Composer-performer JULIUS EASTMAN was an enigma, both comfortable and uncomfortable in the many worlds he inhabited: black, white, gay, straight, classical music, disco, academia, and downtown New York.
His music, insistent and straightforward, resists labels and seethes with a tension that resonates with musicians, scholars, and audiences today. Eastman's provocative titles, including Gay Guerrilla, Evil Nigger, Crazy Nigger, and others assault us with his obsessions. Eastman tested limits with his political aggressiveness, as recounted in legendary scandals he unleashed, for example, his June 1975 performance of John Cage's Song Books, which featured homoerotic interjections, and the uproar over his titles at Northwestern University. These episodes are examples of Eastman's persistence in pushing the limits of the acceptable in the highly charged arenas of sexual and civil rights.
For more information on Julius Eastman, read Gay Guerrilla: Julius Eastman and His Music, available on Amazon.