It's not the first place we'd expect to find Kathleen Hanna's name, but there it is, subtly tacked onto the credits for Neal Medlyn's Wicked Clown Love, a 2012 experimental work "built around the music and culture of hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse, their devoted fan base the Juggalos, and other forms of male bonding and ritual." Showing at the Kitchen next weekend, Wicked Clown Love's hammy event description on the venue Web site elaborates:
Neal Medlyn's latest "bomb ass music based extravaganza" to quote the artist, is . . . will revolve around Medlyn's dark specter versions of ICP songs, male bonding activities, flashlight wrestling, terror and horror, face paint, underground Midwestern horror rap, Faygo showers, clown love, and much more. "Fuckin all out buck wild behavior is to be expected," Medlyn says. "This will be the freshest presentation of all time. This will be the Wicked Shit. Wicked Clown Love. The most chaotic fucking phenomenon of the year."
Starring Neal Medlyn, Farris Craddock, Carmine Covelli and a variety of monsters. Lighting design by Madeline Best. Set design by Kathleen Hanna. Costumes by Larry Krone.
Yes, according to the press release, that Kathleen Hanna. The riot-grrrl doyenne. The public intellectual. The one people yelled for at Friday night's Portlandia event.
Wicked Clown Love is Neal Medlyn's sixth entry into an absurd series of pop-star/music performances in which a white guy with "wacky frames for my glasses," "greasy hair," and "a slightly distended stomach" mimics overly emotive pop-music legends. His previous five installments tackled Lionel Richie (Lionel Richie Opera), Phil Collins (Coming in the Air Tonight), Prince (Unpronounceable Symbol), Britney Spears (...Her's a Queen), and Miley Cyrus (Brave New Girl). Medlyn is also known for faithfully re-enacting a Beyoncé concert-DVD and wearing black body tights "with a hole neatly cut to allow his penis to hang out," as the Times so delicately put it last year.
Medlyn's Hanna connections are easy to trace. Last year, the cabaret actor worked with her partner Adam Horowitz on Neal & Bridget Are F**king, and Adam is Watching. Medlyn also frequently performs alongside Kenny Mellman, keyboardist for Hanna's currently recording band the Julie Ruin, and Carmine Covelli, who is both Horowitz's collaborator on a documentary about New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl (wait, what x 2) and the Julie Ruin's drummer.
Medlyn's been working on this project since last summer, when he recounted his conflicted sense of belonging at the Gathering of the Juggalos in a piece for Salon. The theatrical result, Wicked Clown Love, isn't Downtown's first Juggalo-inspired performance piece (that happened in fall of 2010), but it's certainly the first one with a feminist icon on the crew. And you thought the Jack White connection was bonkers?
Can't wait to see what Hanna came up with for the set--at the moment, we're imagining walls Sharpie-scrawled with the word "NEDEN" everywhere.
The cast of Wicked Clown Love. (photo credit: Allison Michael Orenstein)
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