Feb 2, 2010

"The Spanking of Lower East Side"

Yes, I am starting a new Thursday night burlesque show at the retro-pinup-themed bar in LES called Nurse Bettie. The space is intimate (small) but the decor and ambiance are perfect for what I want to do. Unlike Dim Sum Burlesque which is inspired by 1930s Shanghai, Weimar Berlin, and Jazz Age NY, "Spanking" is going to be more fetish-y and S&M-y. Woohoo! I named it thus as a homage to A. N. Roquelaure's The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (part of the Sleeping Beauty trilogy that was written under Anne Rice's pseudonym before she made it big with the Interview with the Vampire series). For this inaugural night, I want to debut the Nun. I don't want to give away what the concept is, but let me just say that the reaction I've gotten from describing the act to the closest and dearest (who know me really well) have all been - look of aghast, shock and then ultimately resolving to a "you are SO going to hell" look. Fantastic reception, if you ask me.

I know "shock" in itself is soooo 1990's. It's not postmodern or even "post-postmodern" (haha) to be "shocking" - shocking is Vice Magazine. Shocking is boring. It's a middle class reaction and observation from the outside of the inside. I am on the inside. Having said that, I still have tremendous respect for any visual artist who have the ability to "shock" in this day and age. I have to admit that this Nun concept is inspired by Miss Rosewood. I've never met a more fascinating creature than her, and I've had many stimulating conversations with her about her acts and the notion of the "theater of hysteria". Her acts that I've seen at The Box and The Slipper Room reminded me a lot of the late Kathy Acker's works namely Blood and Guts in High School. Acker and Rose are both shockers extraordinaire but with a highly developed intellectual context and academic reference. They take shock and elevated it to the point of terrorism (in Acker's case its textual, Rose is visual) - what do I mean by that? Terrorism in the sense of an assault by challenging conventional readerly (versus writerly) notions of linear, goal-oriented narrative, rising action, climax, and denouement. Assault in the sense that entertainment should "entertain" by opiating the masses. I think there is value in shock if there is a socio-political or socio-economical context. Oh crap, I have to go to this meeting now! Will write more later.

1 comment:

  1. I always say there's nothing so boring as somebody trying to shock you. I have no interest in art that has no apparent reason but to get a reaction, especially when it displays what I like to call "the conventions of unconventional art." I remember watching Penny Arcade vomit on stage at PS 122 as the emotional climax of a monologue. People may have been shocked that she did it but it made sense. It was set up. It had a context. It's very exciting when someone can shock you, not simply for the sake of being shocking, but with an interesting artistic purpose. (Or just to entertain, too.) Looking forward to my next free Thursday so I can drop by.