La Dragu’s Cleaning Oh Yes/Oh No List
Chamois & Cloth Napkins
Vinegar & Water
Hot Hot Water & Soap
Smelly wet dishrags that aren’t hung out
Paper Towels & Paper Napkins (however, washing/drying and re-using is ok)
Glass Cleaners in Spray Bottles (however it is are excellent for chrome)
Hippie Rule of Baking Soda only is dumb
Sponge Mops (unless industrial)
Feather dusters are stupid except for photo ops
Itz a dirty city and someone has to clean it up. After a week of private cleaning performances, I am sharing some of my CLEANING THOTS with all you Virgo wanna-bees. Andy hey, I am still available for some private cleaning performances—in your office lunchrooms before the Big Wall and Roll Parade—on Sunday July 16 at NOON at the Ontario Legislature in Queen’s Park. Sew, call me! Take my picture! Interview me! Your coffee cups will gleam!
~Margaret Dragu, The Cleaning Lady / July 7, 2000
Established Canadian artist and “international cleaning lady” Margaret Dragu invites Toronto audiences to participate in Cleaning and Loving (It). This performance art event is a celebration of small-scale community ritual and of Dragu’s long-standing love affair with cleaning and laundry. Already underway as a series of intimate cleaning performances for Toronto-based friends and colleagues of the artist, Cleaning and Loving (It) goes public on Sunday, July 16.
Rain or shine, join us for a warm and witty afternoon of festivities that begins with a “walk and roll” parade starting at Queen’s Park at noon and wending its way down to Vtape located near Spadina Avenue and Richmond Street West. People of all ages are welcome to show up on foot, in wheelchairs, on bikes, rollerblades or other non-motorized transportation. Feel free to bring your own favourite cleaning supplies and tools (buckets, mops, brooms, rags, scrub brushes, spray bottles, etc.) as your banner of choice, and learn the simple secrets of Margaret’s famous “Xs and Os” choreography.
Parade Route (start time 12:00pm)
Beginning at Queen’s Park, south along University to Orde Street,
west along Orde to McCaul Street, south along McCaul Street to Grange Park,
west and south through Grange Park to John Street,
south along John Street to the alleyway in between Queen Street West and Richmond Street West,
west along the alleyway to Peter Street,
south along Peter Street to Richmond Street West,
and then west on Richmond Street West to Vtape located at 401 Richmond Street West building.
The parade concludes at Vtape at 1:30pm, where everyone is invited to an old-fashioned ‘social’ that will include screenings of cleaning and laundry sequences from Dragu’s many performances, films and videotapes, plus plenty of snacks and refreshments.
Margaret Dragu is a warm-hearted, fearless and indomitable spirit who has left her mark across disciplines and across the country. Dragu’s astonishing output of work spans back to 1969 and includes forays into theatre, film, video, writing, choreography and above all, performance art. She is perhaps best known for her work in the 1980s, including her long-running X’s and O’s series, which began with a solstice mega-spectacle in Hamilton in 1983 (X’s and O’s on the Longest Day of the Year) and continues with her recent Improvisation for X’s and O’s. Her 1988 film project I VANT TO BE ALONE reads as a who’s who of the Toronto art scene of the 1980s, while her smaller, more intimate 1990s work has been produced and seen mainly on the west coast.
Over the years Dragu has tackled various issues ranging from love to labour to death, colouring the mundane and everyday with a spirit of celebration and a touch of the fanciful. Multilayered, sexy and political, her work is firmly rooted in the lessons of the mortal body while playfully engaging with images of glamour and passion. Adept in both solo and collaborative environments, she is a major influence in contemporary Canadian performance art.