I Own Me is an eye-popping multimedia performance spectacle featuring Jeppa Hall as Queen Shmooquan—the master shape-shifter, joyful healer, public flailer, shouter of prophetic messages, owner of vast ambitions, singer of quavery spirituals, and seller of retail products from her lifestyles and services line. It's happening March 14 and 15 at Velocity Dance Center—what's on the agenda? Strength-building exercises, hallucinatory images rippling hypnotically on-screen, spastic dance numbers, trippy hippie folk jams, and so much dazzling costumery. Faux-leather Jim-Morrison-style low-rise hipsters made of white plastic Wonder Bread bags are in development for the show, Jeppa says, but watch for beloved standbys: the dirty velvet capes aswirl, the shimmery magenta skivvies, the Evel-Knievel-inspired stars and stripes and retro-sporty glitziness.
Queen Shmooquan's typical stage ensembles fling styles and themes together pell-mell. A polka-dot, sequin-trimmed shirt-and-overalls set culled from a Utah Goodwill recalls the traveling child-star shopping-mall performers of the late 1980s, for instance. But it could just as easily be furnished with errant jockstraps, matted wigs, orthopedic neck braces, rubber chickens, and nipple clamps—along with any other oddities Jeppa has gathered on her trails. (Maybe the Pee-wee Herman doll I noticed in her studio could be a prop? "No. I love him so much. I have too much reverence to bring him into my shows directly," she explains.) Recalling her earliest work, Jeppa describes a burlesque-inspired striptease set to the Christian children's song "I Am a Promise." She wore an oversize pajama T-shirt, dirty white tights, and granny panties, then shoved a Mountain Dew bottle down her pants, ate some lipstick, and accentuated her movements with "kind of masturbating-ish" gestures, she says.
She really doesn't skimp on the grotesqueries. Take the sparkling gymnast leotard with its swinging fringe and menstrual stains: "She ends up drinking the blood later," says Jeppa. There's an ordinary black bathing suit with a twisted brown stem attached at its belly to represent a cosmic umbilical cord. And there's the culty loungewear jumpsuit in Easter egg pink, embellished with a groin-accentuating geometric shape that becomes "a chakra-charged symbol," says Jeppa. Accordingly, she pairs this getup with a black-lace garter belt securing an old dirt-veined dildo the color of worn-out Band-Aids. "It used to be orange," she says. Find ticket info and more at queenshmooquan.com.