Watchface was a New York City-based performance art group that opened for They Might Be Giants occasionally in the '80s, and which John Flansburgh and John Linnell each contributed an original song to.
Watchface was a seven-member ensemble that incorporated dance, acting and writing with an emphasis on rhythmic movement and text. John Flansburgh and Joshua Fried both performed in Watchface shows. Flansburgh described his acting with Watchface as "a tad of theatrical performing" in a 2004 interview on Gothamist.
Flansburgh was a performer in their pieces "Nancy/Marty/Masterpiece Theatre" in September 1985 and "The Serial Killers Series" in February 1987. The piece "More Songs of Desire and Despair", which was performed from April to May 1987, featured songs written by Fried, Flansburgh, and Linnell among others for Watchface member Iris Rose to sing. Flansburgh contributed "Don't I Have The Right?" (later to become a song on Mono Puff's first album in 1996), and Linnell contributed a song called "Plain As The Lie On Your Lips". Watchface also opened for They Might Be Giants; announcements can be found at The New York Times here and here.
Members of Watchface including Iris Rose, Chazz Dean and James Siena first saw John and John perform at NYC's Cat Club on November 4, 1985 at a benefit for East Village venue 8BC. A few months later on February 13, 1986 at The Kitchen (at a tribute to the now-closed 8BC), They Might Be Giants shared a bill with members of Watchface who became friends with the Johns, and soon after Watchface began opening for them regularly at Darinka in summer 1986.
Watchface now has its own archival website, which includes information about TMBG's early collaborations with Watchface in the East Village. Along with photos, graphics and other Watchface ephemera, the website features video from 1987 of Iris Rose singing both Flansburgh and Linnell's songs for "More Songs of Desire and Despair", audio clips of those original demos sung by Flansburgh and Linnell, and photos of Flansburgh in role as John Wayne Gacy for "The Serial Killer Series".