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WHAT: "Preaching to the Perverted"

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday through Oct. 8

WHERE: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 2495 Main St.

ADMISSION: $10 to $15

INFO: 835-7362

If Holly Hughes is known at all to the general public, it is as one of the notorious "NEA Four," the group (including performers Karen Findley, John Fleck and Tim Miller) that took its case for artistic freedom against the National Endowment for the Arts all the way to the Supreme Court. After years of living in controversy and suffering vicious vilification, they finally lost the case. It was a great blow against the right of artists to choose the content of their work without political interference. But in "Preaching to the Perverted," her latest solo work, Hughes has made artistic light of these dark years. "Preaching" is a sometimes lyrical, sometimes angry and always entertaining chronicle of the case told in an inventive flood of wandering flashbacks. The work, first commissioned by Dixon Place in Manhattan, has been performed in San Francisco, Boston and New York City. Bill Marx, writing about the new work in the Boston Globe, calls Hughes "a spirited performer, a comic monologist capable of serious surprises ... a welcome caustic tub-thump from an alternative pulpit." Artemis Furie decribes the performance in Show Business as a "rollicking comic book look at her trip to Washington ... she pulls no punches in her rage and pain at the outcome .. Truly great inspired theater." Hughes first appeared at Hallwalls in 1987 and has returned a number of times since. With each visit, she has demonstrated that she is that rarity on the American stage: a skilled writer of insightful political humor and an inspired solo performer who can do such challenging material full justice.

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