Elbows Akimbo

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Elbows Akimbo was an Avant Garde performance art ensemble that emerged from San Francisco's underground scene of the late 1980s and stopped producing work in the mid 1990s.

Originally an outgrowth of San Francisco State University's progressive department: the Center for Experimental and Interdisciplinary Arts, it was founded by director Thomas Schulz, who selected members who excelled in a range of disciplines including dance, music, design, and writing.

The original group had eleven members, including certain key performers who have gone on to have interesting careers. These include Diana Rosalind Trimble [1], vocalist, composer, writer, and actor; Alisa Froman [2], dancer, choregorapher and actor; Michael Calvello, writer and actor; Kalonica McQuesten, vocalist and musician; Kevin McKereghan, sound engineer; Joy Cutler [3], actor and writer; Nancy Beckman, musician and actor/dancer Jody Ellsworth.

Later additions to the group who have also continued in the performing arts include movement artists Mark Steger [4], dancer/choreographer Ellie Herman, actor/writer/director Michael Edo Keane, harpist/composer Barbara Imhoff, vocalist, actor and educator Susan Volkan, illustrator/designer Barron Storey[5], actor/writer Johnna Schmidt, actor/director Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, director Mark Waters, actor Rebecca Klingler, actor John Flanagan, actor/director Diane Jackson, actor/playwright Tanya Shaffer, author Carol Lloyd, Hungarian poet, translator, performance artist Gabor G. Gyukics, actor Salim Abdul-Jelani, and actor Lewis Sims among others.


In chronological order

  • Enter the World of Beatrice
  • Asylum
  • The Tempest: a Radical Deconstruction
  • O Flame of Living Love
  • Carnevale
  • Bhagavad-Gita: the War Within,
  • JFK/Marat
  • At the Speed of Life

and tended to feature meditations on the opposing extremes of mysticism and profanity.

Elbows Akimbo was connected to a web formed by other experimental artists of the time, such as Contraband, Rob Brezny's World Entertainment War, Crash Worship, Nao Bustamante, Paul Benny, Beth Custer, The Beatnigs, Dude Theatre and George Coates Performance Works.