Powering Up / Powering Down 1/30/04-2/1/04
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Pat Payne

“Uterine Vinegar and other stories” (a work in progress)

Conceived by: Pat and Kathleen Payne
Written and performed by: Pat Payne

Uterine Vinegar is a series of satirical performance vignettes that confront the medical industry’s prejudice about mature women and their bodies, and the diagnostic technologies that support these pseudo-scientific views. In UV, a pair of sibling protagonists battle gynecologists, self-help health books and feminist health centers, as they attempt to regain control of their reproductive organs. The sisters look at the trend toward pathologising natural female aging processes; although the subject matter is serious, the sisters decided the off-beat approach to their medical problems is delivered with a healthy dose of sarcasm and macabre imagination. (the series title was inspired by a holiday brainstorming session, during which the sisters try to decide what to do with their damaged uteri, should they opt for the hysterectomies.)

Uterine Vinegar combines prose, sound, and props, linked by video projections, to capture the stress of having to make potentially life-altering medical decisions. Although UV is performed as a solo piece, it is based on years of dialogues between my sister and myself, which track our progress through telephone conversations, email messages, and anecdotes from the war on women.


A former member of the Taco Shop Poets, and the Rachel Rosenthal Performance Company, Payne received her MFA from the UCSD visual Arts Department. She has been a featured poet at numerous venues, including the Seattle Poetry Festival, UCLA Hammer Museum, Expresso mi Cultura, Getty Museum, La Peña Cultural center, Chicago Arts Guild, World Stage, and the Nuyorican Poet's Café. She has also performed and curated readings for Beyond Baroque and the Henry Miller Library. Payne is currently a mentor for WriteGirl, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that mentors high school girls with a passion for writing.

“Powering Up/Powering Down” is sponsored in part by the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA), and the UC San Diego Department of Music in connection with the departments of Visual Arts, Music, and Literature at UCSD along with the UC Riverside and Los Angeles campuses.