Last fall I saw the five hour epic, “Lilly’s Revenge” at HERE Arts Gallery. Needless to say, the show took up quite a bit of space in my mind and it’s been hard for me to think about theater since the show without instantly reverting back to the spectacle I partook of. In last weeks Village Voice, Taylor Mac took the cover for the Obie Award he won for “Lilies Revenge”. The sudden resurgence of Taylor in the media was plenty of insight to get me off the couch and online to buy a ticket to his first ever cabaret at Joe’s Pub.
Taylor Mac billed the show as Ziggy Stardust meets Tiny Tim as a reaction to the categorization the press has given his persona in the past. The cabaret was going to directly examine the two roles he has felt himself placed into by the media due to his theatrics and use of a ukulele. Mac came onstage and explained that he had looked at many different themes for the show but decided on tackling COMPARISION because he’d just returned home from a trip to the ancient Mayan ruins which some people believe holds evidence that the world will end in 2012. Mac explained that he wasn’t really sure he agreed with the sentiment that the end of the world was eminent but had decided he should “deal with his issues” so if the end of the world did happen he wouldn’t “reincarnate with the same issues over and over again in a galaxy without a world where instantly he’d die only to reincarnate again with the same issues.” He then went on to play a few Bowie numbers and discussed his new attempt at performing as a cabaret star.
In the middle of the show Mac pointed to his face, one side of which was adorned with gold sequin and the other blue. The gold side, he said, represented his jovial nature while the blue represented his despondent tendencies. He told the audience, “This is traditional theater. The Greeks were the first to wear platforms and masks. Let’s get back to traditional theater with theatricality. Remember realism is unconventional theater. Fuck, Law and Order!”
Lady Rizo, Lily’s Revenge’s leading lady and front woman of Lady Rizo and the Assessettes, came onstage toward the end of the show and accompanied Mac in a lovely duet. The two also engaged in a conversation about “The State of GAGA“. To sum it up, neither are too impressed – and neither are we.
By the end of the night Taylor Mac was ripping the sequins off his face and declaring he was now engaged in deconstructionism. Bravo, Taylor! Thank you for being able to bring us from BC to the 21st century using a David Bowie songbook that was simultaneously otherworldly and thoroughly enjoyable.
Queer Up North Festival, Manchester, UK, May 30th
The Soho Theater, London, June 1st to 5t
The Arches, Glasgow, June 10th and 11th
Out In The Tropics, Miami, July 10th, 8pm