About the Art of Bleeding

The Art of Bleeding is a Los Angeles-based multi-media performance troupe creating comically surreal and potentially educational programs in health and safety for video and live theatrical presentation.

An ambulance show.

Traveling in an actual ambulance to clubs, galleries, festivals, and other venues, we stage short sketches set in an off-kilter “paramedical funhouse” where costumed kiddy-show characters (an ape, robot, and puppet) mingle freely – if inappropriately – with a staff of “nurses” dressed to thrill the medical fetishist in us all.

Presiding over the fray is “beloved mascot” Abram the Safety Ape, whose coloring-book persona belies more profound duties as acolyte of “True Safety Consciousness,” a concept originating with his namesake, late Austrian theoretician Abram S. Lugner, whose envelope-pushing work we regard as legitimizing underpinnings to our own onstage mélange of petty bickering, snickering burlesque and slapstick gore.

In addition to these scripted shows, Art of Bleeding performers sometimes create interactive environments, collecting together second-hand medical gear to build a temporary “clinic” where “doctors” and “nurses” improvise routines and invite would-be patients to submit to absurd and more-or-less harmless “medical” procedures.

Abram, Dr. Moody, and RT in their "paramedical funhouse."

The Art of Bleeding ambulance – often referred to as the “Magic Ambulance” thanks to its association with Lugner’s metaphysics — is sometimes parked on public sites where passersby are invited in for these games of make-believe medicine – or to record their own stories of true-life medical trauma.

These “Gory Details” stories are then freely shared as part of an online media archive or serve as the basis for episodes in the “Gory Details” web series, a sort of tragically misguided children’s show reliving and rethinking these grisly incidents with the assistance of animation, quirky visuals, and querulous commentary by Abram the Safety Ape, RT the Robot Teacher, and the wise old hand puppet, Dr. Moody.

Other video projects include the 2011 series, “Anatomy Minutes,” in which the functions of various human organs are described in the style of educational films of a bygone era. Actual – or subtly altered — films of this sort are a fixture in live shows or are sometimes “remixed” and re-released online. Samples from these films as well as “Gory Details” stories or other thematic material have also been arranged in musical soundscapes (“Music from the Magic Ambulance”)

At an Art of Bleeding clinic.

In addition to live shows, videos, recordings, and music, The Art of Bleeding has created living tableaux in an abandoned hospital, choreographed public performances of bandaged and crutch-enabled dancers, fabricated a grisly room-sized anatomy installations, and staged a theatrical full-scale multi-car pile-up peopled with bloodied actors.

Founded in May 2004, by “Dr.” A.P. Ridenour (AKA Reverend Al) after his decade-long tenure as leader of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, a group of culture-jamming art-tricksters, The Art of Bleeding continues Cacophony’s tradition of guerilla theater with forays on public streets and sidewalks, opening their ambulance to the curious, distributing cultish literature expounding on True Safety Consciousness, and applying plaster “safety casts” to the unbroken arms of novelty-hungry passers-by.

Regular AoB performers include Brian Doherty and Randy Horton as Abram the Safety Ape, Phil Glau as RT the Robot Teacher, and Alena Roland, Jezebelle X, Auriana-Lynn, and June July as nurses. Others who have lent indispensible talents and service in producing our events, can be found on our Staff page.


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Emergency Medicine for the Unconscious Mind