Desire Caught by the Tail

Creator: 
Jean-Jacques Lebel
Performer: 
Jean-Jacques Lebel
Jacques Seiler
Ultraviolet
Rita Renoir
Katherine Moreau
Taylor Mead
Jacques Blot
Michèle Lemonnier
Dorte Oloé
Laslo Szabo
Michel Asso
Soft Machine
Ben
Louise-Marie Gonnet
Roger Tallon
H. Mac Donald Prain
Bibliographical sources: 
in Teatro Nuovo
in Sipario
Producer: 
Jean-Jacques Lebel
Theoretical background: 
Occurence: 
Documents: 

Affiche du <em>IVème Festival de la Libre Expression</em>, Musée Picasso, Paris

Type: 
Imprimé
Technique description référence: 
Affiche du <em>IVème Festival de la Libre Expression</em>, Musée Picasso, Paris
LEBEL_
Jean-Jacques Lebel | trace de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet

Programme / manifeste dépliant du <em>IVème Festival de la Libre Expression</em>

Type: 
Imprimé
Technique description référence: 
Programme / manifeste dépliant du <em>IVème Festival de la Libre Expression</em>
LEBEL_
Jean-Jacques Lebel | trace de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Témoignage: 
Jean-Jacques Lebel | Le désir attrapé par la queue, 1967
Description: 
Jean Jacques Lebel discovered in 1966, the1941 text of Picasso "Desire Caught by the Tail."


He decides to stage it as part of his IVème Festival de la Libre Expression .In a non-theater spirit, he designs

the show like a huge happening that, while fully respecting the text, leaves much room for

improvisation. Every night theplay is performed, followed by a series of improvised happenings by various

participants. Seeing the novelty and the subversive character of the show, the direction of Papagayo in St.

Tropez cancels the programming at the last minute. Jean-Jacques Lebel rents a big top and

then settles on a vacant lot owned by the town of Gassin, just off Saint-Tropez.


Films by Stephen O'Leary, Conrad, Otto Mühl, Taylor Mead, Raysse, Max Ernst, Patris and Ferrari are

projected.

Taylor Mead brings a camel on stage who does not want to get off the stage.

One evening Ben shows his butt in public.

Jean-Jacques Lebel performs a play called "Mon Cul sur la commode”.

The band Soft Machine also participates.
It all started because of Michel Leiris, who came to see one or two happenings and who jokingly told me, "that's very nice, but Picasso did it before you" and he gave me "Desire Caught by the Tail" published in 1946 or 1947 by Gallimard, a text which had been read by Sartre, Picasso himself, Lacan, Brassaï under Albert Camus’ direction... I had dreamt of making something out of it. Here I was… off to Cannes’ Californie, by train, in 1966. Picasso welcomes me and tells me "Oh you are the one who makes all these naked girls stuff... "He had read it in the press ... He therefore entitled me to direct his play ...
… That day, he showed me many erotic drawings that couldn’t be seen at that time ... I then found a producer, Victor Herbert, an American eager to share the delirium of the era... We meant to shoot in Paris, then Bernadette Lafont should have played a role was starring in another film, I then immediately asked for Taylor Mead, who played in films by Warhol, a Warhol insider: Ultra Violet, who also wanted a part, Jacques Blot, a young Trotskyite actor, Jacques Seiler, an excellent actor who was Rita Renoir’s husband, a Crazy Horse Saloon celebrity, she truly was a walking ready-made.

We did rehearsals and the theater world and that of the happening didn’t work together, there was an incompatibility of structure and language ... One can’t easily go from Charlie Parker to Bach!
There were celebrations at Victor Herbert during which we rehearsed, so we had the idea, since we wanted to do it during the summer, to do it where people went for the summer ... So we contacted the manager of the Papagayo, a nightclub in St. Tropez, in order to stage the play there ... We tried to rent a big top, to install it in the nightclub, and Allan Zion, a filmmaker, many people with whom I worked, Ben, etc, provided a great help.
We made a polystyrene replica of Dora Maar’s portrait by Picasso, on which my mouth was projected, speaking, saying the text, at least voicing the author...

Surprises would occur every night on stage, a female named Catherine Moreau had a huge pair of tits, which she loved to show, of which she was extremely proud, and on which she wrote "hot" and "cold ".And she was walking in public, shouting" Who wants some milk?, who wants some milk?" A gentleman raised his arm, she went to him, it was Picasso who said," I want both ! "She went to him and he stuck his head between her boobs ... All that was not predictable ...
Taylor Mead, whose flirting was unstoppable, introducing lovers, whether they had lasted an hour or night, saying: "I found a new player! "And one day one of them, an Algerian who drove a camel on the beach making money with photographed children; Taylor brought him, complete with his camel, to the happening! Soft Machine, playing on this tiny stage ... The camel was frightened, and pooped everywhere ...That was all, that was life!
My wife had seen Soft Machine on the Sainte Maxime beach , and we went to see them. They were sleeping on the beach, playing and passing the hat around... I invited them to come and play , and then to sleep in the big top; we tried, with a few tickets being sold, to make a living. Of course, most people did not pay, coming from all over Europe, so-called hippies, stoned nomads… We all got to live together there, under the influence of what ,unfortunately,remains as a myth: the sexual revolution ...
At this time we wanted, through happenings, to change people’s view on culture, which had been relegated to the status of a rotten product, to qualify mental structures by promoting extracurricular, and possibly subversive activities...
Those who participated in the free-expression festival wanted things to happen, and then was May 68 ... the country had stopped, it has had positive and negative effects to this day ... And this kind of a china dog with his big Rolex claiming to turn over a new leaf on May 68 ... actually it has never been turned over... it can’t be turned over... we are still in the same space and time, but he does not know it ... though it doesn’tmake any difference.

During a press conference at Papagayo, but then what really is a press conference? At first we were nice, we tried to answer the questions, but the reporters were asking questions so stupid, asked by even more stupid people, they imagined we foresaw everything, we got fed up and one of us, Catherine Moreau, I think, began to undress, saying that we would respond differently, and then the whole team got naked ...
The next day one of the journalists, a slut from the Figaro complained to the City Council, and we were expelled. So we settled on a vacant lot, we got beat up two or three times ... The show resumed, the Picassian part would last for one hour, depending on Soft Machine, and then there were happenings, concerts ...
Lots of people wanted to invite us ... an American actor told us "come to my house, I have a pool," then we went there and we performed a happening that laughed at Hare Krishnas, fake mystics, and we carried out a pseudo ritual sunrise, made fun of people who made fun of hippies, that was Sun love ... Soft Machine can be seen but not heard on my 16 mm films... no recording.

A good friend, a great swinger who made quite a name, as they say in the design world, who designed the TGV, some TVs, came around to lend a hand;I couldn’t care less, I hate design, it makes me puke, it is useless, but that guy was friendly, in fact he did not care, he helped us to develop the video recording ... He would round up lots of people to our happenings ...
Nowadays people who make performances have only one idea, which is to please the institution, we couldn’t give a shit, there is a real difference between what we did, which was a breaking point and what is today believed to be art ... That is to say superpermarket, relics, it is sad because it is the cult of the dead ... a 50 years old dream can’t be re-dreamt... It is important not to become veterans either in victory or defeat ... with happenings the loser wins ... or the winner loses... it is an experiment ... which can not be reduced to exhibitions products ...

Transcript of Arnaud Maguet and Jean-Jacques Lebel’s interview , 2011.
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet
Jean-Jacques Lebel | photographie de la performance "Le désir attrapé par la queue", 1967 | photographie : © DR | courtesy Arnaud Maguet