Schoohouse Roxx Rocks the House

The upstairs space at PS122 was filled to overflowing last Saturday
night for the premiere of Schoolhouse Roxx, the new weekly late-night
performance series exploring the intersection between music and
performance art.

The evening had a party atmosphere from the get-go, with pre-show music
provided by DJ Rumspringa and DJ Brenda Walsh. This exuberant po-mo
variety show got off to a festive start with an opening parade of the
evening’s performers led by the band Parade, culminating in the
coronation of the MC, Becky Yamamoto, as Queen of the World.

Becky charmed the audience with her disarming comic naivete as she
introduced the evening’s performances. The line-up was diverse and
entertaining and included the popular baton-twirling squad Oh de
, absurdist vaudeville from the comic duo Becky and Noelle,
sci-fi improv from the comedy troupe Organatron, a puppet show by Kate Brehm about Picasso’s drawings of genitals, and a musical tribute to Grand Central Station by Parade.

The audience favorite was without a doubt the show’s headlining band
Tulip Sweet and her Trail of Tears, who performed with energy and abandon. The band’s music mixes the theatricality of Kurt Weill with the tunefulness of modern pop, and the energy of Rock’N’Roll. Tulip’s vocals blend Nico’s unpolished charm with Patti Smith’s relentless passion and Yoko Ono’s playful experimentalism. The band’s quirky and heartfelt songs were enhanced by Tulip’s antics as she dressed and undressed, moped, lounged and capered about, and eventually tore apart her “over the rainbow” themed set, flinging beer-soaked bits of cotton-fluff cloud through the air, spraying audience members in the process.

The variety of the performers was matched only by the variety of the
audience. 20-something hipsters mingled with downtown veterans and
there were even a few people who looked like they might have wandered in by
mistake. But by the end of the evening the spirit of boisterous experimentation and unabashed fun held sway.

I knew the night had been a success when a friend who’d never been to PS122 before told me that she was “mostly entertained, partly frightened by the evening’s …breed of wackiness.”

I think she’ll be back.

This week Schoolhouse Roxx will feature performances by Howie Statland of NYCSmoke and Eleanor Sandresky, and will be hosted by Desiree Burch.

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