Don't Trust Anyone over Thirty. Entertainment by Dan Graham and Tony Oursler featuring Japanther and The Huber Marionettes

Photo: Jeff Salter

Don't Trust Anyone over Thirty charts the career of twenty-four-year-old rock singer Neil Sky, who is elected President of the United States after instigating teenage riots to change the voting age to fourteen and putting LSD in the drinking water of the Congress. But once President Sky retires the over-thirty population in LSD re-conditioning camps, he faces his own unique demise. 
Conceived of by the conceptual artist Dan Graham, who began his career as a rock critic in the 1960s, Don't Trust Anyone over Thirty features video by Tony Oursler, songs written by Rodney and music performed live by the band Japanther. Philip Huber, the master puppeteer of Being John Malkovich has designed and constructed the puppets adapted from puppet drawings by Marie-Paule Mcdonald
Envisioned as a genuine satiric history of the hippy generation and the end of the psychedelic era, the opera's tragi-comic narrative is the reductio ad absurdum of the hippies "generational politics" contained in the 1960s youth slogan: "Don't trust anyone over thirty." Seen from hindsight thirty-five years later through the eyes of the 1960's youngsters now grown old, the effect is one of bitter reflection over time, whereby we witness a hip generation's indictment of their own shallow seduction by the cult of youth and the fascistic tendencies that can overwhelm even the most idealistic movement left unchecked. Even more pertinent today, Don't Trust Anyone over Thirty mirrors the disillusionment of a generation who must today grapple with their failure to stop the growth of an extreme political and economic conservatism that today wages onslaught against the liberal ideals for which they so ardently fought from the 1960s on.
dates and locations
Don't Trust Anyone over Thirty made its world premiere during the Art Basel Miami Beach Art Fair 
in December 2004, and was presented in Vienna 
(Wiener Festwochen, June 3-6, 2005), Berlin 
(Magazin der Staatsoper Unter den Linden, June 10-14, 2005), and Minneapolis (Walker Art Center, January 5-7, 2006).
Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty
Edited by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
With introductions by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza and Sandra Antelo-Suarez, and contributions by Daniela Zyman and Diedrich Diederichsen, and a conversation between Dan Graham, Tony Oursler, Rodney Graham, Sandra Antelo-Suarez, Chrissie Isles and Philippe Vergne

Commissioner & Producer:
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary; Foundation 2021, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Voom / LAB New York
Curator and Artistic Director: Sandra Antelo-Suarez
Conceived by: Dan Graham
Visual Conception and Videos by: Tony Oursler
Installation, and Set Design: Laurent P. Berger
Live Band, Live Music: Japanther (Matt Reilly & Ian Vanek)
Recorded Music: Rodney Graham
Script Adaptation: Dan Graham, Tony Oursler, Teresa Seeman and Sandra Antelo-Suarez
Script Editor: G. Roger Denson
Marionettes: Philip Huber from Huber Marionettes and Company
Pupeteers: Michael Carolan, Sarah Frechette, Daniel Luce, Kenneth Berman
Executive Producer: Miguel Antonio Roca

Production Manager: Valentin Essrich
Stage Manager: Matt Tierney
Sound Design: Bruce Odland
Light Design: Urs Schönebaum
Props Design: Eugene Tsai
Costume Design: Carlos Soto
Photography: Todd Eberle
Marionette Drawings: Marie-Paule Macdonald
Puppet Costume Design: Sandra Antelo-Suarez, Claire Pauley and Dan Graham
Puppet Costume maker: Sarah Frechette