Last night, Alex and I went to see "MBB & CO with Ira Glass: 3 Acts, 2 Dancers, 1 Radio Host" at Town Hall, just off Broadway. It was a charming, witty, surprising show, full of confetti, sequins, squeaky sneakers, stories that were at once touching and funny and dance that was at times graceful, bizarre and athletic. Ira Glass made a balloon poodle, said the words “blow job” on stage, talked about his marriage and mentioned his friendship with an 87-year-old woman who lives in the projects in Chelsea, which just made me love him even more, and Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass stunned me with their chutzpah and aggressive, almost masculine energy on stage. It was one of those shows where you left seeing things a little differently, having cried and laughed and realized that we are all in the midst of life, love and death every day, experiencing the beginnings and middles and ends of so many things all at once. The first thing I noticed as I was leaving the theater was the Tribute in Light shining electric blue in the distance, and a bunch of people gathered on the sidewalk in front of us. I assumed they were tourists, taking pictures of the Tribute in Light or maybe the Empire State Building, all done up in red, white and blue in honor of 9/11. How gauche, I thought (except not really, because when does the word “gauche” ever actually come to mind?), For some people, all this day is anymore is a chance to show how “connected” they are to the tragedies of the world by posting some blurry skyline photo to Instagram.
But then I saw what they were actually looking at.
A crazy, colorful, Alice in Wonderland-meets-BDSM-dungeon performance art piece happening in the lobby of the Bank of America Tower. There was a dominatrix whipping a pair of drag queens. A person in a dog costume on a leash. A man in a bunny mask and leather boots and very little else lying in a dejected heap on the floor. A woman with the bodily proportions of a porn star pushing her camera in everyone’s faces and taking pictures. A whole royal scene with members of court playing chess and floating around in the background, seemingly oblivious to the rest of the show. Smeared makeup and bad wigs and bright red lashes on everyone’s bare asses. All of this unfolding as Bank of America employees left work for the day with their suits and briefcases. All of this unfolding as tourists took pictures and one teenage girl explained to her friends, “It’s a sexual thing. They’re humiliating each other for pleasure.” All of this unfolding as the Tribute in Light lit up the sky and somewhere, a few blocks away, bagpipers played a solemn song next to a homeless man asleep on a piece of cardboard.
People always talk about how New York just isn’t the same as it used to be back in the days when Times Square was overrun with prostitutes and drug dealers and peep shows. People always say that irony - and the excess and decadence of the city in the ’80s and ’90s - died with 9/11. And maybe they’re all right. But I saw a touch of the old NYC magic and glitter and weirdness last night, and I think we’re all going to be okay after all.
I want to start duplicating this beauty look in my day-to-day life.
1. Jenna Lyons looking cool-as-fuck in spite of 90-degree temperatures in all-white errythang and metallic Nike Blazers.
2. The incredibly sexy leather harnesses and star-spangled lingerie of Zana Bayne’s high-fashion-meets-BDSM-underworld collection.
3. Gareth Pugh’s “immersive presentation” featuring writhing, contorting dancers from Wayne McGregor’s Random Company and a “phoenix” slowly rising above the stage like an angel ascending from earth. Clothes? What clothes? It was art.
New York. 1983.
Photos by Thomas Hoepker
Not usually a Katy Perry fan, but I’m loving this little crack-laced lollipop of a video. Also I kind of wish my name was “Jessica Thot.” Keep doin’ your tricked-out Hello Kitty thing, Katy.