Katy Albert lives and works in Chicago, IL. Her performances use humor to deconstruct and re-examine interpersonal, institutional, and hierarchical structures. A focus of her performance work is to create a contract of vulnerability with the audience, where both the performer and the audience must venture something of themselves to fully engage with the performance. Katy is working with the online production company, Sincerely TV, to develop and star in two television programs, Katies Crossing and Vaseline Screen. She just got back from a 6 city mini-tour with her performance of The Character Who Lost Their Voice.
Photo Credit: Video still from Vaseline Screen, collaboration with Sally Lawton and Sincerely TV
1. Magic Mike XXL "Pony" Scene:
Despite my nuanced views of the Magic Mike franchise, the "Pony" scene did truly amuse and delight me. I discovered this riveting sequence during a back-to-back viewing of Magic Mike and sequel, Magic Mike XXL, while recovering from the flu (but who needs an excuse to watch these totally ok films).
Everyone knows that Channing Tatum is a great dancer and often dazzles. But the prop comedy! The intimacy of his mancave! Throwback, mid-90’s jammer, "Pony" serves as a key narrative epiphany in Magic Mike XXL. The song reminds Channing of his former days as a stripper in Magic Mike (where he performs a signature dance to that same tune (and also, for a "method" read, Channing, the actor, worked as a stripper before his rise to fame)). The physical virtuosity of this scene is enhanced by its creativity: it explores the space and moves imaginatively with the furniture and architecture of the room; the bizarre, punny tool/dick jokes are carried off effortlessly, with charm and some self-awareness; at one point Channing runs up a wall (and begins to air hump his worktable). Spoiler– the design sketches for his artisan woodwork are not very impressive.
2. Torrey Pines Trailer by Clyde Peterson:
Torrey Pines is a masterpiece. Made by musician, artist, and filmmaker Clyde Peterson, it is an autobiographical coming-of-age feature performed with a live score by Clyde’s band, Your Heart Breaks. The hand painted, cut, and jointed stop-animation details a young Clyde navigating gender identity and his mother’s schizophrenia against a backdrop of conspiracy theory laced hallucinations, epic USA landscape, rooms overfull of cats, and early casio riffing. True to the blessed genre of road-trip-with-mom, it brings to screen the most tender adolescent bundle of rage, understanding, and discovery.
Also worth mentioning is Clyde’s movie review tumblr of every VHS in the GLBT section of the great Seattle rental shop, Scarecrow Video. Next time you’re looking for a flick, check it out: https://queerfilms.tumblr.com/
3. Patti Smith at the Nobel Ceremony 2016:
I am iffy about the Bob Dylan Nobel win (like, he was fine to shoot the Victoria's Secret commercial in ‘04, but can’t be bothered to accept the Nobel in person?). What is great about this moment, is that it isn’t about him at all. It is about the singular artistry of Patti Smith, her power to make every moment genuine and her sincerity in honoring the artist she admires. It is also a little bit about the theater of award ceremonies, especially prestigious ones. She holds her own and is pure and earnest and a real artist no doubt about it, but what is there to say about Patti Smith that she hasn’t put better herself?
4. Hail The New Puritan by Charles Atlas:
(View full film here: ubu.com/dance/clark_hail.html
This is a fun 80’s English post-punk bingo card of an experimental film. The "docufantasy" has a dizzying scope under the direction of Charles Atlas who combines his meta wonderings about the film with the rehearsal-cum-performance of talented dancer and choreographer, Michael Clark. Leigh Bowery did the costumes and has plenty of screen time, there’s music by The Fall, and a few iconic visual treats in the mix for good measure (a tits tee from Vivienne Westwood’s Sex shop, for example). When in need of inspiration, I turn to this.
5. That Fertile Feeling, featuring Vaginal C. Davis
The "terrorist drag" of Vaginal Davis is not easy to categorize–among other things, her work entices and rebukes using a mirage of vagueness to express a very cogent parallel to the complexities of identity, the state, queerness, and performativity. To go deep, I recommend the excellent articles of late writer and queer theorist (and coiner of the phrase "terrorist drag"), José Esteban Muñoz. That Fertile Feeling, starring Davis and Fertile LaToyah Jackson*, captures the escapades of two friends forced to deliver eleventuplets without help from the healthcare industrial complex. The lo-fi video quality produces some gorgeous effects and fits well with the energy of the performers. Needless to say, this short film delivers.
* Davis’ well-known zine, Fertile LaToyah Jackson (a serial gossip mag about the LA punk scene), was named after and often featured juicy tidbits and photos from her peppy co-star.