Dallas Arts Revue Member Pages

Index of Joe Stanco pages on this site

Good-bye, Friend

Dallas poet, teacher and performance artist Joseph Martin Stanco died of malignant melanoma Wednesday evening June 5 2002 at home with his wife Michele and daughters Hilary, Natalie and Gabrielle.

"Get back, cancer" were his final words.

Farley Scott, Joe Stanco and Gary Deen onstage at a Victor Dada performance March 2, 1994. Here the guys are choral reading canned goods contents. Venue unknown — although it might have been Club Dada, which was named after the group. Not pictured are Dada members Tom Henvey and Ken Shaddock. One of the joys of this editor's life was to have been considered an honorary member of the group, and to have been publicly greeted when I entered the venue.

Joe was co-founder, with Gary Deen, of the popular Dallas music and performance poetry group Victor Dada (& The Ten O'clock Koan), a long-time Dallas Arts Revue contributor and friend. He taught creative writing at Richland College and headed their Honors Programs where he encouraged and inspired hundreds, perhaps thousands of literary and otherwise creative students along the way.

Joe was an instigator, organizer, lyricist and avid performer — in Victor Dada, Recent Civilization, Stanco & Company and other groups. He starred in a series of videos by artist, video-maker and friend Dwayne Carter, and Joe's daughters were The Ideal Females, a popular Dallas singing group in the early 90s, while they were still in school. Daughter Natalie Stanco is one of the driving forces of performance comedy group Viva La Vulva ( Read Joe's biased review ), based in Austin.

Joe bashes a coconut to smithereens in his front yard during the
First Annual Fruitball Games on his last birthday, July 4, 2001. JR Compton photo


Victor Dada's greatest hits included such titles as His & Herpes, Ranch Style Beans from Outter Space, Monotony, (Take Me Up Your) Love Canal and No Jacuzzi, among many other more serious Dada and nonsense works.

In addition, there are Victor Dada tapes, Joe's book and CD, Dallason, videos, tapes and his and Gary Deen's delicious chapbook, WordScrawl BrainStorm. DARts readers might want to download Joe performing his Thinking About Language live ( 2.7 mebabyte MP3 ) with Victor Dada, for a tiny taste. Although it's eerie to hear his voice so clear and sharp now.

Joe's DARts Membership page includes some of his poetry and some old favorites. The last time I talked with him — at daughter Hilary's Graduation Party May 21, 2002, he said he wanted to publish a 17-page poem about the death of his sister 20 years ago and other works "only on Dallas Arts Revue."


Joe Stanco on May 18, 2002

A reading of Joe's writings and writings about Joe was at Paperbacks Plus in Lakewood July 4, 2002, which would have been Joe's 55th birthday. This editor has gathered many of Joe's works previously published in DallasArtsRevue and links to other works on Joe's DARts Membership page. There is also the Fairfield Journal, written in summer of 1999. In it, Joe writes knowingly and eloquently about his impending death.

Damn! I'm gonna miss him.

Story + photographs by JR Compton

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