Chicken John Is Still Not Dead, But Let’s Pretend He Is At An Art Show In NYC

Chicken John Donor Lunch

“Let It End Like This” is an art show in New York City. It’s about people being dead. Chicken John gets to be one.

Ironically, Chicken will be live and in person at the art show opening on March 9th at apexart in Lower Manhattan. The show is curated by Todd Zuniga of Opium Magazine and the participants include Eugene Mirman, Moby, Jesse Thorn, Tao Lin, and Alan Zweibel. The show will be up through May 14, 2011.

Chicken has been soliciting short written pieces in a post-humous mindset: what would you say at Chicken John’s funeral?

Have you ever thought about my death? Dreaded it? Prayed for it? Tried to hire someone to expedite it? This can’t go on forever: how’s it gonna end for Chicken? It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with attending my own funeral. It’s a Showman’s dream, for sure… but assuming you have loved ones in the first place, it’s too much to put them through. It’s just not good form, to fake your own death. But that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace the severe comedy of attending one’s own funeral. Outside of fiction. We can.

Those pieces will be compiled into a book for display at the show. The hitch is that while the book will be displayed to the public, Chicken will never read it himself. The last pages of the book will be left blanks, so that those attending the art show in person can add their necrological commentary by hand.


Here’s how Chicken explains the project…

The book will be displayed on a stand as an object D’art in the gallery show. The last pages will be blank so that people who visit the gallery can also participate.

The trick is that I will never read what is in this book. Can you imagine? My dream, staring me in the face, and I won’t even take a peek, because nobody gets that. I think I’m fucked up enough already, thank you very much. It’s as close as I can get to being at the real thing…

My whole life has been an art experiment, so it makes sense that my death would also serve the same end. It’s how I wanna go. I don’t really do sacred… so let’s play with my death like a toy. Flip the power around.

Some of you reading this know Chicken well, and many of you don’t. Some of you have only heard about him on this blog and are probably asking once again who the hell is this Chicken guy? We’ve all been there, believe me.

Chicken John has done a lot of things in San Francisco (after arriving here from stints in cacophonous Los Angeles and before that NYC where he was the soundman at CBGB and played in G.G. Allin‘s band Murder Junkies ) including running for mayor, buying a bus, getting obsessed with boating and seasteading, owning a bar, rigging a pickup truck to run on wood pellets and bullshit, owning the most amazing dog of all time, joining twitter, throwing the event Lost Vegas 600,000 times (coming March 19th to NIMBY), and hosting the weekly Ask Dr. Hal show which has had its last show ever at a dozen venues several dozen times and even blogging for The SF Weekly.

And of course singing Styx in a hail of bottle rocket fire:

Back in 1999, when Laughing Squid was producing a monthly living artist series, Chicken appeared under the moniker Jean Poulet–the bio for the mythical Poulet has a little more truth to it than you might expect.

While the book is already being compiled, it seemed like the fun should not stop there, especially when @chickenjohn is on Twitter. Why not let Chicken get a hint of the mortal feelings people have for him (since he can’t read his own book).

Here are a few example twit-obits that I came up with:

Just heard: @chickenjohn off this mortal coil (not from @Mike_FTW). Gutted. He could be an asshole but made some great shit happen #DAMMIT!

Someone won the pool today, @ChickenJohn is dead. :( and someone else will have to re-park his cars tomorrow morning #NoRunForGovernor


Ex-NYC, ex-LA, G.G. left him holding the mic, a legend in his own mind, the owner of The Odeon has left the building, R.I.P. @chickenjohn

There are lots of jokes to make & I will make a bunch of them but I lost a good friend when @ChickenJohn died & the world lost a lotta magic

Why not @ him your own? It has more nutritional value than tweeting about Charlie Sheen. Below please find a selection of representative images of a showman’s life.

John Rinaldi for Mayor

Chicken's Big Check

Chicken And His Files

Chicken John Loves Santarchy

Chicken John's Lost Vegas

I am I am I am the ram...

Chicken John

2731 - Chicken John

A Man and his Dog

Please give generously, when death knocks at your door.

photos by Scott Beale, Chicken John, dav, Aaron Ximm, Danger Ranger, and Phat Mandee


Actor, nerd, poet, producer, writer mikl-em made his name short so you wouldn't have to. In addition to his blog you can find his writing in "Hi Fructose" magazine and witness him almost life-sized in various plays at The Dark Room Theater in SF's Mission district.

He tends to write about theater, humor, San Francisco culture and history, and stuff that's just plain weird. He thanks Scott for sharing the keys to the Laughing Squid virtual HQ and promises to uphold whatever it is that the mirthful cephalopod would prefer to be uplifted.