with him on video, and we filmed while watching Wheel of Fortune together; we filmed eating linguini and clams together; we filmed him meeting his beautiful woman friend as she picked him up to take him out to dinner. I’m editing out his unspeakable head accident at  physical therapy, his fall at  home and rush to the hospital with a stroke. But I’m not denying that I hid behind the camera using it as a shield as I became manager of his care at home 24/7 for three years. 400,000 care­givers came through the front door, day and night, and I filmed it all. Not sneakily, not as a thief, but as 
a frightened bird behind a branch disguised­ as ­tripod. DAD ART
 was the result of my father’s 
original generosity of sharing LIFE/ART with me and the result of my continuing that process as I watched a kind of transcendence overcome him. No, it wasn't pretty or wonderful but during his illness he exuded the same beauty that he exhibited when he sat in church in meditation. Friends would come into the house at 9 John Street and cry because of the atmosphere that he created: a high­ level intensity and vibrational frequency. One of the care­givers was smart enough to remind me to encourage him to paint and he became an abstract expressionist painter who for 1­2 hours a day, sat transfixed as red or orange or black or yellow appeared on the paper in front of him via his Zenned­ paintbrush which moved so slowly that I would almost faint with 
the beauty of his focus.  Some of these paintings are incorporated into the film DAD ART
  which premiered once or twice publicly  and once with close friends as a funeral memorial service. During the performance of  DAD ART
, I sing the seven songs he and my mother would play in 
their band during the 30’s and 40’s. Also on stage during the memorial ­performance there are many different activities and "stations" of  symbolic actions: one of artists as counselors, talking to people about death which invites participants  to enter the performance space to become co­ performers in a collaborative group process.  At another station, a collaborator pours glasses of water and hands them out, since water became such an important vehicle of life/not life for my father as he stopped eating and drinking. At the third station, audience members are invited to come to the “stage” and dictate a letter to death who is  a collaborator, wearing a death mask. A vibrant, breath of fresh air, exuberant MC keeps everything moving, invites people to the stage, and blows a whistle when it’s my time to sing one of my seven songs. DAD ART 
Performance/Film is an invitation to anyone who would like me to come and mourn with you publicly as art. I promise, this will not be easy. 

YEAR: 2007
TIME: 2 HOURS
CREDITS:TOBE CAREY, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON

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TITLE: LIVING ART / DYING ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : DEATH

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff79M4NB26s

DESCRIPTION: In the late 90’s, on several occasions, I presented a slide lecture which demonstrated the way that my art references impermanence and dying. In 2014, video artist and editor Tobe Carey scanned the slides from the lecture and we collaged together the spoken narrative, images both of my own work and also of death rituals from many different cultures, creating an Endgame-like collage. There are images from my study in Benares at the burning ghats, images from my film, MITCHELL’S DEATH, images of Parsi funerary rites,  images of my performances and descriptions of ways that my work and death seem to be close cousins! In this multi-faceted film: I feel, I mourn, I heal, I say goodbye,  I teach, I prepare for my final retirement, and maybe my most important  DVD, DEATH.

YEAR: 2014
TIME: 42:44
CREDITS: Produced and directed by Montano. Edited by Tobe Carey. Sound voice Jim Barbaro, Paul McMahon. Voices: Montano, Hominy and Ginger McMahon. Actor Rich Granville. Special thanks: Tobe and Meg Carey.
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TITLE: MITCHELL'S DEATH by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH

Description: In 1977, my ex-husband was murdered. I could stop here and say no more because that sentence alone, explains and describes this film.  But writing is how I communicate best so I will outline my process.  The murderer called me and told me about Mitchell's death, not saying that he murdered him but that he "accidentally" shot him in the head. Not having any skills at dealing with trauma, with talking things out, with asking for comfort, with seeking support by expressing my pain, I began writing the story from the moment that I heard the news to the time that I went into the morgue and saw his body . Still today, I hardly breathe when I remember this.  Back then, I was able to use my ability to make art of my life and I shared his death with friends and colleagues at The Center For Music Experiment, UCSD, where I was a fellow in residence.  And then, I shared the film itself, not as a performance but as a video-document and it went viral, so to speak.  Was it  because I chanted the story in good Gregorian-Zen fashion?  Was it because the editor, David Wagner, used delay to deepen my voice and the story became  a trance-like dirge that was almost beautiful?  Was it because the story was so raw and grief ladened that it resonated with everyone who has ever experienced loss?  All I know is that the film, MITCHELL’S  DEATH,  has touched everyone who has ever sat shiva with it.  And Mitchell, an artist who had trained to be a Protestant Minister, continues to inspire.

Accessible via VIDEO DATA BANK
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 TITLE: ON DEATH AND DYING by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :SICKNESS

http://youtu.be/wQU_3gfQL8I

Description: This film is thirty three years old, made in the mid 80's and it is now 2015.  I am totally enthralled by it's timelessness. It is crazy in it's symbolism but in retrospect I think I can now read into it with some clarity.  For example, why are three women in their 30's playing cards, dressed like nuns, sitting at a beautifully adorned card table with an hourglass in the middle, tracking time, while listening/or not listening to a nurse  talk about death and dying?  I am interviewing that nurse, Mescal Hornbeck, but did it as if I were a French poetess, using a sweet, innocent and polite faux French accent. WHY? Elizabeth Cross, Vicki Stern and I were dear and close friends at that time and  both Vicki and I were living at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt Tremper NY as students of meditation, while Elizabeth lived in the village of Woodstock and made her living as a hairdresser/artist. We were women who  always created our unique ways of responding to our life issues;  we were women who conversed about our status as women; we were women who lived in a monastery (Vicki and I) and I know that this film is a response to the fact that we were taught by men in a male-run institution. At that time, this was a joy and also an irritant and like good feminists, we responded as art and made  this "teaching tape" which is totally, strangely beautiful in it's woman-ness;  beautiful in it's ability to enthrall the senses with candles dancing via camera movements; beautiful in the absurdity of nuns putting on paper sailor hats over their nun veils; beautiful in the way that we are playing cards and winning because we are alive; beautiful because Mescal is giving/freely offering 50 years of deep experience with the subject which we all need to study and learn about: death.  This film is not wanting to trick:  there are no difficult language tricks;  no need to impress with theological posturing;  no fancy camera work or snazzy editing; no need to cower and run into  the Zen-interview room and try to impress a man with an understood koan!  My art is always about my life and obviously, I wanted to be a Guru, just like my male Zen teacher was at that time. By making this very important, informative and comedically complex film, Elizabeth, Vicki and I  got what we wanted, respect for our WOMAN-WAY . The strangely channeled CHICKEN BAWK at the end, concurs.

YEAR: 1982
TIME: 21:44
CREDITS: Participants are: Elizabeth Monroe Cross, Vicki Stern, Linda Mary Montano, and narrator Mescal Hornbeck
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 TITLEMY MOTHER; ARTIST AND TEACHER by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH


DESCRIPTION:  My mother's life and death were both extraordinarily epic. A painter who art therapied herself out of a called for and deserved depression, Mom's resiliency could have rewarded her with a Badge of Courage because she took devastating trauma making life issues and alchemized then into art, activism and humor. Modeling these gifts for me, I look at our lives which could have been charted and copied page for page, letter by letter and I recognize that I have imitated her style, not missing a beat.
We both practice art as therapy and humor and as deflection from the unspeakable. We both jump into everything with 150% effort and an attitude which covers over the fact that neither of us know exactly how to respond to the life issues at  hand but both of us give everything our best shot. For example, I watched Mom cut  neighbors', family and friends' hair in our kitchen even though she had zilch training . And guess who was the president of Saugerties Nursing Committee? Mom, of course, who was not a nurse. And guess who taught English as a second language up until a few months before she died? You guessed it, Mom. My own life shares similar stories of my doing/becoming and acting as if while knowing nothing about the subject at  hand.
I eulogized Mom with a book, THE 5 JOHNS OF 5 JOHN STREET and a video titled , MOM ART. I've honored her by living my life as art and it is only right that I share helpful suggestions that I gleaned from watching by her bedside as she died. I know that she would tell me, "act as if" if I felt shy about sharing these words with you. She would say, "Make believe that you ARE a professional grief counselor."  Or she might say, "Linda, help as many people as possible with your wisdom. But make sure that you do it with humor!" Thanks Mom. You're a CHAMP and so am I.

 https://youtu.be/_dp-Ti_fhLk
youtu.be
My Mother - Artist and Teacher All paintings by Mildred Kelly Montano. Thank you Mom for Teaching me how to Heal.




YEAR:2016
TIME: 13:17
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY, JIM BARBERO, HENRY MONTANO, MEG CAREY
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TITLE: DAD ART PAINTING by LINDA MARY MONTANO: OLD AGE/SICKNESS

DESCRIPTION: My father had a serious accident caused by a physical therapist. It compromised his health and he developed a hemorrhagic stroke. He had 24-7 care at  home and I videotaped him for that entire time, having begun a video-collaboration with him when he was well. I didn't put the camera down and when a caregiver brought him paints, I was able to record and document this amazing Zen-like event: my dad painting everyday for an hour as if he was a reincarnation of a monk in a monastery in Kyoto. This painting section is edited and  excerpted from the 2 hour DAD ART_performance film which includes bathing, lifting, saying good bye and my father's last  breath. Just seeing the beauty is often a relief and enough.


YEAR: 2015
TIME: 19:39
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY editing, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON, sound.

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  TITLE: I'M DYING, MY LAST PERFORMANCE  by LINDA MARY MONTANO

DESCRIPTION:  Once I read a story about Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche in a book by death-teacher, Steven Levine.  It goes like this. Trungpa went into his son's room and said to him, " I'm DYING." And then he said to his son, "You are dying too."
This story made a deep impression on me because death is the last taboo, the hidden boogey-man, the unspeakable, What a beautiful lesson in impermanence this father gave his son.
As I age, not so gracefully, I keep thinking and saying inside, "Linda, you are getting close to dying." But this is not done for spiritual teachings for myself but as a prompt to terror and fear. So, of course, I decided to make art about this sentence and will say to myself, AS ART, "I'm DYING " whenever I feel the urge to frighten myself. Art heals, you know, even this rinky-dink video of myself, mouthing the words. But someday I will say I 'm dying  and it will be really true and if I have done this performance correctly, I will go towards the light with gusto.



DATE:2015
TIME: O:28
CREDITS: TOBE  CAREY editing.
 





INTRODUCTION:

Suffering has always been my drug of choice. It began at and even before my birth but I will spare the reader the long list of PTSD making events that comprise my  monstrously  emotional/personal narrative and move onto the way I found to address the traumas.

As an art-mystic in the making:
I by-passed becoming a shaman and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a stigmatist and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a Catholic who "offered up my suffering" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a "victim soul" and curing my trauma that way;
I by-passed becoming a graduate of long term therapy and curing my trauma that way;
Instead I made the art of transforming the trauma and alchemicalizing  it and crushing it with symbol and beauty.
By addressing old age, sickness (of myself and the planet) and death, as art, I have been able to not only feel my own pain but make my story a teaching tool for others.
May we all fly free before we die.

Linda Mary Montano, Saugerties NY.





 







A COMPILATION OF FILMS  by LINDA MARY  MONTANO:    SICKNESS, OLD AGE AND DEATH











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TITLE: ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO                   :     ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/Yaxcwo2M7d8

DESCRIPTION: When I was 20 I was in a convent and after two years, I realized that I was not emotionally mature enough to be a nun. It's not that I didn't love everything about the life, it's just that I had some unfinished business that needed cleaning up and I was not able to ask for help there so that I could heal and stay. The way I expressed my confusion was to take control of food intake. It seems this is not possible to do while in a convent, sitting at a table along with eight different nuns-in-training, silently watching every move that everyone made. Forks hitting against plates and a voice reading about the lives of the saints and martyrs were the only other totally frightening meal-time sounds. To fix it all, my inventive mind decided to control my food intake and I went from a hefty 135 lbs to 80 lbs. Anorexia became a side job which kept me quite busy... learning how to hide from my mates the fact that I was eating nothing and then doing my chores with great vigor because of the adrenaline high from starving. About 15 years after leaving, I sought out other women with the same issue and made ANOREXIA NERVOSA, seeking explanation and comradeship in a  community of like-mindedness which has the power to heal. This not an art film, but a raw, uncut, unedited look at  life.

There is also a you tube edited version of just myself talking about my anorexia.


https://youtu.be/WVeDuwc4yw


TITLE:  ANOREXIA NERVOSA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS
DESCRIPTION: See above.

YEAR: 1977
TIME: 1:01:18
CREDITS: Christine Barnum, Diane Bass, Vicky Sutherland, Kelly Doyle.

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 TITLE: DYSTONIA by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : ILLNESS

http://youtu.be/lj9OlegCsBc

Description: Another title for this film could have been SICK ART or ART/LIFE because it is my attempt to lighten up, make sense of, expose, explore, and be horrified by a chronic, neurologic condition which I developed in 2006. Not many people have heard of Dystonia which results in spasms, contortions, head turnings and many other strange body-art gesticulations.  My contracting/getting/having Dystonia is the reason I did a lot of things: it’s the reason I became/acted as if I were Mother Theresa  because I was bent over, not by having served 400 million people but by spasms from Dystonia. Dystonia also was the reason I made the exorcism film because my neck started acting extremely weird in church and I thought I was possessed. “Linda, you are not possessed,” said Father Lebar, Catholic priest and exorcist. But I do spasm, I do have to hold my head up with sometimes both hands, I am in almost-constant pain. Calling out the forces of transformation, calling out the army of art as healing, I relinquished the pity party, the drama, the trauma, the telling my friends that I had a chronic illness,  and instead, I wrote my Dystonia story as a fun, cute, feel good, Hallmark Card Fairy Tale, which Jonathan Penz, a home-schooled pre-teened genius reads in all of his innocence. To counteract the kid artness of the film, I include/superimposed on the images,  frightening side-effects of the Botox injections which I am receiving. And to counteract the horrors  of  these side-effects, the words PEACE,  HOPE, & LOVE fly through the film as lovely angel-words. My neurologist, Dr. Fabio Danisi  is such a sport, allowing his injection procedure to be filmed by his assistant Cindy Miller. As a team of 3, I feel we have shed beautiful light on a terrible plight. Every three months, many Dystonia patients around the world receive Botox injections. I get mine today. Have to go out in this Northeastern snowstorm and buy him a cannoli before I go!

YEAR: 2012
TIME: 5:25
CREDITS: Camera: Cindy Miller, Doctor: Dr. Fabio Danisi, Patient: Linda Mary Montano, Story: Linda Mary Montano, Narrator: Jonathon Penz, Video Editor: Tobe Carey.


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TITLE: SEVEN STAGES OF INTOXICATION by LINDA MARY MONTANO   : ILLNESS/MENOPAUSE

youtu.be
Post menopausal hormone changes catapulted me out of control and I felt symbolically "intoxicated". This tape also references the "art" of teaching via faux-...

Description: I structure ALL of my work as if it had chapters, building blocks, architectural orderings, titled sequences and designated pauses so that my books, performances and films have structure and sculptural strength. Maybe that is because I am semi-Jesuit trained and sculpturally certified having graduated from the UWM with an MFA in Sculpture? The foundational principle of this particular film goes like this; PART ONE: Instructing in a faux-way the purpose of the tape; I do all of this faceless, with just make-believe hand gestures, faux-signing what I’m saying because I absolutely believe that viewers must be entertained visually, sonically, kinesthetically, and with good humor. At that time I was a university professor and the STINK of academia is evident in this film because I talk about performance history, my teaching history, the theme of self-portrait, the persona that I portray, and the psychological issues around menopause. Doing this comically and non-sensibly lightens the burden of university-speech.  Apologizing for what the viewer is about to see, I excuse my Seven Drunk Personas, by explaining that aging and the surrender that one must admit to as time, illness and gravity rob the body of its former brilliance: aging is similar to being inebriated. When drunk, there is a surrender, and a letting go, and a succumbing to the dark negative  which is hormonally similar to what happens in menopause. This is one of my favorite films. I am completely out of control, breaking all taboos of nice-ness and decorum. I’m sure that having to be on-guard in my high paying  job and in university good behavior brought out and encouraged this opposition character/persona who lets down my Texas niceness and lets off steam. To illustrate how funky I get in this film, I even perform on the steps of one of the major university buildings and don’t even flinch as one of the nuns, who I met regularly at daily Mass, walks by and looks like she recognizes the drunken homeless woman acting out in public!   PART TWO: Seven alcoholic women acting as if drunk. PART THREE: An assignment. ART trumps LIFE - ART heals LIFE. Will I ever be this brave again?

YEAR: 1997
TIME: 33:35
CREDITS: Camera: Steven Kolpan, Yuki Julie Kao, Joe Zambarino, Cecil Martin. Actors: Geoffrey Thomas, Bethel Collins, Chris Graham, Lance Myers, Debra Hewitt, Danny Flores, Joe Zambarino. Production: Beta: Edward Garana Teleprint Express. Sound: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain. Editing: ANdy Cockrum, Metropost. Special thanks: Andy Cockrum, Kate Horsfeld, Alexandria Carrion, Flavia Gondolfo, Minnette Lehmann, Steven Kolpan, R.S. Mishra,

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  TITLENURSE NURSE by LINDA MARY MONTANO   :   ILLNESS  & AGING

http://youtu.be/EctbZtb79_k

DESCRIPTION: After I left the University of Texas Austin, where I was teaching Performance Art, I returned to Upstate New York having actually been called home by my “good” inner voices, who counseled me to, “Go, be with your father.” The backstory is that I was denied tenure, but actually, UT gave me the freedom to get to know my father for the last seven years of his life by firing me!! NURSE NURSE comedically references care giving a compromised elder, played by me, and this film  allows me to practice and rehearse for what might happen medically to me in my future. That is, aren’t we all dreadfully afraid of Alzheimers? And if I practice having it now, maybe I will scare it away or at least be comfortable having it when I do get it?  An important prop in this film is my dad’s lazy boy chair. It triggers such pain because he had his stroke in that chair, and I needed to resurrect the chair from memory - hell. Admittedly, this film is not funny, not easy, but in my estimation, totally necessary.

YEAR: 2013
TIME: 18:23
CREDITS: Edited by Tobe Carey Willow Mixed Media. Camera - Josepha Gutelius. Nurse Actor - Laura Kopczac. Patient Actor - Linda Mary Montano. Nurse song/voice - Linda Mary Montano. Additional Audio Recording - Jim Barbaro Natural Recording Studio. Nurse Voice Over - Meg Carey. Special thanks to Meg Carey, Tobe Carey, Josepha Gutelius, Minnette Lehmann, and Laura Kopczak.
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TITLE: STARVED SURVIVORS by LINDA MARY MONTANO :  PLANETARY ILLNESS
http://youtu.be/NZcZWN2YFkI
Description: My very destructive and bad habit of listening to British BBC dramatic news reports especially from 7 pm, when I go to bed, to 6 am when I wake up, resulted in an imploded brain overload, a poetic frenzy that spilled aesthetically from my unknowing but indoctrinated and addled brain. I honestly channeled the text for this film and the SPILLAGE was putrid in its memory of every single atrocity committed on every single continent of the world having heard about them in my non-rem sleep all night. So what to do with the mental detritus? I made  art. Fairy tales are my weapon of choice and I open the film with a sweet little girl (me) talking about her need for a grandmother and guardian and teacher. This grandmother (me, of course), in one of my favorite old lady masks, tells the little girl that life sucks, and be careful. The reasons why life sucks are sing-song-litanied for almost a half an hour over and over and the list of sins committed globally are words that my asleep brain remembers from BBC radio. Not trusting that my own voice could do the poem justice, I asked Paul McMahon, poet and musician, to read the atrocities and craziness melodically, thereby diffusing what’s happening in the seedy and dirty corners of this world with his poetic soothe. Mouths, teeth, saliva, gums are visuals I focus on obsessively and compulsively and have a field day doing so in this film. The cast of characters includes talking infants, mimicking doppelgängers, fear mongers,  prophetic predictors of global warming,  storm warners and other bad news sad sacks. Of course it ends on a happy note, when the Hag/Grandmother re-appears and tells Little Linda, DO NOT BE AFRAID.

YEAR: 2011
TIME: 19:25
CREDITS: Video and Animation editing by Tobe Carey. Photos by Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Annie Sprinkle. Water and Storm Video by Tobe Carey. Thunder Audio by EZWA Public Domain Sounds. Voices: Man - Paul McMahon, Baby - Tobe Carey, Child - Linda Montano. Special Thanks: Tobe Carey, Paul McMahon, Meg Carey. Inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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TITLE: BENARES by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :   DEATH in  INDIA

http://youtu.be/2vG10Mgtcwk

Description: In the late 1990’s, I was a professor of performance art, at the University of Texas, Austin. Luckily, one of the perks of professorship is a travel grant which I used to visit India with my mentor and friend Dr. Aruna Mehta. Also, luckily, the University had a medical clinic that had superior travel  information. So I did all of that, made sure I knew how to keep myself physically safe, and set out for one of the most transforming experiences of my life. Although I had not completely made arrangements for places to stay in Benares, they magically came together, and a very learned Brahman scholar in India, made sure that I was able to participate in Varanasi’s theological culture. Please watch this film because I cannot begin to describe the floating dead bodies in the Ganges. I cannot begin to describe the 24/7 burning ghats. I cannot begin to describe the senior citizens waiting to die in the most holy city in the world ; the place where their Moksha/liberation from rebirth is guaranteed. I cannot begin to describe (in words), the evolution from my own Western fear, voyeurism, culture appropriation, to an Eastern  understanding of the divine both in Life and Death. This sophomoric  attempt to move myself from tourist to one-who-belongs marks the beginning of a journey that is not so much now about death but about Love.

YEAR: 1998 & 2008
TIME: 25:35
CREDITS: For my friends Dr. Aruna Mehta, Dr. A.L. Mehta. Consultant in Benares: Ratnesesh Pathak. Videographer in Benares: Daffodils Videotec. Sound Design: Chris Erlon, Digital Domain, Austin, Texas. Video Design: Andy Cockrum, 501 Group Austin, Texas. Re-Edited 2007, Tobe Carey, Willow Mixed Media Glenford, CT.  Special Thanks to University of Texas, Austin, Department of Art.

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TITLE: DAD ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO : OLD AGE/SICKNESS/DEATH


Description: When I arrived back to New York State from Texas, having been denied tenure, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime.  That is, I was able to be with my father and get to re­know him for the last seven years of his life. He allowed me to collaborate with him on video, and we filmed while watching Wheel of Fortune together; we filmed eating linguini and clams together; we filmed him meeting his beautiful woman friend as she picked him up to take him out to dinner. I’m editing out his unspeakable head accident at  physical therapy, his fall at  home and rush to the hospital with a stroke. But I’m not denying that I hid behind the camera using it as a shield as I became manager of his care at home 24/7 for three years. 400,000 care­givers came through the front door, day and night, and I filmed it all. Not sneakily, not as a thief, but as 
a frightened bird behind a branch disguised­ as ­tripod. DAD ART
 was the result of my father’s 
original generosity of sharing LIFE/ART with me and the result of my continuing that process as I watched a kind of transcendence overcome him. No, it wasn't pretty or wonderful but during his illness he exuded the same beauty that he exhibited when he sat in church in meditation. Friends would come into the house at 9 John Street and cry because of the atmosphere that he created: a high­ level intensity and vibrational frequency. One of the care­givers was smart enough to remind me to encourage him to paint and he became an abstract expressionist painter who for 1­2 hours a day, sat transfixed as red or orange or black or yellow appeared on the paper in front of him via his Zenned­ paintbrush which moved so slowly that I would almost faint with 
the beauty of his focus.  Some of these paintings are incorporated into the film DAD ART
  which premiered once or twice publicly  and once with close friends as a funeral memorial service. During the performance of  DAD ART
, I sing the seven songs he and my mother would play in 
their band during the 30’s and 40’s. Also on stage during the memorial ­performance there are many different activities and "stations" of  symbolic actions: one of artists as counselors, talking to people about death which invites participants  to enter the performance space to become co­ performers in a collaborative group process.  At another station, a collaborator pours glasses of water and hands them out, since water became such an important vehicle of life/not life for my father as he stopped eating and drinking. At the third station, audience members are invited to come to the “stage” and dictate a letter to death who is  a collaborator, wearing a death mask. A vibrant, breath of fresh air, exuberant MC keeps everything moving, invites people to the stage, and blows a whistle when it’s my time to sing one of my seven songs. DAD ART 
Performance/Film is an invitation to anyone who would like me to come and mourn with you publicly as art. I promise, this will not be easy. 

YEAR: 2007
TIME: 2 HOURS
CREDITS:TOBE CAREY, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON

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TITLE: LIVING ART / DYING ART by LINDA MARY MONTANO  : DEATH

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff79M4NB26s

DESCRIPTION: In the late 90’s, on several occasions, I presented a slide lecture which demonstrated the way that my art references impermanence and dying. In 2014, video artist and editor Tobe Carey scanned the slides from the lecture and we collaged together the spoken narrative, images both of my own work and also of death rituals from many different cultures, creating an Endgame-like collage. There are images from my study in Benares at the burning ghats, images from my film, MITCHELL’S DEATH, images of Parsi funerary rites,  images of my performances and descriptions of ways that my work and death seem to be close cousins! In this multi-faceted film: I feel, I mourn, I heal, I say goodbye,  I teach, I prepare for my final retirement, and maybe my most important  DVD, DEATH.

YEAR: 2014
TIME: 42:44
CREDITS: Produced and directed by Montano. Edited by Tobe Carey. Sound voice Jim Barbaro, Paul McMahon. Voices: Montano, Hominy and Ginger McMahon. Actor Rich Granville. Special thanks: Tobe and Meg Carey.
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TITLE: MITCHELL'S DEATH by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH

Description: In 1977, my ex-husband was murdered. I could stop here and say no more because that sentence alone, explains and describes this film.  But writing is how I communicate best so I will outline my process.  The murderer called me and told me about Mitchell's death, not saying that he murdered him but that he "accidentally" shot him in the head. Not having any skills at dealing with trauma, with talking things out, with asking for comfort, with seeking support by expressing my pain, I began writing the story from the moment that I heard the news to the time that I went into the morgue and saw his body . Still today, I hardly breathe when I remember this.  Back then, I was able to use my ability to make art of my life and I shared his death with friends and colleagues at The Center For Music Experiment, UCSD, where I was a fellow in residence.  And then, I shared the film itself, not as a performance but as a video-document and it went viral, so to speak.  Was it  because I chanted the story in good Gregorian-Zen fashion?  Was it because the editor, David Wagner, used delay to deepen my voice and the story became  a trance-like dirge that was almost beautiful?  Was it because the story was so raw and grief ladened that it resonated with everyone who has ever experienced loss?  All I know is that the film, MITCHELL’S  DEATH,  has touched everyone who has ever sat shiva with it.  And Mitchell, an artist who had trained to be a Protestant Minister, continues to inspire.

Accessible via VIDEO DATA BANK
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 TITLE: ON DEATH AND DYING by LINDA MARY MONTANO  :SICKNESS

http://youtu.be/wQU_3gfQL8I

Description: This film is thirty three years old, made in the mid 80's and it is now 2015.  I am totally enthralled by it's timelessness. It is crazy in it's symbolism but in retrospect I think I can now read into it with some clarity.  For example, why are three women in their 30's playing cards, dressed like nuns, sitting at a beautifully adorned card table with an hourglass in the middle, tracking time, while listening/or not listening to a nurse  talk about death and dying?  I am interviewing that nurse, Mescal Hornbeck, but did it as if I were a French poetess, using a sweet, innocent and polite faux French accent. WHY? Elizabeth Cross, Vicki Stern and I were dear and close friends at that time and  both Vicki and I were living at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt Tremper NY as students of meditation, while Elizabeth lived in the village of Woodstock and made her living as a hairdresser/artist. We were women who  always created our unique ways of responding to our life issues;  we were women who conversed about our status as women; we were women who lived in a monastery (Vicki and I) and I know that this film is a response to the fact that we were taught by men in a male-run institution. At that time, this was a joy and also an irritant and like good feminists, we responded as art and made  this "teaching tape" which is totally, strangely beautiful in it's woman-ness;  beautiful in it's ability to enthrall the senses with candles dancing via camera movements; beautiful in the absurdity of nuns putting on paper sailor hats over their nun veils; beautiful in the way that we are playing cards and winning because we are alive; beautiful because Mescal is giving/freely offering 50 years of deep experience with the subject which we all need to study and learn about: death.  This film is not wanting to trick:  there are no difficult language tricks;  no need to impress with theological posturing;  no fancy camera work or snazzy editing; no need to cower and run into  the Zen-interview room and try to impress a man with an understood koan!  My art is always about my life and obviously, I wanted to be a Guru, just like my male Zen teacher was at that time. By making this very important, informative and comedically complex film, Elizabeth, Vicki and I  got what we wanted, respect for our WOMAN-WAY . The strangely channeled CHICKEN BAWK at the end, concurs.

YEAR: 1982
TIME: 21:44
CREDITS: Participants are: Elizabeth Monroe Cross, Vicki Stern, Linda Mary Montano, and narrator Mescal Hornbeck
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 TITLEMY MOTHER; ARTIST AND TEACHER by LINDA MARY MONTANO:  DEATH


DESCRIPTION:  My mother's life and death were both extraordinarily epic. A painter who art therapied herself out of a called for and deserved depression, Mom's resiliency could have rewarded her with a Badge of Courage because she took devastating trauma making life issues and alchemized then into art, activism and humor. Modeling these gifts for me, I look at our lives which could have been charted and copied page for page, letter by letter and I recognize that I have imitated her style, not missing a beat.
We both practice art as therapy and humor and as deflection from the unspeakable. We both jump into everything with 150% effort and an attitude which covers over the fact that neither of us know exactly how to respond to the life issues at  hand but both of us give everything our best shot. For example, I watched Mom cut  neighbors', family and friends' hair in our kitchen even though she had zilch training . And guess who was the president of Saugerties Nursing Committee? Mom, of course, who was not a nurse. And guess who taught English as a second language up until a few months before she died? You guessed it, Mom. My own life shares similar stories of my doing/becoming and acting as if while knowing nothing about the subject at  hand.
I eulogized Mom with a book, THE 5 JOHNS OF 5 JOHN STREET and a video titled , MOM ART. I've honored her by living my life as art and it is only right that I share helpful suggestions that I gleaned from watching by her bedside as she died. I know that she would tell me, "act as if" if I felt shy about sharing these words with you. She would say, "Make believe that you ARE a professional grief counselor."  Or she might say, "Linda, help as many people as possible with your wisdom. But make sure that you do it with humor!" Thanks Mom. You're a CHAMP and so am I.

 https://youtu.be/_dp-Ti_fhLk
youtu.be
My Mother - Artist and Teacher All paintings by Mildred Kelly Montano. Thank you Mom for Teaching me how to Heal.




YEAR:2016
TIME: 13:17
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY, JIM BARBERO, HENRY MONTANO, MEG CAREY
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TITLE: DAD ART PAINTING by LINDA MARY MONTANO: OLD AGE/SICKNESS

DESCRIPTION: My father had a serious accident caused by a physical therapist. It compromised his health and he developed a hemorrhagic stroke. He had 24-7 care at  home and I videotaped him for that entire time, having begun a video-collaboration with him when he was well. I didn't put the camera down and when a caregiver brought him paints, I was able to record and document this amazing Zen-like event: my dad painting everyday for an hour as if he was a reincarnation of a monk in a monastery in Kyoto. This painting section is edited and  excerpted from the 2 hour DAD ART_performance film which includes bathing, lifting, saying good bye and my father's last  breath. Just seeing the beauty is often a relief and enough.


YEAR: 2015
TIME: 19:39
CREDITS: TOBE CAREY editing, BRENDHA HUTCHINSON, sound.

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  TITLE: I'M DYING, MY LAST PERFORMANCE  by LINDA MARY MONTANO

DESCRIPTION:  Once I read a story about Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche in a book by death-teacher, Steven Levine.  It goes like this. Trungpa went into his son's room and said to him, " I'm DYING." And then he said to his son, "You are dying too."
This story made a deep impression on me because death is the last taboo, the hidden boogey-man, the unspeakable, What a beautiful lesson in impermanence this father gave his son.
As I age, not so gracefully, I keep thinking and saying inside, "Linda, you are getting close to dying." But this is not done for spiritual teachings for myself but as a prompt to terror and fear. So, of course, I decided to make art about this sentence and will say to myself, AS ART, "I'm DYING " whenever I feel the urge to frighten myself. Art heals, you know, even this rinky-dink video of myself, mouthing the words. But someday I will say I 'm dying  and it will be really true and if I have done this performance correctly, I will go towards the light with gusto.



DATE:2015
TIME: O:28
CREDITS: TOBE  CAREY editing.