“Where Were You?” Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel – I Beam, SF [March 10, 1986]


Well, after having been away for far too long, I finally had a bit of time to turn attention again to my photo archives. The plan, originally, had been to offer a different artist, to get the ball rolling again, but a post by the Dangerous Minds blog just this past week, rearranged my initial thoughts on the matter.

Happy Birthday Clint Ruin

What follows, are images captured of Jim Thirlwell, a/k/a Clint Ruin, Foetus, etc., when he appeared in San Francisco, as Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel.

Playing to a pre-recorded backing tape, he came out and performed, something like a twisted burlesque show, with a baseball bat as an accessory, in an ever-growing swirl of stage smoke, to add extra atmosphere to the proceedings.

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus as smoke begins with mic in hand

Moving about the stage full-frame

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus grips the bat and purses his lips

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus with baseball bat on shoulder & s

The smoke has started

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus stands firm [Scraping Foetus Off

Surveying the scene

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus with bat on shoulder & shades bef

Leaning into the delivery

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus baseball bat on shoulder leaning

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus with firm chin and bat on shoulde

Another closeup with shades still on

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus with bat on shoulder & shades fac

I’ve been ignoring this side of the stage too long

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus as smoke starts with mic in hand

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus makes his entrance in smoke [Scra

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus looks dead into the camera [Scrap

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus fist pump [Scraping Foetus Off th

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus shrugs off [Scraping Foetus Off t

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus with pinkie raised [Scraping Foet

Making a point

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus eyes closed in leather jacket  [S

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus shouts [Scraping Foetus Off the W

The jacket has been peeled away

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus profile clutching mic [Scraping F

A special moment

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus profile shoulder shadow [Scraping

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus rubs his pelvis [Scraping Foetus


Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus profile stern look [Scraping Foet

Close-up near the spotlight

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus on his back [Scraping Foetus Off

On the floor momentarily

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus getting up off the floor [Scrapin

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus crouching in smoke with bat on sh

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus with baseball bat without shades

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus t-shirt being removed [Scraping F

The t-shirt has to come off

Michael Conen - [PROOF] Foetus uses the bat head obscured [Scrap

The final image to share here


     A very satisfying series of images, personally speaking.

Admittedly, the performance was more intriguing for me, moreso than the musical accompianment, I’d have to admit, but I am glad to have witnessed this show for the visual experience, alone.

For more on Mr. Thirlwell’s activities, from about this point in time, when he collaborated a bit with Lydia Lunch, have a look here:

Lydia Lunch – From the Archives

Foetus’ projects and chronology information is found at this link:


And, should you wish to check out the photos from the opening act for that same evening [Negativland], you may do so here:

Negativland at the I-Beam, SF [3-10-86]


While many of you who arrive here, to look at these photographs may get turned off to my use of watermarks [thinking they ruin the image], let me explain why I choose to do this.

No one paid for my camera equipment but me. No one paid for the film I used to take these photographs.  On occasion, when I free-lanced for a free monthly newsletter, and they published a photo of mine, the payment for each photograph barely paid for the fuel to get my vehicle to the show [when I *did* have a vehicle], and the film I used on that night. 

Not too many of my photos were published, at the time, because the artists I chose to capture images of, were not hugely popular then.  Hence, the old dictum, “Supply and Demand”; I had the supply, but the demand [pre-Internet], was not there. You can argue the relative merits of the quality of my work, and that is precisely what a blog offers:  a venue for discussion.

Back to the watermarks: no one is subsidizing my time to scan and then clean up the images I am presenting here. Start to finish, each negative will take approximately an hour-and-a-half to reach “proof” quality – which is what you will see here.  This is my labor of love, and until there is some measurable return on my efforts, what you see is what you get.


2 responses to ““Where Were You?” Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel – I Beam, SF [March 10, 1986]

  1. Pingback: Negativland at the I-Beam, San Francisco CA [3-10-86] | michaelconen "where were you?"·

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