Archive for the Art Stars Category

Penny Arcade/ Tammy Faye Starlite in “The Anarchist”

Posted in Art Stars, Indie Theatre, PLUGS with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2017 by travsd


Tammy Faye Starlite is Back (and My Rave About Her is Up)

Posted in Art Stars, Comedy, Contemporary Variety, Crackers, CRITICISM/ REVIEWS, Indie Theatre, Jews/ Show Biz, Singers, Singing Comediennes with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2016 by travsd


I caught opening night of Tammy Faye Starlite in Holy War 2016 at Pangea and it was every bit as dazzling as I knew it would be. Read my rave here in Chelsea Now

Troll Museum Resurrection!

Posted in Art Stars, SOCIAL EVENTS, VISUAL ART, Women with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2016 by travsd


Great fun last night at the Chinatown Soup gallery for the gala opening of the one-week re-appearance of Rev Jen’s Troll Museum. The Museum (which contains more trolls than you will find any place outside their natural Scandinavian stomping grounds) was formerly ensconced in Rev Jen’s pad, but both she and the trolls were evicted a few weeks ago. They need your support; an easy and pleasurable way to do it is to swing by the gallery on Lower Orchard Street and make a donation or buy some of Rev Jen’s art. Here’s some of what and whom we saw last night. All art is by the cosmically brilliant Rev Jen:


Old friend and long-time supporter CC John is the guy with the brewski. He took most of the photos and videos of my American Vaudeville Theatre’s earliest years














Porno Jim was there with his pooch in a bag, Bowie





Pay the toll to the troll!





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Portrait of the Artist as Out of Con-TROLL. Though I’ve known and occasionally worked with her for going on 20 years these pictures we took last night are the only photos I know of that contain us both. We decided to make them count. ALL POWER TO THE REV!


Satan, Hold My Hand

Posted in Art Stars, Contemporary Variety, ME, Movies (Contemporary), SOCIAL EVENTS with tags , , , on August 31, 2013 by travsd

Rev Jen, Face Boy and Jonathan Ames. Photo by the Duchess!

The Art Stars came out in profusion for last night’s world premiere of Satan, Hold My Hand at Anthology Film Archives. Written by the Sainted performance Goddess Rev Jen Miller, produced by Jonathan Ames (author of countless awesome books and creator of HBO’s Bored to Death) and directed by Courtney Fathom Sell, the film features burlesque stars Reina Terror and Scooter Pie as a couple of Catholic school girls bound to be sacrificial victims of a rock band helmed by Robert Prichard (The Toxic Avenger and proprietor of the legendary alt comedy club Surf Reality, 1995-2002). Their aim is to harness the unholy power of Satan (Faceboy, longtime star of Faceboyz Open Mic and star of lots of previous Rev Jen movies); Satan’s secretary is played by Janeanne Garofolo. Rounding out the cast, a gaggle of Art Stars familiar to devotees of Rev Jen’s long-running Anti-Slam: Hank Flynn, Pete Gerber, Angry Bob,  John King, Don Eng, et al.  And let us not forget Rev Jen, Jr, the most talented chihuahua in this or any land, including Mexico.

The movie was dedicated to the late Taylor Mead, and that was fitting, for the entire proceedings from soup to nuts seemed infused with his gonzo spirit, from the underground rawness of the movie’s assembly, to the absinthian cocktail of humor and anarchistic free-for-all, to the neo-Warholian constellation of bona fide “characters” who not only populated the film but the screening and the before and after festivities that book-ended it. We started at the before party, where we spent time with cast members and other notables: Jason Trachtenburg (his daughter Rachel wrote some of the music for the movie), Lisa Levy, Brer Brian Homa (who wrote the movie’s theme song), Michele Carlo and her boyfriend Larry Desgaines, C.C. John, Jennifer Glick, et al. The carousal was in high gear by the time of the showing…at one point during an impromptu Q & A, which was being run by cast member John King for some reason  (the Rev being too overcome with, um, “emotion”), a man in the row in front of me stood up and threw his shirt off, revealing his tattoos and an enormous beer belly. Did he start dancing? I think he may have started dancing. At any rate, by then it was like 1:30 in the morning.  That’s like 5am in Trav S.D. time.

Anyway hopefully it’ll be screening soon a theatre near you (or available in some electronic fashion). Here is the movie’s web site:


Elf Girl (Rev Jen’s New Book — Out Today!)

Posted in Art Stars, BOOKS & AUTHORS, PLUGS, SOCIAL EVENTS, Women with tags , on October 25, 2011 by travsd

Well, it looks like Saint Reverend Jen has finally made the Big Time. Simon & Schuster, a major house, has brought out her latest book Elf Girl and it goes on sale today. To them, as to us, she gives nothing less than a life: her autobiography, from soup to nuts (I use the term advisedly), as opposed to a collection of anecdotes as she has done in the past (see my review of Live Nude Elf here).

In poring through the new book one is struck by how this compulsive art-maker gives life to everything and everyone else, too. Every inanimate object around her she anthropomorphizes, deifies; every friend (human or chihuahua) becomes mythologized and caricatured; every event chronicled and raised to the level of history like a Viking singing her own Saga. Every person who attends her Anti-Slam becomes a star. Her house is a Troll Museum. Her dog is a superhero. It’s like she were she were feathering her nest, armoring herself against pain by investing the entire world with color, humor, personality and romance. And for those not close enough to witness this miraculous alchemy personally, she writes.

Another thing that occurred to me while reading this book is that Jen is unique in playing both sides of the street. Most performance artists who slip into an assumed persona do so by creating a Hyde to their Jekyll. In other words, the twain don’t meet. The persona is designed as some kind of escape vehicle; we never hear about the “real” person beneath the make-up. But Jen wears it on her sleeve; the two run together, and the relationship is clear. Description of her childhood explains why. Her father, a lawyer by day, was a frustrated artist–he actually painted a mural of Jen’s favorite cartoons and comic book characters on her bedroom walls when she was growing up. At eight, she contracted spinal meningitis, had to have a painful spinal tap, and suffered memory loss. As a result, the precocious elf-child was always encouraged in outlandish artistic schemes; she’s never NOT been what she is: art school, acid and trafficking with a thousand other lunatics only turned up the heat on what she was already doing. It’s a delight to accompany Jen on her droll and merry adventures. And also to get the inside skinny. (For example, I long knew she had been in a relationship with No Wave film-maker Nick Zedd; I’d never known that she’d previously dated Christopher X.Brodeur, former mayoral candidate and Giuliani-stalker).

At any rate, if you don’t buy the book right away, to my mind it’ll make a perfect Christmas gift a couple of months from now — it even comes with festive elf feet right on the cover!

But if you just can’t wait and just gotta have it now, she’s launching it with a bevy of local events. Tonight she’ll be at St. Mark’s Bookshop with her pal Jonathan Ames; tomorrow night on her home turf at Bowery Poetry Club; and on November 5 at Bluestockings. Go see the real Elf Girl in person!

Stars of the AVT #135: Faith Fearliss

Posted in American Vaudeville Theatre, Art Stars, Burlesk, Dance, Indie Theatre, Music, Women with tags , , on July 21, 2011 by travsd

This post is one of a series profiling the hundreds of performers I’ve presented through my American Vaudeville Theatre in celebration of its 15th anniversary. Don’t miss the American Vaudeville Theatre’s 15th Anniversary ExTRAVaganza in the New York International Fringe Festival this August!

Faith Fearliss (nee Pilger) is a graduate of the Juilliard School (BFA, 1995) where she was honored with a Princess Grace Dance Award in 1994. In 1996 she formed the Ultraviolet Performance Collective with composer Duncan Neilsen and theatre artist Brian Kelly. It was in this incarnation that she and her collaborators came and performed their unique work in my vaudeville show at Surf Reality in 1998.

Somewhere around that time she began to call herself Faith Fearliss, and producing her show the Vim Variety Show at Surf Reality into the early oughts.

She established her current company, Fearliss Productions, in 2005. Since then she has been employed as a freelance dancer with David Dorfman Dance, Rebecca Stenn Company, Jordana Toback / POON, Pilobolus Dance Theater, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Die Audio Gruppe, Mark Morris Dance Group, Nicole Berger Dance, Joe Alter Dance Group, Chase Dance Theater, Attacktheatre, Thinkdance and Stanley Love Performance Group.

Faith appeared in Julie Taymor’s feature film, Across the Universe, choreographed by Danny Ezralow, in 2007, and independent film, The River Copsa Mica, filmed in 2006.

More recent works by Fearliss Productions include Grimm, produced at the Duke on 42nd Street in 2006, and The Stages of Burning presented at the Puffin Room in 2007.

To learn more about vaudeville past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.


Stars of the AVT #132: Reverend Hank (Flynn)

Posted in American Vaudeville Theatre, Art Stars, Comedy with tags , on July 21, 2011 by travsd

This post is one of a series profiling the hundreds of performers I’ve presented through my American Vaudeville Theatre in celebration of its 15th anniversary. Don’t miss the American Vaudeville Theatre’s 15th Anniversary ExTRAVaganza in the New York International Fringe Festival this August!

This has got to be wildest,  least expected discovery of this process. When I knew Hank Flynn back in the late 90s, he was strictly “Reverend Hank” — a complete wild man. He was one the regulars at Rev Jen’s Anti-Slam and Faceboyz Open Mike.  He was sort of a cross between a preacher and a race car driver — and he would just stand and rant in aviator shades and a jumpsuit: complete stream of consciousness, funny B.S. by the basketsful.  In retrospect his sense of humor reminds me of Dave Chapelle — but throw some Jim Morrison in there, too.

I booked him for one of my Surf Reality vaudeville shows around ’98, and also ended up casting him in our Fringe version of House of Trash in 2000. (I had originally toyed with having him play the lead, “Preacher Bob”, in that play — a bit of stunt casting. But I ended up taking the plum role for myself and casting Hank in the dual roles of Hayseed and Pubert.)

Sometime after that I heard different rumors of where he’d got off to. In 2001, he was “doing something with NASCAR” (it turns out he was brand ambassador for XM Satellite Radio to racing audiences). 2004-05, he was doing the live announcing at the Staten Island Yankees games. These things kind of prepared me for the news of where he is now, not really.

My missing piece of information was that he went back to school for his masters in Broadcast Journalism in 2006.  This just in: Hank Flynn is now a totally straight-laced TV reporter! After working at stations in Binghamton and in Joplin, MO, he moved back to this area. He’s worked at WZBN out of Trenton for several years, and also has a local sports show on Time Warner Cable, and covers stories for Verizon Fios 1 News.

And now, here’s our own Mr. G. with the weather —

To learn more about vaudeville past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.


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