I lived in New York for three years after graduating from college. I knew from the beginning I didn’t want to stay for long, but my time there gave me the chance to explore lots of things I loved (as well as a few things I’d prefer never to experience again).
I was by no means a frequent show-goer, but I loved going to see live music shows. That’s where I came across Tracy and the Plastics. They opened either for Le Tigre or The Gossip (I’m thinking it was Le Tigre). It was a work night, and I was still getting used to the fact that it took forever for the main acts to take the stage. (Really, I’m not falling asleep standing up!) It would take longer than forever to make it home on the G train.
While standing around, studying the crowd of queerish indie kids, Tracy and the Plastics took the stage. The “band” was the concept of artist Wynne Greenwood. She performed all three of its members. Tracy (Wynne) was there live, singing, talking, and interacting with projected images of Nikki (Wynne) and Cola (Wynne). Here’s a clip:
I loved it within minutes. I felt like I got it, even if I didn’t completely understand it. The halting interactions had me laughing out loud. The work was political but not in a straightforward way. The characters dropped references to feminist and/or queer identity, but then a disruption would occur–often a funny non sequitur. Yet the non sequitur was intriguing, as if Greenwood invited the audience in with something expected but then started speaking another language we once knew.
The beats were good and danceable. I adored Greenwood’s voice, especially when she belted out a song. I loved her as a figure–the quirky, feminist lesbian artist, alone in her room with recording equipment, creating. I wanted to be at the party.
Last week Slog posted a video of Wynne Greenwood talking about a more recent project. Here are a couple short excerpts, followed by the video interview:
“For awhile, I think I was really adamant about being a feminist lesbian artist. It’s sometimes what people want to focus on….but almost in a way that’s where they stop. You know it’s like that’s what is painted over the door. But they just stop at the door to, like, keep looking at the door… “Whoa, this is the door of a feminist lesbian artist! Oh my god, what does this door look like?” Well, come in to my whole house…”
“I wanna talk about how it’s about this agreement on a reality….I want to talk about how queer sex is this really rad example of agreeing on a reality. Like, making up a reality and agreeing on it. That it exists and so then it does. Specifically, with the dick. You know?”