I DO! Communal Review: The Lily’s Revenge

I think it’s fair for me to say, as a guy my age dealing with my socioeconomic level, that I’ve seen a lot of theater. While most boys save their pennies for the latest videogame system or computer game, I was busy reading something, not working, and trying to scam a door guy at some low level performance art house. That said, you won’t catch me at too many Broadway Productions, but I’ve seen enough to understand what they’re about. I know experimental theater best. You know, the weird stuff. The stuff so off the wall an audience member might be paid to see so the creative team doesn’t feel their work was in vain.

I can’t help myself. I love theater. I’d go to more Broadway shows if I could afford them, but I can’t, so I stick to shows at PS122 or wherever I can get a reasonably priced ticket. When I first heard of The Lily’s Revenge, I was excited that for $20 I’d get five hours of theater. It’s like a junky suddenly getting thirty bags for the price of ten! But then there was the fear of overdosing and I felt that fear creeping in as a probability as I waited in the rush ticket line from 9am-7pm the first time I saw the show, feeling ever so terrible from my escapade the evening before involving no sleep, lots of drugs/booze and casual sex.

It’s been about a year and a half, and I remember thinking as I waited in line, “This is it. I’m gonna walk outta here a full blown junkhead or I’m going to overdose and be really pissed off.” Even as the play began and the actress playing Time warned the audience that we’d all die or be stuck inside the play forever, I knew it must be fate. I’d waited this long though so there was no way of turning back, a junky never turns back…

Now zoom forward a year and a half and my life has radically changed! I’m living in NYC and I’m a full-fledged Lily lovin’ zombie! Oh what a difference five hours (and a year and a half) can make when not planted in front of the television munching on popcorn and slurping fingers for tidbits of greasy chicken. Living in NYC afforded me the lovely opportunity to meet Taylor Mac (whose theatrical outer exterior suggests he’s a club kid that got smart and done good!) last winter and after listening to him gush about the re-staging of The Lily’s Revenge in San Francisco, I knew I needed to return to that city to mainline my favorite drug, and so that’s exactly what JT and I did. We contacted the Magic Theater, found a way to get tickets without having to pay for them (THANK YOU PATTIE!) and headed west…

It was weird for me because the first time I saw The Lily’s Revenge I had traveled in opposite directions: I’d come from my old homestead in San Francisco to NYC to dose myself on ten days of theater. For ten days JT and I saw one to two plays a day, and The Lily’s Revenge was just another name of a play I was supposed to try and see before I saw it. Now, The Lily’s Revenge means so much more to me. It’s the one show that I know will “take me there.” Nothing I have ever seen is as unique and thoughtfully put together as The Lily’s Revenge. Future play writes beware: your works have major competition in my heart…

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Reminding us of Our Humanity: An Inclusive Interview with Taylor Mac

Taylor Mac isn’t just our favorite living theater person, he is one of our favorite artists making work today period. After seeing “The Lily’s Revenge,” his five hour manifesto at the Here Arts Center in 2009, we became full on Mac fans and haven’t missed out on anything he’s done in New York since then. We recently had the honor of being able to meet him for a two on one interview just before the final week of performances for his newest play, “The Walk Across America For Mother Earth,” took place at LaMama’s Ellen Stewart Theater. Since our interview, Mac played a number of successful shows down under in Australia and he is now in rehearsals for an all new production of “The Lily’s Revenge” in San Francisco, which Stephen and I will both be going to see in April. (Californians and travel savvy theater lovers, get your tickets now before they sell out and you have to wait all day like we did for rush tickets.)

It is our pleasure and privilege to offer you this conversation. May it thrill and touch you as deeply as it has us.

Enjoy!

MP: Hi Taylor! We’re both very excited to sit down with you and discuss your work but are finding it a little tricky to figure out exactly where to start with so much to talk about… Could you maybe tell us a bit about what it was like to be part of the first production to go up at La Mama since Ellen passed away? What sort of feelings has that brought up in you?

TM: I never actually met Ellen. I’d seen her a lot though. I saw her introduce shows with her infamous cow bell and I had a lot of respect for her and even more so now after having read various obituaries that have come out. I am so amazed that she created her legacy in her forties. It’s really remarkable that she was able to do it at a time when women weren’t able to do those things, let alone black women. She led a very inspiring life and I feel honored to be part of the first show at LaMama since her death. I also feel honored for the chance to work with The Talking Band who had worked with Ellen for so many years.

That said, my goals are different. Ellen’s goals were committed to Off Off Broadway and the Talking Band is committed to Off Off Broadway, but if I never do another Off Off Broadway show in my life I will be so frickin’ thrilled. It’s complicated. The industry is such a mixed bag. I’m so happy to be part of its legacy…

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:::2011 IS HERE:::LOVE IS THE ONLY LAW:::

It’s a bit of a shock to file away everything that happened this past year into memories.  But it’s official, 2010 is dead. Truly life is zooming out and 2010 showed me over and over just how small my position in the grand spectacle we call reality. This past year I made the move from the West Coast to NYC and was fortunate to get to do quite a bit of traveling: Los Angeles, Austin, New Orleans, San Francisco, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Paris, Woodstock, and ended it in Miami partying with all the legendary Club Kids at Susanne Bartsch’s extraordinary NYE extravaganza.

My year began focused on getting my play “Life on Mars: The James Bidgood Story” off the ground, but after I showed it at Poet’s Theater in SF last February, my life came apart in Los Angeles and I had to hit the road toward uncertainty. Looking back on the year, I’m able to see all the beautiful times that sprouted in a year that was heavily coated with pain, sorrow, loss and heartache. Unfortunately my anxiety level was at an all time high all year long, and looking back I’m acutely aware that I never seemed to fully be present, I was constantly worried about what was going to happen next and afraid my life would again come undone. It’s impossible to live fixated on worry or anxiety or whatever… So for 2011 I want to try to give up worrying about tomorrow, embrace the present and spray paint my visions gold.

2010 really proved individuals must accept change and be able to adapt to the changes life constantly evolves toward. 21st Century literacy is no longer limited to the ability to read and write. Now the literate person must also be able to adapt and constantly be able to learn and unlearn in order to relearn. Unlearning/relearning and change are difficult concepts because they inherent a sense of loss and me being an emotional person, I grieve each and every ending.

Here are a bunch of pictures of the NYE party my friends The Zand Collective and I rang in 2011 at:

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Fever Ray: Caught a Glimpse Now it Haunts Me

Like everyone else that is obsessed with “seeing” “knowing” “experiencing” the latest trends in music, I sheepishly went to the Fever Ray show at the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles.  I became a fan of The Knife two years before they got big, I’m talking 2004 here, I was in my friends car and he put on Pass This On *I think* and blew my mother fucking mind.  Skip ahead a few years and I am in San Francisco watching The Knife masquerade onstage like they were pre-gaming before an Eyes Wide Shut party.

With all that in mind, and knowing I had class before heading straight to the Fever Ray show, I put together an outfit.  I decided on black Levi skinny jeans, a long sleeve black long sleeve t-shirt, a clashing navy blue jean Brittania jacket with bamboo pockets, black combat boots and the largest crystal necklace I own.  The crystal necklace I wore is great, it thumps against my chest in rhythm with my every move and heart beat.

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THROBBING GRISTLE SAN FRANCISCO TOUR SHOW: I’m on the floor in a burrito coma

I’m really excited to see Throbbing Gristle play. Everything that has blossomed out of the hateful TG is steadily played on whatever electronic device I see fit to play music. I have never witnessed any of the band members perform anything live so it is going to be a treat to see them together performing once again. A big part of me wonders what financial hardships have accrued because it doesn’t seem likely to me that they’d be on this venture if it wasn’t for the need to make some fast cash. Does anyone know how much Genesis’s surgeries cost? Continue reading

BATTLEHOOCH: OH MY GOD GRANT IS A DREAM BOAT!!!!

Get jealous, I had a total Roxy Music moment a few weeks ago when Battlehooch played my house, I was fucking wasted with a saxophone blaring in my face!!! I was standing there, my skin melting off my bones from the noise, and ummmmmm, yeah it fucking ruled. Continue reading

Get “Totally Fucked” At Spring Awakening

A couple nights ago I was fortunate enough to go see Spring Awakening at the San Francisco Curran Theatre. The musical is an adaptation of the highly controversial 1890 German play written by Frank Wedekind. In 2007 Spring Awakening won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Spring Awakening features direction by Michael Mayer, choreography by Bill T. Jones, book and lyrics by Steven Sater and a score by Duncan Sheik. The musical has some fundamental differences that majorly alter the motivation and direction of the characters when juxtaposed against the original German text- (what was a rape in the original becomes a consensual sexual act in the American version), but the ideas of struggling for sexual knowledge and identity remain.  In addition, the musical version alows the children characters to break through to a fantasy inner life that the audience views as a series of rock songs making the play even more exciting and relevant to modern American audiences. In the nineties Dunkan Sheik wrote the song “I am barely breathing.

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