The Silent E: 29 Effeminate Gestures, 24 Years Later
by Selby Schwartz
Joe Goode’s 29 Effeminate Gestures was first performed in 1987, by Joe Goode himself; it was literally a self-proclamation. It began with a muttered statement, repeated more and more emphatically, mounting to a ringing, stamping, shouted-out rhythm: “Heee’s a-good-guy! Heeeee’s a-good-guy! He’s a good good GOOD GOOD GOOD GOOD GUY!” He looked like a good guy: he was Joe Goode, he was tall and good-looking, he was wearing clean mechanic’s coveralls, he had sincere brown eyes, you would trust him to fix your car. However, he was also purposefully wielding a power chainsaw, and the intensity of its ragged whine brought adjectives other than good to mind. There was something excessive about him, a dangerous exaggeration of possibility. He wasn’t a good guy; he was a Goode. It was as if that extra, silent “e” made all the difference.