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Rocker on Trial for Flinging Feces at the Crowd

August 19, 1991

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ The limits of artistic freedom are being tested in the case of a singer who lived up to his group’s name - the Toilet Rockers.

Kevin Michael Allin, better known as G.G. Allin, lead singer of the now defunct group, was to go on trial today on charges he broke the law by defecating on stage and flinging feces into the crowd at a cafe in 1989.

″We feel that (Allin) is a serious performer, and there’s serious artistic value to what he does,″ defense attorney Peter Goldberg said.

Allin, 34, of Ann Arbor, Mich., is accused of abusive and indecent conduct and provoking a disturbance at the now defunct Odd Rock Cafe.

If convicted he could get 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Authorities said that in addition to throwing feces, Allin exposed himself and dragged a female fan on stage and jumped on her.

Most of the 50 people who had paid to get into the cafe immediately left, and police arrived and arrested Allin.

A videotape of Allin’s performance was expected to be shown to the jury.

Goldberg argued in a dismissal request that Allin’s behavior follows in the tradition of other avant-garde artists who have incorporated excrement into their work. He cited Shakespeare, Aristophanes and Samuel Beckett.

Goldberg said he hoped to call at least one expert witness on underground art.

″In a democracy, people don’t have to like what they hear or like what they see,″ he said. ″People, by and large, do not want to see the flag burned, but the Supreme Court recently said it’s protected expressive conduct because it has a message to convey.″

Assistant District Attorney Michael Steinhafel argued at a hearing last week that such protection would not extend to someone who ignited a flag and then threw it at someone.

″If this is art,″ Steinhafel argued, ″can Mr. Allin go rent a corner of the art museum and fling feces at people as they go by?″