Imperialistic Picnic


Andrew Casillas

Sharing homemade sandwiches, chips and salsa in addiction potato with potato chips on top. The heart of the Imperialistic Picnic was in joy of giving.

John Hogan went to art school MICA Maryland Institute College of Art ,then went to CAL Arts in the city of Valencia to finish off his schooling.

Ricky Diaz major undecided stated, “At first we didn’t know what this guy was doing. He started making turkey sandwichs which was interesting. Then we saw him begin to sing which was cool,”

Many were wondering how and what was really going on, but definitely, One might as Diaz said, “He just made sandwichs and started performing.”

the start of his show”I actually wanted to be a little confusing, basically I wore a monks robe and played some noise and then I made turkey sandwiches. At one point I was wearing a Clint Eastwood Mask.”

At another point in the show I took a Sinead O Connor song who rose to fame in the 80’s. She had a song called You Cause As Much Sorrow. Hogan says, “I took a song that she did (O Connor) and mixed it with a speech from Ann Romney. So I was saying all this stuff and it sounded really sincere, but it was just some wierd political speech.”

Hogan started writing a lot of his songs after Sep. 11, 2003 (really?) Living in New York he noticed many Liberals were becoming Conservative and pro war. He recognized that it was all because of fear.

“I was always interested in the idea of the europeans who came to america and were afraid of things they didn’t understand, so they tried to change it and make it like them.”

The theme of the show followed the lines of imposing someone elses culture also called cultural imperialism, which is the spreading of your culture somewhere else.

Hogan mentions a folklore hero most people are familiar with known as Johnny Appleseed, “Its good to have apples, but its also tongue and check by spreading apples everywhere.”

“What I wanted to do was share food with people to give the impression I’m coming here, but I’m also giving you offerings, so I’m not an invader.”

One spectator of the singular play said “He fed us and he kept singing, after he finished a song literally everyone got up and got a sandwich, so that was cool I’ve never seen a performer feed their audience.” commented Ricky Diaz major undecided

Hogan played multiple original songs that varied topics from secular spiritism, to political speeches he spoke vehemently of different vegetables from corn to potatoes.

Their was a number of different songs that were performed by Hogan and would seem random externally, but when picnic attendants scoped deeper all topics discussed subtly hinted imperialism.

One song went like this, “Let the blood fall over your body, accept the spray of sweet salvation.” which was an exaggeration of spreading religious beliefs. Hogan opened up some salsa and made it seem like he was going to pour it on himself. Eventually, he poured it in a bowl and offered the audience chips and salsa.

Jesse Perez majoring in Art Animation offered his thought, “The show was Thanksgiving mixed with what looked religious by his actions. When he wore a monk garmet he looked really in the zone though, it was marvelous.”

Moreover, John Hogan played in a band that started about 10 years ago named Ponce De Leon. The band was in image of Juan Ponce De Leon, a conquistador, who traveled to Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth. The conquistador proved great inspiration for Hogan in the sense of emulating Ponce De Leon’s tactics of colonialism in the themes of his songs and speech.

“I don’t have much influence, so I’m trying to make friends by giving everybody food, but while I’m doing that I’m also pointing to the big discrepancy of where the food came from.” Similar how Ponce De Leon sought favor of the people in Florida that he was foreign to because he sought to find the mythical Fountain of Youth which supposedly restores the youth to whomever drinks from it.

John Hogan doesn’t just perform at schools, but hs performed at art galleries, stores and house parties. He comments one time once he performed in a rock club and it was a tough crowd.

His piece Imperialistic Picnic was actually made in the sense of a play which called for an array of people, but with his lack of staff Hogan goes for it himself and makes it even more appealing.

James Macdevitt Art Gallery Director comments about how name carries out the act, “It allows him to play multiple characters and exist in multiple states… He’s like a one person play, and while he’s in that role he is very sincere and embodied and completely shift gears and be something else.”

He finishes off, “He is understanding the past in a heuristic sense that the show is a playful interpretation and in the end has more to do with out own present moment rather than the past, because the future will always will be interpreted by the past and that is how we interpret out identities.”