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About the Artist

jerome dunn has been creating material for exhibition, publication, recording and live presentation since 1979, when he studied experimental music at the University of Redlands under composers Jim Fox and Barney Childs, followed by three years as a visual art student at Golden West College.

A vocalist since early childhood, his formal study of music began with his first trombone lesson in 1967. Essays, poems, stories and illustrations have appeared in Coagula Art Journal, La Quadra, the Nervous Breakdown, Bombay Gin and others, and his guitar/vocal/trombone work is featured on the (unreleased) Cheap Disaster (’92), Stark Aloe Vera (’95), Lovely Children (’11) and Never a Dull Blundr (in progress).

In the early ’80s he studied Architecture while, as jerry the priest, presenting mixed-media performance work in the galleries and nightclubs of Greater Los Angeles. Intravenous drug experiments led to the infection, imprisonment and deaths of his intimates, though he was spared this fate, carrying on despite the loss, in January of 1985, to form The Commandos of Humiliation—a wildly theatrical performance ensemble who challenged social conventions while exploring patterns of speech, movement, sound and light. This became humility incorporated in 1987.

In December of 1992, the artist graduated from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado with a BA in Performance Studies. He matriculated under Jean-Claude van Italie, Anne Waldman, Barbara Dilley and Dzigar Kongtrul, Rinpoche, immersing himself in Surrealist/Spiritual/Beat poetry, 2oth-Century Nihilist art, physical theater methodology, Contemplative Psychology and World Wisdom practices. Anhedonia Road, his first collected writing, was self-published at this time.

In the fall of 1992, he spent four months in Bodhanath and Thulo Barkhu, Nepal, documenting the rituals and folklore of Tibeto-Burmese tribes. He took Boddhistava vows, received mind transmissions from Tulku Ugyen, Rinpoche, and was given the Spiritual name, Shenphen Choying (Limitless Brilliance), which he celebrated by traveling through North India; living in a Houseboat on the Ganges at Banaras, and passing through Bodhgaya, Rajagriha and Puri.

On February 3rd, 1993, he landed in Istanbul, Turkey with a forged resume, a sharp suit and $12.00 USD, remaining the entire year teaching English and studying Islamic/Turkish history, language, culture and spiritual art; attending exhibitions of Sufi dance in Konya, and devouring antiquity in such Middle Eastern cities as Damascus, Syria; Petra, Jordan and Jerusalem, Israel.

In the mid-’90s, jerome affiliated with The Dance Complex in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he taught writing/movement workshops, staged evening-length solo performances and organized concerts for young choreographers in the Boston area. He studied guitar with Roger Miller of Mission of Burma, functioned as principal songwriter/guitarist for the indie group Maidenform, and self-published Songs from the Ass-end of Triumph—writings from his period in South Asia and the Near and Middle East.

A disastrous stint as a transcontinental trek leader of Parisian teenagers between New York and Los Angeles in the summer of 1995 will make a hilarious screenplay at some point. This was followed directly by a mad love affair in San Francisco, a smashing period of homelessness in 20- below temperatures in good ol’ Boston, and admission to one of the top-ten art schools in the U.S.

In May of 1999 mr. dunn received his MFA in Directing/Integrated Media from California Institute of the Arts, where he functioned as writer, composer, videographer, designer, director, performer and producer on a number of projects, including The Wounded Mandala—a computer-driven, interactive black-box installation, and Schammade—a scathing, absurdly black-comedic anti-musical. He studied Digital Technologies under Mark Trayle and Mort Subotnik, and Theatrical Composition with Anne Bogart (SITI Company) and Jeff Webster of The Builders Association. He served a producing internship for San Francisco’s Joe Goode Performance Group, presented Poems of Homicide and Ecstasy—a compositionally linked, 18-movement performance retrospective via the CalArts Dance School, and was unanimously selected by administrators, faculty and students to deliver the commencement address at his own graduation.

In 2001, humility incorporated was one of only 8 from over 200 international applicants to receive a grant to stage an experimental work as part of the Common Ground theater festival in Los Angeles. MULCH—featuring actors folding thousands of pairs of socks to an original music score, performed live by 12-voice choir and hand bell ensemble, and intended to represent the aftermath of a catastrophic enemy attack on American soil— premiered on June 21st, 2001 at UCLA, 3 months prior to 9/11/2001.

Devastated by America’s response to the September 11th tragedy, and wielding forged identification papers with which he masqueraded as himself, mr. dunn disbanded humility incorporated and spent the summer of 2002 in Chiapas, Mexico working on For Amber Waves of Pain—an indeterminate, psychotic mystery. Back in California, his untitled solo protest against Capitalism, et al—a midnight bicycle ride across the Bay Area’s Richmond Bridge, in sort of a one- man Critical Mass—resulted in incarceration in both Marin and Los Angeles County Jails, where he posed as a gay inmate and orchestrated make-do, free-for-all fashion shows.

The Center of a Dead Star performance collective joined jerome with three other electrifying So-Cal writer/musicians, beginning in the Spring of 2003, and continuing today. Simultaneously, he began delivering lecture/demonstrations at the Middle School, Community College and University level. In the summer of 2005, following a near-death experience on the side of a volcano, he conducted a two-month residency at Café No Sé in Antigua Guatemala, putting on weekly music/word shows heavy on audience participation. He taught English, voice and poetics to international travelers, and featured them on stage.

His tenure as an Art Critic/Columnist began, in late 2005, with the publication of an essay in Coagula Art Journal, arguing that, since Shamans are not the Artists of their mostly Eastern cultures of origin, Artists are not the Shamans of the West. A series of high-speed motorcycle collisions—March 20, 2006, October 19, 2006 and November 25, 2007—led, in the fall of 2008, to release of the Full Metal Cough Drop poetry and prose collection. In 2010 the artist had a spiritual re-awakening, was interviewed and broadcast on The Nervous, and released the singularly inspiring ‘Carried’ collection of poetry—channeled through his right hand (he’s left-handed). He released Strong Enough, his first single since the late ’90s and moved to Portland, Oregon, where he taught movement workshops and led kirtan chanting sessions at Healing Arts Resource Project. He coordinated retreat and other group activities for City Repair, a fun-loving bunch of eco-activists.

The Tao of Crime, a story about a misadventure with a Nepalese Shaman, was published in La Quadra online magazine in Spring, 2011. Lovely Children, a collection of stylistically diverse songs and chants, recorded/mixed in Portland’s St. John’s neighborhood, was completed that Fall—under the moniker monobolical interactive love choir (MiLK)—just prior to a teaching excursion to Buenos Aires, from where, having failed to marry his long-term Argentine partner, jerome embarked on a catastrophic US tour during which he forfeited all his possessions and friends, along with most of his sanity. A meeting on a random bench in Santa Cruz with Sikh Dharma master Sat Santokh Singh Kalsa in late January of 2013 began the slow process of restoring the artist’s dignity.

Hell and Gone from Chanchinurfa, jerome dunn’s first novel, was written in Saigon, Hanoi and Ha Long Vietnam, and Oakland and Mendocino, CA, over a period of 7 sleepless weeks between April 11th and May 25th, 2016. Spiritual Magazines, his debut LP with the Pill Paupers, is slated for release in late Spring 2023.

New Anthology Out Now

Beat Not Beat an anthology of California poets screwing on the Beat and post-Beat tradition (moontide press)—a glorious array of my very great predecessors and contemporaries, compiled and edited by no less than Rich Ferguson and Eric Morago, with Alexis Rhone Fancher, S.A. Griffin, & Kim Shuck. This epic tome showcases the depth and breadth of the profound impact Californians have had on the global tradition of poetry, and illustrates, without question, the vast extent to which Californian arts and literature matter, if only to Californians.

Beat Not Beat is a thick, literary h-bomb gone rogue with love for all things lyrical.

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