Phalluses of Dune

Last month I performed as part of the Alwun House’s annual Erotic Poetry & Music Festivus. This was the fourth time I’ve done the fest, and for this show I wanted to do a bit that I’ve been meaning to try for years. I used to work over at Zia Records on Thunderbird, and one of the items we got in regularly were “Penis Pokey” books. These were mock-kid board books with holes cut in the middle for  you to play “pokey” with .

I had the idea of making one for Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and turn that wonderful, lengthy, complex piece of world-building into one long dick joke. And so this year I did it: I drew 7 panel “pages” for the pokey book, got onstage, and for seven minutes told the story of “Dune” using these panels and strategically inserting a dildo into the cut-out holes whenever a sandworm or weapon appeared.

When I first conceived of this idea, I had thought about going all the way with the idea and actually use my penis for the pokey, but decided against it on the grounds of:

  1. Full frontal nudity onstage is extremely distracting. It’s hard to be funny, hold an audience’s attention AND go The Full  Monty at the same time.
  2. I didn’t particularly feel like copping an indecent exposure charge and have to spend the next few months going door to door telling my neighbors I do sex offensive performance art.
  3. Being humble here: The sandworms need to look huge for the joke to really work. I have an average-sized, modest “sandworm”. It would not look impressive on a stage. Even if it was festooned with blinking lights or wore a little crown.

Behold: Frank Herbert’s “Dune”!

PAGE 1: “The Masters Of The Universe”


PAGE 2: “The Rest Of The Cast That I Felt Like Drawing”


PAGE 3: “Fremen Beach Party”


PAGE 4: “Death, More Death, And Fleeing Into The Desert”

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PAGE 5: “How To Walk And Not Get Sandwormed To Death”

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PAGE 6: “Ride That Worm, Muad’Dib! Ride It Hard!”

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PAGE 7: “The King of Pain”



Do Invertebrate Musicians Have a Union?


“Roussel’s notorious Impressions d’Afrique, an adaptation of his 1910 prose fantasy of the same name, with its contest of “The Incomparables Club’ including the debut of the Earthworm Zither Player- a trained earthworm whose drops of mercury-like ‘sweat’ sliding down the chords of the instrument produced sound-”

-from “Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present” by RoseLee Goldberg


“Snails and Lasers for Patricia Highsmith” uses the mystery writer’s snail obsession– she supposedly kept hundreds of them as pets, and she wrote about them in works like the short story, “The Snail-Watcher”– as the slimy composers of that piece. The technique: A laser was pointed at a light-sensitive theremin; snails were let loose within the theremin’s range, fucking with its pitch. The result is an ominous, hard-boiled brushed jazz piece accented with what sounds like a harpsichord flourish. It eventually turns into a bleakly paranoid theremin landscape as the snails frolic in slow motion.“

-from Brandon Stosuy’s Pitchfork review of Matmos’ “The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast”