META MATTERS: This web site is about designing social
spaces where we tell stories, save them and send them on to
Together with the buildbetterbarrel blog
and the archival site
secretbaker offers strategies for designing social spaces that
might lead to smart places.
SECRET is a cycle of multimedia productions.
Paul Guzzardo is the Assembler. This cycle of productions are
culled from the FBI files of Josephine
Winchell, and J.
Edgar Hoover. SECRET details the collision of three fascinating
Each iteration tells a little-known story of art, politics, race,
and media power that reverberates with some of the most important
themes of 20th-century America. Fashioned out of “net accessible”
documents, this multimedia mosaic makes theater and public art
out of a 1950’s surveillance data bank. The faded and
scratched up documents with their numbing bureaucratic entries
blotted out paragraphs are the residue of government surveillance
files. These files contain haunting microfiche memos, telegrams,
newspaper clippings and photos, that tell how Josephine Baker,
the famous expatriate African-American performer was pursued
An integral part of the story is the role of the highly-influential
radio personality Walter Winchell and his association to Hoover.
This surveillance tale is an information-age morality play from
a simpler time. FBI chieftain Hoover represents a force that
and paralyzes. Gossip master Walter Winchell is the “voice”
that destroys by slashing out on the airways and in print.
Baker the artist embodies a creative disruptive force that struggles
to soar. She is the trickster who leaves traces of her intentions
as she crosses international borders and moves from theatrical
stage to political stage, from the personal level to public
The Baker FBI file opens in Paris in 1949. The file records Josephine
Baker being followed and harassed all over the world by a host
of federal agencies – the FBI, the State Department, and
the INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service].
Baker is beleaguered not only because she’s an international
spokesperson for racial equality, nor because of her ongoing invectives
against the USA. She is “the traitoress, the undesirable”
because she gravely wounds J. Edgar Hoover’s closest friend
and accomplice Walter Winchell. Winchell is Old Media’s
Buried in the 400-page Baker file, a dossier prefaced again and
again with the words “that she was born in St. Louis Missouri
in 1906, daughter of a St. Louis washer woman” are a wealth
of memos, telegrams, newspaper clippings and photos from the 1950’s.
The Josephine Baker FBI File. The script was
intended for a Western Illinois University production. It was
to be performed in conjunction with “Iterations
of Interface”, the WIU Gallery of Art installation. It
expands on the script used for the St. Louis Community College
Josephine Baker: A Centennial Remix Webster University, Winifred Moore Auditorium: Friday,
April 28, 8 pm - 10 pm VJ Zlatko
Leon Lamont and Video Amin with Final
Veil's musician, singer and dancer Cora Camille.
And introducing for the first on the big stage - THE BIG TRUCK:
Al Hrabosky's Ballpark Saloon
10 + acre site across from Busch Stadium
Mix - Trucks and Tents
October 13, 2005
Occasion - Cardinal
- baseball game
Mix Master - Jeff Schneider Axent
Production VIDEO CLIPS: