Sunday, November 23, 2014

'Baby Lame: Don't Call It a Comeback' at Mimetic Festival, 20th

I suspect my perspective on what's normal and what's not has become irretrievably skewed. By way of an example: I'm sitting in a damp tunnel underneath Waterloo station watching an intensely bearded man screeching maniacally into a microphone.  He's smeared in clownish drag makeup, is wearing a Little Miss Muffet wig and a white wedding dress with shit-smears of Nutella down the sides and is vigorously pumping two very hairy arms. Accompanying him are two burly yet feminine slaves in moth-eaten, stained animal masks who periodically grimace from pools of darkness.  The soundtrack?  Miley Cyrus' Bangerz.

It's like Paul Dacre's nightmare brought to horrible life; a kaleidoscope of genderfucked midnight-movie sexuality and punk rock rotten-ness.  Me?  I'm sitting there in the front row drinking a beer and having a remarkably pleasant time.  Where oh where did it all go wrong?
Baby Lame exists within a very particular subset of trash exploitation.  The ur-example is obviously John Waters movies, Baby Lame aiming at being the spiritual successor to the outstandingly successful Divine.  These are big heels to fill; Divine having left in her trail a litany of self destruction, drugged/boozed out chaos and intensely sexually aggressive filth. There's also odd notes of Divine David aka David Hoyle peppered through the glitter, sweat and goo that fills the act.

To be disgusting and repellent on stage isn't as easy as you might think.  Audiences can smell fear a mile away, if you don't hurl yourself into this with palpable abandon then people might suspect that your heart's not in it, causing to terror to transform into its polar opposite, pity. Baby Lame doesn't have to worry about that though, the domineering, ultra surety that fills this performance has the effect of transforming her into a lion and us into frightened sheep.

In contrast with some of the other acts I'd seen at Mimetic who quickly built a chummy rapport with their audience, Baby Lame eyes them more as a resource to exploit and humiliate.  Two men are dragged on stage as part of the performance; one is given a face distortingly ugly half face mask and duct-taped to a chair while monstrosities cavort around, and the other is press-ganged into a warped marriage ceremony while Nutella is smeared over his face in an approximation of excrement.

Bubbling under the surface is a skewering of celebrity.  With the towering ego, tasteless attire and entourage of yes-things Baby Lame works as the logical conclusion to the shit you see on the front page of crappy celeb rags.  Video segments splice together Lame and Winfrey; responding to her sensitive questions by vomiting chewed up cake from her crimson lips and laughing like a clogged up drain.

It's nauseating, nasty and sinister stuff, the audience departing with the kinds of stares you see in the eyes of soldiers returning from wars.  But you can develop strange tastes over time.  Some sing the tasty praises of crunching down bull testicles.  Some find beauty in endless, industrially obnoxious, machinelike techno.  Some get their thrills from being trussed up and pissed on.  Some (like me) get their illicit thrills from mad-mental performances like this. 

By now you can probably judge whether you'd enjoy Baby Lame or not. I certainly did.  This kind of stuff is totally up my street.  But then I do live in a bad part of town.

Tags: , , , ,

0 Responses to “'Baby Lame: Don't Call It a Comeback' at Mimetic Festival, 20th ”

Post a Comment

© All articles copyright LONDON CITY NIGHTS.
Designed by SpicyTricks, modified by LondonCityNights