When the demons first came out, my only thought was: “Shit.”
The Redstone Room has its share of intimate shows. While the performer-audience relationship may get snuggly, the fourth wall is a line not often crossed.
Once Regan Hatfield (performing under the name American Devil Sound) started doing his thing, though, I understood the absolute necessity of the painted actor-dancers in appropriately scandalous costumes*. Without them, Regan’s performance and subject matter might be too much to absorb; he tells a story via music and vocals while ricocheting from one spinning canvass to another with all manner of paint-broadcasting tools. To manage this dual action painting/vocalization, dude went ahead and developed a microphone on a sliding apparatus that would make Sam Raimi piss his DIY pants.
Regan built the spinny mechanisms, also – using parts from a lazy susan, I think. The video below shows him in action with the paint while one of his two guest singers performs; this is Jordan DaRosa covering Wish You Were Here.
So after the initial impulse to flee** I had a blast the whole time. The demons created a bridge to Regan’s stage performance, which was at least as complex textually as it was physically; Glue Boy lets us experience a long-gone version of New York through the eyes of a troubled young man struggling through a culturally baffling period of the 90s when the fashion industry shamelessly hawked the concept of “heroin chic”.
Huffing glue isn’t the most glamorous way to get high, so characters like Glue Boy don’t turn up a lot in mainstream media. But his story is important. It’s about the human condition, after all: wanting to communicate, to understand and to be understood, all while struggling to gather all the elements you need to express yourself. Glue Boy thinks (correctly) he might have something to say, but he’s not sure his thoughts – and by extension, he himself – warrant expression. He wonders if he has any value.
It’s not as depressing as it sounds. There’s redemption by the end. Whether it’s what you were hoping for is TBD.
You can see American Devil Sound: Glue Boy next at on Friday, March 27 in Des Moines. Be at Vaudeville Mews by 9:30pm. You’ll need eight bucks. Plus drink money. So get, like, a couple hundred out of the ATM. No, you have a problem!
If you don’t make that show, check out the FB page for more event postings.
*I later learned many of them perform at a local burlesque show. The art form is alive and well in Midwestern America!
**When done properly, as during this event, such immersive performance enriches audience engagement; when done improperly, however, it’s just traumatic. Completely, utterly, definitively traumatic.