Frau Welt


 

You can tell at once that Peter Clements has been honing this character over the past few years. Frau Welt is executed precisely, the performance is tight, the gestures and facial expressions exquisite. Frau may be a large character but there is depth and pathos here. We laugh but we feel more than mirth.

From the moment of her entrance we are captured in her spell. Frau Welt tales the life story of a diva of the theatre (or tee-ay-ter, as Frau says it). Years in the Berliner Ensemble as Mother Courage and Brecht’s mistress; ambitions of Broadway stardom by way of a glomming friendship with one Angela Lansbury… it is also a tale of lost love and secrets. We are captivated, we are won.

Everything about this production is perfection. The sparseness of the stage and props. The deliciously and flawlessly chosen music (including my favourite Judy Garland song, ever), the costume and the wigs. Even though what they have chosen to dress her in must be hotter than hell under those lights.

When Frau Welt makes her entrance in the second act we are faced with a stunning vision, strutting towards us through smoke and techno. Looking spookily like Alla Nazimova in Camille, dressed in silver lurex, this is an image I won’t forget. When I think back on the great theatre I’ve seen in my life, this will be what I remember.

Hackney Showroom was a project launched on a mere 20k, a dream that became a reality of a space for collaboration, development and opportunity for performers and artists and community. It is glorious. Frau Welt is their first in-house production of a full piece of theatre and what a debut. All involved should be rightly proud of this gem. The new Big Space is wonderful. Stark yet welcoming, a classic non-proscenium stage. I fell in love with it at first site. And it’s perfect for such a piece; intimate, comfortable. There’s not a bad seat in the house.

Hackney Showroom have supported and presented countless queer performances and workshops in its short life. This is the kind of space we desperately need and deserve. Be sure to support them by attending performances and other events. You can even pledge donations if you want to contribute even more to this valuable piece of London arts and community life.

Frau Welt runs until 21st October. So, plenty of time to catch it. You will be grateful that you did.

Image by Holly Revell

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Shoot The Sissy


Nando Messias’ powerful theatre piece The Sissy’s Progress drew on the artist’s own experience of a homophobic attack and was one of the most profound things I have ever seen. Stunning, emotive, challenging; Nando is a compelling performer producing essential queer work. His new show Shoot The Sissy continues to confront homophobic violence and living visibly queer. Corinna Tomrley spoke to him about the piece.

Your work is confrontational, beautiful, moving and empowering but you dont shy away from the real lived pain of being queer in a homophobic world. Why do you think it is important to address queer violence through your art?
Confrontation, beauty, emotion and empowerment are things I hope to evoke in an audience when creating work so I feel flattered to have you describe it like that. As a subject, queer violence is important but I don’t see addressing it as a choice. Dealing with it is, rather, a responsibility, a moral duty for me. That is not to say that speaking of violence is an easy endeavour. It isn’t. By no means. Looking at violence can be quite painful at times, especially when I am so deeply ensnared in its mechanisms. What moves me to develop new work is a sense that I have something to say about queer violence, perhaps some insider information that might give insight to others who, like me, are its captives or to those who are not necessarily targets of violence but who are, nevertheless, committed to fighting against it or ameliorating its destructive effects. Shying away from this lived pain is, again, not a choice. I feel lucky to have the creative and artistic tools that I have. They allow me to face the negative aspects of living as a queer person with enough critical distance to be able to transform them into something productive and, hopefully, even beautiful.

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©Richard Eaton 07778 395888
Nando Messias: The Sissy’s Progress Image by Richard Eaton ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888

The Sissys Progress was one of the most powerful pieces of theatre Ive ever seen. With Shoot The Sissy you are further exploring the idea of the vulnerable queer body. Will we see The Sissy in more works in the future?
I’m glad you enjoyed it! And, yes, Shoot the Sissy also explores the vulnerability of the queer body. Whereas in The Sissy’s Progress I was making a public statement about visibility and ownership of my own body by reclaiming my space on the streets, with Shoot the Sissy the mood is more introspective. It began with a series of questions: Am I a freak? What makes me a freak? What are the ideological similarities between ‘queer’ and ‘freak’? Can I use this alliance between queer and freak as a theatrical ruse to explore questions of vulnerability, visibility, ridicule, spectacle? Why do people stare at me? As a performer, do I like being stared at? Can I make it stop when it gets too much or too dangerous? I was aware that the freak show was a delicate subject so I approached it with caution. This I did by trying to remain true to my own story, hoping that what is deeply personal becomes, when placed in front of an audience, universal and therefore effective in ways that I cannot predict. Shoot the Sissy is the third in a series of performances with the word Sissy in the title. The first one was simply Sissy! (sic, with an exclamation mark, like a shouted insult). In it, I developed a duet in collaboration with Biño Sauitzvy where my effeminate body became even more so in contrast with his more masculine, muscular one. The second was The Sissy’s Progress, which you’ve seen and now we have Shoot the Sissy. My intention is to continue developing work based on the Sissy but of course my understanding of Sissy is also changing.

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Youre not afraid to make the audience uncomfortable in presenting how it feels to live queer and visible in a hostile society. I kept expecting you to fight back in The Sissy’s Progress. It’s a very Brechtian approach not to allow the audience that catharsis, and therefore has its own active power, doesnt it?
 I feel I would be doing myself a disservice if I held back on the representation of some of those issues. The point of the piece was to expose the daily abuse suffered by queer subjects. My efforts to go out onto the streets in a ball gown and with marching band in tow paid off in the end. The work activated the kind of dynamic I wanted the audience to witness. Various things were hurled at me during the parade section: from insults to threats to tins of energy drink. In a way, the performance simply framed what is already out there on the streets but remains hidden to most or unseen. I also wanted to avoid the ‘me against them’ discourse. This is perhaps why I chose not to fight back. I wanted the audience to find a resolution to this story for themselves without me steering their opinion in one direction. The hope is that the work then becomes multi-layered in meaning. I was also careful not to romanticise this terrible attack that happened to me by creating a happy ending narrative because, sadly, the reality is that it doesn’t always end well.

Who are some of your favourite sissies?
NM: Quentin Crisp, Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Noël Coward, Cecil Beaton, James Baldwin, Oliver Button…

I love the idea of the freak show element to Shoot The Sissy. We are enfreakened as otherby straight society, but to own freakis very powerful. Will you play with this in the performance?
Yes, I do. Shoot the Sissy was directly inspired by the sideshow attraction, Shoot the Freak, where a carnival barker invites passersby to shoot a human target by using paintball guns. I was also thrust into action by the Orlando shootings of June 2016, where 49 queer people lost their lives and another 53 were wounded in a mass terrorist attack/hate crime. I had just finished a tour of a piece that questioned the conditions under which queer people live when this happened. I felt that there was work yet to be done. In researching the subject of freak shows, I connected with this idea of a theatricalised, exaggerated version of difference that is presented to the audience. Freaks often invented a highly elaborate biography to heighten their otherness in the eyes of an audience. They used costumes, props, music and other theatrical elements to construct an artificial image. This created a context where real life and imagined life began to blur. All this artifice transformed their real bodies into a spectacle, an invitation for the audience to gaze. I wondered if the fascination to stare at the body of the other, which these shows promoted, was in certain ways a form of asserting one’s own ‘normality.’ Perhaps that is what is going on when I am stared at on the streets: men and women gawk, point at and ridicule me because that is their way of trying to prove to themselves that they are normal, cis-gendered and therefore not sissies like me.

Shoot The Sissy is at Chelsea Theatre 18th and 19th October 

Main image by Holly Revell 

Jason Mecier


We’ve long loved the art of Jason Mecier. Made from found objects including pills, candy, foodstuffs, and trash, his work puts him at the forefront of the queer celebrity portrait movement. I’ve not actually seen anyone else recognizing this as a movement but I tell you it is. Along with Jason, Wayne Hollowell, Rocky Helminski, Kev Clarke, Sina Sparrow, Wayne Moraghan, Mari Kasurinen – and, ehem, me – are all working with stars/celebrities as our subject, most if not all of us are queer. It’s a movement, darlings.

Jason’s had commissions from the stars themselves and used their own trash in his work. He’s also produced pieces where the medium was appropriate to the subject such as his seminal Kevin Bacon made out of bacon.

Jason Mecier’s latest exhibition is in one of Ethel’s favourite art mediums: marvel, darlings, at The Real Housewives of Macaroni.

Even the goddamn FRAMES are made out of noodles!

Jason has portrayed some of our fave hysterical, surgeried ladies in pasta and they look good enough to eat. Plus, his exhibition coincides with National Noodle Day (6 Oct) and National Pasta Day (17 Oct). What a way to celebrate.

So, if you’re San Francisco way, get yourselves down to Dog Eared Books Castro from 13th October through December. Now… Ethel’s got to go and get herself a big old plate of mac and cheese…

Real Housewives of Macaroni

New portraits by Jason Mecier

October – December 2016

Artist Reception Thursday Oct 13, 7- 9pm

Dog Eared Books Castro

489 Castro St.

San Francisco, CA 94114

Open Every Day 10am – 10pm

415-658-7920

 

 

Youtube Gold


By Corinna ‘Merm’ Tomrley

There are countless things on Youtube that are rather marvelous. There’s a handful, though, that are just so wonderful, so extraordinary, that we wonder why when we mention them to most people they’ve never seen them or even knew of their existence. These are videos we’ve even posted a lot but that for some reason still don’t get the attention and acclaim and cult status that they so deserve.

Ethel intends to put this right and give you – THINGS ON YOUTUBE YOU REALLY SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

 

  1. CHRISTOPHER WALKEN COOKING CHICKEN WITH PEARS

There is so much about this that is just really ace. Firstly, it’s Christopher Walken cooking chicken. It’s on shitty video in his kitchen. His hygiene practices are questionable (touching poultry and then touching your salt pig, Mr Walken? Salmonella City!). There’s his descriptions of things in that voice. There’s the cat.

Chris did go on to remake this with a proper TV crew and some bloke from that thing as his guest. We really wish he hadn’t because it takes away from the raw weirdness of the original. So don’t ever bother to watch that one but instead what this version over and over and over.

Best moment: the insipid, vile looking result that he produces.

 

  1. JOAN CRAWFORD IN THE SUPERMARKET

We were alerted to this treasure by the sublime Stargayzing. David Munk wrote so wonderfully about this bizarre ad that we won’t witter on ourselves too much. Suffice to say that the very idea of this film is enough to make the camp heart flutter. But the actuality of it surpasses anything you could imagine from such a concept. Warning: the opening music may make your ears bleed. But hopefully you’ll still be able to hear what comes out of Joanie’s mouth as she does her shop. Because it’s something else.

Best moment: Did she say ‘weirdo’?

 

  1. LEGO SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

As far as we’re aware, there was a plan for a full musical film of Lego SOTL, but this is all that got made. You may wish for more but it’s kind of great that this is all that there is. It’s enough. The concept itself is genius. The execution perfection.

Best moment: Put the fucking poodle in the basket

 

  1. MANDOM

Say it: ‘Mandom’. What a word. Who can we possibly get to advertise this ultra butch cologne? Who else but masc god Charles Bronson? The theme tune (one of the best ever, you’ll thank us for this earworm) tells us ‘All the world loves a lover’, but who exactly is Mr Bronson the lover of? For, although he has his Mandom shrine of products at home and he basically fucking showers in the stuff, there isn’t a single woman in this ad. There’s the piano player, there’s the creepy doorman and then in his apartment there’s… his pipe. Marvel at Mandom. We can only presume it stank to high heaven and could be used to remove varnish from the floorboards, just like all 70s perfumes.

Best moment: How Chuck takes off his shirt. There’s no chick to bitch about it strewn across the flat, after all.

 

  1. FAYE DUNAWAY EATS A BOILED EGG

It was informing our soul sisters Graham and Pal about Mandom brought the Dunaway egg film into our lives. Yes, the Bronson ad is extraordinary and funny but had we seen the egg advert? What? No. What? When Pal said ‘it’s Faye Dunaway eating a boiled egg’ he wasn’t exaggerating. Because that’s literally what it is. Actually, forgive us, it’s Faye Dunaway peeling and eating a boiled egg. Why is this sexy? Because it’s Faye Dunaway. Why is this weird? Because it’s a film star eating an egg. Why is it really weird? Because that’s all she’s doing in a beautifully lit black space. Why is it super weird? Because this egg eating activity is advertising a department store.

Best moment: Um… when she eats the egg? Actually, when she peels it and gives sexy cheekbones to camera. What is she going to do next? Oh she’s going to eat that bit of egg, the saucy minx!

 

Ethel Loves… Adrian+Shane


 

When Adrian+Shane appeared in the first issue of Loverboy Magazine I was instantly smitten. Their art continues to delight, seduce and intrigue. With Judy and Liza being subjects of their work and ideas of queerness and identity at the forefront I needed to discover more about this amazing art partnership.

Corinna: I’m going out on limb and presuming you are a romantic couple as well as an artistic partnership? If so, what came first love or art or did both crash together at the same time?

Adrian+Shane: Haha, yes, you’re right to presume we’re a couple. Love came first. The art was never planned. We met at Christmas 1997. Shane was studying at the Glasgow School of Art and I was still living in Ireland. A month and a half after we first met I visited him in Glasgow for Valentines weekend and bought a massive bottle of Absolut vodka in the airport on my way. One evening, we sat on the floor of his student flat listening to the Spice Girls and getting drunk on the vodka. I began doodling in a sketch pad, then I passed it to Shane and he painted on top of my drawing. We passed it back and forth. This was the beginning of our collaboration. Over the weekend we filled ten pages in the pad with drawings, paintings and collage. We’ve still never shown them to anyone. The following year we had our first Adrian+Shane exhibition

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C: How does your work life balance pan out?

A+S: After the gym every morning we drive to our studio. We usually have a brief meeting to decide what needs to be done and we spend the day working on it. We finish at around 7pm depending on what we’re working on. If we’re in the middle of a big project we’ll work until midnight. Then do it all over again the next day. We generally work 7 days a week. We get a break when we go on holiday.

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C: Do you have a pretty solid and consistent vision as Adrian+Shane or do you, as two separate artists, have differences where you have to drop an idea because it’s not where you both want to go?

A+S: In general we both know what Adrian+Shane is and we have very similar likes aesthetically. But every now and then one of us will have an idea that the other doesn’t like. When that happens we either make adjustments to the idea or we bin it and move on.

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C: Your piece ‘I Was A Gay Child’ is so stunning and resonates for so many queer boys, I am sure. Is this strictly a gendered piece though, do you think? I was considering it in terms of being a queer woman and wondering what I’d depict for my own gay childhood. I wasn’t a ‘tomboy’ (shudder at THAT word, but you know what I mean, I hope…). I think I’d have Lynda Carter, Daisy Duke and Cat Woman in the background for mine but I don’t know what toy I’d have in the foreground.  Probably a Barbie tbh because I coveted them and all I had was my sister’s hand me down flat footed Sindy who was horse-crazy and Sloany. I couldn’t relate. I craved the glamour of old Hollywood and girlie things that spoke to me from within my queerness. Or I’d have a Spirograph because I used to think of Busby Berkeley chorus girl formations as I twiddled it… What are your thoughts on my rambling explanation here in terms of queer formativity, childhood and gender? And I’m thinking of it all from outside the binary as well…

A+S: We love the way you think. When we make art it’s generally from our own perspective. We grew up secretly fantasising about other boys/men and sometimes wanting to play with girls’ toys. It might be interesting to do a version of it from a queer girl’s point of view.

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C: Can we talk about ‘Judy Fucking Garland’? I adore this piece and not just because I’m a card carrying Judy nut (in every sense, darlings). It encapsulates the deification of Judy – classically understood as The Gay Men’s Personal Diva. But also, for me, sums up the cultish deification by The Good Judy Fans – those who will not see her personified and portrayed as anything but fun, pure, happy, sexless. The fact that you have the word ‘fucking’ in there will piss off a lot of them and that makes me particularly happy… anyway, I digress (as I usually do on the topic of Judy). Your JFG is one of the best pieces of Garland art I’ve seen because it has a multitude of readings but is also simply joyous. What are you exploring through this and the related Liza piece?

A+S: We fucking love Judy. As little Irish gay boys we grew up watching her on TV every Christmas in The Wizard Of Oz. About a year ago we had the idea of using the line “Judy Fucking Garland” in a painting or T-shirt. After creating several designs we were dissatisfied with, we put the idea on the back burner and every now and then we’d return to it between working on other projects. Catholic imagery has always played a part in our work and combining the text with an image of the Virgin Mary gave it a whole new meaning. It’s powerful. The paintings were exhibited in a show in Dublin in June 2015 and caused a lot of controversy. The gallery received letters from life long customers demanding that the paintings be removed etc. Meanwhile the T-shirts we made depicting the same image have been flying off the shelves.

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C: Some – unimaginative – people might not quite see how pop art and pop culture can be used to explore social commentary but it’s there in your manifesto and I definitely see it in your work. I think the subversiveness of camp is very, very underrated and one of our main weapons and tools. Can you say something about how your art takes on social critique and explores identity? There’s a particularly powerful thematic blurring of catholic and queer iconology there, too.

A+S: Pop art and social commentary go hand in hand as far as we’re concerned. Pop art was always about reflecting what was going on in society. That’s what we like to do, hold a mirror up and show off the ridiculous. We like to burst bubbles, including our own and try to disturb what’s comfortable. People get set in their ways and don’t like change and anything different.

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C: Madonna is an artist who excels on stage: discuss (I used to work at the Astoria in the 90s. I can’t believe that they actually got Madonna for G-A-Y. Gutted I missed that. Adore your video piece that came from it). In your opinions, is she still as powerful up there on the boards as she was in her Blonde Ambition/Girlie Show heyday?

A+S: We love her. She still has plenty to say. We just saw her current tour “Rebel Heart Tour” and she has just as much energy as she’s ever had. People have been bashing her for years. It’s so ridiculous that she’s criticised for being 57 when in fact she should be celebrated. I guess it’ll take her death for the masses to examine her career and really appreciate how fucking incredible she is.

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C: Your work ‘It takes balls to be a fairy’ challenges the stupid anti-sissy mentality in gay culture and celebrates the nancy boy instead. Is this something that’s particularly relevant to your artistic voice and message?

A+S: Growing up in an environment where boys were boys, played football and were masculine. If you didn’t match that stereotype you were singled out. Even now within the gay community “feminine” guys are looked down on. We love embracing these words that are used to bash and humiliate gays. Words that have been used against us. Taking them back, owning them and using them in a positive way. Queer, fairy, homo, faggot, poof, queen. We love them. ’It Takes Balls To Be A Fairy’ is by far our most popular T-shirt.

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Interview by Corinna Tomrley

Read more about Adrian+Shane in Loverboy issue 1

 

Split Britches


When I was a baby feminist, baby queer doing A level Theatre Studies back in the late 80s, I devoured anything I could find on feminist and gay theatre. There’d been a lot happening in the previous two decades and a lot going on (just out of reach of my geographic restrictions) at the time. It was exciting; it was mind-blowing; it was inspirational. I’d always wanted to be an actress but up to that point my ambition was to be on Dynasty. When I read about political theatre, my thespian world made a very different sort of perfect sense.

It was through my insatiable research into feminist/gay theatre that I first heard of Split Britches. To be honest, I pretty much fell in love with Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw the more I read. I’ve always liked my art and activism to be as full of F.U.N. as it can be and Split Britches were taking the complexities and controversies of gender and sexuality politics and making them accessible to a broad audience. La SWOON, darlings.

In recent years Lois Weaver has been teaching at Queen Mary University, crowd sourcing for a book on her life’s work and living her alter-ego, the most GLORIOUSLY named Tammy WhyNot? I keep hearing of these endevours and my love just grows and grows and grows…

When I found out that Split Britches are to be performing a Retro(per)spective of their decades worth of fabulous work as part of the SACRED festival, well darlings, I just plotzed. For ONE NIGHT ONLY we get to experience these incredible, essential and marvellous performers at The Chelsea Theatre, London.

Astonishingly, there are still a few tickets available. Snaffle them while you CAN, honies! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see something very, very special.

By Corinna ‘Mermaid’ Tomrley

Get your tickets here for Split Britches at the SACRED festival, Chelsea Theatre

Ethel Talks StreisBAND


When we first heard about Stephen Crowe’s latest project StreisBAND we could not wait to hear the results and to discover just what kind of animal it would be. We weren’t disappointed. StreisBAND are unlike anything we have heard before. Their frantic, affectionate renditions have captured the imagination and spawned an instant dedicated fan base, which includes serious, die-hard Babs fans. No small feat. For years composer Stephen Crowe has been writing ‘little operas’ as well as performing free-improv with the trio Ynd. His latest venture might just be the most fabulous contribution towards Ms Streisand’s cultural impact in a very long time. Some gigs and an album are coming soon.

It’s obvious that StreisBAND is not a gimmick or a joke but instead comes from a place of pure love. How much do you love Barbra Streisand? How did your Streislove begin?

She’s a genius, and she’s funny. Who else can you say that about?

I must have been 20 years old when I first came across Streisand. I was at a car boot sale and there was a copy of Brahms’ Violin Concerto and Funny Girl on VHS. I could only afford one of the two, and though I knew nothing at all about Barbra Streisand, I thought it was worth a try. It was an agonising decision, though I knew nothing about Brahms either. Funny Girl is a masterpiece, I reckon. It sparked an obsession. It’s the ‘thinking voice’ that I love about the Streisand. The ability to act while singing, I mean. I think all musical performance is acting on some level.

What led to the formation of StreisBAND?

I had the idea a few years ago. It was a kind of ridiculous notion that had no chance of materialising. Like saying ‘I’m going to move to Paris and write poetry’. I recently mentioned it to a girl that I was trying to impress. She thought it was hilarious, and so I had to turn it into a reality. You could say she called my bluff.

The first move was to design the logo. I’m not sure how many bands finalise the logo before the first rehearsal, but I hadn’t even met the drummer before I printed twenty T-shirts saying ‘StreisBAND’.

We first heard of the StreisBAND project through your ad for a drummer. Tell us about some of the people who replied – on the whole, did they get it? How did you decide on Barry?

More people ‘got it’ than I had anticipated. I had twenty-five applicants from all over Europe, and including drummers who’ve played for quite big names. I held auditions in London, but Barry (who lives in Ireland) sent me some videos of his interpretations via youtube, and he was my favourite. He was obviously having a ball while he was playing. He’s really funny, too. Which helps.

Does Barry love Babs too?

He didn’t, but he does now! That’s sort of the point of the whole project. Make people realise how great the songs are. They have to be great to withstand this sort of pummelling.

StreisBAND consists of vocals and drums and in your words, ‘no guitar, no bass, no marimba’. How and why did you come to that decision?

It’s just a lot more interesting than having a regular rock n’ roll set up, isn’t it? There are more than enough guitar bands in the world. This is much more direct. No pissing about, as it were.

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How does StreisBAND fit in your oeuvre of avant garde, experimental musics?

That’s a tough question. I’m having a break from writing little operas and experimental music so that I can be more spontaneous and get out of the whole contemporary classical field and all the routine that goes with it. But is it REALLY a break? Or is it a continuation in some way? I don’t really know. Best not to dwell.

How are you choosing the songs?

I have to love the song and it has to work with the StreisBAND treatment. It helps if there’s an emotional tight-rope in the lyrics. Me and Barry struck upon the image of Oliver Reed on the street in his underpants, having been thrown out by his girlfriend. He’s pleading with her desperately as she throws his clothes from the bedroom window. He’s blind drunk and it’s raining. If the lyric of the song can fit that image then we’re on to a winner.

There also has to be a balance of well-known songs and more obscure songs. I don’t want to just do the Greatest Hits, that would be too easy and a bit boring. Besides, more people on this planet need to hear ‘Come to the Supermarket in Old Peking’, hopefully if they like StreisBAND’s version they’ll have a listen to her original. They’re surprisingly similar.

We hear there may be a tour?

There will be a few individual performances, and if they don’t go horribly wrong then there’ll be a tour.

Like us, you saw Babs’ recent concert at the O2. What did you think?

I was stunned! I wasn’t expecting her to be anything like as good as she was, frankly. I love her voice and I love her humour- both of which I imagined were in decline. But she was fucking fantastic. Her song choices were incredible, too, which is vital. The most moving Babs song for me has always been ‘Didn’t We?’, which isn’t an especially well known song, but she sang it and I was thrilled. I think I cried a couple of times during that concert. But then I’m an easy crier.

Babs likes to have some guest boys along on her tours these days. When she chooses StreisBAND for her next tour and to appear on her imminent duets album, what song will you do?

‘You Are Woman, I Am Man’. My tash rivals Omar Sharif’s.

Do you see StreisBAND as a one-album project or does it depend on your voice giving out or not?

HA! Yes, my voice may not hold out much longer singing the way I do. But it’s definitely ongoing, as far as I’m concerned. It might change, it might stay the same. I don’t want to sterilise it by forming concrete plans, since wildness is the best thing about it.

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What is your favourite Babs era/album/film/TV special/hairdo?

I can’t get enough of those early albums and films. I love the album Barbra Streisand and Other Musical instruments, for the sheer range of textures in the orchestration. And it’s really funny. I couldn’t survive for love without Je m’apelle Barbra, either. For TV specials it’s got to be A Happening in Central Park which I use as my secret weapon to convert unbelievers. That performance, with all the schtick and the wit and emotion is complete genius. Great hair in Hello Dolly, but a bit of a superficial character, I seem to recall.

Barbra Streisand offers you a professional residency in her home/s. Do you:

a) choose to turn one of the shoppe’s in her basement shopping mall into a small gig venue, even though no one ever actually goes down there?

b) hang out with her in the ‘Grandma’s House’ studio and jam?

c) become a troubadour, following her as she checks her stocks whilst still in her pjs, demands another quail pizza from her PA Renata, requests you play ‘Smile’ for her coton de tulear Sammie and in memory of bichon frise Sammy (RIP), decides what colour flowers and fish she wants to match up today, and has some afternoon delight with Jim in her purpose-built shag-room?

d) something else?

HAHA! I would put microphones all over the house to make recordings of every word Babs says to Sammie and publish the results as an experimental novel. Or is that too obvious?

Is there a music genre that Babs hasn’t touched that you would love her to?

Glenn Gould wanted her to do some Mussorgsky, but I reckon she would have been staggering in hair metal.

You Don’t Bring Me Flowers with Diamond, Guilty with Gibb, No More Tears with Summer, or I’ve Finally Found Someone with Adams?

Guilty. Hands down. I like I’ve Got a Crush on You with Sinatra, too.

In Barbra Streisand…And Other Musical Instruments Babs sing-conducts an orchestra in ‘a concerto for voice and appliances’. What are your favourite appliances to play?

Corkscrew and bottle opener. I’ve been rehearsing for years.

For me it will be the performance she gave when she won the talent contest at New York gay bar The Lion, the one that launched her career as an actress-who-sings. What Babs moment will you visit when you take a trip in the Ethel Mermaids Time Machine?

A few seconds before she met Elliot Gould. I would swoop.

What next for StreisBAND and Stephen Crowe? 

I’m trying to raise money to finish recording the album, and I’m sorting out a couple of gigs before the New Year. I’m off to live in Berlin for a few months from January. Don’t worry: there’s a very good drummer there for all German StreisBAND performances.

Studio-barbara-streisand

Hear some StreisBAND tracks

Contribute to the StreisBAND Kickstarter

Like em on facebook

stephencroweopera.org

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