Talking to Nathaniel G. Moore about SAVAGE: The Art of Macho Madness

Randy Savage

Check out this interview with Nathaniel G Moore about his interesting new exhibition at The White House in Toronto’s Kensington Market.


The mercurial and evanescent Nathaniel G Moore – check out his eponymous website, Critical Crushes – is curating SAVAGE: CULT OF PERSONALITY, PURE MEDIA & THE ART OF MACHO MADNESS starting this weekend, Saturday November 12, 2011.

What’s most interesting to me about the exhibition is that it’s driven by a kind of wild improvisational collaborative process among the artists. Dancers and poets and visual artists are participating in the project. They will iterate, interpret and interact all the while being documented for contextualization later in some kind of video memory edit for posterity.

Below is the breakdown of the artists participating in his legendary smack down.


Over the next few weeks we’ll be releasing information on all the artists involved in Savage: Cult of Personality, Pure Media + the art of Macho Madness.

Hailing from Papillion and weighing in at 210 pounds,Eggman (known outside of the ring as Mike Scheef) is the great-grandson of the Middlewight Catch-as-catch-can Champion of Nebraska, circa 1911. Mike dropped out of grad school at Boise Stat and started drawing pro wrestlers. His book “1000 Wrestlers” was featured on Slam! Wrestling and in the movie “The Wrestler.” His current project is publishing the zine EMZ. Issue #2.5, out this month, is dedicated to the art of the foreign object.

Sonja Ahlers is an award winning visual artist and poet currently living in Whitehorse, Yukon. An autodidact without formal training, Ahlers both makes use of and has expanded upon the notion of the artist’s book as a way to challenge the often closed system of the art gallery. Ahlers pushes the envelope of what an artist’s book might be, in both her published work and her book-inspired installations that fill entire rooms. Delicately fusing collage and text with a diary-like sincerity and contemporary social analysis through a feminist lens, Ahlers pioneers what could be called the ‘highbrow zine’, utilizing a style and voice developed in the North American west coast underground. With three published books Temper, Temper (1998), Fatal Distraction (2004) and The Selves (2010 by Drawn And Quarterly), she has honed the revolutionary DIY form into a mature and nuanced voice. Sonja Ahlers has exhibited her work in galleries across Canada and internationally. She was recently long listed for the Sobey Art Award.

Emily Holton is a writer and artist based in Toronto. Her drawings and short stories are collected in “Little Lessons in Safety” and “Dear Canada Council/Our Starland”, both from Conundrum Press. “I’m taking a Tree of Life approach to Macho Man.”

Michael Holmes writes fiction, poetry, cultural criticism and literary journalism. His books of poetry include Parts Unknown, James I Wanted to Ask You, Satellite Dishes from the Future Bakery, and Got No Flag at All. He is also the author of the novel Watermelon Row. His current project, Beer League, chronicles (among other things) the on- and off-ice exploits of both the Oshawa Bulldogs and the Hotheads. Holmes wears number 7. Since the early 1990s he has edited more than 150 titles for a variety of presses. He is now Senior Editor at ECW Press, where his imprint unleashes a half dozen or so new literary misFits on an unsuspecting world each year. He lives in Whitby with his wife and son.

“Well, in Macho Man’s honour, I’ll be reading the 10 bell salute called “10 Bell Salute” from Parts Unknown….

Here’s a simple definition/explanation of the tradition for folks:
In professional wrestling, a ten-bell salute is given to honour a wrestler that has died, especially when that wrestler is a current member of the promotion or a distinguished former member of the promotion. It is the professional wrestling equivalent of a 21 gun salute. It is typically given at the beginning of a card, with the current members of the promotion either in the entranceway, in the ring or around the ring. Both wrestlers and audience observe a moment of silence during the tolling of the bell.”

Sherwin Sullivan Tjia has written 5 books. Forthcoming in October 2011 is a choose-your-own-adventure style book told from the point of view of a housecat entitled, You Are a Cat! In his spare time, he organizes Slowdance Nights, Love Letter Reading Open Mics, Crowd Karaoke singalongs, and Strip Spelling Bees. “I watched wrestling growing up. My favourite was the Ultimate Warrior, but Miss Elizabeth and her legs always caught my eye. The piece is meant as a kind of alternate universe where she decides to become the Macho Man after Randy Savage is killed in the “squared circle”, where she works out and trains and becomes a kind of Wonder Woman amazon super-hero and carves out a place for herself in that world wrestling constellation. His death gives birth to a new kind of life for her. If Batman dies, Robin will take on his identity to keep Gotham safe. This is similar, I think.”


Greg Oliver is the author of the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame series – The Canadians, The Heels, and The Tag Teams. He has been writing about professional wrestling for over 25 years, starting with The Canadian Wrestling Report newsletter when he was still in high school. Alas, the Macho Man was one that got away, and Greg never did interview him – but he did assign one of his SLAM! Wrestling staffers to talk to Savage when his rap album came out.

Alexandra Leggat is the author of the short story collections Animal (short listed for the 23rd Annual Trillium Award), Meet Me in the Parking Lot, (nominated for the 2004 Re-Lit Award) Pull Gently, Tear Here (nominated for the Danuta Gleed First Fiction Award) and a collection of poetry entitled This is me since yesterday. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Toro, Shift, The Globe and Mail and her poetry and fiction has been published in journals across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies.
“This subject matter really inspired me. Because I paint on glass, I wanted to take an opposite and abstract approach to the theme of Macho Man and when I saw a picture of his late ex-wife/manager Miss Elizabeth she became my focus, her perspective. I saw her as the macho man, the strong one, and Randy Savage as the more abstract element of what macho symbolizes.”

Stay tuned for more info on the artists involved in Savage: Cult of Personality, Pure Media + the art of Macho Madness. RSVP on Facebook here.

Sean Cranbury is the Executive Editor of Books on the Radio. He's also Founder and Creative Director of the Real Vancouver Writers' Series. Sean is General Manager at the legendary Storm Crow Tavern and consults with literary arts organizations on digital communications strategies.

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