Monday evening I had the very great joy of attending SEMIOSPECTACLE at PS 122, a literary cabaret/burlesque/extravaganza that I couldn’t help thinking was tailor-made for the likes of me. I mean, look, here’s the opening paragraph of the beautifully produced program/booklet (hurrah for Ugly Duckling!) that was handed out for FREE at this miraculously FREE show. I felt like I’d died and been born again in Utopia:
This verbal varieté strategizes the explicitly semiotic spectacle in a multimedia showcase of live art representing an encounter between the academic lecture hall, the poet’s theater, and the vaudeville house. Its players cut across the disciplinary boundaries of scholarship, pedagogy, cabaret, poetics, and performance in an investigation of linguistic mechanisms of spectacular identity formation. Linguistic illusionists expose the parlor trick of transparent speech, conjuring floating signifiers that levitate forty-four feet above the floor. Costumes sewn from three million majuscules burst at the semes. The auditorium oscillates between reading room and performatorium. The linguistic turn transmogrifies into a shimmy.
I invite you to compare this to the tag cloud at right.
The show was not perhaps absolutely flawless, but then, life’s not either. The moments of theatrical/poetic sublimity followed one upon the other:
Danny Snelson in a tiara and wristbands of pure crystal detourning the mormon gospel to a video collage of straitlaced religionists’ weird enthusiasms
The intertitular tapdancing Minsky sisters in their corsets and garters and eyelashes and plumes
Mashinka Firunt as stunningly attired MC and superfreak professorin
Jeremy JF Thompson fully capturing Chaplin pathos as Tourette’s-y zaum
Paolo Javier and his helpers on Bigfoot
Dr. Lucky, oh my goddess, preaching the gospel of glitter and Miss Piggy, stripping to her curly tail… this was just too too gorgeous
Lord Whimsy BRILLIANTLY arguing for self-construction, because life is drag…
Shonni Ennelow’s “My Dinner with Bernard Frechtmann” – a beautifully wrought and delivered tale of an obsession
Vaginal Davis’ narration to a slow motion (?) video of hippos underwater, then song-theory, lusty and throaty…
Divine. Really, Divine. Did I mention the orchestra, Grandpa Musselman and His Syncopators. Ohhh… may life be shot through with trombones…
This is not much of a description… I’m only kvelling. I have to run to get a train to Philly to do a poemtalk today. But thank you Semiospectacle…
Really the only thing I really disliked about the show was that I WASN’T IN IT.