How to Die


HOW TO DIE is a two-part performance exposé of suicidal tendencies in contemporary US society. 


Homeless USA (SDF USA)

Keith Hennessy with Jules Beckman

Homeless USA is an elegy for the poor and broken-hearted after a text by Robert Olen Butler, which imagines the final words of a homeless man who commits suicide by train decapitation. The performance uses the situation of the homeless in the US (especially in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco where Hennessy lives) as a point of departure for a montage of unexpected dances, songs, texts, images, actions. 

Commissioned by Les Subsistances, Lyon, 2005


American Tweaker

Keith Hennessy with Seth Eisen and Jules Beckman

American Tweaker is a self-collapsing spectacle about crystal meth, barebacking, and AIDS. The point of departure: the man called ‘Super HIV’, a guy in his 40’s who was diagnosed in 2005 with (allegedly) a new super form of HIV, resistant to all antiviral medicines, after a period of three months in which he daily injested crystal meth and was fucked, without a condom, by over 100 men.

Seth Eisen plays the ghost of gay dance clubs, an angel of ecstacy and liberation, inspired by Sylvester, the San Francisco disco superstar who died of AIDS in 1988. Music features Marc Kate's remix/implosion of Sylvester’s hit You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real). 

Queer literary star Kirk Read has written a poignant and sharp text for this piece, imagining ‘Super HIV’ in the moment of being infected/injected after a particularly long bout of partying. 

Commissioned by Les Laboratoires, Aubervilliers, 2006.How To Die has been presented by Les Laboratoires (Paris), Les Subsistances, Dance Mission (San Francisco).


Review by Rita Felciano, danceviewtimes