BOY YOU FANCY
The connotations I connect with the word fancy are rather bougie, but thanks to Shane Shane and all the performers at FANCY last Friday, my concept of the word has been expanded exponentially.
FANCY is a new queer performance art party thrown by the cute, burly and fabulous gay performer Shane Shane (Shane O’Neill) at CULTUREfix on the Lower East Side. Shane’s outfit for most of the night had a plastic window over his belly exposing his tattoo that spells the party’s name and featured several different colorful cardboard cut-outs to frame his head. He started off the evening by offering the audience poppers. Classy shit.
The first performer was “negro goth singer” M Lamar, who performed a segment of his new opera about the middle passage. He was dressed in dominatrix gear, with a leather coat and goth makeup. His high operatic voice was haunting and hypnotizing, filling the room with tension. Lamar played the piano and sang while accompanied by cellist Matthew Robinson, adding to the dynamic emotional texture as a producer mixing the sounds into a trippy whirlpool of vibrations that made me feel like I needed to get the fuck off that slave boat. M Lamar’s music didn’t exactly make me feel good or comfortable, but it left me with a visceral experience I won’t forget anytime soon.
Suddenly a crowd had appeared. Yes, Justin Vivian Bond had arrived. Chairs were pushed to the side as faggots and dykes gathered around to hear Justin read. I had to hop up on a bench to see. V read a wonderful short essay and the crowd was mesmerized. It felt like we had gathered around to listen to a shaman. An encore was called for and everyone listened reverently as Justin sang one of V’s original ballads in V’s transformative vibrato, no need for a mic.
Next was Jake Dibeler who performed a piece that struck me as a dynamic critique and celebration of the way our culture uses sexual energy to sell us everything all the time. The big, hairy and brash Jake danced seductively in contrast to a fit hairy girl who was also seducing us. He rhythmically blurted out dirty words and drank coconut water and to my surprise I was turned on (boner alert!) by the performance and left questioning the way that sexual energy functions in our society.
Diva pop queen Collin Self followed, changing the mood to something more like concert. She turned down the lights, kicked off her shoes and let us right into her personal life. Collin recounted a crazy day of fighting with a co-worker and getting hit by a car. She said this would be a stripped down show as she almost hadn’t made it, but when she began singing her original pop music magic began to swirl around the room. Collin’s songs fit right in with your favorite 90’s singer/songwriter, but there’s something very inspiring for me to hear Collin sing about such vulnerable, sentimental topics. Her drag style adds depth to her music and reveals truth for me, I suppose I relate to her. Plus, it’s just fun music to dance to and makes me feel full of vibrant emotions and dreams.
Electro punk group Noir Fonce continued the concert vibe with some angsty, trippy songs full of attitude. The crowd was getting more intimate and I felt tension between whether we were at a gallery or a rave. Their songs were fun and musically dynamic, but the crowd seemed unprepared to jam out, but that didn’t stop one of the lead singers from walking through the crowed staring people in the eyes. This New Orleans group has a lot of potential. I’d like to see them perform another set in New York soon, although maybe at more of a late night venue (this was an early party).
It was a fabulous surprise when Shane Shane performed a few numbers to end the night. I had never seen him perform before, but was very impressed with his mastery of camp, adorable enthusiasm and hilarious lyrics. As he danced like a bangee stripper queen I felt proud to be a part of a community that celebrates such outlandish expression. Shane Shane’s performance was ridiculous, but delivered with such sincerity that it makes me laugh and think and feel empowered at the same time.
All of FANCY’s performers left lasting impressions deep inside me, so as the culture whore that I am, I went home feeling warm and satisfied. FANCY should keep it up, I want to go to another one next month and you should join me!
- PAUL LEOPOLD