Friday, June 30, 2017

Battle Your Demons in Dreamspace at the James Black Gallery

Last night at sunset, just as the province was experiencing the twilight and eventual eclipse of Christy Clark's Liberal government, I was gazing up into the open bay windows at the front of the James Black Gallery on East 6th Avenue in Vancouver, luxuriating in the warmth of a gorgeous summer evening and the proximate haze of pot smoke, and thus somatically primed to receive the healing trans-dimensional message of love delivered by the bewitching lounge singer Linda Foxx.

Foxx is the creation of multi-talented performance artist Layla Marcelle Mrozowski, who in collaboration with musician and mixed-media artist Dave Biddle--and accompanied by back-up dancers Justine A. Chambers, Alex Mah, and Andrea Cownden--stageed an hour-long virtual or conceptual concert/house party called Battle Your Demons in Dreamspace. Lipsynching to a clutch of "synthetic" voice-altered songs created and played by Biddle through vocoder technology, Foxx/Mrozowski, sporting a bright orange wig and wearing day-glo blue lipstick, invited us in the most sinuously seductive manner possible to throw off any remaining inhibitions we might have and indulge in the myriad pleasures afforded by an apocalypse that is not just imminent, but that has already arrived.

In a world where the earthquake is here, where fear can be buckled into a car seat and sent on its way, and where caged goats patiently offer up their necks to the impress of our newly sharpened incisors, the only thing we need to do to prepare for the time of love, Ms. Foxx instructs us, is to get in touch with our bodies: feel the earth underneath our feet; breathe in through our noses and out through our mouths; rub our tongues along our teeth (and taste that goat's blood). And, above all, unloosen our hips and groove to the music she is carrying to us via her other-worldly voice.

Maybe it's because I'm currently watching The Leftovers on television, or maybe it's just that in this current socio-political moment nothing seems out of the ordinary any more, but I found Foxx's strangely unsettling message just the narcotic of belief that I needed on this particular evening.


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