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Part of Fall 2013
New York City-based performance artist Jibz Cameron joins Pleasure Dome this season for a special presentation of her performance Bags (2008) and the premiere of her most recent video A Dream Is Not A Life (28:43 min., video 2013, directed by Heda Maron).
Bags is the story of Dynasty Handbag hopping through an emotional minefield of five bags on the floor all talking, wanting, needing, unrelenting. The brown paper one is used, sexy, persuasive and oh so tiring after a long bout of fisting. The black one is so demanding, yet keeps changing it’s mind and speaks deeply and rudely. The whispy whilte wants only to watch, watch as you dance for her… says dance for me! The blue one has a rotten cockney accent and becomes suicidal at the thought of abandonment. These bags seem so familiar. DH blindly goes from bag to bag, looking for that special something.
In Life Is But A Dream Dynasty gets inspired by Beyonce’s recent bio-pic, to show her fans what she’s “really like”. Join her as she does a grueling three day tour to her despised hometown of San Francisco. Complete with a simulated birth, a trip to the cemetery, mind-melting narcissism and plenty of very live Dynasty Handbag footage.
Performing under the moniker Dynasty Handbag, Cameron’s infamous monologues dangle in a finite spot between hilarious and terrifying. These neurotic, erratic and often straight-up psychotic stage-based journeys can reveal sorrowful and unsettlingly honest portraits of womankind “on the verge” in a modern society. Currently teaching at NYU, Cameron will also present a condensed workshop version of her course titled Persona: Performing Yourself the day following her performance.
Review by ROBERT EVERETT-GREEN, THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Jibz Cameron’s fierce yet farcical humour does not look before crossing
“Physical comedy comes from deep within you,” Rowan Atkinson told me in an interview years ago, explaining why even versatile comic actors can only ever get one character to appear when they focus on straight physical comedy. That’s true of Atkinson’s Mr. Bean, Chaplin’s Little Tramp, Jacques Tati’s Monsieur Hulot and every circus clown that ever was.
Jibz Cameron is a New York-based actor who sometimes performs with theatre companies such as the Wooster Group, and sometimes as Dynasty Handbag, who appeared at Buddies in Bad Times on Thursday for a solo show presented by Pleasure Dome. Dynasty Handbag is scaled a few degrees larger than life, but she’s clearly a very personal, from-the-guts creation, as she showed in a solo piece called Bags.
With her garish workout costume, her hair backcombed up into a frizzy ball and her face made up to exaggerate her strong, rubbery features, Cameron played a series of clownish confrontations with bags lying around the otherwise empty stage. Nothing could be more passive than a bag for carrying a lunch or groceries, but these bags were demanding, mouthy and manipulative. They did all the talking, in vivid voiceovers, and Cameron sprang to do their absurd bidding, her face often registering a thought of doubt or protest a beat or two later. Like a lot of physical comedy, Bags is a satire of social compliance, a comically overdrawn representation of someone just trying to please, whether it’s a paper bag demanding more penetration or a sandwich bag trying to fit you into the zip-lock containers of mom’s world.
Fitting a mould is also the subject of Cameron’s new video A Dream Is Not a Life (directed by Hedia Maron, and shown in Canada for the first time), in which she puts own life story into the overblown frame of Beyoncé’s recent biopic, Life Is But a Dream, one of the most narcissistic films of the past year. Like Beyoncé, Cameron talks to her laptop as to an intimate friend and muses on the problems of being a massive star, while sitting in her modest apartment or cramped dressing room. She plays a squirmy-funny scene as the showbiz parent of an ornamental baby, and got a startled laugh from the Buddies crowd while literally rolling around on her father’s grave. Cameron’s farcical humour does not look before crossing.
There was something a bit ferocious about her stage persona, even while she deflated herself and everything else in funny, perfectly timed patter. Dynasty Handbag is like a reckless circus clown who makes you laugh but also pray to God she doesn’t strut over near you. Her all-in performance of Beyoncé’s Party was a devastating sendup that also came across like a personal act of revenge, prepared hot before our eyes. As with all good physical comedy, she made you feel more than you could see.
Persona: Performing Yourself Workshop with Jibz Cameron
Friday, November 15, 1:00 PM @ Videofag, 187 Augusta Avenue
$50 per person limited to twelve participants. To confirm participation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Persona: Performing Yourself is designed to help participants create a true (as in yours alone) persona that can serve as an outlet for your creative desires. The exercises involve much personal digging in order to get to the sometimes dirty, sometimes shiny, diamonds of your personal experience. The workshop will teach basic principles of transforming your ideas into performative acts will discuss ways of navigating the issues you may encounter once you are ready to begin performing your work. It will also explore some traditional acting techniques that may be helpful with the general execution of any live performance. There are no pre-requisites for this workshop except a willingness to explore some dark places in your psyche and to have some embarrassing fun.
Jibz Cameron is a performance/video artist and actor who lives and works in New York City. Her work as alter ego Dynasty Handbag has been presented at such institutions as The New Museum, The Kitchen, DTW, MOMA PS1, Joe’s Pub, PS122, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, MOCAtv, OUTFEST, SXSW Film Festival, Performa ’07, ’09, ’11, Mo-Wave: Seattle’s Queer Music & Arts Festival, and many international dives both great and small. Her work has been heralded by The New York Times as “the funniest and most pitch perfect performance seen in years” and as “crackpot genius” by The Village Voice. In addition to her work as Dynasty Handbag, she also acts in works by The Wooster Group, The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, Kalup Linzy, Susan Lori-Parks and Jennifer Miller, among others. She is an adjunct professor of Performance and Theater Studies at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. She is the recipient of the 2007 Fresh Tracks Artist in Residency Award at Dance Theater Workshop and the 2008 recipient of the Franklin Furnace Fund grant for the performing arts. She is currently working on a new evening-length Dynasty Handbag piece entitled Soggy Glasses, based on Homer’s The Odyssey. In 2006, she released her first Dynasty Handbag recording entitled “Foo Foo Yik Yik.” Her second Dynasty Handbag CD, Cosmic Surgery, will be released in 2013 on the interweb.