Performance Works 1976-1996

Performance Art Musicals

Dan and Michael have a long history of creating original performance pieces – incorporating movement, text, visual art and music – “Performance Art Musicals.” Much of this work was created to give expression to their identities as proud, loving, gay men.

Selected projects: Two Men Dancing (with Ishmael Houston-Jones, 1976 – 1980), How I Spent My Summer Vacation (1983), Xposed (1984), Homo Love Song (1990), Human Being (1992), Sanctuary (with choreographer Jim Self, 1993), Aria (with choreographer Matthew Neenan, 1998), and Claire (with choreographer Melanie Stewart, 1996 and 2007). In 2010 they were commissioned by Philadelphia Dance Projects to restage some of their early works on a new generation of performers.

Productions in New York include HERE, the Serious Fun Festival at Lincoln Center, The TWEED Festival, BAX, Danspace, and PS 122, among many others; in Philadelphia at The Hal Prince Theatre, the Painted Bride, The Arts Bank, The Walnut Street Theatre 5, and The Performance Garage among others; and in many US cities and universities. The Dance (1992) – a short documentary film about Michael and Dan and their creative work has been screened worldwide and is in the permanent collection of MoMA.

Press Quotes

Biello draws upon his experiences … transforming them into vignettes that seem like updates of Federico Fellini.” Philadelphia Inquirer

“An evening with Martin and Biello is tantalizing and intimate at the same time … together, they create incredible possibilities for exploring gay sexuality and relationships.  A truly memorable experience.” Seattle Gay News

“Recreating their living room on stage by sharing, rather than hiding their spontaneous intimacy, Dan and Michael work hard to remove the fake performers’ masks and reveal the tender, sexy side of two men interacting as lovers and artists.” Outweek

Dan Martin’s music is hauntingly beautiful and his lyrics (along with those of Michael Biello who also directed) are affecting and effective.”  Hollywood Dramalogue

“Compassionate, raunchy, romantic and beautiful, Martin and Biello’s talents seem unending. Two of the most covered and cherished songwriters in our community.” In Touch Magazine

“An insightful look into the mind of the 1980’s gay male. Martin’s music is reminiscent of Sondheim … and pleasantly so.” The Advocate

Martin and Biello have a masterful touch with both melodies and lyrics.  Their songs are first-rate.” San Francisco Bay Times

“Man-to-man affection is at the core of He & He… All is sweet and G-rated, when suddenly from somebody’s crotch, out pops a balloon in the shape of a little horse, as if an elaborate, outrageous erection had just been born. It’s shocking image, and as we sucked in a collective gasp, a tremor passed through this audience. A moment later, though, we got it, and our laughter echoed off the rafters of the Performance Garage… Love can be dangerous and strange — but also that love is just love, it’s silly and for everyone.” Philadelphia City Paper

Performance Clips (1983 – 1993)

Film/Video excerpts of Michael & Dan’s performance art pieces 1983 – 1993. Including Ugly Face, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Homo Love Song, Into the Light, The Dance.

Aria (1998)

Short film of the rehearsal process and performance of a love duet for two men Martin & Biello wrote for the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Shut Up and Dance benefit concert in 1998 – with choreography by Matthew Neenan. Italian translation by Louise Pandolfi.

Making A Man (1991)

Performance by Dan & Michael  – a song from Homo Love Song – live at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX).

Couch Dance (1982-1989)

Watch this 2010 remounting of Biello Martin’s early stage work He & He.

Clones in Love (1985)

Watch this music video created for Biello Martin’s musical Xposed.  Winner of the Best Short Award at the 1985 San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Video Festival.  A satire of the early 1980’s gay male dating scene.

Dance History Project

This is a short documentary film about the history of dance/theater artists working in Philadelphia in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s – a glimpse into Biello Martin’s pre-musical theater work when they began discovering and creating “performance art musicals”. The other artists featured in the film are Jano Cohen, Terry Fox, and Ishmael Houston-Jones. The film is by Carmella Vassor Johnson. In 2010 Philadelphia Dance Projects commissioned Dan and Michael to re-envision and re-stage several of these works using young local dancers.