There were lots of good performances at last weekend's Northwest New Works—gale-force dancing by Ellie Sandstrom's new company, Byron au Yong's solo operetta about a Chinese deliveryman stuck in an elevator, a gorgeous and sad little love dance by Umami Performance—but the weekend only delivered one real shock, by the queen of shock herself: Queen Shmooquan.
I thought I was immune to Shmooquan's shtick. (If you've seen one act wearing fake cock-and-balls while regurgitating Twinkies into rubber chickens, you've seen 'em all.)
I was prepared feel totally indifferent to the Queen—despite her dramatic debut—but she dragged me, kicking and screaming, into a new-found, grudging admiration.
The poultry and penises were in full effect, but the Queen revealed new depths of flagrant, pop-culture weirdness—she might be a long-lost heir to Dina Martina and Klaus Nomi. She stuffed her stuffed her crotch with... something and stuffed her performance with exquisitely surreal video (Mr. Rogers, cheesy hand-holding on the beach, kaleidoscopic underwear) and surrealer antics: She rode a bicycle, danced on roller skates, and smeared her face with lipstick before chewing off the tip and swallowing it. At one point, the audience applauded her for simply eating a Dorito.
Shmooquan's heart beats pure entertainment—glittery, gaudy, and shameless.