Performance art is an art form best defined by what it isn't, or what it almost is. It's not theater, or dance, or music or any of the performing arts, but it may borrow or make use of any of those. It's not exactly a visual art form, though performances can be highly visual, and often what remains of a performance-art piece -- be it stains on the floor, on the wall, on canvas or on bedsheets -- can be a work of its own. Performance art can include film, video or other new media. It can include narrative or resist narrative. It can appear to be standup comedy but isn't standup. It can have aspects of a sketch or short scene but isn't really either.
Freedom is what performance art is really about, a form that grants the artist a space without boundaries. At the Forum for Contemporary Art from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, April 17, the inaugural NADADADA Festival is held, with students from Washington University and Webster University bringing their work out of the classroom and into the public sphere. The festival emerges as a collaboration between the Forum and artists Andrew Connelly, Carol Hodson and Joan Lipkin, whose students, including Kira Cain (pictured in her performance, "Pale Mourning," will be taking that leap into the unfamiliar audience. Admission is $2 at the door, or free to those dressed as "alternative egos." Call 535-4660 for more information.
-- Eddie Silva