She is the daughter of Joanie Caucus, estranged from her mother for seven years after the latter left her family over differences with her husband over feminism. In college J.J. was roommates with Honey Huan at Georgetown. J.J.'s first name, like her mother's, is Joan, although she seldom uses it. J.J. was originally a nickname for "Joan Junior". J.J. managed not only to track down and reconcile with the mother who had abandoned her, but went on to fall in love with her mother's old friend Michael J. Doonesbury. After spending her college years under the bell jar of Michael's asphyxiating affections, J.J. emerged to celebrate her womanhood in terms that even he could not ignore. Casting about for an avocation worthy of her ebullience, she ultimately settled on performance art, with mixed results. Amid the booming Soho art scene of the late 80' s, J.J. thrived -- her 9-hour performance piece "Welcome to Artville," her urinal installation at Club Stop 'N' Bop, and her ceiling murals on the yacht Trump Princess were uncritically acclaimed. Her most successful piece was a live birthing of daughter Alex on cable television, an event which, fortunately, strengthened her marriage.
After some initial difficulties, her maternal instincts kicked in ("Oh sure, breast-feed her. What do I look like, a National Geographic cover girl?"), and once nanny Zonker Harris signed on board the sailing smoothed. But life with a chronically unemployed adman was not easy. Though J.J. made driving a taxi a kind of rolling therapy, telling every fare ad nauseum, "I'm really an artist," the marriage eventually collapsed. Inspired by The Bridges of Madison County, J.J. ran off with ex-flame Zeke Brenner. Settling in Seattle, she finally achieved remarkable and inexplicable success with her pricey assemblages and sculptures. When the couple finally married in an online webcast, the nuptials were streamed in Quicktime and other leading video formats. As she arrived at the age of 40, J.J.was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. She and Zeke continue live in Seattle, where she sculpts with renewed enthusiasm and shares the lighter end of custody of daughter Alex.