"Bunny" (Josh) Villaire has been a performance artist challenging conventions on and off the stage since the year 2000. He has led, and accompanied numerous musical groups, performers, and social scientists in surprising 'happenings' that are akin to guerrilla theater that perhaps Antonin Artaud or Andy Kaufman would find amusing. His sense of humor seems particularly odd, almost as if he derides personal pleasure from the audience's surprise, dismay, and confusion. He is now currently in the experimental dark-wave art outfit 'Tail from the Crypt', a Halloween band that features songs in French, English, Latin, and entirely new languages not yet discovered yet.
"In a word: passion. Stage actors need to act because they have a passion for it. Similarly, poets need to write, ballerinas need to dance. And whether anyone in the audience gets it, Finan needs to make herself completely vulnerable in front of a group of strangers.
“ For me, it’s not about what I can do on stage to freak people out,” Finan said. “It’s more about building a connection with people and about exposing part of myself, my conflicts.”
For similar reasons, Grand Rapids native Josh Villaire began incorporating elements of performance art into concerts with his now-defunct music ensemble, Coin. Today, Villaire is involved in Butoh and other projects he describes as “experimental theater,” but he shuns the label “performance artist.”
“ I prefer ‘self-sacrifice.’” Villaire said. “That’s what it is.”
He continued: “You’re up there ripping your heart out in front of people. And if they don’t like it, maybe it’s because they’re looking into a dark side of their soul that they don’t like. That’s what I like about it.”
At first glance, Villaire’s take might seem a little self-indulgent (yet another reason some members of the general population might employ the word “crap” rather than working out an understanding of a performance art piece). But Villaire doesn’t see it that way. Posing a challenge to audience members, as he explained, is a way of gifting them with something to think about.
“ It’s kind of like the stuff Andy Kauffman used to do,” Villaire said. “You never know if people are going to like it, and that’s so much better than people just clapping without even thinking about it.
“ Maybe they’re angry when they go home, but at least they’re thinking about why they’re angry.”
-----From Grand Rapids Magazine : Online Feature 2004