Michael Biello and Dan Martin met in 1975 at Antioch College during a dance workshop, where Michael was a dancer and Dan was a participating musician. "It was a summer romance." Since that time, the two artists have collaborated on numerous endeavors and work side by side creating beauty in the theater, music and visual arts. Their studio in Old City, Philadelphia is an inspirational and playful space, decorated with whimsical lighting fixtures, a piano and odds and ends to be used in some future creation.
Initially enthralled by Dan's beautiful flute music, Michael, the "tall skinny passionate Italian" pursued the quiet musician and eventually a relationship flourished. Over the years, their souls have meshed through their ability to work and create magic together. Initially, Michael, an interdisciplinary artist, would write beautiful little poems and Dan would set them to music. They began working with dance companies where Dan would play music and Michael would perform and soon they were creating larger theater pieces for others to perform. Their works have garnered many awards and much acclaim.
These men not only create art, but their lives are living breathing works of art. They nourish their creative spirits in every way they can and refuse to let the sanctions of society hold them back. Like the vases in the studio that tilt in space, Dan and Michael bend and flow with the spirit that moves them and allow their art to keep them steady. They consider themselves "married" in spirit if not legally. They have spoken marriage vows to each other on stage as part of a performance but have never had a secular or religious ceremony to affirm their relationship, nor do they feel the need for one. They feel no need to have a judge or clergy acknowledge their love or commitment to each other. As Michael states succinctly, "We've been together for so long, then what are we if we're not married?" They actually wish that the gay community would just design or invent a form of marriage that is more creative in spirit and approach, that is more organic and not just a replica of the heterosexual community, which they feel is not a particularly successful role model. They wish that society could create a new kind of marriage with new kinds of vows to each other that would surpass the rigidity of the standard view of marriage. As Dan says, "If you don't have love every single day for the person that you're with then no marriage certificate is going to be worth anything.
Michael and Dan claim that the foundation, the glue that keeps them together, is their creative spirit and their intense friendship. They are really, really good friends and their artistic tendencies allow them to create and design a relationship that works for them. Although Michael was once physically assaulted while walking down the street with Dan, literally punched in face for no reason, the couple remain publicly affectionate with each other. Their intense love for each other holds no bounds, not in public nor in their works of art. They are truly each other's muses.
Michael, always the dramatic one, fantasizes that when the day comes for him to accept his award, whenever or whatever that may be..... an Oscar or a Grammy or an Emmy.... he will merely say, "I want to thank him.....Dan."