Democracy's dark side


She has been called "the poster child of the culture wars" by the sympathetic press and a "garbage artist" by an unsympathetic Jesse Helms. Tomorrow, performance artist Holly Hughes brings her one-woman show, "Preaching to the Perverted," to the Theatre Project for a two-weekend run.

In 1990, Hughes made headlines as one of the NEA Four, four performance artists whose National Endowment for the Arts grants were denied because they did not meet the government's standards of decency. The foursome then sued the federal government, an experience Hughes chronicles in this new work, subtitled, "A Tour of the Dark Side of Democracy."

Incidentally, although Hughes is making her Baltimore debut, there is a local angle to her story -- Theatre Project founder Philip Arnoult was chairman of the panel that selected the controversial grantees.

Show times at the Theatre Project, 45 W. Preston St., are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, through March 4. Tickets are $15. Call 410-752-8558.

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