by Pal Makuso
As Taylor Mac expressed himself in his interview by Diana Nollen on Hooplanow.com: while us usually presents poetry in a relatively neutral way so audiences can hear the words without the reader's bias, that's not the case with his performance. Taylor Mac said, "I'm full-on using my subjectivity and visions to interpret these poems in the way I want them to be interpreted." I am sure some audience had hugely enjoyed Mac's full-on personality/subjectivity, while I and my personal experience during the show fell into the shadowy side of the spectrum. I've come from a very different place from Mac and his community, and I failed to find a sense of an acceptance and intellectual or emotional freedom in my theater experience last week.
I am not sure when was the starting point of a show - when Taylor Mac stepped onto the stage in the mists eructed from the fog machine & the audience's cheering, Mac' charismatic curtain talk, or when the...
Taylor Mac talks with Katherine Cooper at Bomb Magazine:
KC In your manifesto you talk about the importance of authentic success and authentic failure. How would you define success?
TM It's different for every circumstance. It could just be saying hello to somebody on the elevator and they say "hi" back. That could be success. But it could also be hitting the high B flat. Hitting that note and soaring. You work hard at it, you train your voice, you use your craft and everybody in the audience goes, “Ohhhhh!” They get all excited about the heights that the human being can go to. But you have to combine that with authentic failure in order to be a...
“When I’m wearing my jeans and my t-shirt, that’s when I’m hiding because I’m trying to blend in with everybody else.” - Taylor Mac
Unclassifiable performer Taylor Mac talks about art, performance, work, life, the new show, and sings a few songs on Studio 360.
*photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
Charles Isherwood at the New York Times on Taylor Mac's new opus:
“Everything you’re feeling is appropriate,” says Taylor Mac, repeatedly, as if to soothe anxious children, during the second three-hour installment of his opus in progress, “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music,” which is having its premiere at New York Live Arts as part of the Under the Radar...
by Pam Winter
The Predator Songstress was a performance of contrasts. The Songstress, a woman of a 1000 facial expressions, portrayed a depth of feeling and the life in her eyes told of a story of loss. The intensity of the acting and beauty of the dance and music, evoked in me emotions of desperation. Terror and hopelessness, playful joy and courage, reaching for hope only to have it pulled away and the feeling of being squashed all collided in my heart. Contrasts of beauty and shadow, light and dark park places of the undying spirit of a young girl tortured by loss. She fought to regain her power taken by Big Brother, a subversive government who wanted control and would do anything to feed its insatiable hunger for power. The 'powers that be' harvested women's voices to keep them from revolutionizing the people. Stolen were the voices that held the wisdom of the people, spoken truth, ideas, hope, longing and freedom. While these women didn't have...
by Skylar Tatro
white cages surround
and separate forces bound
to polar causes
women's mouths bound, words
ground up in tiny jars wrapped
with shiny blue bows
blue and white ladies
vomit up words unsaid; the
beautiful white dress
songstress of colored doors says
singing sets you free!
escape from hell, now
you free many voices and
become golden force!
brother and sister:
one dies. that's sad, but, all that
hissing was so cute
destroy the harvest
choke the patriarchy with
songs of butterflies
by Ben Stevens
Skylar and Ben went to Whole Foods on their way to the performance to get raspberries and a salad respectively. Skylar also needed coffee, and Ben discovered there was a large area dedicated to eating and drinking beers on tap and such. He couldn't believe people would want to eat dinner at a grocery store.
The show made Ben and Skylar question the insular nature of the arts community. What is the purpose of defending culture and self expression to a bunch of college professors and critics and fellow artists who have dedicated their life to self expression. Who in that audience was there to subvert?
The Predator Songstress and her rebel forces believed that the recording and broadcasting of "voices" is of utmost importance if we as a society are to repel the ever-encroaching forces of consumerism, media, etc. that threaten to turn us into a bland and oppressed group of human beings or whatever.
by Claudia La Rocco
OtB Writer in Residence Claudia La Rocco has created a DIY holiday card just for you. Download, print, fold and send to family and friends during this season.
Read more about Claudia and her Writers in Residence at OtB.