John O' Keefe Feature

The Miami premiere of Shimmer will mark the first time that O'Keefe has performed in a boxing ring, but he says he's always willing to rise to the challenge of the new. "The point is that the theater is dying because it has lost its sense of vitality," he says. "And part of it is due to people being too conservative and worried about whether the material is going to get audience members. The best artists are those who take over your inner clock. Robert Wilson, for instance. And Fellini always did that for me like few people have. He thumbed his nose, even in his genius, at all the intelligentsia. He just said, `Oh fuck you, baby.' He wasn't afraid to get right down in there and do that stuff." O'Keefe, too, has been doing that stuff, doing it for almost 30 years now. In keeping with the theme of Shimmer, he even has a pertinent simile to describe the creative process, one lifted intact from the adolescent domain of secret thrills, where young children sit transfixed by the voice of a drum. "Creating things is always like grasping at straws. It's like sticking your hand out a window during a bat-storm and seeing what kind of varmint you can bring into a dark room.

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